All our week 16 content

New York Giants 0, Atlanta Falcons 34

QB Eli Manning, Pass: 13 - 25 - 161 - 0 TD / 2 INT - Eli Manning had an extremely subpar performance on Sunday against the Falcons. Manning did a poor job of taking charge of the offense. His performance was filled with inaccurate throws, bad mistakes and costly turnovers. The Giants looked lost on offense, failed to execute in big situations and could not stay on the field. Manning was picked off right at the start of the game as DB Samuel undercut the route for a big turnover. Manning was late with the football to the outside, Samuel took a gamble and was in the right position at the right time to pick it off deep in Giants territory. Manning struggled with his accuracy, missing a lot of receivers with passes that went too high. He also failed to put the ball on his receivers in stride and overthrew open Nicks deep on a streak pattern. Manning was picked again on a crossing route, as a Falcon DB undercut the route over the middle that was thrown in a poor location. Manning only looked competent on consecutive throws outside of the pocket, as he threw downfield and allowed his receivers to pick up chunks of yards but this was not nearly enough for NYG to stay in the game. Manning and the offense looked extremely out of rhythm and Eli was neither Elite nor clutch for this week at least.

RB David Wilson, Rush: 12 - 55 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets) - David Wilson would always find it hard to replicate his breakout performance from last week but did have some good moments in a blowout performance against the Giants. Wilson shared time in the backfield with teammate RB Lumpkin but got the majority of the workload. Wilson ran tough and was able to rip off some big gains. Wilson had good success running to the left side of his line early as he found some open space and blazed down the sideline for a decent chunk of yards. Wilson showed his natural explosion and burst when he gets to the open field and can have defenders pay when they take inappropriate tackling angles. The Giants and Wilson included failed multiple times on 4th down however, which is a bad sign for their goal line/4th and short offense. They tried outside runs with Wilson but the edge was never sealed in time. The Giants tried to stay with the running game despite the score but Wilson rarely got any touches in the Falcons half of the field and game was so lopsided in favour of Atlanta.

RB Kregg Lumpkin, Rush: 9 - 42 - 0 (1 targets) - Kregg Lumpkin made his debut for his new team, NYG but unfortunately it was anything but a good day for the Giants. Lumpkin was used often to spell teammate RB Wilson but the majority of the plays were given to Wilson. Lumpkin came in and provided a little more physical presence up front with slightly reduced quickness/speed for a RB his size. Lumpkin found success running up the middle against ATL but also showed great patience on outside runs. He was able to set up his blocks and scoot down the sideline for 22 impressive yards on the outside. Lumpkin and the entire Giant offense really struggled as a unit however, especially in the passing game. The passing attack was weak and failed to alleviate pressure on the running game, which did well considering the lack of threat of a legitimate passing attack. Lumpkin ran hard, did his job well but he is only a backup right now to a rookie RB and production moving forward is anything but guaranteed.

WR Domenik Hixon, Rec: 5 - 80 - 0 (6 targets) - Domenik Hixon was the leading receiver for the Giants on Sunday as the Falcons were focused on eliminating teammate WR's Nicks/Cruz. Hixon was left in one on one situations frequently and dominated the field at times when he had the ball come his way. Hixon has shown quickness and great hands throughout his career and Sunday was no different. Hixon is also a terrific well rounded receiver and he caught slants/comebacks/curls against the Falcons. Hixon showed great quickness on a comeback route to the outside, as he hauled in the pass short of the first down but then round around the defender and down the sideline for a big gain. Hixon has been a good redzone target for the Giants aswell but there were too few redzone opportunities on Sunday to take advantage of. The Giants turned the ball over many times, failed on 4th down and QB Manning had an "off" day as he could not reliably connect with his receivers.

WR Victor Cruz, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (5 targets) - Victor Cruz was almost shutout against the Falcons and most of the blame shoulders on the coaches and QB Manning for the execution of the offense. On numerous occasions, Cruz was open over the middle but Manning was inaccurate and the ball sailed over his head or hit the ground. Cruz' only catch was a short curl over the middle and he struggled to connect with Manning throughout the game. The Giants turned the ball at inopportune moments, failed to convert 4th downs and their defense couldn't help out as they gave up too many points to the Falcons. Cruz was not given much of a chance at creating plays as a result. The Falcons were also paying heavy attention to Cruz and Nicks and the Giants failed to adjust their defensive strategy.

WR Hakeem Nicks, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (7 targets) - Hakeem Nicks was given little opportunity to perform on Sunday as the Giants had an epic collapse on offense across the board. Nicks did not look in rhythm with QB Manning and the entire offense struggled to maintain possession of the ball. Nicks' production took a big hit as his QB struggled with his accuracy and ball placement. Early in the game, Nicks was open on a streak pattern down the field but QB Manning overthrew the pass by too much and it fell incomplete. Nicks made some plays for his team however. Nicks showed his athletic ability by hauling in a slant pattern and then exploding down the field for an excellent run after catch but this was the highlight of his day unfortunately for Nicks owners. Nicks caught some short passes on comebacks against soft zone coverage but could never come close to scoring a touchdown. The Giants kept making mistakes and never gave their playmakers, like Nicks, a chance to score against Atlanta.

TE Martellus Bennett, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - Martellus Bennett was lost in all the erratic offensive plays on Sunday and failed to make any impact on the game. Bennett is continuously underused in the NYG offense as a threat over the middle. Bennett is a big physical TE that can run well for his size but the NYG coaches/QB Manning do not get him the ball enough. The Falcons targeted coverage against Nicks/Cruz on the outside while leaving Bennett/Hixon in one on one situations for the most part. The Giants failed to take advantage of this and Bennett only managed one catch. He caught a short curl route which he turned into a first down against soft zone coverage. Bennett had some minor targets late but failed to come up with the catches. Bennett has also been a good redzone threat for NYG but the offense was rarely in the endzone on Sunday and always come up short of the goal line. The offense failed to adjust to Atlanta's defensive gameplan and any catches were hard to come by for players like Bennett.

QB Matt Ryan, Pass: 23 - 28 - 270 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Matt Ryan did a great job of punishing the Giants when he was awarded terrific field position and made several amazing throws that helped his team beat down the NYG on Sunday. Ryan managed to hit speedy WR Douglas on a sideline throw deep down the field as he got free from the defense, putting just enough air on it to provide an easy catch for Douglas. Ryan's first touchdown came on a post route to TE Gonzalez. Gonzalez got a soft release into his route and outfought his man for a well thrown ball from Ryan that was high and away from the defender. Ryan then took advantage of the rookie CB as he found WR Jones streaking alone down the sideline. Ryan threw a perfect pass to the corner of the endzone and Jones was able to catch it perfectly in stride. Ryan then showed perfect accuracy again as he fitted into a ball down the seam to Douglas. Ryan's day finished in the fourth quarter as he placed the ball well to the outside for WR Jones to easily haul in. Ryan was helped by his defense giving him the ball often and in great field position but he made the necessary throws to keep drives alive and punished the Giants by scoring touchdowns mostly and not kicking field goals in the redzone.

RB Michael Turner, Rush: 16 - 52 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Michael Turner got a productive stat line in this game but accomplished very little overall outside of the first drive that netted him a touchdown. The Falcons were given very good field position early in the game and Turner successfully powered his way up the middle of the defense for the necessary yards to score. Turner showed typical power and was able to push back NYG defenders. Turner is no longer a fast RB that will burn defenses consistently but the power and leverage remains as a RB. Turner did a good job of running forward and not getting pushed back for negative yards. There were not many holes to take advantage of after his touchdown but he provided a solid yet unspectacular performance on the ground.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Rush: 11 - 25 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Jacquizz Rodgers got a lot of carries on the ground in an attempt to spell RB Turner but was not able to accomplish much on the ground. The Falcons did most of their damage through the air and the Giants somewhat stout against the smaller RB Rodgers. For most of the game, Rodgers struggled to get out of the backfield and was frequently met at the line of scrimmage if he did manage. Rodgers biggest play came on a screen pass, as he was able to use his quickness to burst down the sideline for a chunk of yards. Rodgers is quick but does not possess breakaway speed. Rodgers does not have the power that Turner once had but is a nice change of pace back that can run outside/catch screens out of the backfield but has many limitations as a RB overall.

WR Julio Jones, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0, Rec: 6 - 74 - 2 (6 targets) - With WR White slightly hobbled from injury, Julio Jones stepped up in a big way to help secure a relatively easy win over the Giants on Sunday. Jones was on fire from the start of the game and made plays throughout the game. Jones got several screen pass plays on the outside that allowed the WR to use his speed to pick up first downs in open space. Jones' biggest play came on a simple streak pattern as he was able to blow past the rookie CB easily down the sideline and haul in a perfect pass from QB Ryan in the endzone. Jones also showed terrific patience and speed again on a simple end around rush attempt, getting to the corner and making NYG pay. Jones' second touchdown came on a fade route to the endzone. Jones was covered well by a NYG DB but the pass was perfectly located and Jones used his size to box out the defender for the score. Jones dominated the field at times, looked explosive everytime he got the football and the Giants did not have a good answer for stopping the young speedy WR.

WR Harry Douglas, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 83 - 0 (3 targets) - Harry Douglas made many explosive plays on Sunday and the Giants paid for not paying him close enough attention in the passing game. Douglas' first catch came on the sideline as he broke free from coverage, hauled in a good ball from Ryan and exploded down the field for many yards after the catch. Douglas then got a big pass to the outside first a first down. He continued his hot streak by burning NYG DB's down the seam on another big gain through the air. Douglas is not big or physical on the field but has the quickness to run around defenders and the speed to run by defenders. He can be an excellent complement to Jones/White if defenses leave him isolated as they double cover his teammates instead. Douglas burned defenders who let him loose down the field and gave the Giants defensive coordinator another thing to worry about when calling plays.

WR Roddy White, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (5 targets) - Roddy White decided to play yesterday despite his injury that kept him out during the week. Lucky for him and Atlanta, WR White was not needed to beat the Giants and he was rarely involved on the field. QB Ryan looked to Jones/Gonzalez/Douglas instead of White on Sunday, especially when the game became so lopsided on the scoreboard. White was likely preserved somewhat as he was not 100% health wise and the Giants put forward a feeble effort. White was able to pick up a first down on a curl route to move the chains and again on a slant over the middle. White had a chance at a bomb down the field from Ryan but the Giants DB made an excellent pass break up at the last moment to deny the big play.

TE Tony Gonzalez, Rec: 6 - 49 - 1 (7 targets) - Tony Gonzalez played his part well on Sunday and looked as fresh/physical as ever against the Giants. Gonzalez was used in the typical role, working the middle of the field and being an excellent chain mover for QB Ryan. Gonzalez was given option routes, ran physical after the catch and was aware of the first down marker in order to ensure the Falcons stayed on the field. Gonzalez' touchdown came on a post route in the endzone. Gonzalez got a soft release into his route, beat his man inside and leapt up high to grab a perfectly placed pass from QB Ryan for the score. Gonzalez showed a little power as he stiff armed a defender on his over the first down line to move the chains on a curl route. Gonzalez can't burn defenders with his speed but he showed he has enough quickness and a physicality to rival anyone that tries to cover him, despite his age.


San Francisco 49ers 41, New England Patriots 34

QB Colin Kaepernick, Pass: 14 - 25 - 216 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 28 - 0 - Playing in Foxboro against one of top teams in the league added a great deal of pressure to the second year quarterback. Coupled with the cold weather and constant falling sleet, Kaepernick's game was all the more impressive. His throws were accurate and hard, arriving on time and located where his receivers could best make the catch and make the play. He did make a few overthrows, particularly on a deep throw to Vernon Davis deep down the middle. Davis had three steps on the coverage and Kaepernick put the ball just a yard too far. Kaepernick also threw a terrible pass on his interception. With time on a play action pass, Kaepernick was late and under threw his pass to a double covered Randy Moss in the end zone. The safety was able to undercut the throw easily for an interception. But on his four touchdown throws, Kaepernick showed spectacular mental and physical abilities. On the first touchdown throw, Moss ran past his man and found space running towards the end zone. Kaepernick threw a deep ball with perfect touch, right in to Moss' arms and the receiver didn't have to break stride crossing the goal line. On the second touchdown, Kaepernick looked to his first option on the left, but the receiver was tightly covered. Vernon Davis ran a post route inside, and Kaepernick locked on to the tight end as the safety cheated inside, opening space for Delanie Walker down the sideline. Kaepernick's hard throw arrived as Walker crossed the goal line, right in to the tight end's gut. New England often struggled to generate a lot of pressure, and on the third touchdown pass Kaepernick was unhurried as he stood in the pocket and threw accurately down the middle, in to Crabtree's hand as the receiver caught the ball in stride and dove between two defenders for a score. The fourth touchdown was the result of great defensive recognition, as Kaepernick identified the Cover 0 and threw left to Crabtree. The receiver had enough cushion to spin away from his tackler and take advantage of the lack of safety help overhead to run down the field for a score. There were some troubling aspects of Kaepernick's game however, as the quarterback repeatedly fumbled the snap when under center. With no trouble receiving the snap in the shotgun formation, the constant miscues from under center seemed to be more a result of some technical problem with the center-quarterback exchange than a result of weather. The 49ers were lucky to recover each fumbled snap, and Kaepernick's great performance could have gone sour had the Patriots been able to capitalize on these mistakes.

RB Frank Gore, Rush: 21 - 83 - 0, Rec: 2 - 34 - 0 (2 targets) - Gore ran with a blunt fashion all game, running hard and determined in to and through contact. The Patriots were often able to anchor the line, disrupting where the 49ers wanted the hole to open. When the Patriots were able to get a body on Gore, he attacked the tackler but often was wrestled to the ground. It was when the Patriots attempted to arm tackle Gore that the running back was able to lower his pads and run through the contact. Though the 49ers weren't always able to block open a clean hole, Gore ran patiently behind them, waiting for a gap and then attacking whether there was something there or he was forced to hit the plugged gap to get what he could. Gore also showed a great capacity for situational awareness, falling on a fumbled snap in the 1st quarter and then picking up another fumbled snap in the 3rd quarter. The 3rd quarter fumble recovery was a designed run up the middle, and Gore picked up the ball as the defense broke down in to fumble recovery mode, accelerated through the original blocked hole and ran through arm tackles for a touchdown. When the blocking was there, Gore was able to make fast cuts and navigate traffic to pick up chunks of yardage, and on a draw play Gore was able to blow by the flat-footed defenders for a good gain. However, more often than not the Patriots were able to get penetration or close gaps and Gore was forced to ram his way to a limited gain. A screen pass to Gore in the 3rd quarter showed just how fast Gore could run when given space, and the running back outran three tacklers to get far downfield for a 26 yard gain.

RB LaMichael James, Rush: 8 - 31 - 0 (2 targets) - James' best play came on a kick return in the 3rd quarter after the Patriots had scored 28 unanswered points. Showing incredible speed and vision, James cut and sprinted his way to a 62 yard kick return to set up the touchdown that proved the difference for the 49ers. James also ran well on designed run plays, but his plays were often limited to outside runs and pitches. With the Patriots showing good gap discipline, these plays often resulted in a minimal gain as James had no corner to turn. His best run came on an off-tackle run to the left. The San Francisco blockers were able to open a large tunnel and James sprinted through the space and contact, going down at the second level.

RB Anthony Dixon, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0 - With the success of both James and Gore, Dixon's touches were limited to two carries. On his long carry of 5 yards, Dixon put his hand on his lead blocker and followed, then hit the blocked hole.

WR Michael Crabtree, Rec: 7 - 107 - 2 (12 targets) - Crabtree had a fantastic performance, recording his 2nd two touchdown game of the season. Kaepernick targeted Crabtree in every situation, and on short throws Crabtree showed great hands securing the ball and turning up field. When Kaepernick was flushed from the pocket, it was Crabtree that was able to improvise along with his quarterback, such as a 2nd quarter throw where Crabtree was able to separate and catch on the sideline for a 3rd down conversion. Crabtree was also used on a wide receiver screen in the 1st quarter, following good blocking and sprinting for a 13 yard gain. Crabtree had some trouble on a fade route to the left corner of the end zone, unable to catch up to the ball, as well as stepping out on bounds on a long sideline route that resulted in an illegal touching penalty. But Crabtree made his best plays soon after, running a post route down the middle, catching an accurate ball, absorbing blows from the two safeties and running through for a touchdown. In the 4th quarter Crabtree caught a quick slant and blew by a poor tackle from the corner, sprinting through the open field for a 38 yard touchdown that would eventually win the game for the 49ers.

WR Randy Moss, Rec: 2 - 36 - 1 (4 targets) - The first catch of Randy Moss' day was more impressive than the second, as the wide receiver showed an incredible amount of toughness catching a hard throw 12 yards downfield while being hit from the front and behind simultaneously. The hits cracked Moss in two but the receiver held on and was visibly unscathed. His touchdown catch came on a good run, blowing past the coverage and streaking towards the end zone. Kaepernick delivered a perfect ball that hit Moss in stride, landing in Moss' hands as the receiver crossed the goal line. Moss could have had a second touchdown, but Kaepernick overthrew a fade route while Moss committed offensive pass interference, arm barring the corner. Moss' two catches came in the 1st quarter, and the receiver was only targeted in the 2nd half on a play where Moss couldn't escape double coverage. Kaepernick forced it to him anyways, and the ball was under thrown, allowing the safety to undercut and intercept the pass.

TE Delanie Walker, Rec: 2 - 29 - 1 (2 targets) - Walker's long touchdown catch was a great play, as Walker flew off the line and beat his coverage to the corner of the end zone. With the safety cheating inside, Walker was wide open in the corner as Kaepernick delivered a hard throw to the tight end's chest, and Walker was able to catch the touchdown easily. Though Walker made a great play on the touchdown, he also surrendered a costly fumble in the red zone when he caught the ball, took two steps and absorbed a blow to the chest, knocking the ball clean out.

TE Vernon Davis, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - Though Davis had one good catch on an out route, his most significant plays were two catches he didn't make. On a potential touchdown, Davis did a great job of sprinting past his coverage and found himself wide open before the end zone. Kaepernick's ball was a shade too far, but Davis made no effort to lay out for the catch either, satisfied to let the ball drop ahead of him. His second missed catch came on a crossing route where Davis was double covered and the ball arrived ahead of him, but Davis seemed to pull up instead of reaching for the pass, resulting in another play that could have been completed had Davis done more than the minimum.

QB Tom Brady, Pass: 36 - 65 - 443 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 11 - 1 - Tom Brady had two separate games, as he was unable to generate any offense in the first 35 minutes of the game. With his receivers unable to gain separation, pressure collapsing the pocket and numerous fumbles by his running backs, Brady's offensive output was severely limited. He showed great accuracy even when his receivers were tightly covered, as a hard throw to a tightly covered Brandon Lloyd hit the receiver right in the pocket, threading an impossibly small needle. But when the pressure tightened Brady's pocket, the quarterback was unable to deliver balls with the same accuracy. On his first interception, Brady ran a play action and locked on to Wes Welker streaking down the middle. Welker was double covered and pulled up, gesturing for pass interference while Carlos Rogers ran past and caught the deep throw. With some drops by Lloyd and Hernandez while the 49ers collapsed the pocket, Brady was completely frustrated. But when the 49ers took a 31-3 lead, Brady seemed to have a complete competitive melt down on the field, spiking the ball while screaming at the referee over a disagreement on whether or not the 49ers got a timeout off in time. After the lead got so wide, the 49ers seemed to relax a bit while Brady became enraged, and the quarterback threw hard quick throws again and again, hitting his receivers and tight ends immediately. The 49ers gave a cushion and Brady was able to exploit the space, running timing routes to perfection and leading the Patriots up and down the field, scoring 28 points in 14 minutes. The second touchdown of this scoring run was a quarterback dive at the 1 yard line, as Brady leapt over his linemen. The third score was a quick out route to Hernandez, delivered perfectly to his tight end's shoulder and Hernandez was able to turn in to the end zone. The Patriots were able to tie the score behind Brady's pinpoint accuracy on quick slants and hooks, but on the final drives the 49ers were able to tighten the coverage and once again generated the pressure that had so disrupted Brady in the first half. With the pocket collapsing and his receivers unable to separate quickly enough, Brady was unable to sustain the offensive explosion. In his frantic attempts to bring New England back and win the game, Brady's 65 attempts were the highest of his season. Brady also threw a second interception when running a screen to Hernandez. The tight end had taken a big hit the play before and flinched, pulling back as the ball arrived at the same time as a defender. With Hernandez recoiled, the ball bounced off a 49er defender and in to the hands of Aldon Smith.

RB Danny Woodhead, Rush: 12 - 61 - 2, Rec: 5 - 23 - 0 (10 targets) - With the fumbling problems of his backfield compatriots, Woodhead received the most carries of the three. He also had much more success than the other two, as his size and quickness gave the 49ers' defense fits. Add in the additional space afforded by the injury to Justin Smith, the anchor of the 49ers' defensive line, and Woodhead was able to sprint through small holes and make cuts to space. When a small gap opened, Woodhead had the vision to make the cut and he was quick enough to elude the defenders' arms as they grasped for him. On his long run of 15 yards, Woodhead was able to sprint through a large tunnel and the cut past the safety to run through the second level. Even with his size, Woodhead showed a great amount of strength on his touchdown run, taking the carry left and then cutting back inside. The tackler met him at the goal line and Woodhead spun around, churning his legs to push his way in to the end zone. Woodhead's second touchdown came on a quick snap at the goal line, and with San Francisco backed on to their own heels, Woodhead was able to sprint through a hole in to the end zone. Woodhead also contributed a good amount in the passing game, running short routes out of the backfield and catching the ball when he had enough separation, but when tightly covered Woodhead was unable to make the catch.

RB Stevan Ridley, Rush: 9 - 23 - 0 (2 targets) - Ridley was largely ineffective all game, and his fumbling problems led to his eventual benching. His first carry of the game almost resulted in a fumble, as Ridley cut right and spun as the defender hit him in the back. As Ridley went to the ground the ball came out, but Ridley was ruled down. The rest of his carries resulted in minimal gains, as Ridley didn't possess the same quickness that would eventually lead to Woodhead's success. Instead, Ridley ran hard and made one cut, but his power couldn't match that of the collapsing 49ers' defense. The fumble that resulted in Ridley's benching came when Ridley ran straight up the middle and Donte Whitner dove, landing his helmet against the point of the ball and forcing it out. The ball security wasn't sloppy, but the hit by Whitner was in the perfect position to force the fumble.

RB Shane Vereen, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - With the fumbling issues of Ridley, Vereen may have been able to carve a nice role for himself if he had not fumbled as well. Catching a screen and running up field, Vereen held the ball loosely at his side and Navorro Bowman was able to punch it out from behind. That was the end of Vereen's day.

WR Brandon Lloyd, Rec: 10 - 190 - 0 (16 targets) - In what has been a vastly inconsistent season for Lloyd, the wide receiver recorded a season high in catches, targets, and yardage. Brady threw to Lloyd from the beginning of the game to the end, never wavering. His first catch of the game was a quick slant for 7 yards. Then Brady threw a medium pass to Lloyd's back shoulder, and even with tight coverage Lloyd was able to turn and catch and the exact right moment. On a short throw to the left, Lloyd was able to catch the ball and keep his feet as the corner undercut him, stumbling forward for the 1st. Lloyd made another great timing catch with Brady on a deep route down the right sideline. Brady had enough time to throw a perfect ball to Lloyd's stomach as the corner lost position. Lloyd turned and caught the ball 29 yards down the field. With the Patriots in a frantic catch up mode, Brady routinely threw to Lloyd on quick slants and hooks, with hit or miss consequences. On some plays, Lloyd made the catch in stride and held on, but there were a number of plays where the ball was located a little off and Lloyd was wholly unable to adjust. Lloyd seemed to have more success catching long balls then short, such as when Lloyd beat his man in a sprint down the sideline and Brady threw an accurate ball to lead his wide receiver. Lloyd was able to catch the ball in stride and run for 53 yards. But there were also plays where Brady hit Lloyd right on the hands, and a lack of concentration lead to inexcusable drops. The same lack of concentration seemed to lead Lloyd to commit an illegal shifty penalty on a play that would have resulted in a touchdown reception for the wide receiver, nullifying a great catch in the corner of the end zone. Lloyd was able to pick up a 38 yard pass interference call in the 4th quarter to set up Hernandez's touchdown. But all in all, Lloyd could have had a much bigger game had he held on to more of the passes that hit his hands, as well as eliminating some of the more inexcusable mental errors.

WR Wes Welker, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (9 targets) - Welker was held without a catch in the 1st half, thanks mostly to excellent defense by Carlos Rogers. The wide receiver was unable to separate from the corner, and the one time Brady forced the ball to Welker, the play resulted in an interception as Welker ran a seam route and was double covered. Welker pulled up, gesturing that he had been interfered with and Rogers ran past him to eventually catch the deep ball. Welker became more involved in the 2nd half, as Brady began to throw non-stop and targeted the receiver on various slants. Welker did a great job of catching and running when hit in stride by his quarterback, often beating coverage off the line of scrimmage with a quick move inside. That was what the receiver was limited to however, as he was unable to get behind the coverage for any long gains.

WR Deion Branch, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (5 targets) - Though rarely seen this year, Branch continued to have success with Brady on short timing routes. On a 4th and 4, Branch cut inside on a slant and Brady him in stride for a 1st down. The rest of his catches were quick hooks on the both the left and the right side. Branch was also thrown to in the end zone in the 1st half, but Tarell Brown made a nice play swatting the ball out of the receiver's hands.

TE Aaron Hernandez, Rec: 10 - 92 - 1 (19 targets) - The team leader in targets, Hernandez was thrown to over and over again, but the tight end only caught half of the balls directed his way. Hernandez was most successful on short passes, and when the tight end was able to hold on to the ball he showed great ability to run after the catch. Hernandez was an instinctive runner, turning up field quickly and running fast for nice gains. But Hernandez had issues adjusting to balls that were behind or short, and with Brady pressured, the ball was often unable to be perfectly located. Hernandez's long catch of the game came on a comeback route down the right side of the field, and the tight end was able to catch the ball in space. Hernandez had another chance to make a long catch, but Dashon Goldson struck him so hard that Hernandez was unable to hang on. The hit resulted in a defenseless receiver penalty, but the play seemed to rattle Hernandez. On the next play, a screen was called for Hernandez and with the ball arriving at the same time as the defender. Hernandez flinched and pulled back. The ball deflected off the tackler and Aldon Smith was able to pluck it out of the air. The tight end had more success afterwards, and his huge target number was the result of Brady relying on quick throws to negate San Francisco's pressure. Hernandez ran slant after slant, and when the Patriots were near the goal line, Hernandez ran an out route across the face of the end zone. With the ball delivered perfectly to his side, Hernandez was able to catch and turn in to the end zone.

TE Michael Hoomanawanui, Rec: 1 - 41 - 0 (1 targets) - Hoomanawanui had one catch, but it was a great one. Brady had gone through every progression available and finally threw to the lesser thrown-to tight end of the Patriots offense. The tight end was open on the right side, and though very slow, was able to catch the perfectly located pass 41 yards downfield.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0, New Orleans Saints 41

QB Josh Freeman, Pass: 26 - 47 - 279 - 0 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - Like Brees, Freeman appeared to have a favorable matchup, but his results could have been further from Brees'. Of Tampa's first seven drives, four were four plays or less and ended in punts. Somehow the other three managed to be worse, however, as they ended in Freeman INTs. After opening with a three and out, Freeman appeared to find some sort of groove on the 2nd drive. Freeman hit D.J. Ware on 3rd down for 23 yards, taking advantage of the LB coverage. After a short toss to Dallas Clark underneath for four yards, Freeman threw a perfect back shoulder throw to Mike Williams for 24 yards. The success was short-lived, however, as Freeman targeted Clark again on a shorter route, but was way off target. The coverage wasn't great, but the throw was worse and it was easily picked off. After another three and out, Freeman just missed a TD on his next throw the following drive. Williams put a nice double move on the corner and was well behind the coverage, but Freeman badly overthrew him. The following play was even more disastrous, as miscommunication between Freeman and Vincent Jackson led to another INT. It appeared Freeman expected Jackson to break his route into a deep post while Jackson continued up the seam. Again, the throw was well off and easily intercepted. Frazzled from the INTs, Freeman never recovered as the offense sputtered under the shaken QB with consecutive punts. With a mounting deficit and snowballing pressure, Freeman began to press. Getting possession right out of halftime and appearing to get some momentum after a successful fake punt, Freeman pressed a bit too much. With two tremendously athletic WRs on the outside, Freeman chose to target his TE deep down the field. The ball was not only underthrown, but to TE who has never been known for his athleticism. The ball was easily intercepted, squashing any potential momentum gained from the fake punt. Rattled and with no threat from the running game because of the scoreboard, Freeman and the passing offense had nowhere to hide. Freeman was able to dink and dump down the New Orleans' 25-yard line, but drive ended after an incompletion on 4th down. Freeman finally connected with Jackson on the following drive, but it was late in the 3rd quarter and the game was well at hand. Another drive deep into Saints' territory, with four connections to Jackson ended with another incompletion on 4th down. Two more drives, but both just as disappointing. After getting back into Saints' territory for a 3rd consecutive drive, Freeman threw up a prayer into the end zone and Jabari Greer posted his 2nd INT. Freeman got one more chance to get Tampa Bay on the board, but was stripped at midfield to end his day. An abhorrent day, Freeman turned the ball over five times and even more damning, put zero points on the board. Freeman really struggled with his accuracy and when it was on target, it was often to the Saints' defense.

QB Dan Orlovsky, Pass: 4 - 7 - 51 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Orlovsky came in for mop up duty for the Bucs' final drive. Orlovsky did drive the Bucs' offense into Saint territory, but the drive stalled at the New Orleans' 10-yard line.

RB Doug Martin, Rush: 9 - 16 - 0, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (5 targets) - In what should have been one Martin's easier matchups, he really struggled to get anything going early. As the Saints piled on and Freeman's turnovers killed every promising drive, Martin's opportunities quickly dissipated. Martin did have a long of 11 yards on a toss, but only managed to pick up five yards on his other eight carries. Martin also caught three passes on five targets, but only for 19 yards and a long of eight. The game was out of hand so quickly, Martin never had an opportunity to get involved and his stat line reflected that.

RB LeGarrette Blount, Rush: 4 - 25 - 0 - Blount led all Tampa rushers, with 25 yards on only four carries. All of Blount's carries came on the Bucs' final drive, as both teams looked to drain the clock.

RB Danny Ware, Rec: 2 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Ware didn't receive any carries, but he did have two catches out of the backfield. His long went for 23 yards.

WR Vincent Jackson, Rec: 6 - 81 - 0 (12 targets) - Jackson led the offense in every statistical category, including 12 targets. However, his first catch did not come until late in the 3rd quarter as all his numbers can be attributed to garbage time. On that same drive Jackson picked up four of his six catches. Jackson's biggest play was a target in the first half that saw Freeman expecting him to break his route in and resulted in Freeman's 2nd INT. Jackson just missed a TD early in the 4th quarter as Freeman threw him a jump ball in the end zone, but Greer made one of his many fine defensive plays, elevating and deflecting the ball away from Jackson.

WR Mike Williams, Rec: 4 - 63 - 0 (7 targets) - After posting two catches on the Bucs' first three drives, including a nice 24-yard back shoulder catch, Williams (like the entire Buc offense) disappeared until late in the 3rd quarter. Williams just missed two TDs, with one coming just prior Freeman's 2nd INT and another coming late. Williams successfully put a double move on the corner, easily beating the coverage, but Freeman overthrew his wide-open receiver and missed what would have been an easy TD. Later in the game Freeman went to Williams in the end zone, but after getting two feet down on the high throw was unable to maintain control as he spilled to the ground. Like Jackson, Williams was really hurt by Freeman's immense struggles.

WR Tiquan Underwood, Rec: 3 - 46 - 0 (6 targets) - Underwood was targeted six times, but only caught three balls, including a long of 19 yards. Underwood's first catch did not come until garbage time in the 4th quarter, with his 19-yard catch coming on the Bucs' final drive.

WR Chris Owusu, Rec: 1 - 24 - 0 (2 targets) - Owusu was only targeted once, making a nice 24-yard catch down the sideline from Orlovsky on the Bucs' final drive.

TE Dallas Clark, Rec: 8 - 42 - 0 (12 targets) - Clark was tied for the team lead in targets with 12, picking up eight catches with a long of 10 yards. Clark averaged a minute 5.3 yards a catch and was only targeted once ten yards beyond the line of scrimmage. After being targeted on Freeman's first INT, it was Clark who Freeman tried to hit deep down the middle just out of halftime. Looking like fly in molasses, Clark attempted a double move before trying to get down the seam. Freeman threw the jump ball, but Clark neither appeared ready nor able to make a play on the poorly thrown ball, leading to a second INT.

TE Luke Stocker, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (3 targets) - Stocker caught all three targets for 23 yards with a long of 15. Stocker was all but non-existent until garbage time.

QB Drew Brees, Pass: 26 - 39 - 307 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0 - There is no better cure for a case of the production ills than the league's worst passing defense. After struggling for three consecutive weeks, Drew Brees finally got some reprieve on Sunday in the form of Tampa Bay's passing defense. Firing right out of the gate, Brees had the Saints at midfield in two plays; a quick 12-yard strike to Jimmy Graham followed by another 13-yard hit to Marques Colston. Going back to work two plays later, Brees faked the toss right and booted left, connecting with an uncovered David Thomas for 12 yards. Brees and Pierre Thomas worked the screen game on the following play, picking up 20 yards down to the Buccaneer 12-yard line. A perfect cap to the way too easy drive, Brees found Thomas again two plays later for a nine-yard TD over the middle. The offense went three and out on their next drive, but really a poor drop from Sproles on 3rd down prevented what could have been a huge play. Brees read the coverage perfectly, with Sproles isolated in man coverage against a LB, but the RB was unable to bring the short toss in. Had the pass been completed, the middle of the field was barren and could very well have gone for an 83-yard TD pass. Brees went back to work on the third drive, opening with a short swing to Sproles for two yards before following it up with a 15-yard completion to Graham over the middle. Brees hit Sproles on another short toss before working play action two plays later and finding Colston over the middle for 26 yards. A 12-yard slant to Lance Moore took the offense inside the Tampa ten-yard line, but the offense stalled and had to settle for a rare red zone FG. Brees had two rare misses on the following drive to send the Saints to their second three and out in four drives. The offense bounced back, however, as Brees had his best throw of the game on the drive's first completion. Facing a 3rd and 11 and pressure in his lap, Brees blindly threw to Colston (who had yet to get out of his break) for a 21-yard completion. Clearly in rhythm, Brees threw three straight completions to finish the drive off, bookended by a pretty 16-yard strike to Moore and a two-yard TD pass to Sproles. Brees missed all four throws on the following drive, but like he had done all day, made up for the punt with one more TD drive just before half. Brees opened the drive with a short eight-yard hit to Graham before absolutely getting his TE destroyed on the following play. A deep shot down the seam, Brees' throw was high and S Mark Barron blasted an over extended Graham to ensure the incompletion. Brees went right back to Graham after a time out, again down the seam and this time Graham made a tremendous catch to get the Saints down inside the Tampa ten. Brees eyes looked right before coming back to Moore on the left who was hitched just beyond the goal line for the seven-yard TD pass. Just as they had done in the first half, the Saints went right through the Tampa defense on their opening drive of the 2nd half with little resistance. After five consecutive drives, Brees hit Graham on a short 10-yard crosser. Two plays later, Brees had his longest (and easiest) completion of the game, a 34-yard TD pass to Joe Morgan. With Morgan easily beyond the coverage, Brees merely had to put the ball on Morgan for the TD. Up 31 and cruising, Brees spent the rest of the game killing the clock before being replaced by Chase Daniel on the Saints' final drive.

RB Mark Ingram, Rush: 14 - 90 - 1 - Unlike Brees, Ingram's matchup was much tougher on Sunday, but the results weren't much different. Averaging 6.4 yards a carry, Ingram dominated the carries and showed the power and speed Saints' fans and fantasy owners alike have been waiting nearly two years for. Ingram didn't get his first carry until the Saints' 3rd drive and despite it only going for four yards, looked surprisingly shifty for a power back. Ingram was hit just as he took the handoff, but spun out of the contact and turned the-should-have-been loss into a nice gain. Ingram opened the 2nd half with his longest play of the game, a 33-yard run exhibiting deceptive speed. A subtle cut in the backfield, Ingram found the edge without getting touched before turning on the jets. Ingram's next big run combined both power and speed, as he used the former in order release the latter. Like snow falling off a warm car, Tampa tacklers sloughed off Ingram as he took his carry through the first wave of attempted tackles at the line of scrimmage. Able to use his power to get the edge, Ingram again exhibited a shocking burst once he hit the edge, picking up 26 yards on the run. As the Tampa defense wore down, Ingram only got stronger, easily scoring from 11 yards out for the Saints' final TD. Running up the middle, Ingram looked like a semi powering through papier-mâché as the attempted tacklers didn't bother (assuming he even felt them) the RB in the least on his way to the end zone. Clearly stuck in a crowded backfield and receiving a plethora of carries to kill the clock, it is hard to ignore how good Ingram looked with his touches. Power, speed and most importantly health, there is much to look forward to in Ingram's future.

RB Darren Sproles, Rush: 5 - 22 - 0, Rec: 5 - 21 - 1 (8 targets) - Sproles received ten touches, with an even split in carries and catches and caught one TD from two yards out. Most definitely not a between the tackles runner, Sproles longest run came on the 3rd play of the game on a toss. More solid blocking than flashy running, Sproles' quickness accelerated the play allowing for the big gain. Sproles' longest catch was a mere seven yards as Tampa Bay (and specifically Lavonte David) did a nice job limiting anything longer. Outside of the short TD, Sproles' biggest play was actually a missed opportunity. Matched up in single coverage with David, Sproles was correctly targeted as he was beyond the coverage, but couldn't bring the pass in as it bounced off his hands. A big opportunity missed for the Saints' offense, but as the score would suggest, not one that would hurt them in the end.

RB Pierre Thomas, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets) - With Ingram controlling most of the carries and Sproles most of the targets in the passing back, Thomas biggest impact came on his longest play of the game on the Saints' opening drive. After Brees faked the handoff to Thomas, he slipped behind two blockers and took the screen up field for 20 yards. Thomas also received four carries, but only managed 13 yards with a long of seven yards.

RB Travaris Cadet, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - Cadet only registered one catch, for three yards. Insignificant as it was, it still was a nice play by Cadet as he made a one-handed grab as he was falling to the turf. With Sproles back in the mix, Cadet returned to his main role on special teams returning kickoffs.

WR Lance Moore, Rec: 4 - 42 - 1 (5 targets) - Moore was third on the team in targets with five and second in catches with four, but like the rest of the passing offense was hurt both by Brees' propensity to spread the ball and game script. Moore's longest catch went for 16 yards and came on the Saints' 2nd TD drive. Moore ran a deep post, elevated between the coverage and made a nice grab to get the offense inside the Tampa 10-yard line. Moore also had a TD catch, coming just before halftime. Nothing spectacular, Moore went just beyond the goal line before curling up. Brees looked off the coverage before coming back to Moore for the seven-yard TD.

WR Marques Colston, Rec: 3 - 60 - 0 (3 targets) - Colston only received three targets, but was caught all three including a 26-yard long on the Saints' 3rd drive. Colston also help set up the Saints' 2nd TD, making a 21-yard catch on 3rd down. Colston was not quite out of his break, but Brees put the perfect amount of loft on the throw allowing the WR to run under the throw. Brees did a nice job spreading the ball around and 24-point halftime lead meant Colston's opportunities were limited.

WR Joseph Morgan, Rec: 2 - 61 - 1 (3 targets) - Morgan only caught two passes (on three targets), but still managed to lead the team in receiving yards as Brees spread the ball around. Morgan's long went for 34 yards and a TD, but was by far the easier of his two catches. Morgan ran right past the coverage and only had to secure the uncontested catch before getting slipping into the end zone. Morgan's best catch, however, came later on a back shoulder throw. The throw was wide and Morgan, who had been running full bore, had to not only turn his body outside, but lay out to make the 27-yard catch. Morgan also drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty on the Saints' final TD drive, putting the offense into the red zone and setting up Ingram for his TD run.

WR Devery Henderson, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets) - Henderson only received one target, but was unable to corral the wayward throw. Coming on a quick slant, the throw was a bit behind the WR, but one that Henderson is expected to make. Henderson also received a carry on an end-around, picking up 13 yards on the run.

TE Jimmy Graham, Rec: 5 - 69 - 0 (9 targets) - Graham was Brees' favorite target, picking up nine targets with five catches including a long of 24 yards. Graham opened the game with an easy 12-yard out, but his best play came just before halftime. After picking up eight yards and a body bruise after a brutal hit from Barron, Graham went right back into enemy territory down the seam on the very next play. Needing both a short memory and testicular fortitude, Graham high pointed the ball in heavy traffic and maintained control despite the rough landing pull down the 24-yard catch. Working mostly the shorter underneath routes, Graham received one more deep target late in the game. Again, running down the seam, the heavily covered Graham couldn't make the contested catch in the end zone. Graham did have one more drop, but news of an injured wrist surfaced earlier in the week, which certainly contributed.

TE David Thomas, Rec: 2 - 21 - 1 (2 targets) - Thomas caught both targets, including a nine-yard TD on the Saints' opening drive. Working off the line, Thomas faked the out before angling back inside and easily scoring on the short toss.


Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 13

QB Aaron Rodgers, Pass: 23 - 36 - 291 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (1 targets) - Rodgers started off slow, but by the end of this game, he was rolling and showing us why he's an elite and invaluable player for this team. Early on, he suffered from some heavy pressure and seemed to be out of sync with his receivers. There were some brutally bad throws throughout the game really, including a pass to Greg Jennings in the third quarter which should have been picked off by the Bears' Charles Tillman. On that play, Jennings had the inside on Tillman, but "Peanut" was pretty much on top of the Packers receiver. There was little chance that the pass was going to be complete, and it was just lucky that Tillman couldn't hang on. This is what you get from Rodgers though--that supreme confidence that any throw into any coverage can be completed. More often than not, a guy like Rodgers is right too. It's what makes Rodgers arguably the best quarterback in the league. Not only does he have the will to throw it, the arm to get it there and the belief he can make any throw--he's right. Case in point, an absolutely wonderful throw to Randall Cobb in the early second quarter. This throw is everything that makes Rodgers, for lack of a better term, an elite quarterback. With plenty of time, he sees Cobb's route splitting the zone. There is almost no room for error--cornerback D.J. Moore is just underneath Cobb, while both safeties (Chris Conte and Major Wright) are shadowing over the top. Moore reacts too slowly to get his hands up, but even if he had, the pass was a rocket and in perfect position for Cobb to catch it without breaking stride. Cobb gets taken down quickly after the catch, but the throw was beautiful. Rodgers hit Cobb for another big gain a little later. On this play, the Packers quarterback was flushed out of the pocket to his right, with the Bears pass rush in hot pursuit. Cobb, again pursued by a trio of Bears defenders, headed towards the sideline. Rodgers launched the ball on the run and hit Cobb with a throw which, while a tad high, was placed where only his receiver would get it. Cobb made an outstanding catch, extending his body up and grabbing the ball before being knocked out of bounds. That seemed to spark the offense, as shortly thereafter, Rodgers hit a streaking James Jones down the sideline for a 'looked too easy' touchdown. He would hit Jones two more times for scores, with the final touchdown coming despite Bears' cornerback Charles Tillman having perfect coverage and being in great position to make a play. Rodgers threw the ball away from Tillman towards Jones' outside hip and Jones hauled in his third score of the day.

RB Alex Green, Rush: 13 - 35 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (5 targets) - Green got the most carries for the Packers, but seemed to have the hardest time gaining yards for stretches during the game. The Bears met all three running backs (Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant) at the line and behind it pretty often. That said, Green continued to show flashes of ability and while he wasn't great against a determined Bears front seven, he had some runs where you can see the patience and determination which has really stood out since he took over for James Starks. On the plays where the line did a good job of blocking for him, such as on an eight yard run in the first quarter, Green hit the hole decisively and showed good speed getting past the line of scrimmage. It's not a sure thing he will turn into a full time lead back, but he definitely has looked good the last few games and earned a share of the backfield touches.

RB Ryan Grant, Rush: 8 - 32 - 0 - Grant's first carry could well have been his last since it resulted in a fumble. Luckily for him, coach Mike McCarthy doesn't give up easy, so Grant had chances to atone for his error. On the fumble play, Grant had a huge hole to run through, and quickly got to the second level. He got wrapped up by the Bears' Major Wright who knocked the ball from Grant's hands. The Bears recovered it. It didn't result in any Chicago points, but it's the sort of mistake that had Grant unemployed for most of the season.

RB DuJuan Harris, Rush: 5 - 27 - 0 - Harris didn't get a carry until the beginning of the second half but he picked right up where he left off last game with a big run up the middle which he broke for a large gain. Harris had a giant hole to run through, which he got through quickly before slipping a tackle and getting to the second level. It was a very nice 21 yard gain and shows he's pretty dangerous when he gets past trash at the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately he didn't get that wide a gap again and he's not going to beat backfield penetration all that often, so he had a lot more carries like the very next one, where he was stuffed at the line. He's got the raw skill and speed to be a real factor, though and it just will take some time before he's polished.

RB John Kuhn, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 - As always, Kuhn had more of an impact as a blocker than a running back. For some reason the Packers insist on running him on these short off-tackle plays which go nowhere now that everyone knows they run them. He'll break a nice run every once in a while, but not on Sunday.

WR Randall Cobb, Rec: 6 - 115 - 0 (8 targets) - Cobb continues to amaze and astonish. It's hard to pick out which of his six catches was his best but the one which stands out the most was a brilliant, leaping catch along the sideline. On this play, Rodgers was flushed out of the pocket to his right, with the Bears pass rush in hot pursuit. Cobbwas heading towards the sideline with a trio of defensive backs at his heels. Rodgers launched the ball on the run and hit Cobb with a throw which was a little high and forced Cobb to make an outstanding catch, extending his body up and grabbing the ball before being knocked out of bounds. The ball was where only Cobb could get it and illustrated the confidence Rodgers has in his young wide receiver. Cobb also excelled on numerous slant plays. The Packers seem to avoid those short passing routes, but when they use them, Cobb is often the target and his ability to make plays after the catch often turn those slants into big games.

WR James Jones, Rec: 5 - 60 - 3 (7 targets) - Jones had a huge game, scoring three times on five catches. While his first touchdown was a great route capped by a nice catch, the other two were far more impressive. On the second touchdown he just completely owned the Bears' DJ Moore. Moore allowed Jones to get inside on the route and Jones uses his body to block Moore out of the play. When Rodgers delivers a perfectly thrown ball to Jones, he just falls backwards into the end zone and Moore isn't in a good position to make the tackle. On the third touchdown, cornerback Charles Tillman had very good position on Jones, but Rodgers made a very nice throw, low and at the hip opposite of Tillman and the Jones made a very nice catch for a touchdown. For a guy who had taken heat in the past for bad drops, Jones has become a very sure handed option for Aaron Rodgers.

WR Greg Jennings, Rec: 4 - 50 - 0 (7 targets) - If the writing wasn't on the wall already, it's been posted in neon since his return--Jennings is not the primary receiver on this team. He still sees his share of targets, but he's not being sent on the vertical routes as much anymore and Aaron Rodgers is much more likely to look for Randall Cobb, James Jones or (when healthy) Jordy Nelson. Jennings saw a lot of short yardage work, running some slants and short outs. It was on one of these shorter routes that Jennings had his biggest play. With the Packers on their own 11, Jennings ran a short hook down the right side of the field. The coverage was much deeper, so Jennings had a giant cushion to make the catch, which he did. One defender flew past him as he made the grab and then Jennings shook off another would-be tackler. Jennings fought his way down field , hopping and spinning to evade defenders and finally brought down for a 19 yard gain.

TE Jermichael Finley, Rec: 5 - 61 - 0 (6 targets) - Finley had a more active than usual day, as Aaron Rodgers hit the big tight end for multiple underneath and slant routes. Finley has continued to have issues with drops this season, but made most of his targets this week, hauling all but one in. He isn't targeted at key moments though, and is clearly well down the list on the pecking order.

QB Jay Cutler, Pass: 12 - 21 - 135 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0 - Stop us if you've heard this before: Jay Cutler found himself under pressure almost all day as the offensive line failed to protect him long enough to deliver the ball on a consistent basis. Cutler did have some success scrambling for yards more than once, but most of the time he was merely running for his life. When he has time, he delivers a really nice ball, as he did to Matt Forte on a go route down the right sideline. The ball was beautifully thrown and had it been one of his receivers (the guys with a little more reach), could have been caught for a big gain. As it was, the ball was just out of Forte's reach. Even under pressure, he threw the ball well most of the day. Unfortunately, the one time he didn't turned into an ugly interception. On that play, the pocket collapsed around him and Cutler stepped up, looking for a receiver. The Packers had tight coverage, but Cutler must have seen something he liked about Devin Hester matched up with Casey Hayward. Devin Hester was in the slot and, at least appeared to me after the fact, well covered by cornerback Casey Heyward. It looked as if Cutler expected Hester to either turn upfield on the pattern or stop. Instead, Hester continued his pattern into the middle of the field. Cutler threw the ball before that though, and Hayward saw it. Hester continued and the ball sailed well behind him, an easy interception for the Packers' defensive back. Even if Hester was supposed to stop his route, it was a badly thrown ball that never should have been released. Hayward has perfect position and likely would have at best deflected the pass even in the best of scenarios. It was a rough day for Cutler, as the Packers' pass rush did an excellent job penetrating into the backfield and making sure he rarely had a moment's peace.

RB Matt Forte, Rush: 20 - 69 - 0, Rec: 5 - 64 - 0 (8 targets) - The Bears started things off by leaning on Forte for four straight Forte runs to start the game, and the running back delivered for 37 yards on that opening gambit. Then Packer nose tackle B.J. Raji started getting into the backfield and it pretty much fell apart. Forte was hit often behind the line, either by Raji or Clay Matthews. Even when they didn't take him down, they slowed him enough for someone else to do it. Forte did have a very nice run called back on a Gabe Carimi penalty where the running back saw the hole closing and made a pretty cutback so he could get to the edge. On the other hand, without that hold, Forte doesn't get away. One of his best runs came in the middle of the 2nd quarter. Forte took the ball deep in the backfield on a play which looks like it was designed for an off tackle/up the middle run. However, Forte instantly saw he wasn't going to get any yards going that way, and switched directions to head outside. He shows some tremendous speed as he heads to the corner, leaving one defender grasping for air as he turns upfield and gains a first down. He finishes by lowering his shoulder and delivering a great hit on the tacklers. The Bears fell behind and got away from the run game, but still threw the ball to Forte quite a bit on checkdowns and screens, both of which were effective. They haven't been doing that as much this season, so hopefully this is something they'll do more of in the last two games because it works.

RB Armando Allen, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - In the mix early, Allen made a gorgeous catch and run at the end of the first. The Bears were stuck at second and twenty and looking a little desperate. On the play, Cutler was under the usual massive pressure by BJ Raji, Clay Matthews and Eric Walden. However, this looked like it might be by design and set to collapse and suck the Packers too far into the backfield. This allowed Cutler to step up and deliver a short pass to Allen, who was moving out to Cutler's right and already had two blockers clearing a path for him. Allen then eluded several tacklers and went for a big gain. He didn't see much more work but with Michael Bush still clearly hurt, he will see the occasional play to spell Forte.

WR Brandon Marshall, Rec: 6 - 56 - 1 (7 targets) - Marshall's second catch of the game (almost a full quarter after his first) took place on a gorgeous route, where he totally juked the linebacker to find open space and make the grab. Marshall was able to take advantage early of the Packers' tendency to play too far off him and was able to get a score because of it in the second quarter. On that play, Marshall ran a short hook in the middle of the field and linebacker Brad Jones had to run up to make a play as was too deep. By the time he gets there, Marshall had the ball and then made him miss his tackle as he turned towards the end zone. Then Marshall obliterates cornerback Casey Hayward with a stiff arm, heads to the sideline and taking advantage of some great blocking by the other receivers, heads in for the score. Unfortunately, Cutler was just under pressure too often and couldn't find Marshall enough to pull the Bears back into the game.

WR Devin Hester (1 targets) - Hester was targeted once on an interception by the Packers' Casey Heyward. Hester had lined up in the slot and Hayward had him well-covered on his route. It appeared that Jay Cutler had expected Hester to either stop or turn upfield, but Hester ran a slant across the field instead. The result was a badly thrown ball way behind Hester which was picked off. Hester may have run the wrong route, but the ball never should have left Cutler's hand either. Hester was well contained on returns as well. It's befuddling to see him lining up as a wide receiver game after game with little result, while Dane Sanzenbacher hangs out on the bench. Hester looked better early this season, but has regressed and hasn't been a factor in some time.

WR Alshon Jeffery (4 targets) - Jeffery didn't see a ton of work, as he had a lot of issues getting separation from the Packers' defensive backs. He has a ton of ability, but he's not an elite route runner or speedster, and ended up handfighting too much. That resulted in three offensive pass interference penalties, one of which resulted in an overturned touchdown. Both that call and the last one came against veteran Packer cornerback Sam Shields and had Jeffery been a veteran, I'm not sure he gets flagged for them. Both were good flops and sell jobs by the veteran cornerback and and neither were good calls. Jeffery has to avoid getting himself into those situations though, as the result cost his team dearly.


New York Jets 10, Tennessee Titans 14

QB Mark Sanchez, Pass: 13 - 28 - 131 - 1 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0 - Sanchez committed five ugly turnovers, four of which were interceptions, as the Jets' playoff chances vanished. Sanchez looked skittish in the pocket, failed to look off opposing defenders, and did not properly read coverage. Sanchez forced throws to covered receivers which led to his season high four interceptions. During the first half, Sanchez led two uneventful drives before he was lifted in favor of Tim Tebow. Tebow was unable to spark the offense and Sanchez was put back in. On his next pass attempt, Sanchez forced a throw to Jeremy Kerley and Jason McCourty jumped the route and intercepted the pass. This miscue was the beginning of Sanchez's turnover plagued game.

It was fitting that Sanchez's last two fourth quarter turnovers, an interception thrown into triple coverage and a botched snap, effectively ended the season for a quarterback that has committed 51 turnovers in his last 30 games. Sanchez threw his lone touchdown pass to Jeff Cumberland, but his overall play and decision making was downright pathetic. Mark Sanchez is not a starting quarterback.

QB Tim Tebow, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0 - Earlier in the week, Rex Ryan was unsure whether Tim Tebow would dress. Not only did Ryan allow Tebow to dress, he played Tebow for an entire series in the first half. It was a horrible decision on so many levels. Sanchez developed a little bit of rhythm in his first two series, so playing Tebow destroyed Sanchez's confidence. In addition, Ryan played Tebow on two third-and-long passing situations. It was an odd time to let Tebow throw when he hasn't been trusted to. The two plays ended with a sack and a throw away. Tebow was effective as a runner, taking three carries up the middle for first downs. However, Tebow is clearly limited as a passer.

RB Shonn Greene, Rush: 13 - 68 - 0, Rec: 2 - 1 - 0 (3 targets) - Once again, Greene was impressive as the passing offense sputtered. Greene ran angry with a low pad level and gashed second level defenders. Greene's longest run of the game, a stretch play to the left, went for 16 yards as he initiated contact and lunged forward for extra yardage. When given carries, Greene was able to generate four to five yards per carry. However, Mark Sanchez's inability to establish a balanced offensive attack limited Greene's opportunities.

RB Bilal Powell, Rush: 6 - 28 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Powell spelled Shonn Greene throughout the game. Powell displayed his slashing running style as he took a carry off left tackle, made a shift move, and earned a 15-yard gain. Compared to his last few games, Powell was underutilized as Tony Sparano called more passing plays.

RB Joe McKnight, Rush: 4 - 29 - 0 - When utilized, McKnight provided a much-needed spark. During the third quarter, McKnight took a toss left and accelerated up the sideline for a 20-yard gain. McKnight was also utilized on special teams, but has the ability to make big plays on offensive.

WR Braylon Edwards, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (5 targets) - Claimed on waivers only six days ago, Edwards started and played most of the game despite practicing in a limited fashion. Edwards showed no fear as he worked the middle of the field and took advantage of match-ups against safeties. Edwards beat Michael Griffin on a slant route and secured a 17-yard gain. Sanchez came back to Edwards, finding him down the seam for another 15-yard gain. Edwards is nursing a hamstring injury, but looked comfortable catching passes from Sanchez.

WR Jeremy Kerley, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (5 targets) - It was a frustrating game for Kerley. Kerley had a difficult time beating press coverage off the line of scrimmage and Sanchez's inaccuracy limited his output. Kerley's sole reception occurred on a slant route over the middle of the field.

TE Jeff Cumberland, Rec: 4 - 53 - 1 (9 targets) - Starting in place of the injured Dustin Keller, Cumberland became Sanchez's preferred target. During the third quarter, Sanchez delivered a perfect back shoulder to Cumberland. Cumberland plucked the ball, turned up field, and ran in for the 17-yard touchdown. Two drives later, Sanchez found Cumberland streaking down the seam for a 22-yard gain. Cumberland had several other big play opportunities, but Sanchez made some poor throws. Cumberland is an excellent blocker, but has been impressive as a receiver.

TE Konrad Reuland, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Reuland spent the majority of the game sealing the edges for Jet running backs. During the second quarter, Reuland leaked out of the backfield and hauled in short dump off pass for a four-yard gain.

QB Jake Locker, Pass: 13 - 22 - 149 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 43 - 1 - This game was all about rhythm for Locker. During the first half, Locker overthrew open receivers and made poor decisions when pressed out of the pocket. Outside of Chris Johnson's 94-yard touchdown run, Tennessee's offense was unable to develop any first half output. Antonio Cromartie did an excellent job against Kenny Britt, forcing Locker to target his other receivers.

After halftime, Locker completed five of his first six pass attempts and capped a seven-play, 64-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. From the shotgun, Locker sprinted to his left, allowed Chris Johnson to engage his block before diving through two defenders for the score. Locker wasn't spectacular, but made plays when he needed to win the game.

RB Chris Johnson, Rush: 21 - 122 - 1 - During the second quarter, Johnson displayed why he's one of the NFL's most dangerous playmakers. Buried deep in his own territory, Johnson took a simple handoff up the middle, accelerated into the open field, and ran by Yeremiah Bell for a 94-yard touchdown. Outside of this run, the Jets completely shut down Johnson. Johnson spent most of the game 'dancing' into holes rather than accelerating into them.

WR Nate Washington, Rec: 4 - 62 - 0 (6 targets) - Nate Washington was the beneficiary of some good match-ups. Washington operated out of the slot, drawing the favorable matchup against Yeremiah Bell. Locker went to Washington early and often, completing two passes for 45 yards during his drive. Washington was able to beat Bell and secure inside position as he ran short post routes. Washington also won his two matchups against Kyle Wilson, beating him on intermediate routes for minimal gains.

WR Kendall Wright, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - Wright didn't secure his first catch until the second quarter. Matched up against Wilson, Wright ran a sharp crossing route, fought for inside position, and made a tough catch for a 15-yard gain. During the third quarter, Wright secured a 15-yard gain on an out-route that set-up Jake Locker's rushing touchdown. Wright appeared to injure his shoulder during the game, but played through the pain.

WR Michael Preston, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (3 targets) - The Jets sold out to stop Kenny Britt, so Preston received some additional targets. Preston was strictly utilized as a deep threat. During the third quarter, Locker found Preston streaking down the right sideline for a 21-yard gain. Preston was able to out-work Yeremiah Bell to secure the catch.

WR Kenny Britt, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - Britt was shadowed by Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie did an excellent job taking Britt away by pressing him at the line of scrimmage. Locker tried to complete two deep passes down the left sideline, but Cromartie had safety help over the top and knocked the ball away.

TE Craig Stevens, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (3 targets) - Stevens started in place of the injured Jared Cook. Stevens spent the majority of the game blocking for Chris Johnson, but also leaked out into the flat and secured minimal gains.


Minnesota Vikings 36, St. Louis Rams 22

QB Christian Ponder, Pass: 17 - 24 - 131 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 1 - Ponder missed the opportunity for a touchdown on the first drive of the play. He threw some very accurate passes into tight coverage to move his offense down the field, but after play-action on fourth and one, Ponder rolled outside and ran for the first but settled to run out of bounds instead of fighting forward for the endzone. Ponder made up for it three plays later when he wrestled himself away from a defender in the pocket before scrambling into the endzone outside left tackle. Ponder was playing well and making some very accurate throws to move the chains. He was sacked midway through the third quarter for a fumble, but fortunately the ball went out of bounds. Ponder should have felt the pressure from behind and tucked the ball to his chest considering the situation. Ponder followed that with a terrible attempt at throwing a quick slant on third and 26 when the ball went straight to a waiting Trumaine Johnson. Johnson did everything but catch the ball.

RB Adrian Peterson, Rush: 24 - 212 - 1 - Peterson was bottled up as the Rams completely sold out to stop him early on. After his first seven carries, he was in negative yardage although a handful of those carries came in the redzone. With the Rams running so aggressively to the football, the Vikings used that aggression against them with a delayed handoff. The result saw Peterson run for an untouched 82 yard touchdown. Even though he was untouched, it wasn't a simple run as he cut back after seven yards to find a hole before sprinting away from the defense. Amazingly, defensive end Robert Quinn was the only one who was able to stay with him, but Peterson even managed to lose him comfortably with 30 yards to go. Peterson ran hard all day, as his nickname would imply, and while he was sometimes taken down in the backfield or at the line of scrimmage by the Rams crowding the line of scrimmage, he broke big plays whenever his offensive line gave him any sort of opportunity. No play epitomizes Adrian Peterson more than his biggest in the fourth quarter. The Rams had just scored eight points on one drive, with over six minutes left, the crowd was coming alive and the Rams had Peterson dead to rights six yards deep behind the line of scrimmage. Peterson reversed the field, beat two defenders set up his blocking and carried the ball for a 52 yard gain. The only surprise was that he didn't score the touchdown.

RB Toby Gerhart, Rush: 5 - -5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Gerhart was rarely involved on offense, but did see a few targets in passing situations and some carries to spell Peterson when he was tired.

WR Jerome Simpson, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - Simpson's first reception went for a first down on a crossing route. He made an impressive reception between two defenders. Simpson's second reception was a quick pass in the flat when he couldn't beat Cortland Finnegan in space and fumbled the football and also picked up a foot injury. Fortunately for the Vikings he managed to retain possession. Simpson made a nice hands catch on a 15 yard curl route with a defender draped over him.

WR Stephen Burton, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Burton's first reception was an impressive catch on a slant route when he bounced off the initial hit for a 13 yard gain. Burton caught a bubble screen for a four yard gain when he was tackled by the first defender arriving. Burton caught another quick pass in the flat for six yards in the fourth quarter.

WR Michael Jenkins, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Jenkins' first reception came in the third quarter on third down when he caught a deep out for a first down.

WR Jarius Wright, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Wright's first target came in the second quarter when he was well covered and Ponder overthrew him down the right sideline. Wright caught an underneath crossing route in the fourth quarter before turning upfield for a first down.

TE Kyle Rudolph, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Rudolph caught Ponder's first pass of the day open on a play-action bootleg underneath. He ran away from the defender for a first down. Rudolph's second reception came on exactly the same play at the start of the third quarter except to the other side of the field.

TE John Carlson, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - When lined up as a wide receiver, Carlson ran a quick slant route for a first down and 12 yards. Carlson made a good reception as he absorbed a hit for a 14 yard gain down the left seam.

QB Sam Bradford, Pass: 35 - 55 - 377 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0 - Bradford made some nice throws when given time early on, but he was under pressure on many occasions before throwing a touchdown pass to Brian Quick. Not only did Bradford throw a beautiful pass to Quick for the touchdown, but he made the call from under center to switch plays to take advantage of the Vikings' defensive formation. It was a kill rather than an audible. On the very next drive however, Bradford fumbled a quarterback-center exchange and allowed the defense to come up with the recovery deep in Rams' territory. The Vikings only scored a field goal after that turnover, but a touchdown off a Bradford turnover soon followed. The Vikings sent a disguised blitz attacking the left of the Rams' offense, which meant Everson Griffin dropped into coverage on the opposite side of the field. Bradford threw the ball straight to Griffin as he tried to hit a slant over the middle. Pressure was closing in on Bradford which forced him to make a quick decision and rarely did that pressure ever let up, as he was immediately sacked on the very next play also. Even with max protection two plays later, Bradford was again sacked. Even though the Vikings weren't consistently sacking Bradford, the pressure destroyed their offensive efficiency in the first half. Bradford led a good drive down the field during the two minutes before the half, but missed Chris Givens wide open down the right sideline for what would have been an easy touchdown. To be fair to Bradford, he initially stepped up in the pocket to avoid pressure but couldn't step into the throw as a defender was in his face when he let the ball go. Bradford threw a touchdown pass to Amendola in the fourth quarter after he rolled out of the pocket and threw an outstanding pass across his body to the back of the endzone.

RB Steven Jackson, Rush: 13 - 73 - 0, Rec: 8 - 73 - 0 (10 targets) - Have you ever been in a nightclub with your girlfriend, when a club rep girl comes over and starts talking to you? Typically, the girl you are with looks much less appealing when the girl who is paid to be attractive is talking to you. That is essentially what it felt like being a Rams' fan watching Steven Jackson today. Jackson was outstanding, but comparing him to Peterson was like comparing the best looking girl in your school to a super model. When you just look at what Jackson did today, you should be very impressed as he consistently ran hard and intelligently. Jackson remains one of the best veteran running backs in the whole league. He was very active as a receiver also today. Late in the third quarter, Jackson gained nine yards to give him over 10'000 career rushing yards. Typically, Jackson didn't acknowledge the applause or the announcer as he focused on the next play.

RB Daryl Richardson, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (6 targets) - Richardson's first involvement was a reception on third and 20 underneath as the Rams settled for eight yards against prevent coverage. Richardson had his first carry at the beginning of the next drive when he was stuffed up the middle for a two yard gain. Richardson was in as the Rams ran a hurry-up offense in the third quarter, his first contribution came on a route to the flat out of the backfield when he sprinted past the defense down the sidelines for a 15 yard gain.

WR Danny Amendola, Rec: 6 - 58 - 1 (12 targets) - Amendola's first reception came on first and 10 underneath dropping coverage for eight yards. Amendola's second reception went for a first down when he ran a quick out for five yards. Amendola caught a crossing route underneath for five yards on third and five. Bradford went straight back to Amendola for a touchdown as he rolled out of the pocket and Amendola came free at the back of the endzone. Amendola made an outstanding reception deep over the middle after running straight down the field and absorbing a big hit from a defensive back. Amendola caught the two point conversion over the middle of the field after Lance Kendricks' touchdown in the fourth quarter. Amendola caught a quick out for a first down when the game was lost on the Rams' final drive.

WR Brandon Gibson, Rec: 6 - 76 - 0 (8 targets) - Gibson's first reception came on third and 10 when he caught an underneath route before diving forward for a first down, however the play was negated for a holding call. Gibson's first reception that counted also went for a first down when he ran a deep post route between the linebackers and safeties for a 15+ yard gain. Gibson should have caught another big pass straight away on a deep comeback, but he dropped a well thrown pass from Bradford. Gibson was penalized for a taunting penalty on a dead ball penalty that was off-set with an unnecessary roughness penalty on Mystral Raymond. Gibson somewhat made up for it straight away with a good reception on a curl route for a first down. Gibson caught another comeback down the left sideline for a first down and an eight yard gain. Gibson caught a quick slant straight away after and beat a defender with a quick double move for a first down. He caught another quick slant with under two minutes to go.

WR Austin Pettis, Rec: 5 - 55 - 0 (6 targets) - Pettis caught a reception over the middle of the field for a first down late in the third quarter. Bradford went back to Pettis soon after on fourth and one when they spread the field. Pettis ran a quick out and beat the defender for the first down, but was injured at the end of the play. Pettis came back after the quarter break and caught a crossing route for eight yards. Two plays later, Pettis caught a six yard curl route over the middle. Two plays after that, Pettis drew a pass interference penalty deep down the right sideline. He caught a 24 yard pass over the middle in space on the team's next drive.

WR Brian Quick, Rec: 2 - 12 - 1 (3 targets) - Quick wasn't involved on offense until he came in at the goalline lined up outside the numbers. Bradford immediately through the fade route to Quick against single coverage. Quick extended well to catch the football at it's highest point before falling down in the endzone for a touchdown. Quick caught a quick slant pass on the final drive of the game for eight yards on first and 10.

WR Chris Givens, Rec: 1 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Givens' first reception was an easy one when he was wide open off of play action on a crossing route for 20 yards. Just before the end of the half, Bradford threw a perfect slant pass to Givens but the receiver dropped it. Givens was wide open down the right sideline for a touchdown on the very next snap, but Bradford slightly overthrew him and Givens couldn't reach the ball after diving forward.

TE Lance Kendricks, Rec: 3 - 35 - 1 (5 targets) - Kendricks' first reception came late in the second quarter when he ran to the flat after lining up in the backfield. He was wide open and ran down field for a first down. Kendricks caught a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a curl route over the middle at the goalline. Kendricks caught a quick out for a first down on the Rams' final drive.


Indianapolis Colts 17, Houston Texans 29

QB Andrew Luck, Pass: 13 - 27 - 186 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0 - The Houston defense did Luck no favors on Sunday as he struggled to find time to complete downfield passes throughout the game. He was sacked five times and had to move around in the pocket on most every snap to avoid even more lost plays. He threw for two touchdowns and could have had a third had a pass to Reggie Wayne not been called back on offsetting penalties. His best pass came on a 61 yard touchdown to TY Hilton. On the play, Luck was flushed to the left in the pocket and stepped forward as if he might run. The move brought both safeties towards the line of scrimmage allowing Luck to loft a long pass to a wide-open Hilton in the middle of the field. Otherwise, Luck was pressured in to throwing the ball away or making inaccurate passes as the Texans were hot on his heals on most every snap. Of note: Luck is excellent at selling play-action just as his predecessor Peyton Manning was. On the nullified touchdown to Wayne, Luck sold play-action in a way that froze the defense enough to allow Wayne to get behind two defensive backs.

RB Vick Ballard, Rush: 18 - 105 - 0 (2 targets) - Ballard had his second solid game in a row. Unfortunately, his success on both interior runs and around the corners did little to stifle the Houston pass rush, leaving the Colts with too many third and long situations. Ballard was also pulled at the goalline for Mewelde Moore, who fumbled with his only carry. Ballard's best runs came on a 19 yard gain and an 8 yard gain on off-guard runs. On both carries Ballard showed excellent burst in securing the ball and hitting the hole quickly before the Texans 3-4 defensive front collapsed the interior. Like Andrew Luck, Ballard was tormented by the Texans in the backfield as he was stopped for a loss five times (three times by JJ Watt). Overall, Ballard showed that he may be the Colts answer at running back. He has good acceleration and what he lacks in agility he makes up for in power, gaining yards after first contact regularly.

WR T.Y. Hilton, Rec: 3 - 78 - 1 (6 targets) - Hilton continues to emerge as an excellent second receiving threat next to Reggie Wayne. The Colts line him up both as a slot receiver and split end and utilize his deep speed frequently against zone defenses. Hilton's best catch came on a 61 yard reception that resulted in a touchdown. On the play, Hilton lined up in the slot to the left side and ran a deep slant to the middle of the field. Quarterback Andrew Luck stepped up in the pocket and the threat of him running caused the safeties to step forward, letting Hilton get behind them. Luck delivered a great deep pass which Hilton caught in stride before running the final 25 yards for a touchdown. Hilton is not strong enough to get off the line on quick plays with regularity, but his deep speed and quickness makes him a genuine deep threat each time Andrew Luck has time in the pocket.

WR Donnie Avery, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (5 targets) - Avery finished the day with three receptions on five targets. He was covered primarily by a safety or nickel corner and had some difficulty beating his man off the line of scrimmage. Avery primarily ran deep crosses and hitches in the middle of the field. His best catch came on a nine yard gain to the Texans one yard line on a quick pass from Andrew Luck. Unfortunately, the Colts fumbled the ball on the next snap.

WR Reggie Wayne, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (8 targets) - Wayne had a relatively quiet day as the Texans worked hard to defend him by rolling a safety over in coverage whenever he got more than a few yards off the line of scrimmage. Combined with a devastating pass rush, Wayne simply did not have much time to get in to his routes before Andrew Luck had to get rid of the ball. He was only targeted once downfield as his rookie quarterback struggled for time in the pocket. Wayne's best catch came on a reception that was nullified by offsetting penalties. On the play, Andrew Luck sold play action and threw a high pass to the back of the endzone. Wayne, running an in-pattern from the right side, managed to get behind two defenders, lept in the air for the reception, and drug his toes just inside the endzone before going out of bounds. Unfortunately the touchdown was called back.

TE Dwayne Allen, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 3 - 36 - 1 (3 targets) - Allen finished the day with three receptions on three targets against the Texans. He primarily ran go patterns up the seam and quick in and out routes as the Colts looked to loosen the middle of the defense. Allen's touchdown came on a curl pattern in the third quarter. On the play, the rookie tight end started from the right side and ran a curl to the front of the endzone. Andrew Luck threw the ball to his outside shoulder as a Houston defender closed in from the inside. Allen secured the ball and spun in to the endzone for his third touchdown of the year.

TE Coby Fleener, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - Fleener was upstaged by Dwayne Allen near the goalline but contributed nonetheless against the Texans. He worked diligently as an in-line blocker as the Colts tried to sustain drives on the ground. He finished with one reception for 21 yards on the Colts last drive. On the play, Fleener ran a quick crossing pattern across the middle of the field and caught the ball on the run, picking up 21 yards in the process.

QB Matt Schaub, Pass: 23 - 31 - 261 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Schaub returned to form against the Colts after a difficult game last Monday against the Patriots. He completed nearly 70% of his passes and showed excellent discipline in not throwing the ball in to tight coverage. While Schaub did absorb 3 sacks, he made a number of timely throws on and passed for 13 first downs as the Texans controlled the clock and the flow of the game. Schaub's best throw came on a touchdown pass to Andre Johnson. On the play, Johnson lined up split to the right and ran a quick slant. Schaub correctly identified where the pass-rush would come from and fired a quick pass ahead of Johnson between two defenders. Johnson did the rest, side-stepping a tackler and coasting across the goalline for a touchdown. Schaub did underthrow Johnson on the game's first drive, turning a sure touchdown in to "only" a 52 yard gain. Schaub continues to play well within the offensive scheme and returned to making good decisions after last week's failures.

RB Arian Foster, Rush: 27 - 165 - 0, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Despite not scoring against the Colts, Foster had perhaps his most complete performance of the season. He ran with power between the tackles and great quickness to the outside. The Colts had no answer for Foster as the Texans dominated the game's time of possession battle by using Foster. Foster's best run came on a third quarter dash up the middle that netted 29 yards. On the play, Foster took the handoff and burst through the wide-open hole at full speed. He was 15 yards downfield before a defender reached him. Foster responded with a stiff-arm before powering ahead for an even greater gain. Once again, Foster appeared patient in letting holes open on outside run while showing no hesitation at all in hitting the hole hard on interior runs. The Texans line did an excellent job opening up large gaps for him allowing for the big day. Foster also had two short catches on outlet passes for four total yards.

RB Ben Tate, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0 - Tate had five carries against the Colts including a carry that lost yardage as well as his helmet. With Arian Foster running so well, the opportunities for Tate were few an far between. His best run came on first down in Indianapolis territory. On the play, Tate took the ball off guard and scampered for nine yards by keeping his legs driving after first contact.

RB James Casey, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Casey continues to line up most often as an H-Back for the Texans but did get a few snaps coming off the line of scrimmage. He was excellent in blocking packages both on the run and in passing downs. He finished the day with a single nine yard reception.

WR Andre Johnson, Rec: 11 - 151 - 1 (13 targets) - Johnson continued to look rejuvenated as the Texans worked him on more short and intermediate routes to the middle of the field instead of just go patterns. Johnson had a sure touchdown done in on Houston's first drive when Matt Schaub underthrew him. The play still resulted in a 52 yard gain. Otherwise, his big day might have been even more impressive. Johnson's touchdown came on a catch that reminded of his earlier years. On the play, he lined up split to the right side. He ran a quick slant to the middle of the field and caught Matt Schaub's fast pass. At the one yard line, a defender had a chance to tackle Johnson but he sidestepped away from traffic and found his way to the endzone. Johnson was excellent with the ball in his hands Johnson also had a 22 yard catch and run over the middle on an excellent crossing pattern that demonstrated how in sync he and Schaub are. The Houston quarterback has consistently gotten Johnson the ball in front of his body and on the run allowing for substantial yards after the catch.

WR DeVier Posey, Rec: 3 - 46 - 0 (3 targets) - Posey had a nice game against the Colts as the Texans third receiver in three-wide packages. His best catch came on a 36 yard reception down the middle of the field that showed Posey's smooth hands and excellent top-line speed. The play finished with a 15 yard personal foul against Indianapolis giving Posey a 51 yard net gain on the catch.

WR Kevin Walter, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Walter caught both of his targets against the Colts. He primarily ran out routes to draw his defender away from the middle of the field as well as short curls on the weak side of the field. Both of his receptions came on the same drive as the Texans tried to drive for one more score as the first half wound down.

TE Owen Daniels, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (7 targets) - Daniels caught only 4 of the 7 passes intended for him on Sunday against the Colts. His receptions came on quick outs and curls. On the occasion Daniels ran a deeper pattern, the Colts rotated a safety to him very quickly to avoid a long gain. Daniels also spent quite a bit of time in-line as a blocker as the Texans abused the Colts on the ground. Daniels best catch came on a 17 yard gain to the middle of the field. On the play, Daniels chipped his man at the line of scrimmage before running to the open field between two defenders where Matt Schaub hit him with a quick pass.


Carolina Panthers 31, San Diego Chargers 7

QB Cam Newton, Pass: 19 - 33 - 231 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0 - Newton turned in a rare highlight-free performance in this game, simply playing efficiently and effectively in leading his team to a convincing road victory. Despite the Charger pass defense putting him under pressure most of the afternoon, Newton stood tall in the pocket and looked confident in his passes and footwork. On the rare occasion the Chargers took him down, it wasn't without a fight. On one particular play, he was under heavy pressure and appeared to be getting sacked by the Chargers team picture, only to flip the ball out to RB Mike Tolbert for a nice 13-yard gain. He had earlier come close to connecting with Tolbert for a touchdown near the goal line, but the pass to a wide open Tolbert in the flat was batted down at the line. Which brings up the fact that Newton did catch a couple of breaks and did not play a flawless game. He nearly got intercepted late in the game on a pass over the middle that was just knocked down instead. On an earlier play, he was hit as he threw and the ball popped straight up in the air. Despite landing in the middle of the field, nobody on the San Diego defense was able to get to it. He was also fortunate on the touchdown pass to Williams that the score even happened at all. The pass was initially deflected, but still managed to make its way to Williams (who did the rest, taking off for a 45-yard touchdown scamper). He also took a couple of big hits in the game, one coming on a play on which he nearly scored. A designed draw run play up the middle saw him taken down at the 2-yard line. More importantly, replays showed later on that his knee was being looked at on the sideline and he appeared to be in considerable pain. Backup QB Derek Anderson was seen warming up on the sideline at one point, but Newton remained in the game. Newton later injured his hand, banging it on a helmet as he completed his follow through, but again he remained in the game. WR Steve Smith was Newton's favorite target in the game, and the two connected on a beautiful touchdown late in the game. Smith broke out to the right side of the end zone, and Newton, rolling out of the pocket, placed a ball low and away that only Smith could get to. With phenomenal ball skills, Smith cradles in the pass for the score and Newton's second touchdown of the game. One can safely say that the big Carolina lead actually hurt Newton's chances to put up huge stats, since he threw 27 passes in the first half and just 6 after halftime.

RB DeAngelo Williams, Rush: 22 - 93 - 0, Rec: 2 - 51 - 1 (2 targets) - Right from the outset, it appeared that Williams was going to be heavily involved (he led all players with 24 touches). The first play of the game was a direct snap to Williams, and he was leaned on early and often throughout the game. Williams got some good lanes created by his offensive line, and took advantage by hitting the holes hard and picking up chunks of yardage. In the first half, he took an inside handoff from the 5-yard line and managed to get it right to the doorstep of the goal line (Mike Tolbert finished off the drive with the short touchdown run). Williams did manage to pick up a score on an electric play late in the first half. QB Cam Newton threw a short screen pass to Williams that was deflected at the line. But despite the deflection, the ball still made its way to the intended target Williams, who did the rest. He followed a caravan of blockers downfield for the 45-yard touchdown reception that put Carolina up 21-0 and cut the heart out of the Charger defense. About the only blemish on Williams' day was his second half lost fumble. He dove while trying to stretch out for extra yardage, and just before he hit the ground the ball was punched loose and recovered by the Chargers.

RB Mike Tolbert, Rush: 9 - 40 - 2, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (4 targets) - Tolbert, a former Charger, greatly enjoyed his homecoming visit to San Diego. With Jonathan Stewart still sidelined by injury, Tolbert picked up all of the short yardage work. Fortunately for him, there was a decent amount of it in this game. Despite seeing only 11 touches in the entire game, Tolbert scored on a pair of 1-yard touchdowns within the first ten minutes of the game. He used his low and wide frame to bowl over defenders. He very nearly scored on a pass play, but QB Cam Newton had the ball knocked down at the line. Fortunately for Tolbert, he was given the handoff inside the 5-yard line and converted the score. He dove from just inside the 3-yard line and went soaring over the pile while stretching the ball over the goal line for his first touchdown. The second score was much easier, as he simply walked in off of the left tackle for the touchdown. He pushed the pile to bowl over defenders and convert yet another third down on a second half run, but was later seen stretching his calf on the sideline after the play. He would return the game soon after showing no ill effects.

WR Steve Smith, Rush: 1 - 15 - 0, Rec: 6 - 57 - 1 (9 targets) - Smith didn't post overwhelming statistics, but he was by far the biggest weapon for either team's passing game. He went over 1,000 yards for the season on his first catch of the game, even mixing it up with a defender and getting the opponent whistled for an unnecessary roughness penalty in the process. Smith seemed to have a far too easy time getting open considering he was the biggest known threat coming into the game. Late in the first half, he had the ball in his hands in the end zone but lost control as he was hit. As it turned out, it wouldn't have mattered as Carolina was called for offensive pass interference on the play anyway. He was again targeted in the end zone on the very next play, but again didn't come up with the catch. He finally did connect on a score late in the game, diving low and to his left on a bullet pass from QB Cam Newton. Smith somehow kept his hands under the ball and then rolled over while maintaining possession, an excellent display of concentration to cap a solid fantasy performance. Smith added 15 yards on a reverse up the left side off an earlier toss from RB DeAngelo Williams.

WR Louis Murphy, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (6 targets) - Murphy started and got two quick catches early, but never really got untracked. He made a nice grab of a laser pass on a quick slant from his own territory despite some tight coverage, and came close to making a few other nice grabs. But he and QB Cam Newton just couldn't connect. Murphy was targeted in the end zone but the ball was thrown too far to the sideline and it fell incomplete out of bounds. He made a nice effort to keep it in the field of play, but the pass was off the mark. He was also targeted on a deep ball in the end zone on third and long late in the half, but again that fell incomplete.

WR Brandon LaFell - LaFell was active as the team's third WR, but held without a catch in the game.

TE Greg Olsen, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (9 targets) - Olsen was able to get open almost at will, and one got the sense that if the Chargers could have kept this a game, Olsen would have put up a monster stat line. As it was, nearly all of his damage came in the first half when he worked the sidelines and middle of the field to perfection. Unfortunately for Olsen owners, with the team leading by 21 at the half and 31 by the beginning of the fourth quarter, head coach Ron Rivera kind of took the air out of the ball and looked to a very run-heavy approach with some conservative passes thrown in here and there. It was good for the Panthers, but it was not exactly a formula for huge fantasy passing success.

QB Philip Rivers, Pass: 16 - 23 - 121 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0 - This game was pretty much a microcosm of Rivers' entire season. He did complete nearly 70% of his passes, but he averaged just over five yards per pass and couldn't sustain any drives. He was sacked five times, fumbled it four times, and two of the fumbles came on plays where he wasn't even contacted by a defender. The bad signs started early, as Rivers stepped up to throw a pass over the middle. When he started his arm motion going forward, the ball just slipped right out of his hands and was recovered by Carolina. Late in the first half as the Chargers tried to pick up some momentum to carry into the second half, he lost the handle on another one despite once again not even being hit by a defender. Fortunately for Rivers, this time he managed to pick it up himself. The second half feature dmore of the same. Rivers was under constant pressure, getting sacked and then hurried on the team's opening sequence. At times he was little more than a sitting duck in the pocket. He was twice hit by defenders on plays that resulted in sack/fumbles. About the only two times in the entire game where he looked like his old self were on a deep ball down the sideline to WR Malcom Floyd that was completed for a big gain, and another on a corner fade to TE Antonio Gates for San Diego's only score of the game. But if there was any question about whether fantasy owners can trust Rivers the rest of the way, the answer to that question came in the form of a resounding and emphatic "no".

RB Curtis Brinkley, Rush: 6 - 42 - 0, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - With Ryan Mathews out of the game with injury, the recently reacquired Brinkley was in line for a much bigger workload. However, the Chargers trailed by several touchdowns for most of the game and so there wasn't really much of an opportunity to do much on the ground. Brinkley did look good in limited work, averaging seven yards per carry. It remains to be seen who will get the lion's share of the rushing duties now that Mathews is expected to miss the rest of the season, but it can be assumed that Brinkley will be a fairly big part of the gameplan.

RB Ryan Mathews, Rush: 4 - 22 - 0, Rec: 3 - 8 - 0 (4 targets) - The nightmarish season continued for Mathews, and in fact his season may have simultaneously ended. Mathews looked pretty good early on, showing a nice burst on a couple of rushes up the middle. He was finding some room inside, displaying some elusiveness that we haven't seen much of so far. In addition to averaging over five yards per carry, he even had some decent involvement in the passing game due to the absence of Ronnie Brown. But despite all the positives, postgame reports are that Mathews reportedly broke his left collarbone early in the game (had had previously broken his right collarbone in the preseason). It is assumed that Mathews will miss the rest of the season.

RB Jackie Battle, Rush: 3 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Battle was relegated to short yardage duties in this game. It can be safely assumed that if the Chargers had gotten to the goal line at any point, Battle's name would have likely been called. But they never did get close to a scoring play from that range. With starting halfback Ryan Mathews having injured his collarbone early in the game, the remainder of his season is in jeopardy. With that being the case, Battle's role should certainly increase over the final two weeks.

WR Malcom Floyd, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (2 targets) - Along with the rest of the Chargers, Floyd's performance was underwhelming. A lot of it was out of his control, as the deep routes he normally excels at juts weren't there. QB Philip Rivers was under so much pressure that Floyd couldn't really work down the field. He was only targeted twice, and happened to catch both of them. His first reception came along the sideline on a back shoulder pass, and he did a good job reaching around the defender to catch the ball with his hands. The second one was a deep ball down the sideline in single coverage, and he made a tough grab in traffic for a 30-yard gain to at least salvage something for his owners. Floyd did deal with

WR Danario Alexander (3 targets) - The clock struck midnight on Alexander's Cinderella story, as he posted a goose egg in what was the fantasy semifinals for most leagues. He was only targeted three times, drawing a pass interference on one of them but otherwise failing to do anything positive. Early in the game, he dropped an easy one right in his hands when he tried to turn upfield prior to securing the ball and it was all downhill from there.

TE Antonio Gates, Rec: 4 - 31 - 1 (6 targets) - It probably wasn't the way he dreamed it up, but Gates finally tied former Chargers great Lance Alworth as the team's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 81. The score by Gates came early in the fourth quarter with the team trailing 31-0 and all hope of a comeback already out the window. Still, it was a good sign to see Gates somewhat return to fantasy prominence after a very underachieving season. He had a handful of short catches over the middle, but the team never looked to him for anything downfield or for big plays. And in the second half, he was slow to get up after a reception. He was doubled over and crouching in pain, eventually dropping to a knee and letting the training staff take a look at him. But two plays later, he hauled in that difficult touchdown reception to tie the record. It came on a corner fade, and Gates did a nice job of hauling in the pass over his head and managing to keep both feet inbounds as he reached the corner.


Seattle Seahawks 50, Buffalo Bills 17

QB Russell Wilson, Pass: 14 - 23 - 205 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 92 - 3 - As if Wilson's rise to prominence wasn't bad enough for Bills' fans, getting to see what he can do live had to be awfully rough. After opening the game with a seven-yard loss, Wilson and the Seattle offense shredded what had been a much-improved Bills' defense. Wilson's first completion came on the game's first 3rd down, a 17-yard toss to Sidney Rice. The throw was not on line, but Rice made a great diving grab to instill some early confidence in the QB. Two plays later, another 3rd and long and another conversion as Wilson threw a dart to Zach Miller for eight yards. Wilson went play fake on the following play and dumped it off to an uncovered Michael Robinson in the flat for 20 yards. After another completion, this time to Doug Baldwin for eight, Wilson brought out the secret weapon. Running the read option with Marshawn Lynch, Wilson kept the ball and ran completely untouched into the end zone for the 14-yard TD run. The following drive was even easier, as Wilson opened with a 14-yard screen to Lynch, before going back to read option and picking up an easy 19 yards. Buffalo was able to get to Wilson after a play fake the next play, but two plays later Wilson killed the Bills with his feet again. Another 3rd down, Wilson dropped back to pass, but was unable to find an open receiver. The field completely opened up and while Wilson is not necessarily one to look to run, the vast amounts of open space were too much to pass up. Scrambling left; again completely untouched (no one within five yards) Wilson ran the ball in from 25 yards out. The onslaught continued, as Seattle used a strange variation of a flea flicker off a toss to Lynch (who in turn threw it back to Wilson) as Wilson connected with a wide-open Golden Tate for 44 yards. After throwing his first incompletion on 2nd down, Wilson threw a strike to Rice over the middle, but he was brought down just short of the goal line, forcing a FG. After an incompletion to kick off the following drive, the read option reared its ugly head, this time with Wilson giving it off to Lynch. Deep into Buffalo territory, Wilson used play action on 1st down before finding a wide-open Miller in the end zone for the four-yard TD pass. Buffalo finally held the read option in check as Wilson was stopped for no gain on the next drive, but a mix-up in coverage had Rice completely uncovered on a shallow crosser on 3rd down. With all the coverage on the opposite side of the field, Rice ran untouched all the way to the Buffalo 10 before finally getting shoved out of bounds. Two plays later, Wilson went back to the read option, killing the defense again on his way to his 3rd TD run of the half. A little more work this time; Wilson used his outside blocks perfectly on his way to the end zone. With five consecutive scoring drives (and 31 points) under their belt, Buffalo finally managed to force the offense to punt on their last drive just before halftime. Wilson threw consecutive incompletions before Wilson was dropped for a one-yard loss on the read option. Certainly Wilson and the Seattle offense didn't need any help (five out of six scoring drives, including four TDs in the 1st half) in the 2nd half, but the Bills gave it to them anyway. Wilson's first possession came at the Buffalo 20 and he opened the drive with another positive broken play. With solid coverage in the secondary, Wilson turned up field and picked up six yards on a scramble setting up another TD. Taking over in Buffalo territory after another turnover, Wilson threw consecutive incompletions to kick the drive off, the second of which should have been a TD to Robinson in the back of the end zone. Robinson was uncovered, but Wilson's throw was high. Wilson went to Baldwin on 3rd down, delivering a perfect ball, but DB Justin Rogers made a great play on the pass, jarring it loose before Baldwin could secure it. Finally forced to work with a long field in the 2nd half, Wilson and company easily went down the field for another scoring drive. Facing a 3rd down, Wilson escaped the pocket to ensure more time for his receivers down field. Miller was able to get loose, picking up 14 yards and first down on the completion. Wilson hit Tate on a quick slant for nine yards before smartly throwing it away on the next play. Two plays later, Wilson booted right and was met in the backfield by Mario Williams. However, like he had done all afternoon, Wilson easily won the one on one battle with Williams and turned what should have been a loss (or throwaway at worst) into a 13-yard scramble. Wilson completed two more balls before throwing incomplete in the end zone to Rice (who nearly made a tremendous catch) to conclude his day. Wilson was unstoppable on Sunday, leading his team to eight scoring drives in nine total drives with three rushing TDs and one passing. With the offensive shackles finally off, Wilson put on a tremendous performance in Toronto, including rushing for 92 yards on nine carries.

RB Robert Turbin, Rush: 10 - 31 - 0, Rec: 1 - -3 - 0 (1 targets) - With Wilson and Lynch dominating the 1st half, Turbin took over the rushing attack to burn the remainder of the clock in 2nd half. Turbin was held to a much more respectable 3.1 yards a carry, but did so as Seattle made no attempt to hide their intentions when the game got out of hand. Turbin also caught one ball, but it went for a three-yard loss.

RB Marshawn Lynch, Rush: 10 - 113 - 1, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Facing his former team for the first time since his trade, Lynch (in only ten carries) stomped all over the Buffalo defense. The true antithesis to C.J. Spiller was vicious through the hole, using minimal cuts and punishing potential tacklers. Using the success of the read option (namely the defenses shift in attention), Lynch was able to break off a game high 54-yard run through the middle of the defense. With the defense set on the edges and the interior compensating, a gaping hole opened for Lynch as he ran straight ahead. Not even needing to cut or shift, Lynch wasn't touched until he was tackled just short of the goal line. With the game quickly out of hand, Lynch only received one carry in the 2nd half, but he made sure to make it count. Running left, Lynch easily got the edge and ran untouched into the end zone for the 14-yard TD run. Lynch also caught one pass on a designed screen for 14 yards and used a nice cut just after he caught the low pass to avoid a tackle and get up field. It's easy to see there was much more out there for Lynch, but there was just no sense is walking him out there with such a massive lead.

RB Michael Robinson, Rush: 1 - 29 - 0, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - Robinson only had one carry, coming on a fake punt and picked up 29 yards on the play. Robinson also had one catch, as Wilson booted right and found Robinson uncovered in the flat for a 20-yard gain.

RB Leon Washington, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Washington carried the ball twice picking up five yards. Washington also had a punt return for a TD called back due to penalty.

WR Sidney Rice, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (4 targets) - Rice led all Seattle pass catchers in every statistical category on Sunday, including five targets and four receptions. Rice's first catch was a thing of beauty, coming on 3rd and long on the Seahawks' opening drive. Running a corner route, Wilson's throw was a bit low and wide, but going parallel to the ground, Rice made a great diving catch for 17 yards. Rice just missed a TD on Seattle's 3rd drive, bringing in the short slant before getting hit just short of the goal line. Rice's long came two plays later, as he ran a shallow crosser underneath. With the coverage mixed up and Rice running away from it, he was able to take the short toss and turn up field for a 41-yard gain. Rice caught one more quick slant before his final target was an overturned TD in the corner of the end zone. Rice made the catch, but could not get his 2nd foot down. Initially ruled a TD; replay clearly showed his right foot never touched inbounds.

WR Golden Tate, Rec: 3 - 64 - 0 (4 targets) - Tate received four targets, catching three with a long of 44 yards. With Lynch and Wilson working their flea flicker magic behind the line of scrimmage, Tate ran all the way across the field and easily connected for the long pass. Tate's two other catches came of the quick slant variety, picking up 10 on both.

WR Doug Baldwin, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Baldwin was targeted three times, but only registered one catch for eight yards. Baldwin just missed what could have been a TD as he ran a post route. Wilson delivered a great ball, but the pass was just knocked out by a great defensive play from DB Justin Rogers.

TE Zach Miller, Rec: 3 - 26 - 1 (3 targets) - Miller caught all three targets, including one TD. With Wilson faking the handoff to Lynch, Miller was able to drag across the end zone essentially uncovered for the four-yard TD pass.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Pass: 21 - 38 - 217 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0 - In a season full of struggles, Sunday's game was just one more nail in Ryan Fitzpatrick's coffin. With the way Wilson was playing on the other side, Buffalo needed an other worldly type performance from their QB and Fitzpatrick is just not capable of delivering those types of games. Fitzpatrick opened the game trying to hit T.J. Graham on a vertical route down the sideline, but like a blind man throwing darts, Fitzpatrick merely heaves and prays on every deep throw. Badly overthrown, the tone was set and Buffalo was punting two plays later. Fitzpatrick actually looked palpable on the Bills' 2nd drive, opening with a short 11-yard dump to Scott Chandler in the flat for a quick first down. Seeing sagging coverage on the outside, Fitzpatrick picked up a quick seven yards to Stevie Johnson the following play. Two plays later, Brad Smith curled up for a 10-yard gain on 3rd down to extend the drive. Fitzpatrick connected with Johnson again three plays later, a quick slant that went for 17 yards and put Buffalo into position to score their first TD of the game. However, the rhythm was short lived, as the following two drives netted zero first downs and resulted in two quick punts. Deep in deficit and needing to give the defense a chance to regroup, it was the Bills pass catchers who came to the rescue. After picking up a 3rd down with a short toss to Chandler, Fitzpatrick went right back to his TE as he ran free down the seam. An awful throw, both high and behind him, Chandler made a tremendous play to make the 22-yard catch. A drop and a short run had Buffalo facing another 3rd down, but as he did all day, Johnson worked CB Richard Sherman on a beautiful corner route. Probably Fitzpatrick's easiest completion of the day, Johnson was essentially uncovered for the 20-yard TD pass. With a little momentum, Fitzpatrick went right back to the corner route to kick off the last drive before halftime, hitting Johnson on an almost identical play for 24 yards. A short six-yard slant to Spiller (nearly intercepted on the dangerous throw) followed by a dump to Chandler over the middle for 13 yards had the Bills deep in Seattle territory. Unfortunately, time was not on their side and following an incompletion to Johnson, the Bills had to settle for a FG. With a little momentum, having scored ten unanswered points and getting the ball to kick off the 2nd half, Fitzpatrick managed to do what he does best. After a sack and another horrible overthrow of an open receiver down field, Johnson made a spectacular one handed grab on another high throw for 25 yards on 3rd and long to keep the drive going. With barely any time to celebrate, Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass for a 3rd consecutive time and like he as done so often in 2012, made up his mind pre-snap. Locked into Chandler, despite the double coverage, Fitzpatrick's throw was easily intercepted by LB K.J. Wright. Such a microcosm of the season, hope immediately followed by utter disappointment, the Bills offense (especially Fitzpatrick) never recovered from the INT. The following drive, Fitzpatrick opened with a couple quick shots to Johnson, but was strip sacked on his next drop back resulting in another turnover. As if the two badly missed deep shots earlier weren't enough, Fitzpatrick opened the next drive with another for good measure. Using play action, Johnson was able to get both vertical and behind the coverage, but Fitzpatrick's heave was not even close. After a short gain to Smith on a quick slant, Fitzpatrick dropped back to throw on 3rd down. Hearing footsteps, Fitzpatrick looked incredibly uneasy in the pocket despite having all day and ultimately uncorked a wild throw downfield to Chandler. The throw was not close, Chandler reacted (or didn't) as if it was intended for someone else as the pass was both high and well wide as it sailed into S Earl Thomas' hands. Thomas returned the INT for a TD perfectly capping another abhorrent game from the Bills' QB. Never easy to watch a Fitzpatrick-led attack, Sunday was especially difficult as across the field stood a rookie who Buffalo had passed on not once or twice, but three consecutive rounds in the 2012 draft.

QB Tyler Thigpen, Pass: 3 - 5 - 30 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Thigpen came in for mop up duty late, completing three passes for 30 yards. Given the score of the game and the timing of his insertion, it was clear Thigpen wasn't inserted for anything more than getting off the field.

RB C.J. Spiller, Rush: 17 - 103 - 1, Rec: 3 - -2 - 0 (5 targets) - It is hard to imagine a situation in which Spiller receives 94% of the carries and it still isn't enough. But then you look at the man calling the plays and it all starts to make sense. Just as electric and every bit as effective, Spiller maintained his gross yards per carry on the season, averaging 6.1 on Sunday and managed to find the end zone too. Of the Bills first five possessions, Spiller received a total of ten carries. Eight of those ten came amongst the two TD drives further suggesting what the entire league already knows (given it's week 15), Spiller (the run game) is good and Fitzpatrick is not. Able to dazzle at any moment, Spiller turned an eight-yard carry on the first TD drive into a mess of missed tackles. With the run designed left, Spiller promptly cut back, avoiding his first potential tackler in the backfield. Turning up field, Spiller split two defenders (one caught flat-footed and another flailing at his legs) before cutting around another. Just missing a breakaway run, Spiller was finally wrapped up just short of the first down marker. Three plays later, Spiller electrified the crowd again, using just one cut and pure speed to run untouched into the end zone for the 14-yard TD. Spiller was the focal point of the next TD drive, using his speed to pick up 26 yards on consecutive plays to open the drive, including his long of 18 yards. The game quickly got away from the Bills, but it is still hard to make sense of the move away from Spiller. The catalyst for both TD drives; Spiller is the one player on offense who had the potential to turn any touch into immediate points. Spiller was also targeted five times in the passing game, but only managed three catches for negative two yards. News to Gailey, the league has caught on to the simple screens to the RB; it is time to start getting a bit more inventive when dealing with one of the leagues most explosive players.

RB Tashard Choice, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Choice only received one carry on Sunday, picking up seven yards on the play.

WR Steve Johnson, Rec: 8 - 115 - 1 (12 targets) - Johnson led all Bills every in receiving category, picking up 12 targets and eight catches, including one TD. In what has typically been a tough matchup for most WRs, Johnson consistently beat Seattle's best corner Richard Sherman. After taking advantage of his sagging coverage on his first catch, Johnson easily worked Sherman again on his next catch, picking up 17 yards on a slant. Johnson's next route was even prettier, completely turning Sherman around on a deep corner route resulting in a 20-yard TD catch. Johnson went right back to the corner route to kick off the next drive, as the result was almost identical, picking up 24 yards on the play. Johnson's best play, however, came on his next catch. Facing a 3rd and long, Johnson ran a deep post on the play. Fitzpatrick's throw was high (when is it not?) and behind Johnson, forcing the WR leave his feet and open up to make a play on the ball. Johnson reached up with only his right hand and snatched the pass out of the air for the 25-yard gain. Johnson just missed another long play two drives later as the Bills went play action. Johnson again beat the coverage, but Fitzpatrick's awful deep ball accuracy had the ball sailing well over Johnson's head.

WR Brad Smith, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (5 targets) - Smith caught three passes on five targets, but was largely uninvolved (only one catch in the first half) until garbage time.

WR T.J. Graham, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (8 targets) - Considering where Graham was taken in the draft last offseason, it is hard to imagine he didn't feel some pressure on Sunday. Unfortunately, pressured or not, Graham had probably his worst game to date as a pro, with three bad drops. When the game was in the 1st half and still theoretically winnable, he had more drops (two) than catches (one). Graham didn't appear to be fighting the ball, but his confidence was certainly shot after the first bumble.

WR Dorin Dickerson, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Dickerson caught one ball on the game's final drive, a 10-yard out from backup QB Tyler Thigpen.

WR Ruvell Martin, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Like Dickerson, Martin's lone catch came on the final drive, a short eight-yard catch from Thigpen.

TE Scott Chandler, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (8 targets) - Of the few offensive bright spots on Sunday, Chandler was one of them. 2nd on the team in all receiving categories, Chandler was targeted eight times, with five catches. Chandler's long went for 21 yards and was every bit as incredible as Johnson's one handed grab. Running up the seam, Chandler was forced to reach back for the Fitzpatrick throw as it was well behind him. Chandler actually deflected the pass (intentional or not, it was good) out in front of himself before hauling it in. The sheer concentration to make the play running at full speed is quite impressive, but to do so over the middle with the league's most physical DBs are bearing down is exponentially more impressive.


Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Dallas Cowboys 27

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pass: 24 - 40 - 339 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0 - Roethisberger was nearly intercepted on his third pass of the game when he combined a poor decision with an inaccurate throw. He threw a slant to Antonio Brown, who's defensive back was in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. The defensive back deflected the ball into the air, but a Cowboys' defensive lineman couldn't hold onto the ball. Roethlisberger rebounded with a perfect pass to Emmanuel Sanders over the middle, but Sanders couldn't hold onto it when he was hit by two defenders. Roethlisberger wasn't having a great game in the first half. He wasn't under pressure in the pocket very often but couldn't connect with his receivers. Once they got under two minutes however, Roethlisberger came alive as the Cowboys got some pressure in the backfield. He first evaded a blitz to hit Antonio Brown down the field, before waiting for an age in the pocket against a three man rush to hit Heath Miller wide open down the sideline for a touchdown. Having finally connected with a deep ball to Mike Wallace to set up a short touchdown run for Dwyer, Roethlisberger marched his team down the field for his second touchdown on a quick throw to Brown in the flat at the goalline. Roethlisberger had a very good second half compared to his first, but threw the game sealing interception to Brandon Carr when trying to hit Mike Wallace on a deep out route.

RB Jonathan Dwyer, Rush: 9 - 22 - 1 (1 targets) - Dwyer's first carry went for six yards through a good hole inside left tackle. Dwyer ran again off left guard for a four yard gain. Dwyer's third carry was finally stopped for just one yard as he bounced off the a pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage. Dwyer was shut down before he could get to the line of scrimmage on his next run. Dwyer's next carry came at the beginning of the third quarter when he pushed his way up the middle for four yards. A similar draw play was stopped for little more than one yard on the next play. After the big play to Mike Wallace, Jonathan Dwyer ran the ball in behind David DeCastro for a touchdown. It was the typical run that Isaac Redman normally makes for the Steelers. Dwyer was bottled up with his first carry on the Steelers' drive in the fourth quarter. Dwyer took a draw play over right tackle for four yards.

RB Isaac Redman, Rush: 3 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Redman's first involvement was a reception for 14 yards when Roethlisberger checked the ball down to him in the flat for a first down. Despite tripping at the line of scrimmage with his first carry, Redman stumbled forward for a gain of five yards. Redman's longest run of the day came when he reversed the field on a handoff over right guard before breaking tackles to rumble down the left sideline. Redman limped to the bench after that run, but came straight back to throw a key block in a big passing play before carrying up the middle for a gain of four yards.

RB Chris Rainey, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Rainey's first carry came at the beginning of the second quarter when he took the ball off of a draw for five yards. The Steelers went straight back to Rainey when he was inches away from escaping for a the first down, but instead was tackled inches short of the first down from behind. Rainey gained six yards on another draw play before the half.

WR Antonio Brown, Rec: 8 - 76 - 1 (12 targets) - Brown beat Mike Jenkins running a quick out from the slot against single coverage. He caught the pass for a first down. Brown made an excellent reception over the middle when he worked back to the football and endured a big hit from Sterling Moore to convert for a first down and a big play. The Steelers went straight back to him on a bubble screen that went for a four yard gain. It wasn't well blocked, as the defense read it, but Brown pushed his way forward. After his quarterback evaded pressure, Brown stayed alive running across the field for a reception down the field and a first down. Brown wasn't as heavily involved in the offense as he normally is when fully healthy, but came free at the goalline from a stacked formation to evade Mike Jenkins for a touchdown at the goalline. After his fumble on the punt return, the Steelers next went back to Brown with a bubble screen that was limited to two yards. Brown caught a slant pass for a first down against single coverage after Roethlisberger couldn't connect with him on a deep comeback. Brown made another mistake on a punt return by not catching the ball, before running out of bounds on a third and 20+checkdown to stop the clock for the Cowboys.

WR Mike Wallace, Rec: 4 - 95 - 0 (10 targets) - Roethlisberger and Wallace couldn't connect early in the game over the middle when Brandon Carr made a good play on the football. Roethlisberger went back to Wallace again in the first quarter as he tried to hit him deep down the right sideline, but couldn't connect again. Roehtlisberger went straight back to Wallace for a backshoulder throw and a first down on the next snap. The Cowboys challenged that reception however and it was overturned. Another drop for Wallace. Wallace finally caught the deep ball behind the secondary that had been evading him all season long in the third quarter. Wallace ran a deep seam route before catching the ball inside the two yard line. After his big gain deep, Roethlisberger threw a slant bubble screen to Wallace that went for 20 yards down the right sideline. Wallace caught a crossing route underneath on second and six for four yards. Wallace caught a wide open curl route underneath for 11 yards and a first down.

WR Jerricho Cotchery, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (2 targets) - Cotchery's first reception went for a first down over the middle on third and five. He fell forward for a first down as a defender hit him immediately after the catch. Cotchery made an outstanding reception after finding a soft spot against zone coverage on a crossing route. Cotchery was wide open, but had to fully extend to bring the ball in.

WR Emmanuel Sanders (1 targets) - Sanders' first target came deep over the middle when he was hit immediately by two defenders, he caught the ball but couldn't complete the process of the catch.

TE Heath Miller, Rec: 7 - 92 - 1 (7 targets) - Miller caught a curl underneath before turning upfield for a first down and 12 yards. Roethlisberger hit Miller for a 17 yard gain over the middle with a defender draped over his back. Miller was hit by Roethlisberger running an underneath route across the field before he turned forward for an eight yard gain. Miller caught another crossing route when he faked a stop over the middle and beat a defender for 13 yards. Roethlisberger went straight back to Miller for a six yard gain running a similar route. After 47/48 pump fakes in the pocket, Roethlisberger found Miller wide open on the right sideline. Miller caught the ball 20 yards from the goal-line, but had an easy run in to the endzone. Miller caught a six yard curl underneath to start overtime.

QB Tony Romo, Pass: 30 - 42 - 341 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -4 - 0 - Outside of one play, Romo wasn't under pressure in the pocket early on against the Steelers. Because of that, he was able to easily pick apart the Steelers' overmatched coverage. After settling for a field goal on their first drive, and a Demarco Murray fumble at the goalline ended their second, Romo correctly identified the Steelers' undrafted rookie playing safety and took advantage of his hesitation in coverage against play action. That led to a wide open touchdown reception for Jason Witten. Romo was making plays consistently against a suspect Steelers' secondary. He did take one huge sack from Lawrence Timmons, but managed to convert a second and 23 before hitting Dez Bryant on a back shoulder fade with a beautiful pass in the endzone for his second touchdown. Romo drove his team down to the goalline before DeMarco Murray ran the ball in for the game-tying touchdown, but couldn't put his team in field goal range when he slightly overthrew Jason Witten in the dying moments of regulation.

RB DeMarco Murray, Rush: 14 - 81 - 1, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - Murray's first carry was stopped for just two yards over right tackle. Murray's second carry went for nine yards when he broke off left tackle on third and one. On second and one, Murray cutback when running to the left for another nine yard gain into the secondary. Murray pushed his way up the middle for a four yard gain with his next carry. Murray broke free over left guard when he bounced off a poor attempted tackle from Brett Keisel and sprinted down the sideline for a big gain. Murray bounced off another Keisel tackle up the middle near the goalline,but as he tried to escape the middle of the field, James Harrison hit him to knock the ball free and Keisel recovered it for the turnover. Murray returned to the field after his fumble, but was stopped short of the first down on second and two. He got the ball again on the next snap to fight forward for three yards and a first down. On a draw play on third and 30, Murray was stopped by Ryan Clark after a three yard gain. Murray was stopped after a two yard gain up the middle on second and three. Murray looked set to get the first down on the next play running off left tackle, but Lawrence Timmons made a very athletic play to stop him for no gain. Murray broke off another big run when he ran outside left tackle before cutting back across the field and only being stopped by Troy Polamalu. Murray was stopped by the Steelers' other safety, Ryan Clark, on his next carry, but Clark stopped him in the hole at the line of scrimmage. On his next carry, Clark was more worried about Dez Bryant at the goalline, which allowed Murray to run straight through his gap for a touchdown at the goalline.

Murray was active as a receiver, but all of his receptions came on check downs out of the backfield when he carried the ball forward as if it was an extension of the running game.

RB Felix Jones, Rush: 3 - 10 - 0 - Jones came in for a two yard gain out of the shotgun formation on the Cowboys' first drive. Jones had the first carry of the Cowboys' drive after Murray fumbled, as he escaped to the edge for four yards. Jones came in for another carry from the shotgun formation late in the third quarter, when he was held to four yards on second and five.

WR Miles Austin, Rec: 7 - 79 - 0 (10 targets) - Austin caught a pass late in the play as he ran a deep out route for a first down. Austin caught a wide open pass in the flat when the Steelers blew a coverage. Austin went forward for eight yards and a first down. Austin caught a pass down the other sideline on the very next play when he ran a comeback and was wide open against the Steelers' replacement cornerback. For the third play in a row, Austin caught a pass. This time a comeback against the same defensive back, but against better coverage. Austin caught a bubble screen for seven yards, but the reception was negated by a holding penalty on the receiver blocking for him. Austin caught another eight yard curl against the Steelers' off coverage outside. Lined up in the slot, Austin caught a quick pass from Romo before running forward against soft coverage for a first down.

WR Dez Bryant, Rec: 4 - 59 - 1 (9 targets) - Bryant caught his first pass against Keenan Lewis on a curl route when he wheeled Lewis around for a first down and 12 yards. Bryant caught a 14 yard pass on third and 15 that was negated for a holding call on the offensive line. Bryant caught a quick pass in the flat for a seven yard gain against off coverage. Bryant was having a quiet game, but Tony Romo found him in the endzone when he lost Keenan Lewis by adjusting to a back shoulder throw that the defensive back couldn't see. Bryant caught a deep comeback in single coverage against Keenan Lewis for 13 yards and a first down.

WR Dwayne Harris, Rec: 4 - 46 - 0 (4 targets) - Harris caught a six yard pass for a first down in the flat when he had to fight his way forward for a first down against a cornerback. After a big sack from Lawrence Timmons, Romo threw a bubble screen to Harris on second and 23. He broke multiple tackles for an 18 yard gain. Harris caught another quick pass in the flat on first and 10, when he broke two tackles to bring the Cowboys to the Steelers' goalline.

WR Cole Beasley, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Beasley caught a quick out for six yards on the Cowboys' first drive. Beasley didn't catch his second pass until the third quarter, after his first came in the first quarter. His second reception was similar to his first as he ran a quick out route for a first down.

WR Kevin Ogletree, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Ogletree caught a nine yard curl route underneath against off coverage.

TE Jason Witten, Rec: 5 - 43 - 1 (8 targets) - Witten's first target was a reception...for a touchdown. Witten was wide open off of play action in the endzone for an easy score. His next target came on the following drive over the middle, but the result was very different as he dropped the ball against tight coverage. Witten caught a curl route against off coverage for an five yard gain. Witten worked back to the football for a seven yard gain that was negated by a penalty on the Cowboys' offensive line. The Cowboys replied by running exactly the same route for the same gain on the next play. Witten caught a curl underneat the Steelers' safety coverage for a nine yard gain and a first down. With the Cowboys driving to win the game, Witten caught another curl route underneath for six yards.

TE James Hanna, Rec: 2 - 45 - 0 (2 targets) - Hanna sprinted away from Larry Foote on a crossing route underneath for a first down. Romo went back to Hanna on first and 20 as he ran away from James Harrison down the field for a 29 yard gain.


Detroit Lions 10, Arizona Cardinals 38

QB Matthew Stafford, Pass: 24 - 50 - 246 - 0 TD / 3 INT - The Cardinals defense did not make things easy for Stafford and the passing game as they played well at home this week. Outside of his throws to Calvin Johnson, Stafford was just 14-of-33 for 125 yards. Even with Johnson's productive day against the generally tight coverage of Patrick Peterson, Stafford was one of this week's big disappointments at the quarterback position. The Lions offense totaled just 34 yards in the first quarter and even took a lead with an impressive 11-play touchdown drive early in the second quarter to go up 7-0. Stafford nearly lead another scoring drive in the second quarter, but penalties and missing open receivers plagued him. In the second quarter alone, Stafford had two ugly interceptions, one returned for a touchdown and the other inside the 5-yard line that staked Arizona to a 21-7 halftime advantage. Stafford stared down Tony Scheffler where the safety was able to break in front of the receiver and he overthrew Calvin Johnson on a double move on the two turnovers. It was apparent that Stafford was not comfortable throwing to targets other than Calvin Johnson throughout the game. He threw over the wrong shoulder to Tony Scheffler on a missed opportunity down the seam on one occasion and had some timing issues with Kris Durham as well. As the Lions trailed in the second half, they were prone to mistakes that killed their momentum on potential scoring drives. A rare gorgeous throw to an elevating Kris Durham in the end zone was wiped away with a delay of game penalty. The Lions' last attempt to get back into the game was thwarted by a horrible throw by Stafford at the goal line. It was between Scheffler running an out route and Durham on the fade route. The defensive back was the only player in the area playing the ball and took it the other way for a game-clinching touchdown return. Stafford was not able to benefit from garbage time in the closing minutes as the team punted with a little more than two minutes to play. In 11-of-14 games this season, Stafford has attempted 40+ passes and this was his lowest yardage total despite 50 passes. In addition, Stafford has thrown an interception in 10 games, including 8-of-10 since Detroit's bye week. The Falcons and Bears offer significant challenges despite both games being at home to close the season.

RB Mikel Leshoure, Rush: 14 - 55 - 1, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (3 targets) - In a game that Detroit trailed for most of three quarters, Leshoure still amassed 16 touches and a decent fantasy day. In one of the rare highlights for the Lions offense, Leshoure capped off an 11-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown plunge early in the second quarter. Leshoure found consistent running lanes inside, but playing catch-up translated to inconsistent usage from drive-to-drive. His vision was a plus as he found cutback lanes and used proper leverage for additional yards after contact. His day could have been over 100 rushing yards as he nearly broke a 70-yard touchdown run in the second half. Only a shoestring tackle in the secondary prevented an even longer gain on the play. He was targeted three times on screen passes, but with minimal success. Arizona read each well and limited Leshoure to short gains or a loss on those plays. Leshoure has averaged less than 4.0 yards-per-carry each of the last four games, but has made his fantasy living with his short-range touchdowns. He has seven touchdowns in the past seven games despite his lack of efficiency.

RB Joique Bell, Rush: 7 - 24 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - Despite playing from behind, Bell was not used as much as in previous weeks in that situation. Bell had a tougher day than Leshoure finding holes in the Arizona front seven as draw plays, other than in garbage time, did not fool any defender. Over half of his yardage came in the final drive of the first and second halves. In addition to dancing in the backfield on more than one occasion instead of getting what yards were available, Bell dropped one of his targets on the day.

RB Stefan Logan, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - The usual special teamer got some offensive snaps as Detroit trailed the entire second half this week. He showed his phone booth quickness on his two receptions, turning quick out routes into sizeable gains after the catch. He was able to accelerate to top speed instantly, once down the sidelines and the second into the red zone. His effectiveness could led to more opportunities in the closing weeks of the season as Detroit is thin at the receiver position, especially in the slot.

RB Kevin Smith, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Smith barely saw the field behind Leshoure and Bell and looked completely out of rhythm against Arizona. He surprised the defense on a screen play on third-and-long to get into field goal range in the first half, only to disappoint with his target later in the game. After drifting out into the flat, Smith actually finished his route out of bounds by the time Stafford targeted him. That blunder resulted in a missed third down and a Detroit punt.

WR Calvin Johnson, Rec: 10 - 121 - 0 (17 targets) - Johnson was the lone bright spot on the Detroit offense in Arizona, yet had his own blemishes in a matchup against Patrick Peterson and double coverage for a majority of the game. Defensive good backs tipped two of his first three targets with good plays on the ball. Johnson actually had a slow start to the game despite his finishing statistical line. Stafford missed Johnson on multiple occasions where he had separation, especially on a go route in the end zone. On another reception, Johnson was tackled at the 2-yard line, which was his best chance to score. Late in the game, Johnson accumulated nearly half of his yardage with a 30-yard gain after a broken tackle and a gorgeous over-the-shoulder throw and catch between he and Stafford. This week marked Johnson's third straight game of 10+ receptions and 110+ yards. Johnson leads the NFL in targets on the season and has a huge edge over any other receiver since Week 10 with 15.2 targets per game. He has a legitimate chance to break Jerry Rice's longstanding receiving yardage record this season with his likely usage over the final two weeks.

WR Mike Thomas, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0 - Thomas was again minimally involved on offense with just a single rushing attempt, a reverse, that resulted in a minimal gain.

WR Brian Robiskie, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Robiskie received more playing time than usual with Detroit using many 4-receiver sets in catch-up mode. Both of his targets came in garbage time at the end of the fourth quarter. He caught a short crossing route, but then dropped a low pass on his final opportunity of the game.

WR Kris Durham, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (5 targets) - As the primary no.2 option with Titus Young and Ryan Broyles out, Durham lined up on the outside for a majority of his snaps. Out of 50 pass attempts for Stafford, only five came Durham's way. It was easy to see why as their timing was off and that resulted in just a single catch on the afternoon. Durham's lone catch was the only on-target pass he saw all day, which did happen at a crucial moment for Detroit. Stafford was fading back in the pocket and found Durham on a crossing route to convert a third down when the game was still within reach, trailing by just seven points. Durham has some intriguing size and ball skills, but his involvement on offense could be limited as Stafford favors Calvin Johnson on the outside or a tight end or running back on shorter routes.

TE Tony Scheffler, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (7 targets) - With Brandon Pettigrew out and the receiver position in flux, Scheffler was the de facto no.2 target in the passing game for Detroit against Arizona. He had seven targets and there were opportunities for a much bigger game than his 3/36/0 stat line. The most notable missed chance for Scheffler came on a seam route where he created yards of separation. Stafford's pass came in on the wrong shoulder, which caused Scheffler to awkwardly try to contort his body and make a play on the ball. He did not come up with the difficult, but hardly impossible play that was a minimum of 30 yards with the chance to be a long touchdown. Scheffler is an intriguing desperation play at tight end as long as Pettigrew is out as he can be a possession target as well as make receiver-like plays down the field. Stafford and Scheffler were not on the same play against Arizona, but have shown that chemistry in the past.

TE Will Heller, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - Heller was mainly a blocker on his snaps, but did corral two receptions in the pass game. Both were as an outlet receiver on third downs. Once he picked up a first down on an out route, the other coming up well short on a third-and-long play late in the third quarter.

QB Ryan Lindley, Pass: 14 - 21 - 104 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0 - Lindley arguably had his best game this season against Detroit. He only had to throw 21 passes as Detroit shot themselves in the foot with four turnovers, but showed more skill as a game manager with just seven incompletions and one interception on the day. He was able to identify free rushers frequently and use his outlet receivers or short crossing routes to keep the chains moving. After his early interception, Lindley regrouped did not let the growing lead Arizona had by halftime disappear. Lindley did not make any spectacular throws, but found Fitzgerald, Roberts, and Floyd on short and intermediate routes when needed. The game plan shifted squarely to the running game as the lead expanded, which helped Lindley's efficiency and limited mistakes.

RB Chris Wells, Rush: 17 - 67 - 3 - It was a classic Beanie Wells-type game against Detroit. He was a no-nonsense runner between the tackles with little creativity for additional yards and benefitted from sole ownership of the goal line duties and wearing down the defense at the end of the game. The bulk of Wells' fantasy production came on a 31-yard touchdown run to ice the game in the fourth quarter. He was able to get the corner as Detroit was sucked up inside and there was no one to stop him down the sidelines. Wells also benefitted from one of Detroit's four turnovers, setting the offense up at the 5-yard line. Wells pushed the pile for the touchdown on that drive. Also in typical fashion, Wells was absent from the passing game with zero targets.

RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, Rush: 5 - 20 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - As Arizona led for most of the game and attempted just 21 passes, Stephens-Howling was not heavily involved at running back. On the ground, most of his production came on the first play of the game. He found daylight on a draw play and used his lateral explosion in the hole to gain 14 yards. In terms of running back skill on display, it was the highlight play for Arizona on the ground against Detroit. His other successful play on offense came on a little toss play on third-and-four. The offensive line was blown back from the line of scrimmage. Stephens-Howling broke tackles and wiggled his way close to the first down marker. Again, it was a display of his underrated ability as a Darren Sproles-like playmaker.

RB William Powell, Rush: 5 - 4 - 0 - In mop up duty, Powell had three of his five carries in succession to run out the clock at the end of the game. He was stuffed on each occasion as Detroit sold out to stop the run. His best opportunity earlier in the game came when the offensive line blocked well at the point of attack, but Powell was tripped up making his way past the line of scrimmage.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (5 targets) - Fitzgerald had a better game than in weeks past, especially considering that only 21 targets were available as a team in the passing game. He caught four of them and drew a questionable defensive pass interference penalty on another look. His downfield playmaking ability was not needed as Ryan Lindley looked for short and intermediate targets to supplement the run game. Fitzgerald's lone deep target was when he drew the interference penalty, which was a weak arm bar by the defensive back at best. Despite the call, Fitzgerald nearly came down with the acrobatic one-handed reception. It is tough to expect much more production than this game to close the season as the quarterback position and offensive line need to be upgraded in the offseason. Fitzgerald's five targets marked his lowest usage of the season and he has yet to score since the Cardinals' Week 10 bye week.

WR Andre Roberts, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (5 targets) - Roberts was the most targeted Arizona receiver on third down with four opportunities in the short passing game. Twice he was ability to convert for the first down, once he came up short of the marker, and another target looked to be dropped by Roberts on an out route. His ability to separate early on a pass route meshes well with Lindley as the rookie quarterback was looking to get the ball out of his hands quickly against Detroit's solid pass rush.

WR Michael Floyd, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (5 targets) - The rookie receiver led the team with 37 receiving yards, which is impressive considering there were only 104 to go around against the Lions. He has yet to really flash first round talent this season and that was again the case this week. He did not gain yards after contact on his receiver screen or make any above-average plays on the ball on his other two receptions.

TE Rob Housler, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Housler made the most of his two targets, catching both on third-and-long situations. He gained yards after the catch, including a nice spin move away from the initial defender. His second reception moved Arizona into field goal range on a third-and-long situation that was unlikely to be converted.

TE Jeff King, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - King continues to see time along with Housler at tight end. The veteran was a safety value option on short targets. Lindley's biggest mistake came on an off-target pass to King in the first quarter. The throw was behind King, which was intercepted when the game was still very much in doubt. King was called for offensive pass interference to boot on the play.


Kansas City Chiefs 0, Oakland Raiders 15

QB Brady Quinn, Pass: 18 - 32 - 136 - 0 TD / 1 INT - An offensive performance to be forgotten would be the best way to describe Kansas City's efforts in Oakland. It all started with Brady Quinn, who refused to test the Oakland defense down the field and continued to take the check downs to his backs and receivers. Quinn was under duress for most of the game as a stifling Raiders' front four continued to disrupt his timing and rhythm. Quinn threw an interception in the first half on a pass that looked to be a miscommunication between he and his target; the pass, thrown over the middle, had no Chief near it. Quinn was let down by his inexperienced receiving corps, who struggled to get separation all game long.

RB Jamaal Charles, Rush: 9 - 10 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Jamaal Charles was completely held in check by the Raiders to the tune of 10 total rushing yards on nine carries. Charles did break one run down the sideline for a 20+ yard gain at one time, but that was nullified by penalty. The Chiefs continued to lean on Charles even as the game got away from them; credit has to go to the Oakland front seven, who had good gap discipline and did not give Charles the cutback lane on stretch plays. Charles was the recipient of a few check down passes, but he was tackled more or less immediately.

WR Dexter McCluster, Rec: 7 - 59 - 0 (10 targets) - McCluster's only contributions to the game came on passes within five yards of the line of scrimmage, which was all that was possible with Quinn under centre. McCluster made some nice moves to get free on a short reception in the fourth quarter for a 31-yard gain, but that play might have been the highlight of the entire game for the Chiefs.

WR Jamar Newsome, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - Jamar Newsome, playing in Dwayne Bowe's place, was a disappointment. Mental errors led to a costly third-down drop on a slant route, and overall his route-running was subpar. As a result, Quinn took check down passes and never had a chance to develop the downfield passing attack.

WR Jon Baldwin (4 targets) - Jonathan Baldwin did not pull his weight in this contest; he looked apathetic with his route-running and downfield blocking and had no desire when Quinn lofted passes up for him to attack. He was often the favorite to reel the pass in, but he half-heartedly swung his arms at them, more often than not. In a receiving corps devoid of playmakers, Baldwin was the biggest disappointment and failed to register a catch.

TE Tony Moeaki, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (4 targets) - Tony Moeaki made a terrific catch on a hospital pass over the middle, reeling in the football over his shoulder as an onrushing safety tackled him in the midsection. He was targeted 10+ yards downfield in the fourth quarter on a couple of occasions late in the game as the Raiders went into a shell coverage, but he had little meaningful involvement overall, as the Chiefs' passing attack was nonexistent.

QB Carson Palmer, Pass: 18 - 29 - 182 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0 - Carson Palmer acted as more of a game manager against the Chiefs as the Raiders' ground game took the pressure off him, asking him to make only simple reads and not turn the football over. He accomplished both goals, completing passes in rhythm to his receivers, notably Rod Streater. Palmer was inaccurate on some passes and admittedly, his receivers could have had more separation on such passes, but the Chiefs' defense did an excellent job overall. Palmer gave his receivers chances to make plays downfield, especially a Denarius Moore post route, but that pass was broken up, along with many other downfield attempts. It is noteworthy that Terrelle Pryor stepped in for a three-play series in the first half.

RB Darren McFadden, Rush: 30 - 110 - 0, Rec: 4 - 39 - 0 (4 targets) - Darren McFadden was the workhorse of the offense for the entire game. He tended to bounce his runs outside a little bit too often, sometimes resulting in losses. However, for the most part he was crisp in his cuts, decisive and showed off his excellent perimeter speed. McFadden fumbled the football in the third quarter when, after a short reception, a Chiefs player ripped it out. This was the only blemish on an otherwise efficient performance. The game was a statement by McFadden that, when healthy, he is the Raiders offense.

RB Mike Goodson, Rush: 13 - 89 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Mike Goodson ran with excellent feel for cutback lanes, was able to get to the perimeter with his speed and make subtle moves in the hole, and overall delivered a great performance. Goodson was elusive and broke several tackle attempts as well and proved to be a good complement to McFadden. He was adequate in pass protection as well.

WR Denarius Moore, Rec: 5 - 46 - 0 (8 targets) - Denarius Moore, when Palmer went downfield, was the primary target. Moore almost reeled in a beautiful pass on a post pattern, but Javier Arenas was there to break it up at the last second. Moore was rather inconsistent in his route-running overall, and seemed to be well-covered throughout. He strengthened his performance in the second half, but almost had a fumble to his name, which Oakland fortunately recovered. It was a sloppy game by the former Vol.

WR Rod Streater, Rec: 5 - 62 - 0 (6 targets) - Rod Streater was the primary target in the passing game for Carson Palmer. It is Streater's route-running ability and trust factor with Palmer that earns him the targets -- and more often than not, he rewards that trust. Streater consistently plucked the football out of the air, notably on a post pattern where he shielded the ball with his body as a defender tried to knock the ball down. With the passing game taking a backseat to the ground game, Streater's involvement was minimal. However, he was definitely the most consistent pass catcher the team had.

TE Brandon Myers, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (4 targets) - Brandon Myers, normally a favorite target of Palmer, was kept in the block for the majority of snaps as the Raiders tended towards more three-wide sets when they had to pass. Myers was utilised as a blocker in the run game to good effect, though. His only receptions came in the two-minute drill, although he was targeted down the field on one other occasion; it was broken up.


Denver Broncos 34, Baltimore Ravens 17

QB Peyton Manning, Pass: 17 - 28 - 204 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Peyton Manning had a solid if unspectacular day in the box score, but he played better than his stats indicate. His biggest blemish was a blatant overthrew on an easy long touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, but he also suffered a couple drops here and there, as every quarterback does. Manning faced serious pressure in spurts on a couple drives, but had a fairly clean pocket most of the day, as the Ravens defense slogged through injuries and ineffectiveness that has plagued it throughout the season. Manning's lone touchdown was a beautiful play action call from about 50 yards deep to Eric Decker in which Decker simply stutter stepped his way past 1 on 1 coverage. It's worth noting the cornerback completely gave up on the play, or might have chased Decker down. Manning and Decker also had a near 2nd TD that was initially ruled as such, but was later called down at the half yard line. Jacob Hester ended up cashing that touchdown instead. The Broncos could have also extended more drives, but some of the receivers ended up running routes short of first downs on third down plays.

RB Knowshon Moreno, Rush: 22 - 118 - 1, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Knowshon Moreno had himself a day, but much of it was thanks to a combination of great blocking and an atrocious Ravens run defense. Almost every run was simply up the middle following blockers, as he was rarely touched in the backfield. In fact, all of Moreno's long runs, including his 20 yarder, were simply results of big holes up the middle. Full credit to a grading offensive line for the performance of the Denver running game on the day. However, Moreno did show some decent patience and solid decision making, and also displayed athleticism on an amazing hurdle of a standing Ed Reed on the aforementioned 20 yarder. Moreno's 6 yard touchdown was a standard run where he walked into the endzone untouched. Moreno had minor contributions in the passing game, as Peyton Manning was generally afforded time to throw where he wanted to.

RB Ronnie Hillman, Rush: 14 - 29 - 0 - Ronnie Hillman operated as a change of pace back on this day, and though the stats don't show it, operated with promising patience that you'd want from a rookie. 12 of 14 of Hillman's runs came in the garbage time in the 4th quarter, so the Ravens simply sold out against the run. It's worth noting that his final 5 runs went for a combined -5 yards, otherwise his day would have looked a lot nicer. Hillman also showed nice acceleration on a pitch in the first quarter, and could be in line for more meaningful carries in the future if Knowshon Moreno shows signs of slipping.

RB Jacob Hester, Rush: 7 - 20 - 1 - Jacob Hester saw a handful of touches on the day, with one going for a touchdown from about a half yard out while lined up at fullback. Hester ran straight ahead as a power-type back, and beyond the touchdown, had a fairly uneventful day.

WR Eric Decker, Rec: 8 - 133 - 1 (11 targets) - Eric Decker had what was easily the best day of any Broncos skill players, showing savvy route running and repeatedly beating up on the Baltimore cornerbacks. Most of his receptions were comeback and out routes, and he capitalized on the opportunities he had given that he was left in 1 on 1 coverage for much of the day. Decker's touchdown came on a nice stutter step double move to beat the cornerback for a long 50 yard touchdown. Had the cornerback not outright given up on the play, it's possible Decker may not have scored. Decker also had a touchdown call that was later reversed and ruled down at the half yard line. He dove for the pylon on the play, but stepped out of bounds just before he could reach the inner part of the pylon. There wasn't much wrong for Decker today, as he accounted for over 65% of the Broncos receiving yardage.

WR Demaryius Thomas, Rec: 4 - 13 - 0 (9 targets) - Demaryius Thomas had a fairly quiet day that could have been better if not for a few miscues. Peyton Manning overthrew Thomas on a 35 yard deep bomb that would have been an easy touchdown. Thomas also dropped a couple of passes and ran a couple routes just short of first downs that would have extended drives. However, he also showed his great ability with a nifty one handed catch on a reception, and had another near TD taken away from him with a great pass breakup by Ravens CB Cary Williams. Most of Thomas's 4 receptions came on slip screen type plays, but the Ravens did well to sniff them out and limit his yardage, as his yards per catch was a meager 3.25.

TE Joel Dreessen, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (3 targets) - Joel Dreessen was the only Broncos tight end with a reception today. His highlight play came on a great catch and throw for 28 yards. Dreessen caught a ball with Ed Reed draped all over him in proper coverage. Kudos on the play to Peyton Manning as well for dropping a strike into a narrow window.

QB Joe Flacco, Pass: 20 - 40 - 254 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0 - Joe Flacco had an extremely ugly day marred by inaccuracy and questionable decision making. The box score shows 254 yards and 2 touchdowns, but both touchdowns came in what most would consider garbage time, and when the game mattered Flacco was simply off. Flacco fumbled on what would be his 9th fumble of the year to set the tone for the day. He was nearly sacked in his own endzone after waiting far too long for routes to develop, and perhaps most egregious of all were his large number of blatant overthrows to receivers who would have been considered open by many. The Broncos defense did manage to pressure Flacco throughout the day, but many of these overthrows came when Flacco had time and a lane to throw from. Flacco's interception was a complete game changer. Standing on the Denver 5 yard line, Flacco threw a ball without proper zip to his left to Anquan Boldin that was easily undercut by Chris Harris and taken 95 yards the other way for a pick six. This was a throw Flacco had no business making, as the cornerback was in plain view and read the route the whole way. On the good side of the stat sheet, Flacco had two touchdown passes to Dennis Pitta. The first was on a 2nd and 25 in which Pitta dove for a ball, caught it at about the 2 yard line and literally rolled into the endzone untouched with a couple defenders around him. The second touchdown, a 61 yarder, was all Pitta. Flacco threw the ball to Pitta about 5 yards downfield to Pitta, who proceeded to break four tackles while dancing near the sidelines, somehow staying inbounds and waltzing into the endzone. It was one of the highlights of the week, and frankly, was all Pitta on the play. Joe Flacco will see good days, but today certainly was not one of them.

RB Ray Rice, Rush: 12 - 38 - 0, Rec: 3 - 3 - 0 (7 targets) - Ray Rice only had a handful of totes on the day for two big reasons. One, the Ravens couldn't get anything going on offense, not converting a first down until midway through the second quarter. Two, the game got out of hand early and forced the Ravens into catch up mode for much of the second half. On Rice's 12 runs, the Broncos defense completely stuffed up the Ravens offensive line and gave Rice almost zero running room. Rice was almost stymied on all 3 of his receptions, the long going for a mere 5 yards. Rice did show nice cuts on two runs out of the shotgun, but we know what he brings to the table in terms of skill at this point. This was simply a day in which one unit overpowered another. Bernard Pierce actually found running room on a couple of runs against a Broncos run defense that played lights out throughout the day, including a 15 yard jaunt down the left hand side. Pierce also broke a 4 yard gain in which he carried multiple tacklers about 3 yards, and turned a -6 yard gain into a half yard gain by causing defenders to miss in the backfield. Pierce showed decent skill given how little room there was to operate on the day.

WR Jacoby Jones, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (4 targets) - Jacoby Jones was the only Ravens wide receiver who topped 30 yards on the day, and that was because of a big 43 yard play towards the end of the first half. Flacco threw the ball roughly 40 yards in the air, and Jones turned around nicely and stuck his hands up in the air for the catch. Other than that, Jones had a couple minor catches that went for a 4yards each. Jones also briefly left the game with an injury, but came back soon after.

WR Tandon Doss, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (4 targets) - Tandon Doss had two nice catches on the day thanks to solid route running on slants. Both of his grabs came on inside intermediate slant routes, with one catch going for 15 yards and the other going for 13 yards. In hindsight, the slant route seemed to work whenever Flacco had time to complete it, and it's something Doss ran well today.

WR Torrey Smith, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - While all the Ravens wide receivers had fairly quiet days, this marked the 4th game in 5 weeks that Torrey Smith had less than 35 yards, and the 3rd time in 5 weeks that Smith was held to 1 reception. Champ Bailey covered Smith for much of the afternoon, which is a recipe for a small day most of the time. Smith nearly caught a very nice 25 yard jump ball, but landed just out of bounds. Other than that, Smith had a mere 3 targets on a very quiet day.

WR Anquan Boldin (6 targets) - Anquan Boldin was held catchless on the day, and the major play of note that he was involved in was Joe Flacco's 95 yard pick six. Boldin was targeted on an underneath route, but Chris Harris undercut it easily. The ball likely should have never been thrown Boldin's way in the first place.

TE Dennis Pitta, Rec: 7 - 125 - 2 (10 targets) - Dennis Pitta had a huge stat line today thanks to some great athletic ability. Pitta was targeted 10 times and hauled in a few nifty catches, including two touchdown grabs. Pitta's first touchdown catch was a long throw about 30 yards in the air that he caught at the 2 and then rolled into the endzone after a defender failed to touch him while he was on the ground. The catch was great, as was the awareness that no one had touched him. Pitta's second touchdown was one of the highlight plays of the week. Pitta caught the ball about 5 yards downfield, then proceeded to break 4 tackles while tiptoeing down the sideline and outracing defenders after breaking the aforementioned tackles. This was a display of surprising elusiveness from a tight end, as well as solid speed one wouldn't expect from the position. Besides those two touchdowns, most of Pitta's catches were shorter routes, as Joe Flacco was overthrowing many intermediate and deep routes to all his targets.


Washington Redskins 38, Cleveland Browns 21

QB Kirk Cousins, Pass: 26 - 37 - 329 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0 - The Redskins' decision to draft Cousins in the fourth round of the 2012 received significant criticism, given the Redskins' pressing needs at a number of positions and the organization's choice to trade a boatload of draft picks for Baylor product Robert Griffin III. However, Cousins has impressed in limited action when filling in for Griffin, and following Griffin's Week Fourteen knee sprain, Cousins drew his first NFL start on the road against the Browns.

Now, the Redskins hold what is arguably one of the NFL's more valuable trade chips in Kirk Cousins. Cousins completed twenty-six of his thirty-seven pass attempts for three hundred and twenty-nine yards passing -- more passing yards in a single game than Griffin has this season - and looked every bit like a starting NFL quarterback. He recovered from a shaky first quarter that saw him throw the ball into the grass and get picked off on a tipped pass, intended for Pierre Garcon, to completing a fifty-four yard touchdown pass to a triple-covered Leonard Hankerson. Hankerson and Cousins would hook up again on a two-yard touchdown pass off a goal line bootleg. Cousins might have logged a third score had Browns cornerback Joe Haden not been draped over Pierre Garcon in the end zone on a short pass attempt.

Scoring opportunities aside, Cousins looked like a legitimate NFL starter against an NFL defense that most consider underrated. His execution of the Washington offense had a veteran's savvy to it. The Redskins abandoned the pistol set and read-option runs that Robert Griffin III uses, but Cousins still relied on a heavy dose of play-action fakes and bootlegs, selling them just like Griffin. Cousins' ball had zip to it and came out of the pocket quickly and accurately to his receivers, especially while they were moving down the field. The rookie from Michigan State remained unfettered changing the play at the line of scrimmage, and, if the play broke down, he found the speed to sprint for positive yardage while avoiding unnecessary contact. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Washington offense barely missed a beat with Cousins under center. If Griffin is unable to return to the field of play for Redskins' Week Sixteen tilt against the reeling Eagles, there will be no despair in Washington. Cousins proved he can command the Redskins' offense -- tailored it may be to his skill set, which differs from Griffin's -- to victory, whether starting or substituting for Robert Griffin III.

RB Alfred Morris, Rush: 27 - 87 - 2, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - If Alfred Morris lacks a nickname through fifteen weeks into the season, this publication suggests "Juggernaut," because Morris cannot be stopped, only slowed down. With Robert Griffin III sidelined due to a knee injury the previous week, Morris stepped up for a career-high twenty-nine touches, producing ninety-three yards from scrimmage. A stout Cleveland run defense kept Morris from doing too much on the ground, as he averaged under four yards per carry, but the rookie ran incredibly tough on every single carry. Morris sought contact on every carry, ramming his pads into Cleveland defenders and digging his cleats into the grass to push for the extra yard. The Redskins relied on Morris to move the chains and chew the clock, and so he did. Morris scored twice for the first time since the season's first game -- once on a gritty, three-yard effort off the left tackle, and again on an eight-yard scamper in which the Browns offered almost no resistance. Amazingly, Morris seems unfazed by the tremendous workload the Shanahans thrust upon him, logging two hundred and eighty carries through fifteen weeks, good for third in the league. Despite being a rookie, Morris continues to perform at an incredibly high level as he leads the league's number one rushing attack.

RB Evan Royster, Rush: 2 - 3 - 1, Rec: 2 - 30 - 0 (4 targets) - Royster had his best game of the season, catching two passes out of the backfield for thirty yards, including a twenty-five yard catch-and-run. He also carried the ball twice for three yards, with one carry resulting in a four-yard score of a stretch zone run. The Browns offered little resistance on Royster's early fourth-quarter goal line carry, and the second-year halfback waltzed into the end zone to put the game out of reach for Cleveland. Royster continues to get a pauper's share of the touches out of the Redskins' backfield.

WR Pierre Garcon, Rec: 6 - 65 - 0 (12 targets) - Kirk Cousins' presence did not change Washington's game script for its star wideout, as Garcon received the lion's share of targets in the passing game once again. Cousins targeted Garcon on a staggering twelve pass attempts, and the two hooked up for six catches and sixty-five yards through the air. Cousins looked Garcon's way in nearly all passing situations -- short, intermediate, and deep down the field, which bodes well for Garcon's production if Griffin continues to be sidelined. Garcon continues to put the foot injury that kept him off the field for many weeks, running with speed, physicality, and determination. The fifth-year man from Mount Union did draw a tough assignment in Browns cover corner Joe Haden, which explains Garcon's modest production given his target volume. Garcon did get an end zone pass from Cousins thrown his way, but coverage from Haden preventing Garcon from completing the catch.

WR Santana Moss, Rec: 5 - 57 - 0 (6 targets) - Moss caught five passes for fifty-seven yards working out of the slot for the Redskins. The veteran wideout ran short crossing routes, slants, and curls as a short option in the Washington passing game. Moss did fumble the ball late in the fourth quarter with the Redskins up ten, but Pierre Garcon recovered the fumble. Moss remains one of the Redskins' most accomplished route-runners, but at this point his career he is buried on Washington's depth chart.

WR Josh Morgan, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (4 targets) - The steady receiver posted his largest receiving yardage total since Week Four against the Buccaneers, catching four balls for sixty-yards. Half of Morgan's yardage total came on a crossing route that Morgan took down the field for thirty-yards. Morgan continues to post modest totals as one of the Redskins' primary receivers, though he does cede deep routes to Leonard Hankerson and Aldrick Robinson.

WR Leonard Hankerson, Rec: 2 - 56 - 2 (3 targets) - After Pierre Garcon, the Redskins' receiver hierarchy is a bit nebulous week-to-week. Joshua Morgan typically draws the start opposite Garcon, but the receiver that produces for the Redskins on any given Sunday is a crapshoot. Hankerson was Week Fifteen's lottery winner for Washington, catching two touchdowns passes for fifty-six yards on three targets. Hankerson's first touchdown reception came on a deep post-out route that quarterback Kirk Cousins placed well into his hands, despite Hankerson being triple-covered. Untouched by the three Browns defenders around him, Hankerson wriggled his way into the end zone for a fifty-four yard touchdown grab that replay later upheld. Midway through the third quarter, with the Redskins facing third-and-two at the Browns' two-yard-line, Hankerson ran toward the end zone, uncovered, and caught a pass off a play-action fake from Cousins for another Redskins touchdown. Granted, the volatile nature of the Redskins' receiving corps -- minus Garcon -- makes them, including Hankerson, unpredictable for fantasy purposes, but they, including Hankerson, make for an exciting game. 


TE Logan Paulsen, Rec: 4 - 47 - 0 (5 targets) - Paulsen continues to be a reliable short-yardage option in the passing game for the Redskins. The third-year man from UCLA caught four passes for forty-seven yards, his highest receiving yardage total since Week Ten against the Panthers. Primarily running curls and out routes to help Washington move the chains through the air, Paulsen impresses primarily through his ability to generate yards after the catch. Never one to be confused with Darren Sproles -- or even Tony Gonzalez -- Paulsen generates extra yardage much like a running back, by lowering his shoulders and slamming into defenders, churning his legs forward. Several of his forty-seven yards receiving came via this cleats-in-the-ground, hard-nosed fashion.

QB Brandon Weeden, Pass: 21 - 35 - 244 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0 - Facing one of the league's worst pass defenses and most underwhelming -- nay, nonexistent -- pass rushes, the Browns opted for a pass-heavy game-plan that resulted in one impressive touchdown, two picks, and a whole heap of checking down from rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. Weeden completed twenty-one of his thirty-five pass attempts for two hundred and forty-four yards through the air. Benefiting from a spotless pocket and a Washington pass defense that seems to only know how to get penalized, Weeden threw two picks and one touchdown. The Browns' West Coast offense featured a slew of quick slants and crossing routes, as Weeden led his receivers in space to get yards after the catch. Weeden did make a few smooth throws here and there, including a thirty-yard pass to Greg Little off a bootleg, and twenty-eight yard pass to Jordan Cameron in which Weeden led his tight end into space quite well. The Oklahoma State product's one touchdown pass was a thing of beauty, a perfectly thrown ball to wide receiver Travis Benjamin on a sideline go route. Benjamin got separation easily from cornerback DJ Johnson, and Weeden hit his receiver in stride without a problem.

Aside from a few moments of brilliance, however, a casual football fan might have considered Weeden to be the starter in his first NFL game, not Kirk Cousins. Despite having time to scan the field on most all of his plays, the rookie quarterback opted to check down to outlet receivers that rarely got yards after the catch. His timing was off with one of his preferred weapons, Josh Gordon. Weeden also held onto the ball too long a few times, electing to pump fake again and gain rather than firing to a receiver. Given Cleveland's inability to run the ball against Washington, these difficulties moving the ball through the air helped to do Cleveland in against the Redskins. Both of Weeden's interceptions were his own doing. Weeden's first pick came on a short pass over the middle in which he did not see linebacker Rob Jackson, who easily caught Weeden's lob over the defensive line. Jackson returned the catch for seventeen yards, setting up an Alfred Morris touchdown run three plays later. Weeden's second interception came on a deep pass to Greg Little that the quarterback under threw, allowing linebacker London Fletcher to snag the pass. Fletcher returned the interception for eight yards to the Washington thirty-three yard line.

RB Trent Richardson, Rush: 11 - 28 - 2, Rec: 3 - 4 - 0 (4 targets) - Half of Richardson's yardage on the ground came on a fourteen-yard, powerful downhill run in which the 2012 first-rounder showcased his lower leg drive and nose for contact. Otherwise, the rookie from Alabama faced incredibly tough sledding against the immovable object that was the Redskins' defense in Cleveland. Richardson gained a baffling thirty-two yards on fourteen total touches against Washington, often being met in the backfield or getting stopped in his tracks at the line of scrimmage. The rookie's aforementioned lower leg drive did serve him well twice, as he moved mountains to score two touchdowns for the Browns. On a six-yard first-quarter run, the Redskins met Richardson just before the stripe, but the rookie carried a horde of defenders on his back and willed himself into the end zone. With the Browns down seven after the two-minute warning in the first half, Richardson again made an end-zone plunge, only to have it nullified after replay showed his knee went down inches in front of the goal line. Cleveland called Richardson's name once more and he found paydirt, giving the Browns a four-point lead before the end of the first half.

WR Greg Little, Rec: 5 - 74 - 0 (9 targets) - Little led all Browns receivers in catches, receiving yards, and receiving yardage, manhandling the weak Redskins' secondary on a bevy of pass routes. Catching five passes for seventy-four yards, including an impressive thirty-yard grab on a deep crossing route off a bootleg, Little looked to be the receiver most in sync with quarterback Brandon Weeden against Washington. Little was the intended target on Weeden's second interception of the day. Weeden severely under threw Little in Washington territory, allowing Redskins linebacker London Fletcher to snag the pass and return the ball for eight yards. Browns fans and fantasy owners alike should be encouraged by Little's performance, as Little had his best week since Week Four and continues to develop his rapport with Brandon Weeden.

WR Josh Gordon, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (8 targets) - Gordon tallied eight targets against Washington, but only reeled in three passes for an underwhelming twenty-seven yards through the air. Despite the favorable matchup in Washington's Swiss cheese secondary, Gordon and quarterback Brandon Weeden were unable to capitalize. Gordon has, without a doubt, emerged as a playmaker on the Browns' rookie-laden offense, but he and his quarterback were not in sync against Washington. 



WR Travis Benjamin, Rec: 1 - 69 - 1 (1 targets) - Benjamin roasted Redskins cornerback DJ Johnson for a sixty-nine yard touchdown on a sideline go route. Benjamin got several yards of separation from Johnson off the snap once Benjamin and Weeden caught Johnson peeking inward towards the ball. Weeden hit Benjamin in stride and Johnson glided down the field to bring the Browns to win ten points with ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.


TE Jordan Cameron, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (3 targets) - Cameron caught three passes for thirty-four yards on three targets as a tertiary option in Cleveland's passing game. The second-year man from USC did impress on a twenty-eight yard catch-and-run that brought the Browns into Washington territory in the third quarter, but quarterback Brandon Weeden got picked off on the next play from scrimmage.


Jacksonville Jaguars 3, Miami Dolphins 24

QB Chad Henne, Pass: 18 - 34 - 221 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0 - While Henne has been considered an upgrade to the passing offense from Blaine Gabbert, he was far from consistent against Miami this week. Henne collected 77 of his 221 passing yards on a final garbage-time drive, which included a missed opportunity for a touchdown. During the first third-and-a-half quarters, the Jacksonville offense would squander every chance at establishing a rhythm on offense. Despite converting 4-of-7 third downs early in the game, Henne impacted the game more negatively than positively. He was sacked twice on third downs, killing drives, as well as missing Shorts on a deep pass. Henne was stuffed on fourth-and-one and Jacksonville's seven first half penalties were a major contributor to their struggles as well. In addition to Henne missing Shorts in the closing minutes for a touchdown, a first half score to Justin Blackmon was negated by an ineligible substitution penalty. The game felt like Jacksonville was out of the game despite the score being within reach until the fourth quarter. On the bright side, this was just the second time in six games since playing regularly that Henne has not thrown an interception. It is hard to see Henne as anything but a stopgap starter until the position is addressed in a long-term fashion.

RB Montell Owens, Rush: 11 - 47 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Against one of the better run defenses, Owens averaged more than four yard per rush and was the primary ball carrier with Maurice Jones-Drew still out of the lineup. Owens has little ability to break down a defender in the open field, but showed the tenacity for yards after contact on multiple occasions between the tackles. He powered through a safety for yards after contact to convert third-and-short and did the same on a swing pass. He made an aggressive block in pass protection as well, stoning a defender in his tracks. His biggest gain of the day came on a well-blocked run to the outside. Owens had a clear path to 10+ yards before getting pushed out of bounds. Owens would be a top-25/30 running back option over the final two weeks if he remains the main ball carrier in Jacksonville.

RB Richard Murphy, Rush: 6 - 20 - 0 - For the second straight week, Murphy saw notable action as the backup running back to Montell Owens. It was tough sledding for Murphy against Miami's active defensive front, where most of his yards came from no-nonsense attempts between the tackles.

RB Greg Jones, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - On just his fourth rushing attempt of the season, the fullback plunged ahead for minimal yardage against a stacked defensive front.

WR Justin Blackmon, Rec: 6 - 93 - 0 (11 targets) - For the third time in the last five games, Blackmon saw 11+ targets. This week against Miami, he had just his second game over 70 receiving yards on the season. Like teammate Cecil Shorts, Blackmon benefited from the final Jacksonville drive of the game with the outcome already decided. He caught three passes in garbage time, as many as he did in the first 55 minutes of the game. Despite nearly 100 yards on the day, Blackmon had numerous chances for more production. In the red zone, a Miami defender misplayed the ball in the air and Blackmon walked in for an easy touchdown. Unfortunately, the play was negated by a procedure penalty on the offense. Blackmon dropped an easy target over the middle in field goal and could not control a contested target on third-and-long. One positive is Blackmon's expanding route tree. Earlier in the season, he seemed to run a small sample of routes with little to no separation on a majority of them. This week, Blackmon expanded on his use, something to monitor over the final two weeks of his rookie campaign.

WR Cecil Shorts, Rec: 6 - 101 - 0 (11 targets) - After missing last week, Shorts was back in the lineup and received 11 of the team's 34 passing targets. His 100-yard day was his fourth such performance in the past six games. His four-game touchdown streak came to an end, but he did have chances to score against Miami this week. He broke free deep in the closing minutes, only to have Henne miss him for a long touchdown. As Jacksonville piled up nearly 80 passing yards in garbage time, Shorts was one of the biggest benefactors. He had two big gains in addition to his missed touchdown opportunity detailed above. In the final seconds, Shorts was targeted twice in the end zone, once being knocked away by the defensive back. On his final target, Shorts caught the end zone target with full extension, but got just one foot down on the boundary. In addition to his six receptions, Shorts drew a defensive pass interference penalty early in the game coming back to the ball on a back shoulder pass. In six of his last seven games, Shorts has surpassed 16 points in PPR scoring. The Patriots and Titans are two very good matchups to close the season for the Jacksonville passing game.

WR Jordan Shipley, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - Shipley was minimally involved as an interior receiver against Miami. One reception was wiped out by a holding penalty and another saw Shipley run an out route one yard short of the first down marker. Shipley showed some potential in Cincinnati prior to his injury in 2011, but Just Blackmon is likely to line up in the slot on obvious passing downs going forward in Jacksonville.

WR Toney Clemons (2 targets) - Clemons had two targets, but failed to find a connection with Chad Henne. Both were catchable despite being difficult plays. On a slant route, Clemons was targeted a little too far out in front and he was unable to make a circus one-handed play on a high target in garbage time.

TE Marcedes Lewis, Rec: 3 - 8 - 0 (4 targets) - Lewis has by far hit rock bottom in terms of production the past two weeks, totaling just 12 receiving yards on eight targets. This week, Lewis caught his three short targets for minimal yardage, but missed his lone chance for a decent fantasy day. Henne threw a back shoulder pass to Lewis in the end zone late in the game. Lewis did not appear to be ready for the pass and was unable to make the play in single coverage.

QB Ryan Tannehill, Pass: 22 - 28 - 220 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 52 - 0 - Tannehill had his most efficient game of the season in what turned into a comfortable win. Jacksonville gave little offensive opposition, which meant Tannehill did not have to force the ball down the field. In a game of solid decision-making and showing his athleticism outside the pocket, Tannehill's lone mistake, a fumble, setup Jacksonville in field goal range. In the late second quarter, Tannehill led a great touchdown drive to open up a solid lead. In the red zone, he ran a fake reverse, finding Charles Clay wide open for the score. Between the second and third quarters, Tannehill completed 11 straight passes as Miami monopolized the clock, taking control of the game. His pocket movement and scrambling ability was on display in the second half with big gains. Tannehill found Brian Hartline across his body on a pass and navigating through second level defenders en route to a huge gain on the ground. Miami was happy to eat clock over the final 20 minutes of the game for the easy win as Jacksonville did not mount a comeback effort. Tannehill iced the game with a goal line rollout, finding a wide open Anthony Fasano for his final touchdown. This was only the second game with multiple touchdown passes this season for Tannehill and his first game over 35 rushing yards.

RB Reggie Bush, Rush: 21 - 104 - 0 (2 targets) - Bush was back to being the bell cow for Miami, getting 20+ carries for the first time since Week 2. He looked like a back running for a new contract in the offseason. His cuts were defined and he did not shy away from contact between the tackles. The offensive line was a major contributor to his final statistics as they paved his way with frequent big holes at the point of attack. Despite a 53-yard run in the second half, more runs were there for the taking to give Bush an even bigger day. For example, on one occasion Bush had a clear running lane on an outside run to cut inside. It was close to five yards wide if he had chosen to run to daylight. Instead, Bush continued to bounce the play outside, which ended at the sidelines for a loss of yardage. Bush's successful runs came inside in this game, not when he reverted to his pre-2011 ways of thinking he can run around the corner on every defender.

RB Lamar Miller, Rush: 6 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Daniel Thomas limped off the field after a single carry against Jacksonville, which opened the door for Miller to have seven touches in relief of Reggie Rush. Miller did not get the same level of run blocking from the offensive line and his statistics reflect it. Miller converted a third down with his lone target in the passing game, but was generally stuffed on the ground. His first run was his best of the day, a four-yard jaunt including spin move on the first defender. Miller is one of the more intriguing young running backs to monitor this offseason as Reggie Bush is a free agent and Daniel Thomas has done little to be viewed as the lead back in 2013 if Bush were to leave Miami.

RB Jorvorskie Lane, Rec: 2 - 6 - 1 (2 targets) - Lane was again active around the goal line. The athletic fullback has three touchdowns this season on just 22 offensive touches. This week, Lane came wide open in the middle of the end zone on a well-designed fake-reverse play. Early in the third quarter, Lane contributed a false start penalty as well.

RB Daniel Thomas, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0 - Thomas came up limping after his lone carry against Jacksonville. He showed uncharacteristic agility with a spin move and then blasted his way for six yards at the second level. He hobbled off the field and was not seen again. He would have likely seen 5-10 carries on the day with Miami controlling the game in the second half.

WR Brian Hartline, Rec: 5 - 77 - 0 (6 targets) - After catching just 2-of-8 targets for 34 yards last week, Hartline had another gloomy outlook in the first half against the Jaguars. In the first half, Hartline had zero targets. Miami involved Hartline immediately in the second half as he got loose in the secondary for a 37-yard gain on the first play in the third quarter. He was back to being the biggest weapon in the Miami pass game after that, making things happen regularly over the final 30 minutes. He found open areas behind cornerbacks and in front of safeties on two occasions. His lone missed opportunity came on a slant at the goal line, his best chance to score in the game. It was a tight window, but a catchable pass that Hartline failed to haul in. While Hartline surpassed 1,000 yards on the season in this game, he has just one touchdown on 67 receptions, one of the lowest touchdown rates in the league. Buffalo and New England in the final two weeks gives Hartline decent matchups to add to his career-best season.

WR Rishard Matthews, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (5 targets) - Matthews was a surprising contributor this week as he saw five targets. He had just six targets in the previous four games combined. Matthews is a big-bodied receiver that can box out defenders when he gets in the proper position. Those traits were on display on each of his three receptions. Matthews held on to passes when hit and even drew a defensive pass interference penalty on a third down in the second half. On his lone chance for a big play, Tannehill missed Matthews when he was wide open on a seam route. Miami was in field goal range and facing a third down, adding to its importance as one of Tannehill's few off-target throws.

WR Marlon Moore, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (2 targets) - Moore played quite a bit, but had just two targets against Jacksonville. He caught both and made the most of his chances. He showed some wiggle after the catch on a hitch route and then identified zone coverage and found an open area for his final catch.

WR Armon Binns - The recently acquired Binns saw a lone target as the fourth receiver against Jacksonville. On a hitch route, Binns drew a defensive pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter.

TE Anthony Fasano, Rec: 6 - 56 - 1 (6 targets) - Fasano had, by far, his best game of the season in Week 15. In fact, it had been two months since Fasano broke even 20 receiving yards in a game. He was in his usual role as a possession target, but two plays broke that pattern against Jacksonville. On a broken play, Tannehill found a wide open Fasano over the middle for 22 yards, one of Fasano's rare highlight plays this year. In the fourth quarter, Fasano iced the game with a goal line touchdown as he came wide open. His six targets marked his second-highest total of the season and just the second time in 2012 that Fasano caught all of his targets. Outside of deep non-PPR leagues, it is tough to be excited about Fasano building on this game over the final two weeks of the season.

TE Charles Clay, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Clay caught both of his short targets this week, but was hampered by an injury for part of the game. Other than bolstering Tannehill's production as a situational target, he has little stand-alone value.


Cincinnati Bengals 34, Philadelphia Eagles 13

QB Andy Dalton, Pass: 13 - 27 - 127 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 18 - 1 - Philadelphia's toothless pass rush got fitted for some proverbial dentures between Weeks Fourteen and Fifteen, and that made for a rough night for the second-year quarterback from TCU. Dalton threw for a Christian Ponderesque one hundred and twenty-seven yards, completing thirteen of twenty-seven attempts. He also took an eye-opening six sacks for a loss of thirty-five yards, turning the ball over twice in the process. Granted, the game script did not ask too much of Dalton on a short week against the Eagles. Philadelphia was, without a doubt, feeling the spirit of the season and turned the ball over to the Bengals an incredible five times, routinely giving Cincinnati a short field.

Making great strides on his second go-round through the league, Dalton appeared to severely regress against an Eagles defense that many left for dead. He looked skittish in the pocket, holding on to the ball too long and pump faking too many times on several plays. The ball did not come out of his hand quickly, and often Dalton's indecisiveness drove him to checking down or getting sacked. His long pass of the evening came on a nineteen-yard screen pass to Jermaine Gresham, one of only three skill players who caught a pass from Dalton. As previously mentioned, though, not much was required of Dalton, with the Bengals often setting up shop in Eagle territory after a Philadelphia turnover. Dalton did find an open lane in the Philadelphia red zone for an eleven-yard touchdown run, and he and A.J. Green still hooked up for a touchdown on a fade pass -- and came close to another on the Bengals' previous possession. Chalk the Red Rider's performance up to a short-week and look-ahead games as the Bengals gear up to play their AFC North rivals in the season's final weeks. 


RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Rush: 25 - 106 - 1 - The Law Firm dominated the touches out of Cincinnati's backfield as the Bengals opted to keep the ball on the ground against the Eagles. Green-Ellis carried the ball a healthy twenty-five times for one hundred and six rushing yards, the fourth time in five games he has topped the century mark. Roughly a quarter of Green-Ellis's total yards came on his first carry of the game, a twenty-nine yard jaunt that brought the Bengals into the Eagles' red zone during their first drive of the evening. Following an eight-yard catch by A.J. Green, the Bengals put the Law Firm on retainer, calling his name on four straight plays. Getting a first down at the Philadelphia two-yard line, Green-Ellis got stopped twice short of the stripe before plunging in on his fifth touch of the drive. The Bengals' first drive of the game proved Green-Ellis' most exciting series of the night, as he resumed his "just a guy, but a guy with volume" ways afterwards, with most of his runs of the three and four-yard variety. He did exhibit a significant amount of patience in letting runs develop, routinely following his blockers and not electing to bounce to the outside when gaps in the defense did not manifest immediately. Green-Ellis is hardly a sexy player, but he continues to be one of the league's most WYSIWYG players, and for the Bengals, that is a good thing.


WR A.J. Green, Rec: 6 - 57 - 1 (10 targets) - The only Bengals receiver to record a catch against the Eagles, Green hauled in six passes on ten targets for fifty-seven yards through the air. He also broke a three-game scoring drought on a five-yard fade pass reception from Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter. Even with the Philadelphia pass rush dominating and Dalton totally off his game, Green still got his and added to the long list of reasons why he is the AFC's most dominant wide receiver. The Bengals got Green involved on a variety of routes, including quick slants to allow Green to get yards after the catch, as well as jump-ball fade routes and go routes to permit him to showcase his speed and physically dominate the Eagles' secondary. While Green recorded one touchdown in the fourth quarter -- his NFL-leading eleventh amongst all wide receivers -- he came close to a second one on the Bengals' previous possession. On third-and-eleven at the Philadelphia fourteen-yard line, Andy Dalton had Green open in the end zone, but his pass hit the helmet of Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and caromed out of Green's reach.

WR Marvin Jones, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Andy Dalton targeted Jones four times, but the two were unable to hook up for a completion. The rookie from California did take a first-quarter end-around for ten yards, showcasing his smooth gait and quickness. With defenses continuing to focus on A.J. Green, the Bengals are in need of a second receiver to play opposite Green, and Jones is emerging from the team's pile of young pass-catchers as their man, permitting he and Andy Dalton synchronize.

TE Jermaine Gresham, Rec: 6 - 63 - 0 (9 targets) - Gresham was a busy man against Philadelphia, snagging six balls for sixty-three yards on nine targets. Andy Dalton relied on Gresham heavily on third downs, checking down to Gresham in the flat. Gresham converted on third down about as often as he did not, showing a knack for the extra yard by lowering his shoulder and driving through Philadelphia defenders, seemingly stretching out his very molecules to obtain a first down. The third-year tight end missed a late-game opportunity for his sixth touchdown of the season, as he was unable to keep both feet in-bounds on a six-yard pass in the end zone from Andy Dalton.

QB Nick Foles, Pass: 16 - 33 - 182 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 - Foles headed the Eagles' Benny Hill routine of an offense against the visiting Bengals on the last Thursday night game of the season. The rookie from Arizona completed sixteen of his thirty-three pass attempts with one touchdown pass, as Philadelphia turned the ball over a cringe inducing five times. To his credit, most of the turnovers were not Foles' fault. His lone fumble was a result of miscommunication with Bryce Brown on a handoff. He did lead Bengals cornerback Leon Hall a bit on his sole interception, but Jeremy Maclin could have done a better job of breaking off his route and coming back to the ball to prevent the pick. 

Otherwise, Foles continues to develop as a pocket passer in the NFL, and the Eagles' decision to commit to him for the rest of the 2012 season does not seem as reprehensible as it once did. The rookie passed the eye test in terms of deceiving the defense, getting Cincinnati to bite on a fake bubble screen and turning it into a forty-six yard completion to Jeremy Maclin. This ability to fool the defense worked several times in Foles' favor, including a ten-yard screen pass to Bryce Brown that Foles faked first, and when Foles fooled Leon Hall for a twenty-six yard completion to Jason Avant. Foles routinely picked up the pressure from the Bengals' pass rush and either threw the ball away or extended the play to move the ball down the field. Onlookers saw a certain level of unflappability in Foles, who remained a cool customer in a collapsing pocket play after play. After a few games of chock full of miscues, Foles played relatively mistake-free football, and at least kept the Eagles alive despite the team's penchant for turnovers. His one touchdown pass came on an eleven-yard pitch-and-catch to Riley Cooper, in which Foles stood tall in the pocket and allowed his receiver to get open for a short score. Foles may lack a rocket arm and he is certainly not a track star on the ground, but his week-over-week development indicates that the Eagles have a prospect they should keep rather than jettison.

RB Bryce Brown, Rush: 16 - 34 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Brown looked lost against a solid Cincinnati front seven at Lincoln Financial Field. Toting the rock sixteen times for an unimpressive thirty-four yards, Brown found no room to run against the Bengals. He added one screen pass reception for eleven yards. With no holes opening up on his runs, he often attempted to bounce to the outside for extra yardage, but those efforts bore no fruit. The rookie did dominate the snap count amongst the remaining running backs on the Eagles' roster, but the Eagles had to abandon the run as their giveaways mounted and Cincinnati capitalized on a short field several times. Worth mentioning in this space is Brown's lackadaisical approach to carrying the football -- loose and away from his body. While Brown did not lose a fumble against the Bengals in Week Fifteen, odds are that he will in the games that remain on the Eagles' schedule if he continues his current approach.


WR Jeremy Maclin, Rec: 4 - 73 - 0 (9 targets) - Maclin led all Eagles in receptions, receiving yards and targets as Philadelphia's top option in the passing game. Opening the game with a fumble on a six-yard out route, Maclin redeemed himself later in the game with a tremendous forty-six yard go route reception after Foles got the Bengals to bite on a fake bubble screen. Foles looked immediately to Maclin on the next play at Cincinnati's eleven-yard line, but Maclin fell down and could not catch the pass. The game was, overall, a mixed bag for the Eagles' top receiver, who finished with seventy-three yards on four catches. While Maclin had no trouble finding the soft spots in the Bengals' defense or getting separation from Cincinnati's secondary, he was responsible for the first of Philadelphia's four fumbles, and he did not come back to the ball on Nick Foles' one interception of the game. Running deep into Cincinnati territory, Maclin did not break off his route, and Bengals cornerback Leon Hall cut him off for a forty-four yard interception return. 


WR Jason Avant, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (4 targets) - Avant proved to be a sure-handed option for quarterback Nick Foles against the Bengals on Thursday night. Foles looked Avant's way twice on third downs. On one third-and-five play, Foles picked up the Bengals' pressure and extended the play with his legs, allowing Avant to get open and completed a twenty-six yard catch downfield. Avant also showed tremendous athleticism in snagging an out route pass in midair with defenders in coverage. Converting three of his four targets, Avant is likely to receive a steady diet of looks as the Eagles acclimate Nick Foles to the NFL.


WR Riley Cooper, Rec: 3 - 20 - 1 (7 targets) - Peppered with targets like a steak headed for the grill, Cooper caught three passes for twenty yards, including the Eagles' lone touchdown on Thursday night. The majority of Cooper's pedestrian yardage total came on his eleven-yard pitch-and-catch reception from Nick Foles early in the second quarter. Otherwise, Cooper was the intended receiver on a handful of quick slant routes. The mounting injuries on the Eagles' offensive side of the ball dictate that Cooper will continue to see a significant number of snaps -- and his size is a welcome presence among Philadelphia's undersized receivers -- but Cooper and Foles were not on the same page against the Bengals. Call it a silver lining, but Cooper was one of the few Eagles receivers to not fumble after completing a catch.

TE Clay Harbor, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (6 targets) - Filling in for the injured Brent Celek as Philadelphia's TE1, Harbor caught three of his six targets for thirty yards receiving, and joined the Eagles' fumble circus with a fourth-quarter lost ball following a sixteen-yard catch up the seam. The rapport between Nick Foles and Harbor is evident, though the box score might dictate otherwise. Foles looked to Harbor on a bevy of pass plays, including a sideline go route in which Harbor exhibited a level of speed that is absent from Brent Celek's skill set. Foles ended up overthrowing Harbor on the play. Harbor did experience back spasms in the first half of the tilt against the Bengals, but played through them. As long as Celek continues to be sidelined following a concussion -- and, given the state of the Eagles, it stands to reason that Philadelphia will not rush Celek back -- Harbor should continue to function as the Eagles' primary pass-catching tight end.


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