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Sunday Standouts

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Can you see DeForest through the trees?

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

DeForest (Buckner) stood tall on Sunday, leading the 49ers in tackles, while Marcus Mariota’s future in Tennessee could be in jeopardy.

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Offense

Top Offensive Performers

  • Kyle Long - Chicago Bears
NFL: Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

So far, Long has played 100 percent of the snaps through three games. According to Pro Football Reference, Long hasn't played more that 48 percent of snaps at right guard since 2015; the last season he made a Pro Bowl. Through the start of 2019, Long has allowed only one sack, while comitting just one penalty, a holding call. If he can put together a full 16 games, Long could return to his Pro Bowl form as the Bears dominate Washington on Monday Night Football.

  • Royce Freeman - Denver Broncos

Freeman ran well in the loss to the Green Bay Packers, Sunday. Splitting carries behind undrafted second-year pro Phillip Lindsay, Freeman ran for 63 yards on 15 attempts for 4.3 YPC. He put together a solid performance, unfortunately it wasn’t enough to help bring home the W. Freeman added four receptions for 10 yards. It’s been a rough start for the Broncos offense. Elway hoped Joe Flacco would be able to save the offense for the time being, but the Hall-of-Famer turned general manager is 0 for 5 on starting quarterbacks since the departure of Peyton Manning in 2015.

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Defense

Top Defensive Performers

  • DeForst Buckner - San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco may have one of the nastiest defensive lines in football and Buckner is at the forefront of said nastiness. Leading the 49ers in tackles with eight, Buckner stuffed the stat sheet with 1.0 sacks, a QB HTS, forced fumble and fumble recovery. He’s off to another hot start to the season as he vies for another Pro Bowl nomination. Shout-out to Arik Armstead for forcing the fumble that Buckner recovers. See Duck demolition below!

  • Terrance Mitchell - Cleveland Browns

The hype-machine that was the Cleveland Browns took a hype-turd again in Week 3’s lose to the Los Angeles Rams. As bad as the Browns were, Mitchell at least made his presence felt on the defensive end and in the Rams’ backfield. Mitchell closed-out the 20-13 loss with four solo tackles and two TFL’s. It might not have been a very good showing for Cleveland, but at least the Duck was able to make some big plays on the defensive side of the ball.

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Special Teams

Top Special-teamer

  • Kenjon Barner - Atlanta Falcons

The return specialist saw his usual work taking two kick returns back for a total of 45 yards (22.5 AVG) and a punt return for 10 yards. Barner was able to even get in some offensive action with a short reception for four yards in the Falcons disappointing home loss to the Indianapolis Colts, 27-24. Atlanta has fallen to 1-2 on the season.

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Honorable Mention

  • Marcus Mariota - Tennessee Titans

Mariota finds his way to the honorable mention list, but once again it’s not for his stellar performance on the field. While Mariota threw for more than 300 yards in the 20-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, his day didn’t come easy. Sacked a total of nine times, Mariota struggled to find open receivers with the minimal time his offensive line provided him. Mariota completed 23/40 for 304 yards with no touchdowns, or interceptions and a QBR of 28.1. While you can’t completely blame Mariota for the Titans’ struggles, it’s becoming quite evident that a change under center could come if his play doesn’t improve.