PFF broke down the numbers immediately after every NFL preseason Week 3 game, including scores, rookie standouts, offensive line performances and more.
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Offensive spotlight: Kenny Pickett has been nothing short of stellar this preseason. He completed all four of his passes in Atlanta for 86 yards. The second-year quarterback posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating this preseason, the only quarterback to accomplish that feat so far.
Defensive spotlight: The weakest part of the Steelers’ defense is easily the linebacker unit, but new starter Elandon Roberts performed very admirably in the win. He finished with a sack, a tackle for loss and a coverage stop on just 10 snaps Thursday night.
Offensive spotlight: Bernhard Raimann was impressive as a rookie last year, earning a 73.3 grade as the Colts’ starting left tackle. This preseason, he’s picked up right where he left off. He didn’t allow a pressure on any of his 33 pass-blocking snaps across his two games, 21 of them coming against the Eagles. Raimann also posted an 81.2 run-blocking grade on first review.
Defensive spotlight: With Shaquille Leonard and Zaire Franklin leading the way, the Colts have one of the better linebacker units in the league. It was Franklin who led the way tonight, finishing with two tackles for loss or no gain on just 12 run-defense snaps. The sixth-year linebacker from Syracuse forced an incompletion, as well.
Offensive spotlight: The Panthers played their starting offense for two drives, with 2023 first-overall pick Bryce Young leading the way at quarterback.
Young had his most productive game of the preseason — a positive sign heading into Week 1 — and went 7-of-12 for 73 yards and a touchdown through the air. Young also ran three times for 21 yards, showing off his ability to scramble and still come away with positive yardage.
Young’s go-to target during the two drives was veteran Adam Thielen, who was targeted five times and caught four passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Defensive spotlight: James Houston didn’t play until Week 12 of last year, but he finished the year with eight sacks on fewer than 100 pass-rush attempts.
Houston’s impressive sack rate has continued this preseason — he posted eight pressures and a sack on 29 attempts through the first two preseason games, and he managed to add to that this week. Houston combined for a sack with Romeo Okwara on Bryce Young and then split another one in the fourth quarter.
Offensive spotlight: Titans QB Ryan Tannehill played three offensive snaps and handed the ball off on all three plays before his day was done.
Malik Willis took over the rest of the way, and while he started the game 1-of-5 with an interception, he flashed on a number of plays the rest of the way and finished strong. He ended the night 15-of-20 for 211 yards and two touchdown passes. He also ran the ball eight times for 17 yards.
Defensive spotlight: Titans defensive lineman Denico Autry looked in mid-season form, as he dominated the Patriots offensive line during his short stint in the game. He played just 10 snaps before his day was done at the end of the first quarter. On just five pass-rush attempts, he recorded two total pressures, which included a strip sack against Bailey Zappe.
Offensive spotlight: Joshua Kelley broke off the game's biggest play — a 75-yard scamper to the end zone. Although he took only two carries, the explosive touchdown run earned him a 90.0-plus rushing grade, per PFF's first review of the game.
Defensive spotlight: Javon Kinlaw posted a team-high two quarterback pressures on 10 pass-rushing snaps. The former first-round pick didn't fare as well in run defense, though.
Offensive spotlight: Things didn’t start out well for the Browns offense, with a botched handoff between Deshaun Watson and running back Jordan Wilkins resulting in a turnover on their first drive before a three-and-out on their second. A short field allowed them to score on a nice throw from Watson to tight end David Njoku.
Their next drive could have turned sour again with another botched handoff between Watson and Wilkins on the opening play of the drive, but the running back was able to get the ball back. That drive would lead to another score, and the biggest play came when Watson found Amari Cooper wide-open for a 53-yard gain after evading pressure. That wrapped things up for the mostly starting offense, with a mix of big plays and errors with Watson on the field.
For the Chiefs, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette had another big game as he attempts to make the final roster. He caught all four passes thrown his way for 101 yards, including a 43-yard touchdown.
Defensive spotlight: Browns defensive backs Juan Thornhill Rodney McLeod and Caleb Biggers all had interceptions in the game, with Thornhill breaking on the ball perfectly before making a couple of cuts on his way to taking it back for a score. McLeod’s interception came off a tip drill, with 2022 third-round cornerback Martin Emerson forcing the incompletion before it bounced to his fellow defensive back. Biggers later took advantage of a dropped pass to pick off backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert and return that for a score too.
Offensive spotlight: Few significant players on either side were appearing in this game, but rookie Clayton Tune start and hasn’t been ruled out as a Day 1 starter over veteran Colt McCoy while Kyler Murray continues to rehab his torn ACL. The fact that Tune was playing at all suggests he’s behind in that race, but he outperformed David Blough, who relieved him later in the game. Tune averaged 7.1 yards per attempt at an average depth of target of 8.6 yards and one of his incompletions was a dropped pass.
Defensive spotlight: Another player whose appearance in the game in the first place isn’t a great sign for his standing on the depth chart is Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. He started at corner and played 16 snaps, 10 of which were in coverage. He was targeted once, allowing a catch for 26 yards on the play. Booth was a second-round pick of the team a season ago but lost most of his rookie year to injury. With a new scheme in place this season, he is battling to be a factor in a young defense.
Offensive spotlight: Both teams gave their starters some playing time in this game, and Josh Allen looked like he knocked any rust off with his performance. He completed 5-of-7 attempts, with one of the incompletions a dropped pass, averaging 7.0 yards per attempt in the process. The ball was out of his hands quickly and crisply unlike last week, with an average time to throw of just 2.53 seconds.
Defensive spotlight: Damar Hamlin isn’t just back on the field for Buffalo after his horrific cardiac incident and near-death experience during last season, but he’s playing as much as anybody. His 35 snaps in this game were the second-most on Buffalo’s defense. Hamlin made two defensive stops, tied for the most on the Bills defense and even rushed the passer a couple of times on the blitz. Hamlin figures to feature again for Buffalo, something that seemed inconceivable for a while last season.
Offensive spotlight: Jordan Love needed to use his legs on the Packers' opening drive, picking up a pair of first downs on five and 11-yard runs respectively. He didn’t complete a pass on that drive though, going 0-for-3 despite the Packers managing a field goal. He did heat up as a passer on the Packers' third, and his, final drive of the night though, ending with a nice back shoulder throw to wide receiver Christian Watson for the touchdown.
Drew Lock played all but the final drive of the game for the Seahawks, going 16-for-25 for 150 yards and a touchdown pass that went to Jake Bobo. Lock has had an up-and-down preseason, earning a 44.8 PFF passing grade against the Minnesota Vikings in their preseason opener, but bouncing back to earn a 78.7 PFF grade on six dropbacks last week. He’s locked in as their backup quarterback, but the Seahawks would be in big trouble if Geno Smith went down.
Defensive spotlight: Seahawks linebacker Jon Rhattigan led all players in the game with 12 tackles, seven of which were solo and one which resulted in a loss of yardage. Cornerback Michael Jackson, a 2019 fifth-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys, had a pair of pass breakups.
Offensive spotlight: The offensive spotlight in this game comes in two parts. The first is Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers suited up in a game for a team not named the Green Bay Packers for the first time in his career, and he wasted no time in reminding people that a different jersey doesn’t mean his top-tier passing talent changed. On two drives, Rodgers went 5-of-8 for 47 passing yards and a beautiful touchdown pass to wide receiver Garrett Wilson.
Wilson is Part 2 of our spotlight, finishing the game with three catches on three targets for 30 receiving yards and that touchdown. If Saturday night was any indication of what's to come, expect a monster season from Wison with Rodgers as his new quarterback.
Johnson, whose sack is shown above, finished the game with an initial pass-rush grade of 85.6. It was Johnson’s second sack of the preseason, giving him some great momentum to be a regular-season contributor on a loaded defensive line.
Offensive spotlight: The Washington Commanders may have named Sam Howell their starting quarterback for the regular season, but veteran backup Jacoby Brissett showed them that he’ll be able to deliver if they need to call on him.
Brissett finished the game 10-for-15 for 96 yards and a touchdown, earning a 70.0-plus passing grade on first review. Two of his passes were also dropped, which elevated his adjusted completion percentage to 85.7%.
Later in the game, former Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm came in for Brissett and played well, finishing 13-for-18 with 144 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
Defensive spotlight: Commanders linebacker Khaleke Hudson was a standout from this game. He racked up two tackles for loss but also performed well in coverage, earning a high PFF coverage grade on first review.
Offensive spotlight: Named the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers this week, Baker Mayfield went 6-of-6 for 43 yards and a touchdown pass to Chris Godwin on two drives. Backup Kyle Trask finished the game, and he looks comfortable as the team’s backup quarterback, going 19-of-31 for 192 yards and a touchdown.
Rookie Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu started and played most of the game at left guard, so it was fair to assume that John Simpson has indeed won the job. And head coach John Harbaugh confirmed as much after the game. Simpson played 70 snaps this preseason, earning an 82.7 PFF grade and allowing zero pressures from 44 pass-blocking snaps.
Defensive spotlight: Ravens 2022 fourth-round draft pick Jalyn Armour-Davis saw his first action of the preseason, with the majority of his snaps coming as an outside cornerback. Ar'Darius Washington started in the slot again, and unless the team’s starting slot cornerback is Arthur Maulet, who has yet to feature this preseason, or a player not already on the roster, it looks like he will be manning that spot in Week 1.
Offensive spotlight: Jaguars starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence started the game and played the opening two drives. The first drive ended with a Tank Bigsby fumble, but the second saw Travis Etienne score from three yards out. Lawrence went 8-of-10 for 92 yards, with an average depth of target of 10.0 yards on the night.
On the opposite sideline, starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played a single drive for the Dolphins, going 4-of-6 for 67 yards. He wasn’t really pushing the ball downfield, though, with an average depth of target of just 2.8 yards.
Defensive spotlight: Safety Jevon Holland was the standout on defense for the Dolphins, with their starters seeing a good run out in the first quarter and a half of this game. Holland forced and recovered the fumble by rookie running back Tank Bigsby on the Jaguars' opening drive.
Offensive spotlight: Cowboys quarterback Will Grier finished the game 29-of-35 for 305 passing yards and two passing touchdowns while adding 53 yards on the ground and two more touchdowns as a rusher.
Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who is becoming a bit of a preseason legend, also had another solid performance. He finished this game 17-of-26 for 178 passing yards. He’s making quite the statement as a fifth-round pick and looks to be ready if the Raiders need him, even as a first-year player.
Defensive spotlight: Cowboys defensive tackle Mazi Smith had a tough game against the Seahawks. But his performance against the Raiders was much better.
Smith looked much more explosive than he did against Seattle, playing with less hesitation and more confidence. That’s a good sign for the Cowboys' first-round pick heading into the regular season.
Offensive spotlight: Denver Broncos quarterback Jarrett Stidham was the standout offensive player of the game. He finished 17-for-28 for 236 yards and a touchdown, earning a 90.0-plus passing grade on first review.
Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam caught the touchdown pass and ended the game with seven catches for 109 yards. The fourth-year tight end went into the preseason finale with a roster spot on the line, and this performance seemed to really help his case.
Defensive spotlight: Broncos slot cornerback Essang Bassey grabbed another interception, which gives him a pick in all three of Denver’s preseason games.
Cornerback is always a tight group to narrow down come cutdown day. Bassey is showing that his takeaways mentality deserves to be on that final roster.
Offensive spotlight: In a win for football nostalgia, Jimmy Graham‘s odds of making the Saints' 53-man roster seem high after tonight's performance. The longtime tight end caught three of his four targets for 34 yards, a touchdown and another first down, and he went 2-of-3 in contested situations.
Defensive spotlight: Cornerback Shaquill Griffin played 23 coverage snaps in the first half. He was targeted twice and allowed one catch for just 2 yards. He forced an incompletion on the other pass thrown into his coverage, finishing the day with an 80.0-plus PFF grade on first review.