Beavs in the NFL: Week 5

Week five of the NFL was quite the interesting affair. A returning starter returned to throw three touchdowns, the defending NFC Champion fell to 1-4, and an Oregon State player made the jump from practice squad to starter. The games may not have been quite as exhilarating as those in week four, but the weekend’s slate was still entertaining.

There are currently no Beavers on the Cardinals or 49ers, so we will focus on Sunday’s games, starting with the Steelers. But before we do that, let’s recap which former Beavers are on practice squads or injured reserve.

Practice Squad Players/Injured Reserve Players:

  • Terron Ward - RB Falcons - Terron Ward is on the Falcons practice squad.
  • Scott Crichton - DE/DT Minnesota Vikings - Scott Crichton is currently on Injured Reserve.
  • Kyle Peko - DT Denver Broncos - Kyle Peko is currently on the Broncos practice squad.

Beavers on Bye: Steven Nelson - Chiefs, D.J. Alexander - Chiefs, Brandin Cooks - Saints, Obum Gwacham - Saints,

Jordan Poyer - FS Browns - Sunday morning, Jordan Poyer suited up for an unfortunate game. The Browns were the proverbial lamb heading to slaughter against the newly-reinstated Tom Brady and a healthy Rob Gronkowski. The game played out exactly how you would expect with Brady throwing three touchdown passes during a 33-13 rout. Poyer had three credited tackles on the day, two of which were in run support against Legarrette Blount. Technically, Poyer should have had more, but it’s fairly difficult to divvy up the credit on a gang tackle.

The Browns also continued to experiment with Poyer as a punt returner. The safety lined up for two punts, but neither was returnable.

Connor Hamlett - TE Browns - In a surprising turn of events, Former Beaver Connor Hamlett was activated for the first time this season. Hamlett spent the first four weeks on the Browns practice squad and was buried on the depth chart. However, the team saw potential as Hamlett started opposite Gary Barnidge against the Patriots. The tight end only had one catch on Sunday, but it was good for 17 yards and a touchdown.

Stephen Paea - DL Browns - Stephen Paea played his normal role on Sunday, alternating snaps with the other defensive linemen. Paea had one tackle against the Patriots, stopping running back Legarrette Blount for a one-yard gain near the goal line.

Of course, stats don’t always tell the whole story. Paea is a big presence, and he helped keep Blount in check on runs up the middle. New England’s offensive linemen couldn’t get any push against the Browns when Paea was in the game, so Blount and James White kept bouncing their runs to the outside. On one play in particular, Paea blew through the offensive line and hit Blount in the backfield, slowing the big back down just enough for another defender to arrive and finish the tackle.

Week in and week out, Stephen Paea tallies one tackle but still manages to disrupt opposing offenses. The Browns are a bad team, but at least Paea is a consistent player. Small victories and all that.

Andy Levitre - Guard Falcons - During a decisive victory against the defending champion Denver Broncos--garbage points throw off the box score-- Andy Levitre helped pave the way for the Falcons offense. Paired up with Jared Crick and Derek Wolfe all game long, Levitre kept Matt Ryan clean, didn’t allow any sacks, and didn’t commit any penalties. More importantly, Levitre and center Alex Mack led the way for a Falcon’s rushing attack that gained 122 yards on the ground and moved the chains all game long. Needing to run out the clock in the fourth quarter, the Falcons called runs between Levitre and Mack.

Sunday’s 23-16 victory was yet another solid performance for Andy Levitre as he inched ever closer to the upper echelon of offensive linemen.

Jacquizz Rodgers - RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Jacquizz Rodgers started his first game as a Buccaneer on Monday night after Tampa Bay surprisingly moved Charles Sims to Injured Reserve. Given little time to prepare, Quizz led the way to a field goal on the opening drive with 10 carries, and he continued from that point on en route to one of his best games. Playing like classic Quizz, the former Beavers back broke countless tackles, eluded many more, and kept the Bucs moving. The performance was so strong that announcer Jon Gruden raved about Quizz for the entirety of Monday Night Football.

With the game on the line, Quizz led the way with chain moving runs and catches, accounting for six of the final 10 plays on a drive that started at the 15-yard line. The running back even tacked on an extra 15 yards after a Panthers defender grabbed his facemask. The best play of this final drive came on third down when Winston threw a screen pass to Quizz. The Panthers had the runner cornered, but Rodgers juked to the right and dove for a first down. This conversion was the key play in the game-winning drive and kept the Panthers from seeing the field again.

The Bucs needed a big game from the rushing attack to defeat the rival Panthers and keep Jameis Winston from throwing too much, and Quizz provided just that with 30 carries for 101 yards and five catches for 28 yards. Jon Gruden even nominated Quizz as his “Gruden’s Grinder” for the workmanlike performance.

Mike Remmers - Tackle Carolina Panthers - Once again, Mike Remmers spent a game at left tackle instead of his more comfortable position on the right. However, Remmers played much better against the Bucs backup defensive line as Derek Anderson avoided getting sacked during the loss on Monday night. Remmers kept all defenders at bay and opened up rushing lanes for Fozzy Whittaker and Cameron Artis-Payne, who had two touchdowns on the day. The Panthers may not beaten the Bucs, but Remmers played extremely well.

Derek Anderson - QB Carolina Panthers - With Cam Newton concussed, Derek Anderson made his first official start of 2016. Ironically enough, this game was against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team that Anderson beat twice in 2015 while filling in for Newton. Unfortunately, this game didn’t quite turn out like Anderson expected.

The Panthers and Buccaneers tilt was boring at first, but it got so much better as time passed. Anderson found his new best friend in Greg Olsen for 181 yards, a career high for the tight end, and even mixed in a little Kelvin Benjamin. Anderson played well for the most part, leading multiple drives that went on for seemingly forever. Unfortunately, he also made some critical mistakes.

Anderson threw a bad interception on a pass intended for Kelvin Benjamin that was too far inside. Vernon Hargreaves batted it to another defender for the interception. On a third-down scramble, Anderson ran for enough yards to move the chains, but he fumbled the ball while trying to put a spin move on a tackler. Later in the third quarter, Anderson led yet another long drive only to throw an interception to Brent Grimes in the end zone. To be fair, Grimes made a ridiculous play to snag the interception, but Anderson probably should have thrown the ball elsewhere. 

The performance was essentially what you would expect from a backup quarterback. Lots of good plays mixed in with some bad mistakes. Anderson finished Monday night’s loss 18-28 for 278 yards and two interceptions.

Johnny Hekker - P LA Rams Johnny Hekker only punted twice during a 30-19 loss to the Bills, downing one inside the 20-yard line. Granted, that was mostly owed to the ineptitude of the Rams offense. Quarterback Case Keenum threw two interceptions to stop drives, and running back Todd Gurley fumbled away another promising drive. The Rams simply couldn’t get out of their own way as the Bills cruised to an easy victory.

Markus Wheaton - WR Pittsburgh Steelers - Markus Wheaton had a fairly quiet game against the Jets, only catching two of his five targets for 19 yards. The lack of yards was completely understandable as Sammie Coates abused the Jets backup cornerbacks for 139 yards and two touchdowns. 

Wheaton’s first target from Ben Roethlisberger was a severely underthrown deep ball that just landed harmlessly in the end zone. Wheaton almost had a touchdown in the back of the end zone, but his diving catch took him out of bounds. Wheaton’s third target of the first half was also an incompletion, but it did result in a holding penalty against the Jets and Calvin Pryor.

The Steelers appear to be using a “hot hand” method for their passing game with Martavis Bryant suspended for the season. Expect Wheaton to mix gigantic games in with total stinkers. The important thing is that he isn’t dropping passes anymore. 

Week Six of the NFL season starts Thursday when the Broncos play the Chargers. BeaverBlitz will keep you updated as the season moves along. 


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