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Terps in the NFL: Week four highlighted by Chigoziem Okonkwo’s first NFL touchdown

It was another exciting week of former Maryland players on the pro gridiron.

Tennessee Titans v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Many former Terps in the NFL were very productive in week four, but the week was highlighted by former Maryland tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo hauling in his first NFL touchdown.

The Tennessee Titans rookie finally had his breakout game in the NFL on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. Okonkwo, a 2022 fourth-round pick, was targeted three times and caught three passes for 38 yards, including his first career touchdown, while playing 24% of offensive snaps. He ran a crossing route right in front of the end zone and managed to split through two Colts to break the plane.

Although he’s only been targeted by quarterback Ryan Tannehill four times, Okonkwo has caught all four passes. He may have just 49 yards on the season, but “Chig” has shown his toughness with 10 of those yards coming after the catch. The Titans got the best of Okonkwo’s former teammate, rookie third-round pick Nick Cross, winning, 24-17.

Week in and week out, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has continued to set the standard as one of the best at his position in the league.

Week four was his worst receiving game of the season, facing the Baltimore Ravens, but he still managed to put up 62 receiving yards with four receptions on just six targets — his fewest targets of the season. Quarterback Josh Allen could have shied away from the receiver because the defense was keying in on him the whole game, but Diggs still managed to produce. His 15.5 yards per catch were the most he’s had in a game this season, as the Bills won, 23-20.

The stats Diggs has accumulated so far put him among the top five receivers in the game. With four scores, he is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns with Washington Commanders rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson. Diggs ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards, receptions and receiving yards per game. It’s clear that he’s cooled off a bit from his hot start, but his overall numbers make him a top-five receiver almost a quarter of the way through the season.

While he didn’t catch five of his targets last week, Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore missed the same amount of targets this week but got a lot more touches. Quarterback Baker Mayfield finally noticed the former Terp, who had 11 targets this week, compared to six in each of the first three games. He caught six of those targets for 50 yards and also ran the ball once for 11 yards, playing 96% of offensive snaps.

Moore even got a tackle in just his second special teams snap of the season. It was a productive week, but the fifth-year wideout clearly needs to get on the same page with Mayfield, as he has a quarterback rating of just 42 when targeting Moore this season. Moore is currently tied with running back Christian McCaffrey for the second-most receiving yards on the team this season (138).

Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage had his second-best tackling performance of the season so far, racking up two solo tackles, two assisted tackles and one tackle for loss. He’s started every game this season, and played every single defensive snap for the Packers so far. His numbers in coverage this season haven’t been bad either, only giving up 44 yards and allowing a quarterback rating of 77.1 when targeted. His contribution helped Green Bay beat the New England Patriots at the buzzer in overtime, 27-24.

Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson didn’t start on Sunday but still managed to make an impact, playing 59% of defensive snaps. Two solo tackles and two quarterback hits made the stat line for Jefferson, who’s made the most of his backup role with Seattle this season.

Jefferson’s first sack of the year came last week, but he’s been effective in the pass rush in more ways than one. Jefferson has had five quarterback pressures and three quarterback knockdowns this season as well, helping Seattle beat Detroit on Sunday, 48-45, to move to 2-2 on the season.

After sitting out last week with ankle soreness, Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson was back in the starting lineup for week four. He played every single defensive snap for the Chargers and only recorded one solo tackle against the Houston Texans.

His numbers in pass coverage this season have not been the best in a small sample size. Thus far, he’s allowed eight completions while being targeted nine times, giving up an average of 20.1 yards per target. He’s also allowed a passer rating of 155.8 when being targeted by cornerbacks. Those numbers didn’t matter on Sunday, as the Chargers beat the Texans, 34-24.

Other performers

  • Last week, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue put up his first sack as an Indianapolis Colt and had a nice performance. This week, in a 24-17 Tennessee Titans win, Ngakoue had a less spectacular performance, recording just one assisted tackle and one quarterback hit while playing 59% of defensive snaps for the Colts.
  • Rookie safety Nick Cross started the first two games of the season for the Indianapolis Colts, but since then he’s been on the bench. Cross didn’t even play a single defensive snap for the Colts against the Titans in week four against his former teammate Okonkwo. He only was in for 17% of the special teams snaps as the Colts lost, 24-17.
  • New York Jets running back Ty Johnson played no part in the offense this week, with Breece Hall and Michael Carter taking the majority of the snaps. But, Johnson did manage to pull off a 14-yard kick return during the Jets 24-20 comeback win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Running back Jake Funk recorded his first stats of the season for the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football. He managed to combine for an assisted tackle while playing 56% of special teams snaps in a 24-9 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
  • Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Michael Dunn got his first start of the season in week three but returned to his backup role in a 23-20 loss against the Falcons. He played 11% of offensive snaps and 15% of special teams snaps in week four.
  • Although he recorded a tackle on special teams in the first three weeks of the season, Detroit Lions linebacker and special teams ace Josh Woods didn’t manage to get on the stat sheet in week four. However, he did manage to get on the field for 58% of the special teams snaps in the team’s 45-48 loss against the Seattle Seahawks.
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Byron Cowart didn’t manage to record a stat against the Tennessee Titans but played 13% of defensive snaps and 22% of special teams snaps in a 24-17 loss.
  • After playing his first NFL snaps the first two weeks, former Maryland lacrosse player and current Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Jared Bernhardt was inactive for the team’s game against the Browns in week four.
  • Despite playing his first snaps of the season last week against the New York Jets, linebacker Keandre Jones was back on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad this week.
  • Running back Anthony McFarland Jr. stayed on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad this week.
  • Last week, the Cleveland Browns signed linebacker Jermaine Carter to their practice squad. He remained there in week four.
  • Tennessee Titans rookie defensive lineman Sam Okuayinonu was on the practice squad in week four.
  • Seattle Seahawks tight end Tyler Mabry remained on the practice squad this week.