10 best individual performances from Sunday’s Week 3 action

A pair of Raiders cornerbacks and a trio of wide receivers highlight our list of the best players from Sunday of Week 3.

| 2 months ago
(Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images)

(Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images)

10 best individual performances from Sunday’s Week 3 action


Every Tuesday, PFF will be releasing its Team of the Week, representing the highest-graded players at each NFL position for that week. But Senior Analyst Sam Monson gets a jump on that by picking out the 10 most impressive individual performances from Sunday’s games.

Here are the 10 best players from Sunday’s Week 3 action:

[Check out the 10 worst performances from Sunday of Week 3 right here, or access our Player Grades tool to see how every NFL player measures up through three weeks of the season.]

1. David Amerson, CB, Oakland Raiders

You won’t find a better cornerback performance that didn’t involve an interception than the show put on by David Amerson this week against Tennessee. Thrown at 11 times, Amerson allowed just four catches for 38 yards, and broke up five of the incompletions. In total, a third of Titans QB Marcus Mariota’s pass attempts were sent Amerson’s way, but Amerson yielded only 17.8 percent of the yardage while breaking up those passes. It’s hard to think it isn’t that long ago that he was run out of Washington due to his poor play there.

2. Luke Kuechly, LB, Carolina Panthers

The Vikings may have pulled out the win in Carolina, but this was the first time this season we have seen Carolina’s Kuechly back to his best. He was a tackling machine in this game, making 12 solo tackles and leading the team with seven defensive stops, second-most in the league this week. Kuechly was also solid in coverage, allowing completions but making tackles for short gains and notching a pass breakup.

3. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Going into the game against San Diego it did not look like a favorable matchup for Hilton on paper, running up against one of the league’s best cornerback stables in the Chargers. He took Jason Verrett to school, however, catching five of the six passes thrown his way when covered by Verrett for 135 yards and a touchdown. Hilton added catches against Brandon Flowers and LB Denzel Perryman to rack up 174 total receiving yards. Given the competition he was facing, this was the best wide receiver performance of the week — and it earned him a spot in the top five of this season’s WR grades.

top5nflwrsweek3

4. Paul Posluszny, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars

A player who rarely performs well in PFF’s grading system, Posluszny had an excellent game this week against Baltimore in a game in which both defenses had the upper hand over the opposing offense. Posluszny had 10 solo tackles, two assists, a hurry and six defensive stops over the game, not to mention coming down with an interception that gave the Jaguars’ offense back the ball late in the game with a chance to win.

5. Sean Smith, CB, Oakland Raiders

Since being torched by Brandin Cooks and the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, Smith has been improving, and he was basically a shutdown corner this week against the Titans in Oakland’s win. Only a poor run grade keeps him away from the very top grades, as he was trucked a couple of times by blockers when trying to support against the run. In coverage, however, he caught as many passes (one) as he allowed Titans receivers to catch on seven targets, surrendering just 19 yards.

6. DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans

Murray didn’t need a new scheme to return to the form he displayed with Dallas in 2014, after a down year in Philadelphia last season — he just needed some effective blocking. The Titans have given him that so far this season, and he responded by notching 114 yards against the Raiders in only 16 carries (7.1 yards per attempt), breaking seven tackles and scoring a touchdown. He added five catches for 41 yards as a receiver, and was by far the Titans’ best offensive weapon in the loss to Oakland.

7. Derrick Johnson, LB, Kansas City Chiefs

One of the prime beneficiaries of Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s implosion, Johnson had an excellent game for the Chiefs, notching five defensive stops, a pass defensed, an interception and a defensive touchdown in Kansas City’s 24-3 victory. On his TD return, he was able to hold off New York’s Quincy Enunwa and force his way into the end zone.

8. Terrelle Pryor, QB/WR, Cleveland Browns

There are players with better grades than Pryor, but none of them were asked to effectively play two positions and moonlight as a QB the way Pryor was for the Browns. He didn’t exactly light it up as a passer, but did add 56 yards and a touchdown between running and passing on his plays behind center, while notching 144 receiving yards as the No. 1 target for a third-string rookie QB (Cody Kessler) making his first NFL start. As seen in the graphic above, Pryor has earned the fourth-best overall grade among wide receivers so far this season.

9. Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions

The Lions at one point were dead and buried against Green Bay, and while they ultimately came up short in the loss to the Packers, it was Jones who sparked the comeback attempt. Jones gained 205 yards on six receptions, scoring twice in the process, with 67 of those yards coming after the catch. His 73-yard touchdown catch down the sideline was the play that really started Detroit moving.

10. Taylor Lewan, T, Tennessee Titans

It was tough to put Lewan on this list because of the foolish penalty that not only cost his team valuable field position at a critical point of the game, but also its best lineman because he then had to leave the game due to the concussion protocol. Lewan was excellent during the 67 snaps he was on the field, however, and deserves a spot here despite that play. He didn’t allow a single pressure all game and was a run-blocking force, helping the team’s backs to average 2.9 yards per carry before contact.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • avsblow

    Lol seriously no vikings defensive players who sacked cam 8 times and picked him off 3 times allowing zero points in the second half??

    • Mike A

      PFF grading is suspect as hell. They don’t consider situational football or player assignment on individual plays. These are “football illiterate” scores.

      • Greg Phillips

        Just see how they graded Tannehill after the Pats game for proof.

      • Samuel Mazzini

        Oh hell yeah .Sabermetrics and algyrythms arent the be all end all when assesing performance ,like u said tgey dont account for variables.

    • Mike Riley

      I agree not sure how none of them make this list after that performance & I’m a Raider fan BTW.

      • crosseyedlemon

        It’s hard to believe your a Raiders fan Mike, since most of them are going to show up and try to convince us that Amerson & Smith are the second coming of Willie Brown and Lester Hayes.

        • Mike Riley

          Since the Jay Schroeder days.

    • hotbari

      Did any one player have 8 sacks? These are individual performances. The Vikings played well as a defensive team but not perhaps individually. I think because of this is why they are so dominating this year. Offenses have no answer when there are no weak links.

      • avsblow

        No but Everson Griffen had 3 sacks, Danielle Hunter 1 sack for a safety and another for a loss. And either of the Vikings CB’s holding both Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess to zero catches is more impressive than any of the other corners on here who all did well but none of them held their WR’s to catch-less games and none of them played receivers like Benjamin. Amerson and Smith from Oakland played Tennessee who has a rookie #1 receiver and really nobody else prominent, not to mention the Vikings were facing the league MVP at QB and the top scoring offense this year and completely shut them down. I’d definitely think Xavier Rhodes was more impressive and even Trae Wayne’s who PFF scored well this game and had a pick. I do agree though there aren’t really any weak links in the Vikes D and Zimmer is proving he’s an one of the elite defensive minds in the league and should be a favorite for coach of the year if this continues.

      • crosseyedlemon

        “Offenses have no answer when there are no weak links.”….unless of course your the Patriots – in which case you either deflate the footballs or rely on the ‘tuck rule’ to gain an advantage.

  • a

    Collins? 94 rating vs houston

    • Jackson

      Wasn’t on Sunday

  • DeadC4t

    The whole AFC south is mediocre.

  • Kari Wahlen

    I’m not sure you have ever heard of him, but this one guy named Everson Griffen sacked Cam Newton…what was it again…oh yeah 3 times…in a game where he was puking his guts out at halftime because he was sick. But you are right…Kuechly should be on this list because he is a Panther, not a Viking.

    • Ryan

      Gotta play against better QBs like Fitztragic and Joe Flacco to earn those spots. Who cares if we ran over Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton…

    • Brian_pdx

      I was wondering the same thing. Also, the Vikings punter was incredibly good, pinning them back with long fields and setting up that safety. Plus the DBs just embarrassed Cam and his receivers. Yeah, the Vikings will always get shorted by the media.

  • Lavell Morris

    We had two Cb’s on the list, Im glad about that because our secondary got tourced the first two games of the season

  • DRJ

    Pressure vs Sack.
    1. Pressure can mean at best leading to an interception or at worst still giving up a touchdown.
    2. Sack means loss of down and one or more yards. Also clearly a sack throws a quarterback more off his rhythm than a pressure.
    Which would you rather have on defense? A sack or pressure?

  • Stan

    Devonta Freeman had 152 yards, average 10.9 yards a carry on 14 carries. Along with over 50 yards receiving and a touchdown. Why do you hate the Atlanta Falcons PFF????????

  • Bill Duquaine

    Seriously? You left Mike Daniels off the list. He absolutely dominated in a Pack defense missing 5 starters.