NFL News & Analysis

NFL winners and losers: Notable matchups from Week 10

Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass against Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson (30) during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

As part of PFF's grading process, we chart every matchup on the football field, allowing us to take a detailed look at in-game battles and highlight the players who come out on top each week.

There can be obvious matchup victories, such as a wide receiver putting up 150 yards against a struggling cornerback or an edge rusher beating the same tackle to sack the quarterback repeatedly. But there can also be those hidden wins, such as a guard quietly beating his opponent on every pass-block rep or a cornerback holding his receiver to zero targets over a game.

Here are the players who got the better of their matchups in Week 10.

DI Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants vs. C Scott Quessenberry, Houston Texans

Lawrence is having the best season of his career, and Week 10 was much of the same. He lined up against Quessenberry 28 times as a pass-rusher, won 10 of these reps and generated seven pressures (including two sacks) despite being double-teamed 15 times.

Edge Nick Bosa, San Francisco 49ers vs. RT Foster Sarell, Los Angeles Chargers

This one was predictable: Sarell had a very unfortunate task in his first-ever NFL start, as he was asked to stymie Nick Bosa’s pass-rush skills 26 times on Sunday Night Football. Bosa won eight of these reps, generating eight pressures and getting home for one sack. The good news for Sarell is that it can only get easier from here.

DI Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams vs. RG Lecitus Smith, Arizona Cardinals

This is a classic example of being dominant in a loss. Donald won seven of 21 reps against Lecitus Smith while being double-teamed 12 times. Since quarterback Colt McCoy got rid of the ball quickly, the Rams star managed “only” three pressures and no sacks.

RT Kelvin Beachum, Arizona Cardinals vs. Leonard Floyd, Los Angeles Rams

Beachum lined up in pass protection against Floyd 21 times, was left on an island against him 18 times and didn’t lose a single rep.

RG Zack Martin, Dallas Cowboys vs. DI Kenny Clark, Green Bay Packers

As is usually the case for interior linemen, Martin wasn’t left on an island very often, but it’s still notable that he lost zero pass pro reps against Kenny Clark while being tasked with blocking him 26 times. That’s dominance in a losing effort.

RG Cesar Ruiz, New Orleans Saints vs. DI Larry Ogunjobi, Pittsburgh Steelers

The New Orleans offense's weak showing in Week 10 surely wasn’t Ruiz’s fault, as he lost zero of his 21 pass-protection reps against Larry Ogunjobi.

WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. CB Christian Benford, Buffalo Bills

Justin Jefferson ran 16 routes against Christian Benford, got a positive route running grade on nine of them, saw a target on nine of them and tallied 89 receiving yards on those plays. That’s dominance.

WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. CB Dane Jackson, Buffalo Bills

When one cornerback can’t cover Justin Jefferson, maybe try putting another cornerback on him? This didn’t work, either, as Jefferson caught 73 yards on six targets from 21 routes against Dane Jackson.

WR Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins vs. CB Martin Emerson, Cleveland Browns

Jaylen Waddle saw just two targets for 15 yards on 12 routes against Emerson, but that wasn’t his fault. He won his route five times, which is a pretty impressive rate for a wide receiver.

Not every form of dominance in a matchup is easily visible.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals vs. CB Jalen Ramsey, Los Angeles Rams

These two have been going at each other ever since Ramsey was drafted in 2016, since they shared the same division with former teams. This time, Hopkins got the best of Ramsey. The Cardinals wideout was targeted 10 times on 26 routes against him, finishing with 76 receiving yards in a battle with one of the best cornerbacks in the league.

CB Jaire Alexander, Green Bay Packers vs. WR Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys

Gallup ran 13 routes against Alexander and was targeted five times. However, Alexander didn't give up a single open target. He kept a clean sheet and wasn’t negatively graded while covering Gallup. Consequently, the Cowboys wideout managed just 12 receiving yards on those five targets.

LB Quay Walker, Green Bay Packers vs. RB Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

Walker was assigned to cover Tony Pollard 11 times in the passing game. Pollard failed to earn a positive route-running grade, and Walker didn’t earn a negative coverage grade. Pollard ended with a total of -2 yards on these 11 routes.

CB Jaycee Horn, Carolina Panthers vs. WR Drake London, Atlanta Falcons

Drake London ran 10 routes against Horn, but the receiver didn't see a single target and didn't record a single positive route-running grade. You can’t ask for more from a cornerback.


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