As of September 8, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the highest-paid player in the NFL. In the next five years, the 26-year-old will now earn an impressive $275 million (around 257 million euros). But one thing has been missing from Burrow since signing the contract: wins. The Cincinnati Bengals lost against both the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens and are currently in last place in their division. The reason for the slow start is a calf injury that Burrow suffered in training camp, which cost him important training sessions with his teammates. His mobility on the field is also visibly limited. In the game against the Ravens, Burrow limped off the field in the fourth quarter and required brief treatment.

If his injury worsens, it could be a disappointing year for the Bengals, who are actually considered contenders for the Super Bowl. But there is also reason for hope: In the second half of the game against the Baltimore Ravens, Burrow found his receiver Tee Higgins in the end zone twice and scored his first two touchdown passes of the season. He hadn’t managed a touchdown a week earlier against the Browns.

Six caught passes, 171 yards gained and a touchdown: These are the statistics of Tampa Bay’s superstar Mike Evans. The Buccaneers wide receiver was once again unstoppable against the Chicago Bears. This marked the 37th time Evans has broken the significant mark of 100 yards per game and is on track to reach his 10th 1,000-yard season since his debut in 2014. He currently holds the record for most 1,000-yard seasons at the start of an NFL career. His performance becomes even more impressive when you consider that Evans has not had a well-known quarterback at his side throughout his career, except for three seasons with playmaking legend Tom Brady. So it’s no wonder that Baker Mayfield, who wants to revive his career in Tampa Bay, is also relying on his star receiver.

But what makes the pass receiver so difficult to defend? A rare combination of safe hands, perfectly run routes and a height of 1.96 meters, which ensures he has the air supremacy on the field pass after pass. Evans also weighs over 100 kilos – nightmare values ​​for any defender.

In April 2022, John Metchie III was selected by the Houston Texans in the second round of the NFL draft, making him one of the best college talents in the USA. But just three months later, the wide receiver contracted leukemia and had to undergo lengthy treatment, as a result of which he missed the entire previous season. Over a year later, Metchie made his long-awaited NFL debut, cancer-free, against the Indianapolis Colts and caught his first pass for 17 yards. A much-needed reinforcement for the Texans and rookie quarterback CJ Stroud, who is still waiting for his first NFL win after two games.

The Detroit Lions reached deep into their bag of tricks and played the Flea Flicker. This is a play where the offense tries to surprise the defense with a fake run that ends up being a pass play. The quarterback hands the ball to the running back with a handoff. Shortly before he crosses the line of scrimmage, he throws the ball back to the quarterback. The defense usually attacks the run and breaks away from the so-called pass defense coverage. If the ball is now pitched back to the quarterback, the offense hopes for a free pass receiver and a big play.

The Lions showed what this looks like in perfection on Sunday evening: Quarterback Jared Goff passed the ball to Jahmyr Gibbs, who passed it back to Goff. Because of the faked play, the quarterback now had Kalif Raymond as a free man in the end zone, giving the team a 14-7 lead.