The Bears certainly clawed out their 27-19 win over the Jets on Monday night. Chicago started off firing on all cylinders early, jumping out to a quick 17-3 lead 16 minutes into the game. But it was ugly from there on out. Brandon Marshall re-tweaked his ankle midway through the second quarter and was a shell of himself, and Matt Forte couldn't generate much on the ground versus the Jets' stout front. Jay Cutler worked it to Alshon Jeffery and Martellus Bennett all night, while the Bears' defense, particularly impressive rookie CB Kyle Fuller, made plays when it counted. When the clock hit zeroes, the Bears were 2-1 and hold a share of the NFC North lead.
On the other side of the field, the Jets basically gave this game away. After appearing to take a leap forward through the first two games of the season, Geno Smith reverted to rookie-year mistakes. He had two back-breaking turnovers. One was a 45-yard pick-six on his first pass of the game, and the second was a horrible interception in the red zone that was thrown right to Fuller in the end zone. The Jets had six red-zone possessions on the night, but delivered just one touchdown. If there were any positives on offense for Gang Green, it was Chris Ivory. The Jets need to feed the ball more to him, and take Chris Johnson off the field. Nobody in the NFL runs harder than Ivory. He legitimately looks like Marshawn Lynch. Ivory isn't afraid of contact and punishes defenders on every carry. Entering the night, Ivory was averaging 4.4 YPC after contact. If the Jets are going to be ground-and-pound when the weather gets chillier in the winter months, Ivory is going to be the one getting the rock. We much prefer owning Ivory over Johnson in all formats.
Monday Night Football Quick Hits
The Bears lost both SS Ryan Mundy and FS Chris Conte to potentially-serious injuries. Mundy has a "serious stinger" in his neck/shoulder area, while Conte again hurt his shoulder. Conte had extensive shoulder surgery in the offseason. … Eric Decker played sparingly in the first half, catching his lone target for 19 yards, before calling it quits in the second quarter when he aggravated his hamstring injury. Consider him highly questionable for Week 4 on a short week. … Brandon Marshall needs to be considered questionable for Week 4 against the Packers. … Matt Forte should find more room to run against the Packers next Sunday. … Bears rookie RB Ka'Deem Carey played just his sixth snap of the season. He rushed for no gain on the play. … Jeremy Kerley is one of the more under-appreciated players in football. He has Geno Smith's trust and great hands. Clearly the No. 2 option in the passing game, he needs to be owned in 12- and 14-team PPR leagues. … Jace Amaro struggled with drops all summer and dropped another pass on Monday night. … David Nelson may not be a great football player, but he's a hell of a person.
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In Other News…
Coach Mike McCarthy called out Eddie Lacy in his Monday press conference, saying the sophomore back "needs to play better." Lacy has rushed for just 113 yards and zero touchdowns on 36 carries through three games. On Sunday against the Lions, he was tackled in the end zone for a safety and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. It wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the Packers turn to James Starks more. Starks is averaging 5.0 YPC on 15 totes. Lacy needs to pick it up this week against the Bears. Owners need to sit tight. The Packers offense will turn it around.
Coach Mike Pettine was noncommittal when asked if Ben Tate would resume the starting job when he returns to the lineup in Week 5 following the Browns' bye week. Rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell have more than handled themselves in Tate's absence. But OC Kyle Shanahan likes to lean on one running back, and knows Tate well. We still advise holding Tate in all leagues. He won the job outright in the summer.
Jake Locker sprained his throwing wrist in the Titans' loss to the Bengals. The Titans are unsure if he'll be available for Week 4 against the Colts. Locker has been awful since the opener, struggling with major accuracy issues. Charlie Whitehurst and rookie Zach Mettenberger are next on the depth chart. Whitehurst is worse than Locker, but Mettenberger was a preseason star. Locker's injury could be an excuse to see what Mettenberger has to offer. He can chuck it deep.
Dennis Pitta underwent season-ending surgery on his dislocated right hip Monday. The 29-year-old has now dislocated his right hip in back-to-back seasons, which is a major concern for his future outlook. His career is in jeopardy. The Ravens will turn to a committee led by Owen Daniels at tight end. Daniels will have some TE2 value as a favorite of OC Gary Kubiak.
Coach Joe Philbin declined to endorse Ryan Tannehill as his Week 4 starter at Monday's media session. It came as a surprise, but truthfully Tannehill has been bad for much of the past two seasons. He's averaging just 5.0 YPA on 124 passes this season, has a nonexistent deep ball, and has been sacked 68 times over his past 19 starts. It's fair to wonder if Tannehill is experiencing Marc Bulger and Sam Bradford syndrome from their days of getting pummeled behind swinging-gate offensive lines in St. Louis. At the end of the day, we'd expect Tannehill to get the nod for the Dolphins against the Raiders. He's simply a far better option than Matt Moore. The Dolphins need to lean on Lamar Miller and the running game.
Quarterback & Running Back Slants
The Cardinals poached RB Marion Grice off the Chargers' practice squad. The sixth-round rookie could push for immediate snaps in a talent-less backfield behind Andre Ellington. … Alfred Morris (knee) is practicing in full this week. … Coach Ken Whisenhunt said Bishop Sankey's reps won't increase until he improves his footwork. Lame. Shonn Greene will continue to plod his way and lead the Titans' backfield. … The Bucs worked out free agent QB Terrelle Pryor. … Danny Woodhead is done for the season with a fractured fibula and ankle. … Jonathan Stewart may miss a month with his sprained knee, while Mike Tolbert could be sidelined even longer with a fracture in his leg. … Doug Martin (knee) should be back for Week 4 against the Steelers. … Carson Palmer (shoulder) could throw this week or next. … Jamaal Charles (ankle) will practice this week. … Denard Robinson will see increases reps with Toby Gerhart averaging a horrific 2.4 YPC. … Arian Foster (hamstring) labeled himself as day-to-day. … The Panthers are confident DeAngelo Williams (thigh) will play Week 4.
Wide Receiver & Tight End Slants
DeSean Jackson (shoulder) was limited Monday. He'll be fine for Thursday night against the Giants. Jordan Reed (hamstring) missed practice and will likely sit out another week, giving Niles Paul another start. … Odell Beckham (hamstring) isn't ready to make his debut this week. … Eric Ebron continues to play behind both Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. … Vernon Davis (ankle) is expected back this week. … The "early sense" is T.Y. Hilton (ankle) will play Week 4 against the Titans. … Roddy White (hamstring) didn't practice Monday. Harry Douglas (foot) also sat out. … Vincent Jackson has a small fracture in his wrist that he'll attempt to play through. … Marvin Jones (foot) will resume practicing this week. The Bengals are on their bye. … Kyle Rudolph will miss about six weeks after suffering a groin injury Sunday. Rhett Ellison and MarQueis Gray will fill in at tight end. … Marqise Lee (hamstring) is unlikely to play this week. Allen Robinson and Cecil Shorts are the two receivers to own in Jacksonville as we enter the Blake Bortles era. … Jarrett Boykin dropped two more passes Sunday and continues to split snaps with Davante Adams.