By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) tries to leap over Seattle Seahawks cornerback D.J. Reed as he runs the ball during the second half an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Seattle Seahawks defensive end Darrell Taylor (52) is carted off the field after being injured during the second half an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) dashes past Seattle Seahawks defensive end Benson Mayowa (10) on his way to the end zone and a touchdown during the first half an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) looks to pass the ball against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Seattle Seahawks running back Travis Homer (25) gets past diving Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden (23) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
Seattle Seahawks running back Alex Collins (41) rushes past Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith (56) pressures Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith (7) in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Fred Vuich)
PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin insists there is nothing ''mystical'' to the way outside linebacker T.J. Watt goes about his business.
The perennial All-Pro is talented. He's focused. He's relentless. And as of last month, he's also one of the highest-paid defenders in the NFL.
And he's playing like he's worth every penny.
Watt strip-sacked Seattle quarterback Geno Smith in the waning minutes of overtime on Sunday night. Teammate Devin Bush pounced on the loose ball to set up Chris Boswell's game-winning 36-yard field goal as the Steelers escaped with a 23-20 victory.
''I don't think anyone is surprised about his ability to deliver in those moments,'' Tomlin said of Watt.
Maybe, but Watt's second sack of the night, the one that helped the Steelers (3-3) win their second straight to reach .500 heading into their bye week, began innocently. Watt wasn't sure he had a path to Smith only to somehow thread his way to the former starter turned longtime backup. One mighty chop at Smith's right arm and the ball was on the ground.
''I don't think I had a good rush or anything,'' Watt said.
In the end, it didn't matter. Watt finished a remarkable game in which he knocked down three passes and recorded three tackles for loss by making the play that allowed Pittsburgh to avoid a deflating setback.
The Steelers have won two straight following a 1-3 start and will have two weeks to get ready for a visit to Cleveland on Halloween.
''It's kind of crazy, don't know if it's really sunk in yet,'' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said. ''We got to our goal, which was to get to .500 before the bye, get healthy and get prepared for a long stretch.''
Roethlisberger threw for 229 yards and a touchdown and rookie running back Najee Harris added 83 yards rushing and caught his second scoring toss of the season. Eric Ebron scored the third rushing touchdown of his career as the Steelers found creative ways to move the ball with star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster lost for the season with a shoulder injury.
''We've got a lot of players that can make plays,'' said Pittsburgh wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who caught nine passes for 71 yards. ''They showed that.''
Smith, starting in place of injured Russell Wilson, completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown in his first start in nearly four years. Alex Collins ran for 101 yards while filling in for injured starter Chris Carson, the first 100-yard rushing game by a Seahawk since Dec. 15, 2018.
Smith's late miscue, however, dropped Seattle to 2-4.
''I thought he played tough as hell,'' Seattle coach Pete Carroll said of Smith. ''He was clear and calm and poised exactly like you'd hope he'd be. The game was not too big for him at all.''
The Seahawks played the final 3:10 of regulation and overtime without linebacker Darrell Taylor, who left on a stretcher and was taken to the hospital with an undisclosed injury. Taylor fell to the ground during a 3-yard gain by Harris with the Steelers driving near midfield. Taylor was on the ground for more than 10 minutes while being attended to by medical staff. Players from both sides came out to offer support.
Coach Pete Carroll said after the game that Taylor's preliminary CT scans were clear. The team said Taylor had feeling in all of his extremities and the 24-year-old rookie was expected to fly home with the team.
''He was so mad to be taken off the field like that. He wanted to get up,'' Carroll said. ''They wouldn't let him do it, because they had to do all the secure methods to take care of him. He didn't want any part of that.''
Seattle was trailed by three with time winding down in regulation when driving when Smith connected with D.K. Metcalfe near the Seahawks sideline. Rather than step out of bounds with his team out of timeouts, Metcalfe opted to turn upfield. The ball was stripped out of his hands by Pittsburgh's James Pierre. Seattle wide receiver Freddie Swain fell on it at the Steelers 25.
Smith scrambled to get the Seahawks to the line of scrimmage and appeared to spike the ball with a second left. Officials, however, halted the game to review whether Metcalfe caught the pass inbounds. The call stood on review and the game clock was reset to 3 seconds, giving Smith enough time to spike it so Jason Myers could come on and pull the Seahawks even at the gun with a 43-yard field goal.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who is on the NFL's competition committee, called the review ''an embarrassment.''
''I hated it. I hated it,'' Tomlin said. ''I cannot believe that game was stopped to confirm catch/no catch in that moment.''
Seattle: Cornerback Sidney Jones left in the third quarter with a chest injury. ... Left guard Damien Lewis was carted to the locker room in the third quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return.
Steelers: Rookie left tackle Dan Moore Jr. exited in the fourth quarter with a hip injury.
Seattle: Host New Orleans on Monday, Oct. 25.
Pittsburgh: Are off next week, then travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns on Oct. 31. Cleveland took two of three meetings with Pittsburgh in 2020, including a blowout victory in the first round of the playoffs.
Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (hip) will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his hip, officially ending his 2021 season. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the surgery is a measure that will help him heal. The 38-year-old suffered a hip subluxation in the Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and appeared in only one game in 2021. He finishes the season with 13 yards passing on six attempts. Fitzpatrick is on an expiring deal with Washington, and it's unclear where the veteran will land in 2022. Taylor Heinicke will continue to be Washington's starting quarterback and has been a solid fantasy asset this season. The 28-year-old has thrown for 2,809 yards and an 18:11 TD: INT ratio while rushing for 289 yards and a score over 12 games. Heinicke can be used as a streamer against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14.
New England Patriots defensive back Adrian Phillips (knee) exited Monday's game against the Buffalo Bills early with a knee injury and did not return. The 29-year-old suffered a knee injury late in the game. He racked up five solo tackles before leaving. The severity of his knee injury is unknown at this time, and he's considered day-to-day. Phillips has been solid this season, recording 64 tackles, four interceptions, a forced fumble, and a touchdown across 13 games in 2021. The Patriots have a bye in Week 14, Phillips will have an extra week to rest. If Phillips were to miss any games, Sean Davis would see an uptick in sna
The San Francisco 49ers released wide receiver Devin Funchess (undisclosed) from the practice squad injured list Monday. He was placed on the 49ers practice squad injured list last Tuesday and ultimately released from the team on Monday. Funchess hasn't played a game since 2019 and has now been released by two teams in 2021. The Packers released the 27-year-old from Injured Reserve with an injury settlement during the offseason. Funchess will look to latch onto another team, searching for receiver depth purposes.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) remains "day-to-day," and the team is hopeful he can play in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The 25-year-old was ruled out in Week 13 against the Seattle Seahawks with a groin injury. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor the situation throughout the week. Samuel has been terrific this season, hauling in 56 catches for 1,006 yards and five touchdowns on five targets while also seeing 25 carries for 203 yards and five more touchdowns. 49ers tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk would see an uptick in targets if Samuel cannot suit up for Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Stay tuned.
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said that "he expects Melvin Gordon III (hip, shoulder) to practice at some point during the week." He missed practice last week and was ultimately ruled out ahead of Sunday night's contest against the Kansas City Chiefs. Broncos explosive rookie running back Javonte Williams rushed 23 times for 102 yards while adding a team-high six receptions on a team-high nine targets for 76 yards and a receiving score in Gordon's absence in the Week 13 loss. Fantasy managers should continue to monitor the situation, but if Gordon cannot suit up in Week 14, Williams becomes a surefire RB1 in a plus matchup against the Detroit Lions.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders saw an uptick in targets during the Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots. Recently, the veteran wideout hasn't been much of an option in the passing attack. However, this week he hauled in three of his six targets for 22 yards in the loss. Obviously, this wasn't a good performance, but the weather was a huge factor. The wind made it difficult for either team to pass the ball at all. Those six targets were the most for Sanders since Week 9. Hopefully, Sanders can remain involved next week for the potential shootout against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He'll be on the WR4 radar for that favorable matchup.
Buffalo Bills tight end Dawson Knox had an awful game versus the New England Patriots in Week 13. He hauled in two of his six targets for 14 yards in the loss. To be fair, the wind made it almost impossible for either team to pass the ball. However, Knox dropped two catchable passes and committed a huge false start on the Bills' final drive. There isn't much positive to take from his performance in this one. Luckily, he has a fantastic rebound opportunity against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week. Fantasy managers should consider Knox a TE1 for that matchup.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis is normally not someone who is significantly involved in the passing attack. However, he hauled in two of his four targets for 30 yards and one touchdown in the Week 13 loss to the New England Patriots. The young wideout hauled in a 14-yard score, which was the only passing touchdown between the two teams. It was a game where the weather made it nearly impossible to pass the ball. Despite a decent performance, Davis isn't someone who should be trusted in fantasy formats. He'll be a desperation deep league PPR option in what is a potential shootout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley posted another dud performance during the Week 13 matchup versus the New England Patriots. To be fair, this wasn't really Beasley's fault since the weather was awful. The veteran wideout hauled in one of his three targets for 11 yards in the loss. Fantasy managers have seen Beasley's production declining over the last four weeks. Possibly, the return of Dawson Knox has hurt Beasley's target share. Regardless, he does have plenty of bounce back potential against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week. He'll be a boom-or-bust PPR option for that matchup.
Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss found no room to run during the Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots. The second-year back was a healthy scratch last week, but found his way back on the field for this one. Sadly, he rushed for 21 yards on eight attempts in the loss. He also added two receptions for 12 additional yards through the air. The 10 carries did tie Devin Singletary for the team lead. The weather conditions made both teams lean on the running game. It's uncertain if Moss will play next week, but he'll hardly be an option against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.
Buffalo Bills running back Matt Breida has seen an increased role in the offense over the last three weeks. However, that came to an end versus the New England Patriots in Week 13. Breida rushed one time for three yards and hauled in one reception for five yards in the loss. The weather played a huge factor in this game. Neither team could pass the ball and Breida normally gets a majority of his production as a receiving back. Possibly, Breida bounces back against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Although, he won't be worth trusting more than a low-end PPF flex option in deep leagues.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs was fairly quiet during the Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 51 yards in the loss. It was a game where the weather played a significant role The wind made it difficult for either team to pass the ball. The fact Diggs was able to accomplish four receptions is impressive. He'll have a fantastic matchup ahead of him against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 14. A game where he should be considered an elite WR1.
Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was surprisingly the best back during the Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots. It was a game where the weather didn't help either team. The Bills had all three of their backs active for this matchup. However, Singletary did the best with 36 yards on 10 attempts in the loss. Obviously, none of the Bills' backs were successful in this game, but the weather did have a factor. Sadly, Singletary will still remain a low-end RB3 for the Week 14 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
New England Patriots tight end Jonnu Smith is normally a forgotten man in the offense most weeks. That remained the case during the Week 13 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Smith hauled in his lone target for 12 yards in the win. To be fair, the weather was awful in this game, so the Patriots rushed the ball almost the entire game. Quarterback Mac Jones only had three passing attempts throughout this contest. Despite that, it's hard to imagine Smith actually bringing more to the table than that one reception. He remains someone who can be left on the waiver wire or a desperation deep league option.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen certainly had plenty of troubles during the Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots. He completed 15-of-30 passing attempts for 145 yards and one touchdown with zero interceptions in the loss. He also added six rushing attempts for 39 additional yards on the ground. It was a game where the wind didn't let either team have success through the air. Fantasy managers shouldn't be concerned with Allen's lack of success in this game. It should be considered a fluke due to the poor weather conditions. He'll be an elite QB1 for a favorable matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week.
New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne finished without a reception during the Week 13 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. It was a blizzard game where the Pats used the ground game almost exclusively. In fact, quarterback Mac Jones only had three passing attempts all game long in the win. Bourne saw zero targets, but did rush the ball one time for three yards. Fantasy managers should consider this a fluke performance due to the weather. The Pats have a bye next week, but Bourne should be considered a PPR deep league option the rest of the way.
New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor posted a dud performance along with basically every receiver on this offense. The conditions for this game were horrendous, so the Pats used the ground game almost exclusively. Agholor saw one target and rushed one time for six yards in the win over the Buffalo Bills. Fantasy managers normally have a good reason to be upset with Agholor, but this game isn't his fault. The Pats have a Week 14 bye week, but regardless Agholor is only a desperation deep league option at this point.
New England Patriots tight end Hunter Henry has been a touchdown-dependent option all season long. Fantasy managers are used to getting little production from him, but he gave them a goose egg on Monday. In Week 13, Henry was not involved at all during the win over the Buffalo Bills. The conditions were awful, which led to the Pats running the ball basically all game. Quarterback Mac Jones only had three attempts during the entire game. The Patriots have a bye next week, but Henry will remain a touchdown-dependent TE2 the rest of the way.
New England Patriots running back Brandon Bolden has seen an inconsistent role in this offense all season long. In Week 13, Bolden rushed four times for 28 yards and hauled in one reception for seven yards in the win over the Buffalo Bills. It was a quiet game from Bolden, but it wasn't all his fault. The Patriots normally use Bolden as a receiving back and only threw the ball three times during the entire game. This was a fluke due to the poor weather conditions. Bolden will have the week off next week while the Pats have a bye. However, he is only a desperation PPR option in deep leagues going forward.
New England Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers was not involved in the passing game at all during the Week 13 matchup against the Buffalo Bills. It was a blizzard game where the Patriots ran the ball almost exclusively. Meyers was not targeted at all and the Patriots only threw the ball three times all night in the win. Fantasy managers shouldn't blame Meyers and consider this a fluke. He should remain on the WR4 radar for Week 15 after the Patriots comes off their bye.