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Terps in the NFL: D.J. Moore has his best performance of the season in Panthers’ second win

Catch up on how Moore and other pro Terps played in the NFL in week seven.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

While Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs is on a bye this week, a few former Terps in the NFL managed to put together some great performances on offense and defense in week seven.

In the last few weeks, the Carolina Panthers have fired the team’s head coach, traded wide receiver Robbie Anderson to Arizona and traded star running back Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers. So, going into Sunday’s game, many fans presumed that wide receiver D.J. Moore was on the trade block as well. Moore responded to all the turmoil by having his best game of the season and upsetting Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Moore had seven catches on 10 targets for 69 yards and a touchdown while playing 100% of the snaps for the Panthers. His touchdown came with time winding down in the first half as quarterback P.J. Walker zipped a ball from 20 yards out to the back of the end zone. Moore got both feet down before sliding all the way to the padded wall, putting the Panthers up 7-0. The Buccaneers had no chance, as they lost, 21-3, in Carolina for the Panthers’ biggest win of the season.

With Carolina starting three different quarterbacks this season, it’s been tough for Moore to consistently mesh with a passer. This performance may be the start of the former Terp wide receiver playing more like the receiver who had over 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last three seasons.

Two former Maryland defensive linemen had some great performances Sunday, as they were able to get to the quarterback.

Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue had arguably his best game as a Colt against the Tennessee Titans. He played 68% of defensive snaps as a starter and had five combined tackles, a tackle for loss, two quarterback hits and a sack going up against the Titans’ offensive line. Ngakoue now has 3.5 sacks, nine pressures and two hurries in seven games as a starter for the Colts, as he’s been adjusting to life in Indianapolis after a double-digit sack season in Las Vegas last year.

Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson has been putting in some great performances as a rotation defensive lineman for the Seattle Seahawks this season. Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers was no different, getting a sack for the second consecutive game. He also had two combined tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit while being in the game for 63% of defensive snaps for Seattle.

Jefferson’s performance helped the Seahawks beat the Chargers, putting their record at 4-3, which is surprisingly the best mark in the NFC West. Jefferson has three sacks and six quarterback hits already this season in his return to Seattle. Providing some pressure on opposing quarterbacks, Jefferson’s been a valuable bench piece for a young Seahawks defensive line.

For the first time this season, Green Bay Packers starting safety Darnell Savage did not play 100% of defensive snaps in a game. Savage finished the game against the Washington Commanders with four assisted tackles, as Green Bay lost its third game in a row, 21-23.

Savage allowed one completion on two targets from Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke, which was a better percentage than giving up a catch on two-thirds of his targets before week seven. Savage’s lack of playing time is an interesting development, and maybe something that will continue during the rest of the season if the Packers keep dropping games.

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson has been rehabbing from ankle surgery to start this season, but he suffered another knock Sunday that could see him miss the rest of the 2022 season. Jackson was covering wide receiver Marquise Goodwin in the end zone when he suddenly fell to the ground in immense pain. He was carted off of the field in an air cast, and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has since reported that the Chargers’ recent free agent signing dislocated his kneecap. Jackson played through discomfort to start this season, and if he can recover from this injury, he hopes to play at the All-Pro level he was at last season in the future.

Other performers

  • With New York Jets running back Breece Hall going down with an injury early in the game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, running back Ty Johnson got the second-most snaps he’s had in a game all season on offense. Playing 17% of offensive snaps, Johnson had one reception on one target for six yards and one rushing attempt for three yards against the Broncos. It’s the most yards from scrimmage on offense he’s had this season, and he helped the Jets secure a 16-9 win against the Broncos to move to 5-2 to start the year. Hall has since been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL, so Johnson could see an uptick in playing time.
  • Tennessee Titans rookie tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo made the second start of his career against the Colts on Sunday but didn’t manage to make much of an impact. Despite being on the field for 46% of the team’s offensive snaps, Okonkwo only received one target on the day and he was unable to haul it in for a catch. The Titans still managed to come out on top, 19-10.
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Byron Cowart played a minute part in Sunday’s division game against the Titans. He only played 14% of defensive snaps and 21% of special teams snaps but still managed to make an assisted tackle as the Colts lost to Tennessee, 19-10
  • While he doesn’t start for the Cleveland Browns, utility offensive lineman Michael Dunn made a mistake in the clutch that played a part in his team’s loss to division rival Baltimore on Sunday. Dunn committed a false start on special teams during a fourth-and-5 play, which pushed a game-tying field-goal try from 56 yards to 61 yards for rookie kicker Cade York. York missed the subsequent attempt, and the Browns ultimately lost the game, 23-20. It was the biggest mistake of the season for Dunn.
  • Playing only two defensive snaps in the last five weeks, Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Nick Cross contributed on special teams in week seven. He managed to make an assisted tackle while playing 71% of special teams snaps in the team’s loss to the Tennessee Titans.
  • Detroit Lions linebacker Josh Woods is usually a special teams ace, but he got to play his first defensive snaps of the season against the Dallas Cowboys. He only got on the field for two defensive snaps and 68% of special teams snaps on Sunday. Woods also didn’t manage to record a single stat as the Lions were defeated by the Cowboys, 24-6, in Texas.
  • Since coming back to Maryland for his first NFL game and playing well against the Washington Commanders on Oct. 9, Tennessee Titans undrafted rookie defensive tackle Sam Okuayinonu has not made an appearance for his team as a member of the active roster.
  • Rookie wide receiver and former Maryland lacrosse star Jared Bernhardt played a few games early in the season, but the Atlanta Falcons recently placed him on IR with a groin injury, meaning he will be out for at least the next four games.
  • Former Los Angeles Rams running back Jake Funk is now a member of the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad after being waived by Los Angeles last week.
  • Cornerback Tino Ellis is yet to make his NFL debut, but he’s still a member of the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad.
  • Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keandre Jones didn’t have to fill in for anyone on the roster this week and was a member of the team’s practice squad.
  • Running back Anthony McFarland Jr. remained on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice squad for week seven.
  • Seattle Seahawks tight end Tyler Mabry hasn’t played a snap for his team all season, and that didn’t change in week seven as he stayed a member of the practice squad.
  • Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. wasn’t called up from the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad this week.