With Kevin Stefanski and the Browns out of action due to their bye, Greg Van Roten and Justin Watson were the only two former Quakers in action this week. It’s time to revisit their recent performances.
Greg Van Roten — Guard, Las Vegas Raiders
The Las Vegas Raiders got their much-needed second win over the Green Bay Packers and have improved to a 2-3 record this season. Despite their win over a mediocre Packers team, the Raiders still struggled to maximize their offensive talent. Josh Jacobs scored one of the team’s only two touchdowns on the night but failed to pick up many yards. The running back finished with a decent 69 yards on 20 carries, but the Packers' defense kept him from becoming a major threat throughout the entirety of the contest.
The Raiders’ offensive line now ranks 16th in the NFL for run block win rate, a drastic decrease from their performance earlier this season. The team has regressed to the mean in this stat line, signaling that their blocking is likely mediocre at best this year. Van Roten didn’t have his best individual performance in the offensive line. At the end of the first quarter, Packers' defensive end Devonte Wyatt flew past Van Roten and, with the help of linebacker Preston Smith, sacked Jimmy Garropolo for a loss of yards.
Overall, the Raiders will feel relieved to have won a must-win home game in prime time. The question that remains is: What are the team’s realistic expectations going forward?
Justin Watson — Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
Watson and the Chiefs beat the Vikings 27-20 on Sunday in Minnesota. The receiver finished the game with two receptions for 56 yards, averaging 28 yards per reception. This was another typical Watson performance. Although he doesn’t see the ball much, Watson will make big plays downfield when targeted.
Only targeted three times throughout the game, Watson had to once again make the most of minimal opportunities. After failing to haul in a pass attempt in the midst of heavy coverage, the Penn alumnus finally made an impact in the final drive of the first half. Under pressure, quarterback Patrick Mahomes found Watson along the sideline for a big reception. Watson was able to keep both toes on the ground before falling beyond the sideline. This impressive catch helped the Chiefs get into field goal range before the end of the first half.
Watson’s other reception had arguably a higher degree of difficulty. At the beginning of the third quarter, the Chiefs were deep in their own half of the field and needed to convert on third and eighteen to keep their drive alive. While under heavy pressure, Mahomes fired a pass down the middle of the field and Watson made the grab over a Vikings safety to finish the play. Watson showcased his athleticism with this catch by leaping over Camryn Bynum and hauling in the pass at around the 50-yard line. The Chiefs would go on to find the end zone on that drive, but Watson did not see any more targets for the remainder of the game.
While it is unlikely that he will see a drastic increase in usage by this Chiefs offense, Watson will continue to bring value to every play he is a part of. His ability to consistently stretch the field is the strength of his game and it will be interesting to see if he will end up finding other ways to stand out on one of the league’s best teams.