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Terps in the NFL: Ngakoue breaks out, Diggs scores again

See how former Maryland football stars performed in the NFL in week 11.

Philadelphia Eagles v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

For the first week in the NFL this season, the best performance from a former Terp came from someone not named Stefon Diggs.

Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue has been his team’s best edge rusher this season and continued to prove this point against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. He had 1.5 sacks, three combined tackles, a QB hit and a forced fumble as he gave Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts a lot of trouble while playing 85% of defensive snaps.

His forced fumble came on this play, where Ngakoue came flying in on Hurts’ blind side and ripped the ball out of his hand mid-throw to win the ball back for the Colts.

This was a big play, but the Colts’ offense wasn’t able to put up enough points as the Eagles came back in the fourth quarter to win, 17-16. Ngakoue’s six and a half sacks this season are a team high, and his 12 QB hits are second only to defensive tackle Deforest Buckner. The Colts may only have four wins this season, but Ngakoue has been in a groove recently, having at least a half a sack in each of his last five games.

He may have had his fewest receiving yards in a game all season on Sunday, but Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon DIggs was still able to make a huge impact against the Cleveland Browns. He had four catches for 48 yards and a nice touchdown catch in the back of the end zone to help the Bills beat the Browns, 31-23, and move into a tie for first place in the AFC East with the Miami Dolphins.

Diggs is currently third in the NFL in receiving touchdowns with eight and second in receptions with 76. With his performance on Sunday, Diggs reached over 1,000 yards receiving on the season for the fifth consecutive season. His career high in receiving yards in a season is 1,535 in 2020, a year in which he was a First Team AP All-Pro selection. With seven games left to play this season — currently averaging 103.3 receiving yards — he’s on track to eclipse that mark.

Tennessee Titans rookie tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo had a lot of receiving yards on one catch yet again this week against the Green Bay Packers. Playing 45% of offensive snaps on the night, Okonkwo was targeted just twice but had one catch for 31 yards as the Titans got the win, 27-17. For the third straight week, “Chig” only recorded one catch in a game, but for the third straight week that one catch went for over 30 receiving yards. He has 172 receiving yards this season, as Okonkwo has been getting more involved in the offense as the season has progressed.

In a season filled with a lot of ups and downs, Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage had one of his worst performances against the Titans last week. Savage had just two tackles while playing 98% of defensive snaps. Where Savage really got beat was in the passing game, giving up two touchdowns while being targeted by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Pass coverage has been a struggle for Savage all season, who’s more known as a safety that makes tackles in the box. Quarterbacks have a completion percentage of 71.9% and a passer rating of 142.1 when targeting Savage, by far the worst single-season marks of his career. For someone still on his rookie contract, he’ll need to improve in this aspect in order to keep playing a crucial role for the Packers moving forward.

Other performers

  • Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore had another okay game as a starter in a struggling Carolina Panthers offense. This week, he had three catches for 24 yards receiving on five targets while playing 98% of offensive snaps against the Baltimore Ravens. He’s had a combined nine catches for 77 yards over the last three games after having 152 yards against the Falcons four weeks ago. Even though it’s clearly been a down year for Moore, he may not be fully to blame. His quarterback Baker Mayfield is currently ranked 33rd in the NFL in passer rating — there are just 32 teams in the NFL.
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Byron Cowart had arguably his best game of the season on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cowart was making plays, coming up with an assisted tackle, a solo tackle and a tackle for loss while playing 25% of defensive snaps. His efforts as rotational backup weren’t enough to earn a win, though, as the Eagles came back to take the victory.
  • Even though he was limited in his role in the offense this week, New York Jets running back Ty Johnson was still on the field for 28% of offensive snaps against the New England Patriots. He made contributions for a struggling Jets offense, rushing for four yards on four attempts and getting targeted once in the passing game. He also had a kick return that he ran back for 19 yards as he played 17% of special teams snaps in the Jets’ 10-3 loss to the Patriots.
  • Tennessee Titans rookie defensive end Sam Okuayinonu was in the lineup and rotation for just the fourth week of the season against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football. He had three assisted tackles, tying his season high in combined tackles while playing 31% of special teams snaps as the Titans came out on top against the Packers.
  • After being relegated to a special teams role this season, Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Nick Cross played 64% of special teams snaps this week against the Philadelphia Eagles. He didn’t manage to make a tackle.
  • Detroit Lions linebacker Josh Woods played his regular role as a special teams ace on Sunday against the New York Giants. While he didn’t manage to record a stat, Woods was in for 81% of special teams snaps as the Lions pulled off the 31-18 upset over the Giants at MetLife Stadium.
  • Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. was on the field for the first time this season last week for the Cleveland Browns and played in his second game this week against the Buffalo Bills. He was on the field for 63% of special teams snaps and didn’t record a stat for the Browns as they lost, 23-31, to Buffalo.
  • The Miami Dolphins haven’t activated cornerback Tino Ellis off the practice squad yet after signing him mid-season for some depth in the secondary.
  • Running back Anthony McFarland Jr. hasn’t been on the active roster all season for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that didn’t change in week 11.
  • Former Los Angeles Rams running back Jake Funk hasn’t been called up to play on the active roster all season for either the New Orleans Saints or his current team, the Indianapolis Colts.
  • Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keandre Jones played against the New York Jets in week three, but he hasn’t made an appearance for his team since and has been back on the practice squad.
  • Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Michael Dunn and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Jared Bernhardt were inactive Sunday.
  • Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson was the only active player on a bye this week. Tight end Tyler Mabry stayed on the practice squad for Seattle, which he’s been on all season.