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Terps in the NFL: week nine

Check out how former Maryland football stars performed in the NFL this past weekend.

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Even though his team didn’t win, Buffalo Bill wide receiver Stefon Diggs still played the best out of all former Terps in the NFL in week nine.

In an AFC East rivalry game against the New York Jets, Diggs had five catches on ten targets, which was the worst percentage of his targets he’s caught in a game all season. He had 93 yards on those five catches as the Bills lost to the Jets, 20-17.

Despite losing and having a somewhat off day, Diggs still put up enough yards and catches to stay toward the top of almost every important receiving category. Diggs currently is tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns with seven. He also has the third-most receptions (60) and receiving yards (857), with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill number one in both those categories. It’s clear to most that he has engrained himself amongst the elite receivers in the NFL.

On Sunday Night Football, Tennessee Titans rookie tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo started off a drive in the first quarter with a bang. He took a screen pass from quarterback Malik Willis and burst through tackles, getting loose in the open field for a 48-yard gain.

Okonkwo wouldn’t make another contribution to the game, as he was targeted a total of three times and was only able to come up with that one play. He played 35% of offensive snaps for the Titans in the team’s 20-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. After Sunday, Okonkwo has 100 yards receiving this season on just six receptions, but may get more involved in the Titans’ offense in the future.

Coming off one of the most memorable games of his career last week against the Falcons, Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore had his third-worst receiving game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals. Moore played 98% of offensive snaps and caught just two passes for 24 yards on six targets as the Panthers lost, 42-21.

Despite his over 150 yards receiving last week, Moore has not had his best season in 2022. He currently has 449 receiving yards through nine games, and he’ll have to pick up the pace if he wants to record his fourth straight season with over 1,000 yards receiving. It’s also clear that the revolving door at quarterback for the Panthers is becoming a problem in terms of chemistry. With Baker Mayfield and P.J. Walker splitting starts this season, Moore has 49.3% catch percentage through nine games, which if it stands would be the lowest of any season in his career.

Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage played every snap for the eighth game this season and had an average game against the Detroit Lions. For the third straight week, Savage had four combined tackles and didn’t record any other stat as the Packers lost, 15-9, to Detroit, their fifth straight loss.

While he’s been a consistent tackling presence for the Packers, the questions for Savage all season have come in pass coverage. He’s currently allowing the most yards per completion (18.7) and the highest quarterback rating when targeted in his career (121.4). He gave up eight touchdowns while targeted last season, and while he’s only allowed one so far this season, the questions still remain about his coverage on the back end.

Other performers

  • Indianapolis Colts defensive end Yannick Ngakoue got a half sack against the New England Patriots, making it the third straight week in a row that he’s had at least a half a sack. Ngakoue was on the field for 73% of defensive snaps and also had an assisted tackle and a QB hit as the Colts got crushed by the Patriots, 26-3, for the team’s fifth loss of the season.
  • New York Jets running back Ty Johnson had his most yards from scrimmage in any game this season against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and all of them came on the ground. Despite playing just seven offensive snaps, Johnson rushed twice for 17 yards. Even playing behind James Robinson and Michael Carter, Johnson was able to break off a few nice runs to help the Jets upset the Bills.
  • Two former Maryland players on Sunday played only special teams snaps and were able to put up stats on that side of the ball. Indianapolis Colts rookie safety Nick Cross played 76% of special teams snaps against the New England Patriots and put up one assisted tackle in a loss. Detroit Lions special teams ace linebacker Josh Woods also had an assisted tackle while playing 77% of snaps on that side of the ball. Both players were able to make an impact despite not be featured on offense or defense.
  • Defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson played his usual backup role for the Seattle Seahawks in week nine, rotating in against the Arizona Cardinals and playing 51% of defensive snaps. But Jefferson didn’t record a single stat, as the Seahawks won, 31-21, to stay on top of the NFC West.
  • Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Byron Cowart played the most defensive snaps in a game all season on Sunday being in for 33% of plays on defense. However, his team was getting blown out and he didn’t even record a stat in the team’s loss to New England.
  • Tennessee Titans undrafted rookie defensive end Sam Okuayinonu was listed as inactive for the team’s week nine matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s only played in two games so far this year, recording a tackle or a sack in each.
  • New Orleans Saints practice squad running back Jake Funk has not been on the active roster since being picked up after being waived by the Los Angeles Rams.
  • After being waived during training camp, cornerback Tino Ellis was re-signed to the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad in mid-October to bolster the team’s depth at secondary amidst injuries. He has not been on the active roster since.
  • Tight end Tyler Mabry has been on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad for all of the 2022-2023 season so far.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad running back Anthony McFarland Jr. hasn’t been called up from the team’s practice squad this season since being waived before the start of the season.
  • Linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. stayed as a member of the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad for week nine.
  • Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keandre Jones has played in just one game this season for his team and has been a member of the practice squad for every other game.