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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Five biggest individual NFL performances of Week 3

Trevor Siemian

Week 3 of the NFL regular season is now officially in the books and it provided a whole lot of excitement. There were several emotionally-charged games across the league that spurred on impressive individual performances.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five players who stood out above the rest and dominated on an individual level.

5. Dustin Hopkins (kicker, Washington Redskins)

A kicker?! Yes, a kicker.

Dustin Hopkins deserves his due because without him, the Redskins would be 0-3 in the NFC East with two divisional losses, and their season would be all but over. However, thanks to his five field goals and two extra points totaling 17 points, Washington will live to fight another day.

“Dustin Hopkins and the field goal team did a great job,” quarterback Kirk Cousins told reporters after the game.

By the time his day was done, Hopkins had connected on field goals of 49 yards, 33 yards, 45 yards, 25 yards and, with only 1:51 remaining, the eventual game-winner from 37 yards out.

Obviously the Skins would prefer to score touchdowns rather than settle for field goals, but that’s just how things shook out on Sunday. And Hopkins’ perfection ultimately saved their skin.

Final line: 5/5 on field goals and 2/2 on extra points for 17 points.

4. Shane Ray (linebacker, Denver Broncos)

With pass rusher DeMarcus Ware out, the Broncos were in desperate need of someone to step up and fill his role.

Enter second-year linebacker Shane Ray.

Ray was next man up for the Broncos defense on Sunday, so naturally he put together a very Ware-like performance by recording six tackles, three sacks and three quarterback hits. And two of those three sacks of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton came on back-to-back plays, crippling one of their drives and helping to keep the Broncos in the game.

“They tried to block me one-on-one with a tight end. That’s not a great idea,” Ray told Denver 7 after the game.

For Ray, his three-sack performance was not only a career-best, but the first time he’s ever recorded two or more sacks in an NFL game. And maybe, just maybe, it’s a sign of things to come for the youngster and the Broncos.

Although quarterback Trevor Siemian will ultimately steal the spotlight, Denver may not have been able to rally in the fourth quarter if not for Ray’s dominance from whistle to whistle.

Final line: Six tackles (three solo), two tackles for a loss, three sacks for 12 yards and three quarterback hits.

3. Everson Griffen (defensive end, Minnesota Vikings)

It’s rare that a defense feasts on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, but that’s exactly what the Vikings did on Sunday, and their effort was led by defensive end Everson Griffen.

Despite battling an illness, Griffen managed to factor heavily in the outcome of the game, recording three sacks of Newton, including one in the fourth quarter when the Panthers were beginning to mount a comeback.

“He’s a hell of a player,” Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph said of Griffen after the game (via the Charlotte Observer). “He delivered when it was time to deliver.”

In the locker room after the game, Griffen was the star of the show. The media all lined up to talk to him, but they were made to wait as he was mobbed by his teammates. And then when the media finally had their opportunity, his teammates mobbed him again.

“It’s unbelievable,” Griffen said via the Pioneer Press. “It’s team sacks. … We came from every area on the field and we get sacks.”

It was a tremendous performance by Griffen, who now looks forward to taking on the New York Giants and their highly inconsistent offensive line.

Final line: Four tackles (three solo), three tackles for a loss, three sacks for 37 yards and four quarterback hits.

2. Marvin Jones (wide receiver, Detroit Lions

Had the Lions come away with a victory, Marvin Jones would have likely taken over the No. 1 spot on this list. And while the loss stings, on an individual level, Jones pretty much did it all. And all by himself for that matter.

Not only did Jones put up massive numbers, hauling in six receptions for over 200 yards and two scores, but he also had several highlight-reel moments, including this 73-yard touchdown following a brutal stiff-arm:

Jones added another beauty later on, hauling in a Matthew Stafford pass before tie-toeing the line for a first down.

“Marvin did a heck of a job today,” Stafford told the Detroit News after the game. “Made some really nice catches, made some big plays. It was beneficiary of being just to the calls, some really good beaters to that coverage and made some plays. That’s awesome.”

Ultimately, Jones’ career day wasn’t enough to lift the Lions to victory as they fell 34-27 to the Green Bay Packers.

Final line: Six receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

1. Trevor Siemian (quarterback, Denver Broncos)

Who could have imagined that following the retirement of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos would start the 2016 season 3-0 with a seventh-round pick who had never before thrown a regular season pass under center?

On Sunday, en route to his third victory, quarterback Trevor Siemian had a breakout performance. In fact, Siemian even managed to do something Manning didn’t accomplish in 2015, passing for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns without a turnover.

“I don’t think you get too carried away,” Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said via USA Today after the game. “But we know we have a good young quarterback who’s on a good team, and this was a great sign today. He came into a tough environment, handled himself very well and played big.”

It was a big turnaround for Siemian, who struggled a bit a week ago and heard about it from his coach. But even in the face of mounting odds in a hostile environment, the youngster managed to rally his team in the fourth quarter and come away with a very impressive victory.

Siemian’s signature moments both came with under 7:00 remaining. First, he hit tight end John Phillips for a one-yard touchdown, and then he put the game away by connecting with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas on a 55-yard score.

The impressive performance concluded with a 132.1 quarterback rating, which was good enough to lead the league.

Final line: 23/35 for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Three rushes for five yards.


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