NFL Red Zone Report: Week 2
Matt Selz breaks down red zone performances and stats from across the NFL.
The week started with a shootout on Thursday Night between the Browns and Bengals and ended with a shootout between Dallas and Atlanta and Seattle and New England. Throughout the whole time teams were racking up red zone plays all over the place but a bunch of those chances went to the same position as you’ll see further down in the Red Zone Report.
Joe Burrow QB CIN - Burrow was part of the shootout on Thursday Night in the so-called battle of Ohio and thus the Red Zone attempts were high. In fact, the most of any quarterback in Week 2 with 13. Eight of those came inside the 10-yard line and a couple were touchdowns. He also rushed it twice including once inside the five though for no scores. The large number of Red Zone attempts likely came from the high score, bad opponent’s defense, and high snap count (he played 92 snaps) rather than a better, more efficient offense, as there was just one 20-yard play in the whole game from the Bengals.
Gardner Minshew QB JAC - Minshew has started the season well, last night’s Thursday Night game aside, and in Week 2 he posted 12 passing attempts inside the 20-yard line. Of those 12 attempts, two of them were touchdowns. He did a good job of spreading the targets around though, one of his targets is listed below and may have some more success going forward as a key target might miss some time in D.J. Chark .
Dak Prescott QB DAL - Prescott led a feverish comeback against the Falcons and in the process became the first quarterback with 400-plus passing yards and three rushing touchdowns in a game. The Red Zone pass attempts back that up with eight through the air and a passing touchdown along with the three Red Zone rush attempts that all turned into touchdowns. There’s no doubt the Cowboys have a high-powered offense but now in Week 3 they face the Seahawks who have allowed six touchdowns in the nine red zone trips in the first two games this season.
Cam Newton QB NE - Newton could’ve fit under the running backs or the quarterbacks section this week as he actually had more Red Zone rushes than Red Zone passes with seven carries and six passes combining for three touchdowns. It’s interesting to see the Patriots offense utilizing this part of the game as we’ve never seen it before when Tom Brady was under center and it’s been a really effective use of the offense so far. Next up comes the Las Vegas Raiders and they’ve allowed five touchdowns in seven opponent trips inside the 20 which may not bode well for them facing the Newton-led Patriots.
Nick Chubb RB CLE - Chubb was a no-show in the Red Zone offense in Week 1 as the Browns faltered but in Week 2 as they went toe-to-toe with the Bengals and Chubb got seven touches inside the 20. Two of the touches turned into touchdowns and the Browns coaching staff was aware of the fantasy community’s desire to see Chubb get the workload this past week. Kareem Hunt also saw three touches including a rushing touchdown and a reception that turned into a score too. So Chubb wasn’t the only one getting the work inside the 20.
Jonathan Taylor RB IND - In the first week as the starter of the Colts, Taylor showed up well with five Red Zone rushes and a Red Zone catch as well. He also had a Red Zone score. Nyheim Hines , last week’s favorite inside the 20, didn’t really factor in the game plan at all this week and with how well Taylor did he is likely back to the second string and Taylor should continue to see the bulk of the work in the rushing game and the Red Zone.
Joshua Kelley RB LAC - Kelley has all but taken over the main running back role in the Charger’s backfield and in Week 2 that showed in the Red Zone work as Kelley got four times as much work as Austin Ekeler . There is now no doubt that Kelley will be the lead back going forward for the Chargers as Ekeler will continue to be the pass-catching back.
Alvin Kamara RB NO - Without Michael Thomas on the field someone had to step up and be the anchor of the offense and Kamara certainly did that on Monday Night. He touched the ball five times in the Red Zone and scored twice to go along with two Red Zone catches. There is no doubt that while Thomes is out the offense will flow through Kamara and that includes the Red Zone work too.
Drew Sample TE CIN - Sample was the beneficiary of Burrow’s big day as he saw six attempts inside the 20 and caught two of them. While he didn’t turn any of the chances into scores, he did see about half targets that were put up and that may bode well for him going into Week 3 with the Eagles being the worst team against the TE so far in 2020 he could be a sneaky GPP play in DFS.
Tyler Eifert TE JAC - From the current Cincy TE to the former. Eifert used Minshew’s dozen attempts to see three for himself while catching one for a score. It was likely a game script that saw him with all the added chances though if D.J. Chark misses time Eifert could fill a bit of the gap.
Tyler Higbee TE LAR - The start of the year couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for Higbee and then the game against the Eagles came and he saw two targets for two catches and two scores. While the Rams put up quite a few points on the scoreboard, they weren’t in the Red Zone that much on Sunday and Higbee saw the most work of any Rams player in those chances. The Bills may present a tougher match-up for them next week, but if Higbee is split out, he could still see a nice amount of targets inside the 20.
Mike Gesicki TE MIA - The breakout game may have taken a week to happen but it did come in Week 2 for Gesicki who saw three Red Zone targets and a catch for a score. The offense didn’t exactly get up and going against New England but they found some success against the Bills and getting Gesicki going should continue to help their offense going forward as well.
Red Zone Defense
Chicago Bears - The team with the fourth-best Red Zone scoring percentage in terms of fewest touchdowns allowed at 37.5-percent. In eight trips allowed, they’ve given up three scores inside the 20 and those all came in the game against the Lions as the Giants struggled once Saquon Barkley went down. The Bears defense has been their strong suit for a couple of seasons and that has the beginnings of being true again.
Los Angeles Chargers - Through two games, the Chargers have only allowed three total trips to their Red Zone by opposing offenses and have only allowed one touchdown. It was known that the Chargers would have a strong defense this year but so far through two games they’ve allowed the fewest trips to the Red Zone of any team in the league.