It seemed that no one was looking forward to the Week Nine opener, a typical Thursday nightery between a pair of one-win teams. No one except maybe 49ers third-string QB Nick Mullens. After an injury to QB C.J. Beathard’s wrist, Mullens got the call that he’d start in this battle of Bay Area squads. With Mullens’ inexperience, this looked like a prime spot for the Raiders to earn their second win of the year. We all greatly overestimated HC Jon Gruden and his team and his team was embarrassed in what most expected to be a winnable game for them, losing 34-3.
From the start, the Raiders defense, or lack of, made Mullens look like a seasoned vet. He connected with veteran WR Pierre Garcon for a 24-yard score on the opening drive and never looked back. That was all the Niners needed, as their defense limited Oakland to only a field goal, but they would get much more.
Mullens came right back on the team’s second drive with another score, this one going to WR Kendrick Bourne and the rout was on. Star TE George Kittle left the game in the first half to be checked for a possible injury but was able to return to the field. Early in the second-half, Kittle made a one-handed highlight-reel catch, good for 71 yards. Mullens went right back to his tight end, rewarding him with the five-yard touchdown to make it 24-3. RB Raheem Mostert later broke off a 52-yard touchdown run, which helped him lead the team in rushing, gaining 86 yards on only seven carries. Mostert also suffered an ugly injury that caused players from both teams to wince in pain. 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan later announced Mostert had suffered a broken arm, which almost assuredly will end his promising season.
Starting RB Matt Breida continues to play through injuries, rushing for 44 yards on 12 carries. Kittle led the team, catching all four of his targets for 108 yards. Rookie WR Richie James also had a long catch and run, good for 53 yards and giving him a 2/60 in the box score. Garcon finished with three receptions for 56 yards and the score while QB Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target, WR Marquise Goodwin, continues to struggle. He caught just one of four looks for 11 yards.
There is absolutely nothing to be excited about from the Raiders’ perspective, leaving Gruden and QB Derek Carr to discuss who wants to even play for this team. At 1-7, the Raiders are now 1/20thof the way through Gruden’s 10-year, $100 million deal. There are regrets.
Carr threw for 171 scoreless yards while veteran RB Doug Martin rushed for 49 yards. RB Jalen Richard led the team with 45 yards on four receptions. After failing to draw a target last week, WR Martavis Bryant caught two passes for 29 yards and TE Jared Cook, who not so long ago looked like a potential top-five fantasy option at the position, drew only two targets, catching both for 20 yards.
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Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (back) did not practice again on Thursday. This is becoming a concerning trend, given the multiple injuries Gronk has dealt with this season and his recent cold streak. In another island game on Sunday night, this will be a tough situation for fantasy players to manage. Let’s hope he gets in a full Friday practice.
Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill was downgraded to a limited practice after practicing in full on Wednesday. Hill suffered a groin injury early in the team’s Week Nine victory. The team could choose to play it safe as they face the Browns. We’ll know more with the Friday practice reports.
Bills HC Sean McDermott suggested rookie QB Josh Allen, who has missed time with an elbow injury, could resume throwing soon. Allen was replaced in the lineup by veteran QB Derek Anderson, who is now out with a concussion. The team has been forced to turn back to QB Nathan Peterman. Expect turnovers. … Vikings WR Stefon Diggs missed another practice on Thursday, due to a rib injury, but also insisted he would play this weekend as the Vikes face the Detroit Lions. … A rough season for Cowboys DE David Erving got a bit worse yesterday as he left practice with an ankle injury, reported to be a high-ankle sprain. If that is the official diagnosis, it would almost certainly cost Irving multiple games. … Rams HC Sean McVay continues to suggest WR Cooper Kupp will play on Sunday. Kupp has missed time with a knee injury, costing him two games. He will be needed in an expected high-scoring game against the Saints. … A Jets beat writer said he expects the team to activate RB Elijah McGuire (foot) from the injured reserve list in time for Sunday’s game. This would be a “wait and see” situation but McGuire is expected to eventually take over the pass-catching back role. … The 49ers waived QB Tom Savage.
Panthers WR Torrey Smith missed another practice, signaling his expected absence in Week Nine. As it was last week, that would be very good news for rookie WR D.J. Moore. … Miami WR Kenny Stills (groin) missed practice and is expected to sit out his second straight game. … Redskins RB Chris Thompson (ribs) missed another practice and is looking doubtful for Week Nine. After a breakout season a year ago that ended with a broken leg, this year has been a lost season. … The Redskins also don’t have WR Jamison Crowder (ankle) back at practice yet, and he’s already been ruled out for Week Nine…Ravens RB Alex Collins was downgraded on Thursday and unable to practice as he deals with a foot injury. The Friday practice report will be paramount for him, so watch that closely. … Broncos rookie RB Royce Freeman (ankle) was able to return to practice on Thursday but didn’t get in quite enough work to even draw the “limited” tag. It will likely be another week but he could rejoin the Denver RBBC soon. … Jets WR Robby Anderson (ankle) missed another practice and can’t be counted on this week. It’s a similar story for his teammate, WR Quincy Enunwa (ankle). … Another surprise as RB Dalvin Cook (hamstring) practiced for the second straight day. Typically, that would mean we can expect to see the player on gameday. With Cook, who knows. … Saints RB Alvin Kamara missed practice due to an illness but this is nothing to worry about at this time. … Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu (hip) was unable to practice, leaving his status in doubt. … Bears WR Allen Robinson remained absent from practice due to a groin injury. He missed last week’s game and looks to be in danger of sitting again. … A large number of players managed a limited practice on Thursday. Among them were: WR Julian Edelman (ankle), WR Mike Evans (knee), RB Melvin Gordon (hamstring), RB Theo Riddick (knee), WR Corey Davis (hamstring), RB Sony Michel (knee), WR Geronimo Allison (hamstring/groin), WR Randall Cobb (hamstring), WR Keke Coutee (hamstring), WR DeAndre Hopkins (foot),WR Antonio Callaway (ankle), TE David Njoku (knee) and RB Chris Carson (hip).
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