New York Giants 17, Oakland Raiders 24
What you need to know
New York Giants
- The Giants offense did not look much different under Quarterback Geno Smith
. They struggled in pass protection and could not run the ball which left the bulk of the offense on the passing games shoulders. This is typical for the 2017 Giants. Smith had two costly fumbles, one in the redzone and this ultimately cost them the game/fantasy production. Fantasy owners do not need to worry about playing Engram as he found his way into the endzone again. Shepard was not as productive but this was Smith's first game as the starter, Shepard still warrants a play in PPR leagues as #3.
- The Raiders offense had to make due without Amari Cooper
(concussion and ankle injury) and Michael Crabtree
(suspension) and were able to do just enough to beat the New York Giants. Derek Carr
was lucky that two passes that should have been interceptions were dropped. He was able to move the offense efficiently with backups Cordarrelle Patterson
, Seth Roberts
and Clive Walford
as his top targets. Marshawn Lynch
broke off a 51-yard touchdown in the opening minutes of the game but was relatively quiet the rest of the day. His big run did allow him to reach 100 rushing yards for the first time this season.
QB Geno Smith
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 34 - 212 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0 - Geno Smith
had an average outing as he replaced Eli Manning
this week against the Raiders. He had two very costly turnovers and could have had more as he failed to lead the Giants to a victory. Smith forced a pass on a curl route and was lucky that the defender did not pick it off as the coverage was tightly contested. He had no respectable running game to assist the passing attack and the pass protection was subpar, as it tends to be. Smith showed good mobility and escaped pressure on many occasions but he was rarely able to convert these scrambles into positive plays. He was decisive with the ball for the most part and stepped up in the pocket when he had to but rarely threw downfield. Smith was not afforded much time to survey the field and settled for short passes often. He fumbled the ball twice, one in the raiders redzone which was very costly for the Giants. Smith held onto the ball for slightly too long and his pass protection simply did not hold up as he got hit in the pocket. Smith showed some life towards the end of the game, however this was in garbage time. He hit Shepard on a seam route, placing the ball where only his receiver could get it and allowing him to pick up yards after the catch. Smith then found Engram in the back of the endzone after on a out'n'up play to somewhat salvage his stat line. The Giants offense remains flawed and showed the same problems we saw under Manning.
RB Orleans Darkwa
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 32 - 1, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (1 targets) - Orleans Darkwa
could not get going against the Raiders on the ground at all and really had a low average per carry with almost no contribution to the running game. Darkwa has shown by now that he cannot carry this running game by any means and needs a lot of help to be effective. The Giants offensive line could not keep the Raiders off Darkwa when he got the handoff, meeting him at/near the line of scrimmage often. Darka was routinely tackled quickly and swarmed after his initial cut. He did manage to get into the endzone on a 1 yard carry at the goal line, walking in untouched off the right side but this was easily his biggest contribution. The Raiders were not giving Darkwa an inch and the Giants offensive line could do nothing to change this. Smith and the passing attack was not effective enough to keep the defense honest, allowing a run heavy defensive approach on early downs.
WR Tavarres King
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 23 - 0 (9 targets) - Tavarres King
got his hands on a few short passes in this game, demonstrating he can do a little more than just run deep. He caught several balls on curl patterns, showing solid hands to secure the pass in tight coverage. He did draw a defensive pass interference call as he attempted to run downfield, which shows the respect that the defense has for his speed. King has a small frame as a receiver and excels at getting down the field in a hurry but the Giants could ill afford to throw deep for most of this game. He did a respectable job in his role but isn't anywhere close to being fantasy relevant. Engram and Shepard simply warrant more targets right now and King cannot compete with his position in the depth chart.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 56 - 0 (6 targets) - Sterling Shepard
wasn't highly involved in this offense as he has been dealing with injuries for most of the season. Shepard returned to grab only 3 balls but he made some impressive plays for his team. He had a terrific grab on a sideline pass near the endzone, leaping high to secure it and falling only 1 yard short of the goal line. Smith targeted him a corner route in the endzone later in the game but the pass was way off target. Shepard got an explosive catch & run down the middle on a seam route, making a terrific adjustment to a slightly off target pass before burning the defense for 47 yards. Shepard is a low end #3 receiver with the Giants offense in the state it is in but has upside in PPR leagues as he normally receives a lot of targets.
WR Roger Lewis
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Roger Lewis
jr. had one catch for 9 yards on a curl route but looked invisible for the rest of the game. Lewis was targeted sparsely in this game and never looked to threaten the Raiders downfield. Smith rarely had time to look deep into the secondary and Lewis was just not a high priority for the Giants. He is not worth a fantasy play in any leagues.
TE Evan Engram
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 99 - 1 (8 targets) - Evan Engram
had a strong game against the Raiders considering the flux that the offense finds itself in these days. Engram was a force over the middle and gave Geno Smith
a reliable target to move the chains. He got many yards after the catch, showing his speed&quickness to explode down the field when given the chance. He was able to get wide open over the middle several times against the Raiders and punished any defensive lapses. Engram got into the endzone on an out'n'up play in the endzone for his score. Smith hit the tight end with a strong pass after he unravelled against the Raiders. Engram made an unbelievable one handed grab down the field on a seam route on the final drive, somehow controlling the ball with one arm outstretched into the air. He has the talent and consistency to be a top player every week for the Giants and has shown that in his rookie season, must play in fantasy as he has now shown he can produce with Manning & Smith at QB.
QB Derek Carr
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 36 - 287 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Carr’s numbers look solid but he made some questionable decisions that could have cost the Raiders the game. Carr got away with an ugly pass red zone in the direction of Jared Cook
that should have been picked off. A defensive back undercut the route and had the ball bounce right off of his chest. He later airmailed a deep pass over the middle that should have been picked off. The Giants defensive back almost had time to signal for a fair catch on the awful throw and still dropped it. Carr threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Johnny Holton
over the middle for the game-winning score. While it wasn’t Carr’s best performance by any stretch, he does deserve some credit for leading his team to victory without his top two weapons, Amari Cooper
and Michael Crabtree
RB Marshawn Lynch
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 101 - 1, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Lynch started the game off with a bang. After taking the first two carries of the game for a total of 9 yards, Lynch broke through a big hole right up the middle on 3rd-and-1 and was off to the races for a 51-yard touchdown. The Giants defense answered the bell on their next short yardage opportunities against Lynch, however, With 3rd-and-1 near midfield, Lynch was stuffed. They tried again to convert on 4th down and Lynch was blown up for a loss. Lynch’s best play of the day was on a 3rd-and-7 reception. He caught the ball short and made a man miss in the open field to get the first down, then carried tacklers down the field to turn it into a big gain of 21 yards. It was a strong day overall for Lynch, who was finally able to break off a long gain.
RB DeAndre Washington
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 16 - 1 - Washington ran through a big hole and then broke an arm tackle attempt at the 3-yard line to get into the end zone on a 9-yard touchdown.
RB Jalen Richard
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets) - Richard had a tough time holding onto the ball. It looked like he may have fumbled after catching a short slant but the pass was ruled incomplete and the play wasn’t challenged. He also fumbled a punt that the Raiders were able to jump on to retain possession.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0, Rec: 4 - 97 - 0 (4 targets) - The second drive of the game for the Raiders resulted in a three-and-out but highlighted the many ways they wanted to get the ball into Patterson’s hands. First down, Patterson lined up at wide receiver and ran a reverse, that went for a short loss. Second down, he picked up a solid gain on a wide receiver screen. Third down, he lined up at running back next to Carr and took a shotgun handoff up the middle for a couple yards. Patterson was explosive after the catch, taking a quick screen for a gain of 15 yards. He also made the play of the game to setup the game-winning touchdown by taking a short catch and exploding down the sideline for a 59-yard gain before tripped up by his shoestrings inside the 10-yard line.
WR Seth Roberts
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 46 - 0 (6 targets) - Roberts had a productive day from the slot, with solid gains on a pair of slants and another decent gain on a crossing route. Roberts should have been credited with a 9-yard touchdown catch. It looked like he was able to get a knee down in the end zone while securing the pass but the play was ruled incomplete on the field and there wasn’t quite enough on review to overturn the call on the field, so the original call stood after review.
WR Johnny Holton
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 39 - 1 (7 targets) - Holton wasn’t able to bring in a deep ball down the right sideline that would have been a difficult grab along the sideline. On a third-and-4, he made a sweet move to defeat press coverage and get inside the defender to catch the slant. It looked like he might get loose for a long touchdown on the play but the defender was able to punch the ball loose as Holton sprinted past, resulting in a costly turnover. The next drive, Holton made up for the mistake with a sweet, spinning toe-tap catch along the sideline for a gain of 16 yards to setup a Raiders touchdown run on the next play. Holton scored the game-winning 9-yard touchdown with under four minutes to play. The Raiders confused the defense with a 3-man bunch formation to the left. Crisscrossing routes led to confusion and allowed Holton to gain separation on a slant route over the middle. He caught the ball and barely broke the plane before a big hit by Landon Collins popped the ball out.
TE Clive Walford
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 57 - 0 (4 targets) - Amari Cooper
and Michael Crabtree
being out led to Jared Cook
essentially playing as a wide receiver, which opened up playing time for Walford at tight end. He took advantage, making big catches down the seam and showing the above-average athleticism that caused some to peg him as a potential difference-maker earlier in his career.
TE Jared Cook
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (5 targets) - Cook had a tough day with a pair of drops. Michael Crabtree
and Amari Cooper
were both out, so Cook often lined up as an outside wide receiver matched up against a cornerback. Due to this, he wasn’t able to take advantage of mismatches against linebackers like he often does. Cook lined up out wide and beat the corner jam to get inside positioning on the slant route for a short catch. He dropped a short comeback route when lining up at wide receiver.
San Francisco 49ers 15, Chicago Bears 14
What you need to know
San Francisco 49ers
- Make no mistake. Jimmy Garoppolo
executed his duties at the quarterback position in Kyle Shanahan's offense better than Brian Hoyer
and C.J. Beathard
did. He also made the occasional "wow" play, whether it be completing a seemingly impossible throw or escaping from a sure sack. That said,, a caveat applies: The Bears utilized the most passive defensive game plan against San Francisco of any team they faced all season. Blitzes were rare and coverage was soft.
- Twelve weeks into the season and the Chicago Bears appear to be getting worse with each passing week. Sunday’s 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers brings us the absolute low point of this miserable season. Coach John Fox lacks faith in his team and it’s every bit apparent in his coaching decisions.
looks OK, but who knows. Jordan Howard
looked awful once again, like he couldn’t care less about being on the football field. Tarik Cohen
still isn’t being used properly. The coaching staff gets out coached each and every week. This team remains a dumpster fire, so it’s anyone’s guess on if what you’re seeing on a week-to-week basis is what you’re going to see until the season finishes.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 37 - 293 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 8 - 0 - Garoppolo badly overthrew an open Louis Murphy
in the middle of the field on his first pass. After that, however, he settled down and only made two more blatantly poor passes the rest of the game, overshooting Garrett Celek
on a deep corner route and throwing behind Carlos Hyde
on a Texas/angle route across the middle. Otherwise, Garoppolo displayed two major improvements over his predecessors at the position this season. First, he threw to the middle of the field comfortably, and therefore repeatedly. Second, and perhaps related, he handled pressure in the pocket with ease. On the rare Bears blitz, he identified it and threw to the vacated area (i.e., hot route). Other times, he escaped the pocket and rolled out to give himself more time and a larger throwing lane. And on one play in particular, he he held his ground in the face of the rush, and delivered a perfect pass to Murphy in between three defenders despite taking a big hit.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 54 - 0, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (5 targets) - Despite getting subbed out for Matt Breida
more than usual and not having a great game on the stat sheet, Hyde had (at least) three plays that showed off his acumen. One was an outside zone run to the left, where Akiem Hicks had him dead to right in the backfield, but made him miss; and then Lamarr Houston had him dead to rights at the line of scrimmage after a cut-back, but made him miss too, thereby turning a 2-yard loss into a 2-yard gain. Second, gained 19 yards on a counter to kickstart San Francisco's game-winning drive. Third, later in said drive, with the 49ers in field goal position and bleeding clock, Hyde made a nice catch in the right flat along the sideline and was somehow able to immediately go down to keep the clock running despite his momentum carrying him out of bounds. Not so smart, however, was a two-play sequence late in the second quarter that may have cost the 49ers a touchdown. Hyde passed up an easy first down on 2nd-and-1 inside Chicago's 10-yard line to instead bounce outside for no reason and for no gain. And then he committed a false start penalty prior to the next play.
RB Matt Breida
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 45 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Although Breida got more touches than usual because San Francisco used the no huddle more than usual, he didn't do much that stood out, mostly gaining yardage in plus running situations like 3rd-and-long, 2nd-and-long, and two late-second quarter drives.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 99 - 0 (8 targets) - Goodwin took full advantage of Chicago's decision to play soft in the secondary. He beat Kyle Fuller's off-man coverage for at least 23 total yards. He beat Prince Amakumura's off-man coverage for at least 25 more. He was covered by linebacker Sam Acho in the slot on one reception that gained 7 yards and a first down. On a handful of other plays, he essentially went uncovered for 23 total yards. The only negative of Goodwin's game was an inexcusable false start on 3rd-down in the red zone coming out of a timeout late in the second quarter.
WR Trent Taylor
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 92 - 0 (6 targets) - Taylor's big day resulted from a heaping helping of soft coverage by Chicago. He beat Chris Prosinski's off-man coverage on a slant for 17 yards. And then again for 7 yards more. He then gained 35 yards on his next three receptions by going essentially uncovered in the Bears' zone. Taylor's only success against press man also resulted in his biggest play of the day. Lined up in the slot on 3rd-and-9 with the game on the line, he easily beat cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc off the line and gained 33 yards on a catch and run, thereby setting San Francisco up at Chicago's 16-yard line. From there, they melted two minutes off the clock and kicked the game-winning field goal.
WR Louis Murphy
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (6 targets) - Once again, Murphy started, but only played about half of San Francisco's offensive snaps. Also apparently becoming a weekly occurrence is a 49ers receiver making a catch across the middle, only to see a defender rip the ball out of his hands for an interception on his way to the ground. In addition to that play, Murphy could have made more of his 6 targets two other times; one his fault, one not. On the latter play, he dropped a deep dig route that would have resulted in a first down on 3rd-and-14. On the former, he had a catch that would have resulted in 1st-and-goal ruled incomplete on the field and then somehow not overturned on replay despite (what appeared to be) clear visual evidence to the contrary.
TE Garrett Celek
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 30 - 0 (4 targets) - Three of Celek's four targets arose out of running a route after lining up as a blocker in a three-point stance. Two were successfully completed because he beat the coverage of a Bears linebacker; Christian Jones once and Lamarr Houston once. Celek's two incomplete targets were a short pass near the goal line that was knocked down by cornerback Kyle Fuller and a deep corner route near midfield in which he beat Prince Amakumura, but the pass was overthrown.
TE George Kittle
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Kittle's was wide open for both of his receptions, going uncovered on a shallow cross for an 11-yard catch and run and going uncovered again for 9 yards in the red zone via sitting down in Chicago's Cover-2 zone. His incomplete target was more spectacular than both, as it came close to replicating Dwight Clark
's "The Catch." Late in the second quarter with San Francisco in the red zone, Jimmy Garoppolo
rolled to his right and somehow threaded the ball between five defenders in the end zone. Kittle made a leaping catch on the high pass, but couldn't keep his feet in bounds.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 37 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 15 - 102 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 19 - 0 - Eight games into the Mitchell Trubisky
era and we still don’t know if the kid is any good. Trubisky, statistically speaking, had his best game of the season in Sunday’s 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Trubisky completed 12 of 15 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown and zero turnovers.
Trubisky’s touchdown pass came on a bullet throw to Dontrelle Inman
who was crossing the back of the end zone. According to the TV broadcast, Trubisky and Inman had been practicing that route/play all week long, so to see Trubisky execute gives reason for promise.
The problems he’s been having all season still are the same problems he’s been facing all season -- inconsistent footwork and an inability to feel defensive pressure.
Maybe this is why John Fox thought it was best to not let San Francisco score late in the game, on a drive that certainly was going to end in game-changing points. Instead, Fox elected to continue playing defense because he “liked the field goal block” play they had ready on the sideline. When you have a rookie quarterback on a bad football team who is in need of every possible NFL experience he can experience in year one, you let the opposing team score and challenge your No. 2 overall pick to lead his team down the field for the win. Clearly the coaching staff has little faith in Trubisky’s ability to lead his team on a game-winning drive or else Fox would have made the common-sense decision.
Trubisky is not fantasy relevant in any format that isn’t dynasty related.
RB Jordan Howard
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 38 - 0, Rec: 1 - -5 - 0 (2 targets) - Jordan Howard
maybe needs to be shut down for the season, who knows. The second-year running back looks entirely disinterested on the football field, and perhaps that has something to do with his recent struggles and the team’s season-long struggles. Howard carried the ball 13 times for 38 yards in Sunday’s 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Howard, in the past two games, only has gained 44 yards on 20 carries. This guy is supposed to be your bell-cow back. The Bears weren’t even trailing San Francisco much during the game, so you’d think the offensive play calling would have been geared to put Howard in the best possible positions to gain chunks of yards, yet it seemed like nearly every run of his went up the middle or maybe between the guard and tackle.
Obviously, Howard is not benefited by a healthy offensive line. The best line player and run blocker, Kyle Long, has myriad injuries and might not even play another snap this season, so it appears as if the Bears run game only will get worse before this season ends.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 39 - 0 (4 targets) - Tarik Cohen
is one more mediocre performance away from being fantasy irrelevant. Sure, he’s dynamic. Sure, he ran back a punt for a touchdown in one of the most incredible displays of athleticism you’ll see. He’s merely not consistent enough at this stage of his career; and the Chicago Bears coaching staff certainly does him no favors with trying to put him in the best possible positions for success.
Cohen ran the ball two times for five yards and caught a team-high four passes for 39 yards. Six touches a game for someone on a fantasy roster simply is not enough to warrant ownership -- even with a punt return for a TD on his mantle.
Aside from that punt return, Cohen might as well not even been on the field in Sunday’s 15-14 loss to the 49ers. His impact is significantly lessened each time he takes the field alongside the miserable group of wide receivers the Bears trot out there each and every week.
Avoid Cohen in all formats until the Bears are able to put out a respectable stable of receivers who can distract some attention away from the little guy that is Tarik Cohen
WR Dontrelle Inman
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 1 (2 targets) - Dontrelle Inman
might be one of the few pieces on the Chicago Bears’ roster who might live to see a contributing role next season. Inman, since coming over in a trade from San Diego, is the 2017 version of Cameron Meredith
, just not as good.
Inman, who was a No. 4/5 receiver for San Diego, serves as the Bears’ No. 1 receiver. Opportunities are there for Inman, and if the rookie quarterback could get him the ball a bit more, the offense might be able to look a touch more explosive.
Inman broke free from coverage to score the lone offensive touchdown for the Bears in Sunday’s 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He finished the game with two catches on two targets for 21 yards and the aforementioned touchdown.
Inman possesses the size and speed required to be a top-end receiver in the NFL. He simply doesn’t possess the quarterback required at this stage of the game or season. If you’re looking to take a flyer on a young pass catcher who have some unrecognized star potential, Inman might be that guy for you.
The Trubisky-to-Inman connection needs to happen 10 times a game, not two times.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Green Bay Packers 26
What you need to know
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Peyton Barber
got the start in place of Doug Martin
, who missed week 13 with a concussion sustained last week. Justin Evans intercepted Brett Hundley
on a 2nd quarter deep ball. Jameis Winston
lost a fumble that was recovered for a touchdown in the 2nd quarter. Tampa Bay was leading the game 20-17 until Green Bay drove down and kicked a game-tying field goal at the end of the 4th quarter. Green Bay won the coin toss for OT and scored on their first drive, ending the contest.
Green Bay Packers
- It’s hard to guess what the plan was last week, as the Packers faced a poorer defense at home than what they faced against Pittsburgh on the road last week and yet the offense was far more conservative and inept. As confident and poised as Brett Hundley
looked last week, he looked confused and skittish. His throws were often off target and he pulled the ball down and ran too much. Even Davante Adams
, his normal favorite target, saw his yard dive into the dirt. Jamaal Williams
ran the ball very well for most of the game, and could be leaned on quite a bit against Cleveland, but Aaron Jones
’ walkoff touchdown run in overtime could get him some more carries next week, holding down everyone’s value.
QB Jameis Winston
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 32 - 270 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 18 - 0 - Winston had a rough outing in his return from a shoulder injury. He was unable to push the ball downfield to his two top receivers Evans and Jackson, who caught a combined four passes. Most of the yardage that Winston accumulated was of the "catch-and-run" variety, with Barber and Sims both picking up big gains on halfback screens and swing routes. One bright spot in Winston's return was his connection with Cameron Brate
, who had been suffering a long drought in Winston's absence. The two hooked up for two touchdowns. The first was probably Winston's prettiest pass of the day, a seam route over the head of Brate and his defender that Brate secured with one hand for a 28 yard touchdown in the 1st quarter. Winston found Brate again late in the 4th quarter, scrambling around to buy time and firing a laser to Brate in between three defenders. Winston high-stepped his way out of a couple of ankle tackles on a beautiful 4th quarter scramble that picked up 15 yards.
Winston attempted to throw the ball away while taking a sack in the 2nd quarter, but the ball spun backwards out of his hand, right into the arms of defensive lineman Dean Lowery, who took the ball over 60 yards for a touchdown return. Winston fumbled a handoff attempt to Peyton Barber
from the 3 yard line late in the 4th quarter, but managed to recover it after losing a few yards. Winston found Jackson in the back of the end zone late in the 4th quarter, but stepped over the line of scrimmage before throwing the ball.
RB Peyton Barber
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 102 - 0, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (4 targets) - Barber excelled in relief of Doug Martin
, who missed the game with a concussion from week 12. Barber led the team in rushing and receiving yards, touching the ball 27 times (Sims-5, Rodgers-3). The majority of Barber's carries were chain-moving gains of 4-8 yards, always falling forward after contact. Barber ran hard, with a low center of gravity and solid vision. He ripped his longest run of 19 yards off right tackle late in the 3rd quarter. Barber unfortunately did not receive the goal-line opportunities that he did in week 12. He was stuffed on a 1st and goal carry from the 3 yard line early in the 4th quarter, then the Bucs botched the next two downs with an incomplete pass and a fumbled snap. Winston fumbled another goal-line handoff to Barber late in the 4th quarter, leading to a Cameron Brate
touchdown reception. Barber caught a beautifully designed play-action screen in the 2nd, first faking the handoff then catching the screen with plenty of open field ahead of him for a 34 yard gain. Winston hit him with another checkdown later in the 2nd for a short gain. Barber was targeted on the same play-action screen later that drive, but was tackled at the line of scrimmage. Barber was blown up behind the line of scrimmage on a swing pass late in the 3rd for no gain.
RB Charles Sims
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0, Rec: 2 - 35 - 0 (2 targets) - Sims didn't see any action until late in the 2nd quarter. He entered the game on 3rd and 4 and had a nice carry for a 1st down conversion. Sims split out wide right later in the drive and caught a bubble screen, dodging several tacklers for a big gain down the right sideline. Sims split out wide to the opposite side of the formation later in the 4th, catching another bubble screen for a big catch-and-run down the left sideline. Sims was featured for the final drive of the 4th quarter, carrying the ball several times. He caught another screen for a huge gain, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 25 - 0 - Rodgers started behind Peyton Barber
, returning kicks and seeing minimal snaps on offense as Barber piled up yardage. Rodgers entered the game midway through the 2nd quarter for a short carry. He picked up the majority of his yards on a 19 yard carry right up the middle at the end of the 3rd quarter, and was not targeted in the passing game.
WR Adam Humphries
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (4 targets) - Humphries caught a well-timed bubble screen from Winston in the 1st quarter, weaving his way between defenders for a conversion on 3rd and 8. He caught another quick screen in the 2nd quarter that picked up a minimal gain. Humphries caught a crossing route late in the 3rd and was tackled at the 3 yard line. Humphries caught a deep curl down the seam late in the 4th, but the play was nullified by a holding penalty on the offensive line.
WR Chris Godwin
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (3 targets) - Godwin saw limited snaps on offense. He lined up in a bunch formation tight to the line and caught a quick slant at the end of the 2nd quarter for a short gain. He split out wide right early in the 3rd quarter and showed great speed on a skinny post that picked up 17 yards. He was not targeted for the rest of the contest. Godwin was targeted in the end zone early in the 4th quarter, but was well defended on a short curl route.
WR Mike Evans
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (6 targets) - Evans started out the day with a bad drop on a skinny post during the 1st quarter. He made a brilliant leaping catch down the left sideline in the 2nd quarter, but as he fell to the ground, his defender landed underneath him and forced him out of bounds, negating a big gain. Evans wasn't targeted much after that, and didn't secure an official catch until the 4th quarter, hauling in a deep crossing route for 17 yards. Winston found him a few plays later on a skinny post route for a similar gain, and Evans called it a day at two receptions on six targets.
WR DeSean Jackson
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (3 targets) - Jackson had a quiet day, catching a short curl late in the 2nd quarter for a short gain on his first target. He secured his second target later in the same drive, a deep corner route from the right slot that picked up 19 yards. Winston missed him badly on a curl route near the end zone at the end of the 3rd quarter. Jackson caught a crossing route in the back of the end zone at the end of the 4th quarter, but Winston had thrown the ball after scrambling past the line of scrimmage.
TE Cameron Brate
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 39 - 2 (6 targets) - Winston's return at quarterback ended a drought for Brate that saw him post one catch each week for the last four weeks. Brate started his day with a brilliant touchdown catch in the 1st quarter, lining up in a bunch formation with two other receivers and taking off up the seam for a one-handed touchdown grab over his defender. Brate nearly had another catch in the end zone at the end of the 2nd quarter, but a defender knocked the ball away. Winston looked to Brate again on a seam route from the left slot position on the very next play, but overthrew the ball, forcing Tampa Bay to kick a field goal right before halftime. Brate caught his second touchdown from the left slot, flexing out and working his way open just over the goal line on a curl route in the 4th.
TE Antony Auclair
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Rookie tight end Auclair was promoted to the active roster after the Bucs released veteran backup Luke Stocker
. Auclair lined up tight to the line and caught Winston's first pass, an out route for an 11 yard gain in the first quarter. He saw limited snaps as a blocker behind Brate and Howard, and was not targeted again after the first drive.
TE O.J. Howard
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (2 targets) - Howard was uncovered for his only reception, a quick seam route right up the field from the inline position that picked up 17 yards. He was targeted once in the 2nd half on a crossing route that was thrown in the dirt by Winston.
TE Alan Cross
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets) - Cross lined up at the fullback position and leaked into the flat early in the 1st, catching a short pass and turning it up the right sideline for a 13 yard gain before returning to his sporadic usual lead-blocking duties.
QB Brett Hundley
, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 22 - 84 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 66 - 0 - Hundley came crashing back down to earth after a tremendous Week 12, showing some mobility while gaining yards with his feet, but missing on multiple throws to his receivers throughout the game. Possibly the most egregious came in the first quarter, when he missed a wide open Geronimo Allison
on a corner route. While his receiver was absolutely wide open and could have waltzed into the end zone, Hundley airmailed the throw, overshooting Allison by a good bit. So it went on Sunday, and Allison wasn’t the only guy Hundley missed on, though it was probably the worst, including the pick he threw early in the second quarter on a pass over the middle to Jordy Nelson
. Unlike last week, Hundley seemed much less decisive and some of the yards he gained on the ground, while helpful, also came because he pulled the ball down and took off even though another moment or two might have seen a receiver free. The offense also seemed really conservative compared to last week, even though the defense the Packers faced—in front of a home crowd, no less—was nowhere near as good.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 113 - 1, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - Williams had a nice day, in part because the interior of the line—specifically guard Jahri Evans—kept opening holes and stymying the Tampa Bay defensive line. He showed a lot of power on his 1-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. On the play, he took the ball to the left edge but his lead blocker didn’t execute and defensive lineman Lavonte David was there to make the stop—or try. Williams did a great job of keeping his legs churning and bullying the defender into the end zone for a score. This was one of the better games we’ve seen from Williams, who looked closer to what we expected after a solid training camp. While lacking blazing speed, he runs hard and shows nice power, and that paid off handsomely on Sunday.
RB Aaron Jones
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 20 - 1 - When you get minimal carries, you have to make them count and that’s what Aaron Jones
did on his one carry in overtime on Sunday. It was Jones’ one and only carry, but it went for a 20 yard touchdown to win the game. On the play, Jones took the ball and heading to either the ‘2’ hole between the center and right guard or the ‘4’ hole between the guard and tackle but found nothing but a mass of defenders waiting. Jones cut back across the line to his left, dodging a tackler as he hit the edge and turning upfield. He then beat the pursuit with strong acceleration on the way to the end zone.
WR Jordy Nelson
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 17 - 0 (8 targets) - Nelson led the team in targets but they were all super-short attempts and he had no luck extending them after the catch. He was also the target on quarterback Brett Hundley
’s interception. The route Nelson was on took him down the middle, and it was one of Hundley’s many overthrows on the game, well past Nelson and easily scooped up by the defender.
WR Davante Adams
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (6 targets) - Adams was bound to have a stinker considering his quarterback, and this week just seemed to be the time. His 42 yards was exactly half of Brett Hundley
’s meager production, but that’s not cause for celebration on a pyrrhic level, as he caught most of it in the early first quarter and then disappeared until the fourth.
TE Richard Rodgers
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Rodgers was part of some two tight end sets with Lance Kendricks
and spent a lot of time blocking as well. He saw a pair of targets but with so few yards and attempts by quarterback Brett Hundley
, Rodgers’ targets amounted to very little.
TE Lance Kendricks
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Kendricks was on the field for just over half of Green Bay’s offensive snaps, often blocking. When he did go out on a route, he’d still end up blocking as quarterback Brett Hundley
sometimes pulled the ball down and ran.
Cleveland Browns 10, Los Angeles Chargers 19
What you need to know
- It was a loss that Browns fans have become all too familiar with this season. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
continued to struggle with the same issues that have plagued him throughout the season. Kizer's accuracy was inconsistent as he overthrew several of his receivers, including an open Josh Gordon
on several occasions. He also continues to turn the ball over too frequently, turning the ball over on back-to-back possessions in Chargers' territory in the fourth quarter. The Browns rolled out a puzzling game plan as they only gave their running backs 17 carries against a Chargers run defense that has struggled this season, even though the Cleveland defense was able to keep this contest close. Josh Gordon
's return was the main storyline here as he looked just as fast and athletic as he did back in December of 2014, the most recent time we saw him on a football field in a regular season game. Gordon instantly slid in as the No. 1 target in the passing game as he drew passing looks away from Corey Coleman
and Duke Johnson
, who had been operating as the team's top receivers previously. On the defensive side of the ball, the Browns lost two more starters to injury as Danny Shelton (ribs) and Jabrill Peppers (knee) both departed early.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Keenan Allen
is playing like the best wide receiver in the league, or is at least in the conversation. Once again, he appeared to be completely uncoverable by a defense, dominating the targets and getting open almost at will.
put up big yardage numbers, but had a little trouble getting the ball into the end zone. That being said, it was a very conservative gameplan against a vastly inferior opponent, and one got the sense that the Chargers could have done more if the game ever really got in doubt.
was off to a solid game, but left late in the contest with a leg injury. It appears he avoided serious injury, but be sure to check in on his status during the week to confirm.
QB DeShone Kizer
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 32 - 215 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 46 - 0 - t was a familiar story for Kizer, who made a few fantastic throws while mixing in several off-targets passes that could have gone for big gains had he put the throw in the right spot. In the fourth quarter, the rookie quarterback lost a fumble and then threw an interception on consecutive possessions in Chargers territory to finish out the game. On the team's second possession of the game, Kizer hit tight end David Njoku
with a great pass but Njoku dropped it. He then took a deep shot to Josh Gordon
, but it was underthrown. The incompletion was nullified due to a roughing the passer penalty Kizer drew from Joey Bosa. Kizer continued the trend of missing Gordon in the second quarter as he overthrew a wide open Gordon on a deep attempt. The play probably could have gone for a touchdown had it been on target. He recovered later in the second quarter to throw his only touchdown pass of the game, a 28-yard strike to Njoku. He made a perfect pass right down the seam to Njoku, who was barely able to stretch over the goal line for the score. In the second half, Kizer started to struggle a bit more. He was almost intercepted by Casey Hayward on his team's first possession in the third quarter. Hayward read Kizer's eyes and jumped the pass but dropped the interception. He then missed Gordon again with an underthrown pass, allowing the defender to break up the pass. On the second drive in the third quarter, he again overthrew an open Gordon on a deep shot down the field. On the plus side, Kizer does continue to show toughness when he chooses to run the ball. He can be a big, physical runner (for a quarterback) when he chooses to take on tacklers instead of sliding. The fourth quarter was Kizer's worst frame. He was able to get the offense moving, getting into Chargers territory twice, but he committed two straight turnovers to help Los Angeles ice the game. The first turnover came on a strip sack where he held onto the ball too long and was hit hard as he was backpedaling in the pocket. The second turnover came on the final offensive play of the game for the Browns, as Kizer forced a poor throw into triple coverage, handing an easy interception to the defense. In all, the return of Josh Gordon
gives Kizer's rest of season outlook a glimmer of hope as the two were a few overthrown balls away from posting huge games for the Browns. If they can improve their chemistry the offense could hit its stride over the final four games.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 41 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Crowell had a beautiful matchup against a Chargers run defense that had been struggling this season but he wound up seeing just 10 carries, even though the Chargers were never able to get up more than two scores. As has been the case this season, Crowell's usage was very vanilla. He mostly operated on run plays up the middle. His biggest run of the game came on the first drive where he ripped off a 16-yard gain. He was not emphasized in the passing game, seeing just one target, which he caught for three yards. Crowell only saw four carries in the second half of the game as the team elected to skew pass-heavy.
RB Duke Johnson
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Johnson turned in his slowest game of the season, totaling just 12 yards on nine touches. He simply couldn't find much space to operate, with the Chargers often bringing him down at or around the line of scrimmage. He was stuffed for negative yardage at least twice, including once on 4th-and-1. Johnson did see a fourth quarter red zone carry but it was nullified by an offensive holding call against Corey Coleman
. Better days are ahead for Johnson but it is concerning that he may become more marginalized on offense with Josh Gordon
WR Josh Gordon
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 85 - 0 (11 targets) - Gordon looked good in his first game since December, 2014. He still looks as fast and athletic as ever as he posted one of the best lines a wide receiver has mustered against the Chargers this season. He and quarterback DeShone Kizer
still have to work on their chemistry as Kizer missed him on several passes where Gordon was open. It could have been a huge game as Kizer overthrew an open Gordon on at least two deep attempts, one of which would have been a sure-fire 44-yard touchdown. His first catch came on a short slant on the first play of the game which he turned into a nine-yard gain. In the second quarter, Gordon made an impressive leaping grab down the left sideline for a 28-yard gain. In the fourth quarter, Gordon saw an end zone target on a crossing route from Kizer but the pass was too high and a bit behind him, resulting in an incompletion.
WR Corey Coleman
, 51 offensive snaps (4 targets) - Whether it be due to the return of Josh Gordon
or the tough matchup against an excellent Chargers secondary, Coleman was held without a catch for the first time in his short NFL career. The second-year receiver had a few chances to get on the stat sheet throughout the game but just couldn't do much. He actually caught a ball for no-gain during the first quarter but the play was nullified by an illegal formation penalty on the offense. He later drew a deep shot down the field but the ball was thrown too close to the sideline. In the fourth quarter, Coleman was able to help his offense by drawing a 24-yard pass interference penalty against the defense. Hopefully Coleman will eventually benefit from the return of Gordon as defenses shift their attention toward him.
TE David Njoku
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 74 - 1 (6 targets) - Njoku got off to a slow start, dropping a catchable ball down the seam. Later in the first quarter, he made what appeared to be an impressive leaping catch on the right sideline but just couldn't quite get both feet down inbounds. In the second quarter, Njoku hauled in a 28-yard touchdown pass from DeShone Kizer
. It was a perfect pass down the middle of the field and Njoku did a great job to stretch the ball just over the goal line. He wasn't done making splash plays, however, as he added a 33-yard reception in the fourth quarter. The Browns have slowly started to use Njoku more, as he's played over 50% of his team's offensive snaps in each of his past two games. The presence of Josh Gordon
should help to open up the middle of the field for him to do more damage over the final quarter of the season.
QB Philip Rivers
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 43 - 344 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0 - Rivers could do almost no wrong in this game. For much of the afternoon, he stood tall in the pocket with a very clean jersey as the Browns mustered very little semblance of a pass rush. Rivers simply took what the defense was giving him, and that typically included a lot of time and at least 1-2 receivers open on every play. Early on, he was under a little bit of pressure. On one particular play, he had a lot of time to throw but still only barely got rid of the ball before being hit. Unfortunately, he released the ball at a bit of an awkward angle and he was hit low by a defender. It took him awhile to regain his composure, and even had to call a timeout to regroup. But he showed no ill effects after that. Soon after that play, he was hit as he threw and fumbled the ball. After bouncing around a bit, his own lineman managed to pounce on it to save a possible turnover. But aside from those two plays, just about everything else went extremely well for him. His chemistry with Keenan Allen
was again very evident, and that duo is as hot as any QB/WR tandem in the league right now. They connected another ten times in this game, including another touchdown. About the only blemish on Rivers' stat line is the lack of scores in the game. The Chargers had to settle for numerous field goal attempts (for instance, they had 254 yards of total offense in the first half, but just nine points - and zero touchdowns to that point). But what they lacked in punch, they made up for in volume and efficiency.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 77 - 0, Rec: 4 - 29 - 0 (4 targets) - The talk a few weeks ago of some sort of time-sharing situation between Gordon and backup Austin Ekeler
never came to fruition, and this game proved more of the same. Gordon had 23 touches, compared to just six for Ekeler. And while Gordon was largely bottled up in the first half, he seemed to run with more purpose in the second half. In short yardage situations, the Cleveland defense rose to the occasion more often than not. But that didn't stop Gordon from rumbling through the heart of the defense to about the 3-yard line early in the second half. And while Gordon was stuffed on second down for a loss, it didn't affect much since Keenan Allen
caught a touchdown on the very next play. Later in the half, Gordon picked up his best run of the game, a 29-yard gallop up the gut. He slowly worked sideways before spotting the hole, then darting through and driving through defenders by the end of it to pick up extra yardage. Gordon still lacks the consistency of some of the league's elite rushers, but he is an excellent fit for what the Chargers do. His receiving skills are a very underrated aspect of his game, evidenced by a first half reception along the sideline where he dragged his toes as well as any high-level wide receiver in the game would do.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 19 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Despite his relative success when he gets the ball in his hands, Ekeler is still the clear backup to Melvin Gordon
, as this is not a 1/1A type of situation like they have with the Saints or Jets. In this one, Ekeler showed some nice open field moves on a first half reception that went for 16 yards, and did an excellent job in the run game when they opted to go to him. The announcers revealed that, in conversations with the Charger strength coaches, the staff apparently said that Ekeler is the team's strongest player, pound-for-pound. It shows frequently, as he doesn't often go down upon first contact or from only one would-be tackler. In the second half, Ekeler dropped a swing pass that was laid out right in his hands, although based on the spot of the field, it's possible that he lost it in the sun.
WR Keenan Allen
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 105 - 1 (14 targets) - Over the last several games, Allen has staked his claim as arguably the best route-running receiver in the league, as well as one of the best overall just in general. He posted another outstanding stat line today, and appears to be nearly uncoverable. The rapport that he has with Philip Rivers
is something rare to see, and not many QB/WR combos in the league are on the same page as frequently as these two appear to be. It's almost a broken record at this point; Allen showed tremendous hands on a leaping catch away from his body where he snagged it out of mid-air. Allen continuously beat his man over the middle on crossing routes and slants. Allen is the focal point of one of the hottest offenses in the league, and yet still finds himself wide open time and time again. Twice he was targeted in the end zone on fade passes (on one of them, he had the ball in his hands and just needed to land, but the defender played it perfectly to knock it away just before his feet touched down), and once more he took a screen pass inside the 10-yard line where he just needed to beat one man for the score. And yet despite all these near-misses, he STILL managed to get into the end zone for his owners on a second half pattern. First he had to haul in the 26-yard gain on a 4th and 4 deep ball down the sideline (fortunately making a great individual effort to bring it in). And then once in the red zone, he made a tremendous break off the line to get his defender leaning one way before darting back the other direction for the wide open score over the middle. Late in the game, Allen caught a quick screen and had the ball jarred loose by a defender, but fortunately for Allen and the Chargers, Hunter Henry
was right there to pounce on the ball for the recovery. Allen was targeted on one more fade pattern in the corner of the end zone, but it was overthrown a bit and had no chance to be brought in.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 68 - 0 (6 targets) - After a disappointing inaugural season with the team (and a few dicey moments thus far already in season 2), Benjamin has come around in recent weeks. He was the team's third-leading receiver in this game, the majority of which came on one big first half catch. Facing a third and long, he made a short catch on a quick out before turning upfield to pick up 39 and get into Cleveland territory. The play featured some excellent downfield blocking by others, but he showed he's still got the good open field speed. He had one other early grab off of a deflection along the sideline, showing nice concentration. And was near the end zone late in the first half when he caught pass near the sideline, but lost his footing to go down just inside the 5-yard line.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Once again, the Charger offense put up big yardage totals and a ton of plays from scrimmage, and once again Williams wasn't invited to the party. He caught just one ball, showing very nice hands on a second half out route along the sideline to convert a third down. But he earlier dropped a wide open pass, attempting to turn upfield prior to actually securing the pass. And aside from that, his number wasn't called very frequently. He has gone from the team's best receiver in 2016, to perhaps the fifth or even sixth option in the passing game at this point.
TE Hunter Henry
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 81 - 0 (9 targets) - Henry had a very solid game, but ended with a damper when he was forced to leave the game with a leg injury. Henry made several tough grabs, mostly over the middle of the field. His first catch was a tough sliding grab over the middle with a defender right on top of him to convert a third down. He added a really athletic play later in the first half when he was cut down by a blitzer during a block out of the backfield. He quickly got to his feet as Rivers bought enough time on the rollout, before dropping it to Henry for the first down gain. He opened the second half by streaking down the left sideline as Rivers hit him perfectly in stride for 25 yards on what appeared to be a broken defensive assignment by Cleveland. But then on a late grab on the open field, a defender went low just as Henry was coming down with the ball. It didn't look like a typical "gross" injury or anything, but he remained on the ground for quite awhile and was in considerable pain. He was later seen walking around on the sideline which hopefully bodes well for the possibility of avoiding a serious injury, but nobody can make any assumptions until the team reveals his status one way or the other in the coming days.
TE Antonio Gates
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - After going two games without a reception, Gates was involved early in this one. His third reception of the game came with 11:20 still remaining in the first half, and he looked well on his way to a big game. That was his last reception of the game, however, although he may have gotten a chance to score late in the first half if not for a questionable no-call on a possible holding penalty just before halftime. He didn't break any big gains down the field, but he was at least involved. Gates has never been confused for one of the league's better blocking tight ends, so if he isn't catching passes, then his value on the field is minimal. Hunter Henry
has mostly usurped Gates as the primary pass-catching tight end on the team, but Henry went down with a scary-looking leg injury late in the contest. If he were to miss any time, Gates would be in line to pick up the lion's share of the tight end targets.
Minnesota Vikings 14, Atlanta Falcons 9
What you need to know
- The Vikings squeaked by the Atlanta Falcons for their 8th straight victory this week. The offense was unimpressive but managed to do just enough to score two touchdowns and get the win. The real story was the Vikings' defense and Xavier Rhodes lockdown coverage of Julio Jones
. Jones had managed 12 catches for 253 yards and 2 touchdowns last week but was held to just 2 catches for 24 yards against Rhodes. The rest of the defense also stepped up and held Atlanta to making 3 out of 4 field goals on the day. An interesting note to add is the Vikings failed to record a sack for the first game this season. Case Keenum
was very efficient but not spectacular and the run game was uneven at best. The Vikings are now the first team to ever have 10 wins the same season their city hosts the Super Bowl. Minnesota travels to Carolina next week to take on the Panthers.
- Atlanta had five penalties on run plays during the first offensive drives and it nullified two significant gains from Devonta Freeman
. This limited Atlanta to an opening-drive field goal. Freeman ran hard and productively all day, but it wasn’t nearly enough. Atlanta then had the ball rammed down its throat during the Vikings’ second drive that included eight runs on a nine-play drive that capped with the go-ahead score. Atlanta could only manage field goals during the first three quarters while the Vikings’ had two long drives for touchdowns, including an eight-minute drive where Case Keenum
bought time against the Atlanta rush and found big openings in the middle of the field. Meanwhile, Xavier Rhodes rerouted Julio Jones
repeatedly and held Jones to one catch in the first 3.5 quarters of this game by re-routing the big receiver at the line of scrimmage. Atlanta finally adjusted during the final half of the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late. Minnesota’s ball control and ability to force Matt Ryan
to make tough decisions under pressure proved too much.
QB Case Keenum
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 30 - 227 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -1 - 0 - Keenum had the best day on offense for the Vikings but did not really wow anyone all game. The most impressive part of his stat line was completing 83.3% of his passes. The overall yardage was not there, but he did add both touchdowns through the air today. Keenum hit Jerick McKinnon
on a 2-yard bootleg play where McKinnon used Kyle Rudolph
as a rub on his defender and was found wide open in the end zone. The second touch down came on a 6-yard strike right up the seam to Rudolph. The big tight end beat his linebacker in coverage and the safety was late coming over to cover. It was an easy throw and catch for the touchdown with no one in the immediate area. Keenum did a better job spreading the ball around this week and completed passes to 9 different receivers. The big play eluded Keenum this week with his longest play of the day being a 22-yard catch and run by Adam Thielen
on the last drive of the game to help run the clock out. Keenum will have another stiff test next week as the Vikings travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers.
RB Latavius Murray
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 76 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Murray was given the start for the Vikings again this week and had the better day as well. He was given 7 more carries and only has 2 fewer receptions than Jerick McKinnon
this week. The gap between the two backs is becoming more distinct and Murray is making the best of it. Murray had the longest play for the Vikings on the day when he took the ball up the middle, broke a tackle, and rumbled 30 yards downfield before being tackled at the 2-yard line. This set up a McKinnon receiving touchdown and gave the Vikings their first lead of the day. Murray averaged 4.8 yards per carry and continues to look like the best running back in Minnesota.
RB Jerick McKinnon
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 24 - 0, Rec: 5 - 28 - 1 (5 targets) - This was another rough rushing day for McKinnon. He did not surpass 25 yards rushing and only averaged 2.7 yards per carry when he did touch the ball. The only saving grace was the 2-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter. McKinnon was able to use Kyle Rudolph
as a rub for his linebacker in coverage and a rolling Case Keenum
found him all alone in the end zone for the first Vikings touchdown. The best part of the highlight was he capped the touchdown with the old Atlanta ‘dirty bird’ celebration as a throwback to the city he grew up in. Thankfully this did not serve as motivation for the Falcons and the Vikings managed to walk away with the win.
WR Adam Thielen
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 51 - 0 (5 targets) - This was the worst game Thielen has put forth all season, and he still had 51 yards and averaged 12.8 yards per catch. Thielen has been a machine with his 100-yard games but faltered this week. The Falcons did a great job disguising their coverages and gave a lot of help over the top when covering Thielen. His biggest play did not come until the last drive of the game where the Vikings were just trying to run out the clock. On a 3rd and 4 play, Thielen caught a short pass and turned it up the field for 22 yards. Thielen has been great all season but was held in check this week against a revamped Falcons defense.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 32 - 0 (5 targets) - With Thielen being bottled up, it would be easy to think Diggs would pick up the slack and find the voids left in coverage by giving help elsewhere. However, Diggs was unable to find any room and even struggled to bring in the majority of passes thrown his way. Diggs only caught 2 of his 5 targets but did manage to take those two catches for 13 and 19 yards respectively. He was also used on an end around again this week and managed 5 yards on the ground. Keenum missed Diggs on a deep pass before the first half ended, but the other 2 incompletions came on short passes that could have easily been caught. Diggs is going to have to step up next week if Thielen is taken out in coverage again against the Panthers.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 1 (5 targets) - Rudolph was the second most productive receiver for the Vikings this week and he only managed 36 yards through the air. The big tight end got his shot to shine in the red zone and caught a 6-yard pass from Keenum that would prove to be the game-winning touchdown. Rudolph worked right up the seam against a linebacker who thought he was passing him off to the safety in coverage, but the safety was late getting over and Rudolph had the easy touchdown catch. He also added a 16-yard catch and run on the Vikings last drive of the game to help the Vikings run out the clock. Rudolph caught 4 of his 5 targets and did as much damage as anyone else in the Viking offense.
QB Matt Ryan
, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 29 - 173 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Ryan got hot during the third drive of the game, finding Julio Jones
, Marvin Hall
, and Mohamed Sanu
on first-down passes for strong gains on an over route, a dig, and a skinny post. Ryan got Atlanta moving on the first drive of the second half, but a third-down throw to a wide-open Mohamed Sanu
was too low and the Falcons had to settle for its third field goal of the game to re-take the lead. The Vikings began blitzing Ryan during the first two drives of the second half as a way to counter Ryan throwing successfully on first downs. Ryan forced the ball on consecutive targets, leading to a punt in the middle of the third quarter. After losing the lead in the fourth quarter, Ryan had to force a throw to a covered running back while pressured up the middle. The Vikings collapsed the pocket on the following play and forced Ryan to break the pocket, leading to an Anthony Barr tackle, a 4th and 6, and a punt. Ryan could not find Julio Jones
because Xavier Rhodes was too physical for Jones to overcome at the line of scrimmage, and Atlanta did not begin motioning the receiver away from Rhodes’ press techniques until late in the game.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 74 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets) - He bounced off his own lineman on a run towards left guard and tried to work to the outside, but he was dropped by a defensive tackle for no gain on the second play of the series. Minnesota stuffed Freeman again with penetration in the backfield for a two-yard loss four plays later. He made a nice head fake in the backfield to set up penetration at the right edge to earn five yards off right tackle on a 1st and 20 later in this first drive. Two plays later on 3rd and 8, Freeman found a huge hole inside the right guard and up the right flat with a strong bounce out for a long gain and a first down. However, center Alex Mack committed a holding penalty. Freeman had another strong run up the right side but another holding penalty nullified the play. He earned 12 on a 3rd and 17 draw from shotgun to set up an opening drive field goal attempt. Atlanta ran power to the right side for a strong gain across midfield for a first down during the third series. Freeman earned another first down up the middle but this time, the Vikings were called for a penalty on the second play of the second half. Freeman earned four with a tough run through contact on a first-down run later in the drive. Freeman ran hard up for a first down in the middle of the fourth quarter and then earned seven on a check-down and made two defenders miss for most of the gain. Freeman earned another strong crease on a pitch to the left side on the following play.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 22 - 0, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - He got open on an in-cut on 3rd and 12 during the first drive and earned 10 up the middle during the first drive just past mid-field. Atlanta converted to Coleman from the shotgun a shallow route against Anthony Barr to the opposite flat for more than 15 yards and a first down. Coleman got open against Terrance Newman up the left sideline during the same drive, but Ryan overshot him by five yards. He earned six yards on a 2nd and 10 stretch to the right side. Coleman earned six to left end to lead off the fourth series of the half. He earned another six yards off right tackle two plays later. He consistently executed a patient first cut at the right moment. He couldn’t outrun the good angle by Everson Griffith on a misdirection toss to the left, forcing a third down during the first Atlanta drive of the half. Eric Kendricks prevented Coleman from controlling a target in the middle of the shallow zone in the fourth quarter.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 43 - 0 (5 targets) - Ryan targeted Sanu on a third down perimeter route at the sticks, but the cornerback McKenzie Alexander committed a 3rd and 10 pass interference and gave Atlanta a first down. Sanu dropped a quick slant on 3rd and 4 to end Atlanta’s second drive. Ryan delivered a skinny post o Sanu for more than 20 and a first down during the third drive. Sanu was wide open on a curl route and attacked the ball past Xavier Rhodes on the third play of the second half. This was after Sanu yelled at his staff during the first half to get him the ball. Sanu earned a first down on a route crossing the middle but Ryan’s throw was low and the officials overturned the play and forced a 47-yard field goal to end the opening drive of the second half. Ryan found Sanu at the top of the second drive of the third quarter on a 14-yard slant.
WR Julio Jones
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (6 targets) - He let the opening series slant go through his hands on a throw above his head. He earned a catch on a low-thrown drag route for a first down on the opening play of the Falcons’ third series. Ryan overshot Jones late in the half up the left sideline on 2nd and 4 after the two-minute warning. Jones had maybe a step on Rhodes. Ryan unsuccessfully tried to force the ball into Jones who was working tightly under safety Andrew Sendejo while Minnesota blitzed the quarterback. The Falcons finally began motioning Jones to get him free and used him on a shallow route to earn yards after the catch for a short first down on a tough run in the fourth quarter. Ryan was wide of Jones over the middle on 2nd and 10 late in the fourth quarter. Xavier Rhodes only gave up short passes that were designed to beat man coverage based on defender position and he routinely re-routed Jones with press coverage. Atlanta’s staff finally moved Jones around late in the fourth quarter but too little, too late.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - He was stuffed on a WR screen in the left flat by Harrison Smith during the first Atlanta drive. Even if he broke the tackle and earned a positive gain, Jake Matthews was called for holding. He earned a first down on 2nd and 4 late during the fourth drive of the game. After Ryan forced the ball towards Jones under pressure, Ryan tried to throw it downfield to Gabriel on a well-covered vertical shot on 3rd and 8 and led to an Atlanta punt in the middle of the third quarter.
WR Marvin Hall
, 7 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - Ryan delivered a deep dig route against Xavier Rhodes, who played off coverage against Hall during Atlanta’s third series. McKenzie Alexander jumped the short throw to Hall on 3rd and 4 late in the half and forced an Atlanta punt. Ryan hit Hall at the right sideline to set up a 45-yard attempt that Bryant missed with 4:58 in the game.
TE Austin Hooper
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - He earned six on a short flat route in the right flat on the fifth play of the series. Hooper worked outside Julio Jones
on a shallow round on 2nd and 15 for a gain of seven to the left sideline. Hooper took a flat route for a short gain on 3rd down, leading to a 36-yard field goal by Matt Bryant
to cap Atlanta’s third drive.
TE Levine Toilolo
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets) - On the sixth play of the first series, he got up on in the right flat and dragged Eric Kendricks on 3rd and 5 for a 16-yard gain and a first down. He earned nine yards on a play action flat route to begin the second half.
Carolina Panthers 21, New Orleans Saints 31
What you need to know
- Carolina had a golden opportunity to seize control of the NFC South against New Orleans. However, Carolina struggled to stop New Orleans and trailed by multiple touchdowns by the middle of the second quarter. The run game of Carolina never got on track as Jonathan Stewart
and Christian McCaffrey
combined for 17-61 on the ground and Devin Funchess
was shut down until well into the second half. Without Greg Olsen
, Carolina’s passing game was notably stunted as no ancillary option for the Panthers stepped up beyond Funchess. While on track for a playoff spot, Carolina faces Minnesota next week, another tough test for an out-of-sync Panthers offense.
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints got back to their winning ways in week 13 and followed the recipe they have been cooking all season. The running game got back on track in a big way accounting for 148 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mark Ingram
had a 72-yard run and a touchdown while Alvin Kamara
stole the show with 126 total yards and 2 touchdowns. Drew Brees
finally connected with Michael Thomas
in the end zone and the Saints have sole possession of the NFC South once again. One interesting storyline was Saints quarterback of the future, Taysom Hill
, was used extensively on special teams and made several tackles. Sean Peyton was all smiles seeing his prized acquisition making plays on special teams despite being dubbed as the potential successor to Drew Brees
. The Saints have a Thursday Night tilt against division rival Atlanta this week and could create more separation in the division as Carolina takes on a surging Minnesota team.
QB Cam Newton
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 27 - 183 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 51 - 0 - It was a mixed bag for Cam Newton
in the critical division road game against New Orleans. The game script was negative early as Carolina trailed by 14 points by the middle of the second quarter. Newton had his moments of accurate passes, but critical plays were left on the field either by Newton’s inaccuracy or dropped passes. Newton threw a bullet to Kaelin Clay
on a third down slant early in the game and a deep out to Brenton Bersin
, a throw not many quarterbacks can complete with such ease. However, Newton notably underthrew Damiere Byrd
on a deep route, a likely touchdown, which was tipped away by the defensive back catching up to the play. A well-thrown seam pass by Newton to Russell Shepard
was also dropped. As a runner, Newton had a 10-yard rush called back by penalty, a long rush of 30 yards, and shed a rusher to find Ed Dickson
as an outlet receiver. For the fourth time over the last five games, Newton did not surpass 200 passing yards. On the plus side, Newton avoided turning the ball over for the fourth straight game. Minnesota offers arguably the toughest passing test for Carolina of the season next week.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 16 - 0, Rec: 5 - 33 - 1 (6 targets) - Yet again McCaffrey saw a strong share of snaps as Carolina fell behind early in New Orleans. McCaffrey struggled as a runner, a common occurrence this season, as he did not elude initial defenders on the interior or to the edge. McCaffrey has less than 25 rushing yards in 9-of-12 games this season and more than eight carries in only two contests. As a receiver, McCaffrey was active with six targets, but most of his production through the air came on a single catch. McCaffrey came wide open in the flat en route to an easy 21-yard touchdown. On his other five catches, McCaffrey logged only 12 yards. McCaffrey did show his explosiveness hurdling a defender late in the game after being stuffed on a shovel pass, screen, and well in front of the sticks on third-and-long among his other catches. Including this week, McCaffrey has shown less dynamic movement thus far in his rookie season to make the first defender miss, excel in the open field, or succeed in traditional running back concepts. The Vikings defense offers a tough test next week.
RB Jonathan Stewart
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 45 - 1 (1 targets) - In a game against New Orleans where Carolina was playing catch up, Stewart’s role was muted. Stewart was out-snapped handily by Christian McCaffrey
. The biggest chunk of Stewart’s production came on the opening play for Carolina’s offense, finding a wide open lane to the perimeter for more than 10 yards. Stewart also converted a goal line carry by going over the top on his end zone plunge, his third touchdown in the last five games. The biggest limitation of Stewart’s role is his complete lack of passing game involvement with Christian McCaffrey
cemented as the receiving back. Stewart has not caught a pass since Week 5, relying on strong volume or a touchdown to log a solid performance.
WR Devin Funchess
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 1 (7 targets) - Funchess was well on his way to a dud performance without a catch until late in the third quarter. Before getting into the box score, Funchess had a contested deep sideline drop and Cam Newton
missed Funchess with a high throw. Funchess came on late in the game, however, including a strong 20-yard in-cut reception, a long defensive pass interference penalty, and a contested high-point play after which Funchess walked into the end zone to keep Carolina’s comeback hopes alive. Funchess also dropped a red zone slant amidst his up-and-down performance. Despite the non-existent impact for more than half the game, Funchess led the team in targets and hit 60 or more yards for the fourth straight game.
WR Russell Shepard
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (5 targets) - Shepard was the de factor No.2 option to Devin Funchess
with Greg Olsen
out of the lineup against New Orleans. Shepard logged more than half of his yardage on his opening catch in the first quarter, coming wide open across the formation for more than 15 yards. The rest of Shepard’s day was marred by mistakes from two drops (one down the seam and another on third down) to fumbling a short reception in the fourth quarter, which Carolina fortunately recovered. Shepard has noteworthy athletic traits, but has struggled to find consistency in his NFL career. The rest of the season offers a golden opportunity in terms of role for Shepard, but this week was a microcosm of why Shepard has yet to stick in a prominent role to-date.
TE Ed Dickson
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - With Greg Olsen
out against New Orleans, Dickson assumed the lead tight end role. However, Dickson saw only two targets, both with minimal impact. Outside of Dickson’s Week 5 career day of 175 yards, he has struggled to separate from defenders or find yards after the catch opportunities. Greg Olsen
practiced at the end of last week, pointing to a good chance to return in Week 14 against Minnesota.
QB Drew Brees
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 269 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0 - Both the Saints and Brees got back on track this week as the veteran quarterback looked like himself again. He was quick to get the ball out and spread it around to 9 different receivers. He was not overly flashy and did not push the ball down the field very much, but with the success of the ground game, he did not need to. He connected with Michael Thomas
for the pairs first touchdown since week 4 against Miami and looked very comfortable overall. The touchdown pass came from 10 yards out with Thomas streaking across the field and losing his coverage in the wash of bodies behind him. Brees was able to throw the ball towards the sideline where only Thomas could make a play on the ball. Brees connected with almost every potential receiver on the roster, but the only significant amount of targets and yards came to Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara. Willie Snead
also finally made an appearance with a 26-yard catch but did not account for anything else the rest of the game. If the running game continues to fire on all cylinders, then Brees will just need to continue to not turn the ball over and the Saints will win a lot of games. With another divisional game against Atlanta on a short week, Brees will face another stiff test.
RB Mark Ingram
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 85 - 1, Rec: 6 - 37 - 0 (7 targets) - Ingram has been the starter all season long but was not given the first carry of the game this week. It was very short lived being on the bench as he received the games second carry 3 plays later. Ingram struggled to get things going on the ground this week aside from his 72-yard burst off the right guard. If you take away that one play, he managed 13 yards on 13 carries. He was able to cap that drive off with a 3-yard touchdown plunge after Kamara took the ball 9 yards to the Carolina 3. Another interesting stat this week was Ingram had one more reception and target than Kamara. This is the first time this season that Ingram had more receptions than Kamara and something that most people did not expect to see. Kamara did more damage with his receptions, but Ingram was still used in passing situations at a higher rate than before. On the surface, this looks like another great game for Ingram, but quite a few flags go up when you look at production outside of his one big play. He is not at risk of losing the starting job to Kamara, but we could see the carry distribution continue to inch closer to 50/50 as the season goes on.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 60 - 2, Rec: 5 - 66 - 0 (6 targets) - Kamara was rewarded for his big week last week and given the first carry of the game today. This was most likely more of a game script thing and has nothing to do with who the starter is and so on. Kamara got the first carry but Ingram came in and took the second, but it is worth noting with the success Kamara has been having. Kamara also outgained Ingram in total yards and found the end zone twice today. It was Ingram who broke the big play, but Kamara was consistent and more effective overall this week. The first touchdown came on 4th and 2 from the Carolina 2 after Ingram had failed to get in and a Drew Brees
pass was stopped for no gain. Kamara was able to scamper off the right end and into the end zone for an easy score. The second touchdown was the highlight reel run after he broke for 20 yards off the right end and into the end zone for the Saints final touchdown of the day. Kamara also caught 5 of his 6 targets and had 9 carries. This puts the touch distribution at 15 for Kamara and 21 for Ingram. If Kamara continues to produce, this number will start getting closer as the season winds down.
WR Michael Thomas
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 70 - 1 (9 targets) - Week 4 seems like last season at this point, but that was the last time that Thomas caught a touchdown pass. He has sprinkled in some 100-yard games and looked like his usual self, but this is the first time he has gotten into the end zone since October. The play came from the 10-yard line on 3rd and 8, Thomas ran a drag across the field and lost his coverage in the wash of defenders behind him, and Brees was able to put the ball on the sideline side where only Thomas could make a play on the ball. This looked like a play that could have been ran on any other goal to go situation this season but took almost 9 weeks to be run effectively. Thomas has done some big things since coming into the league last season and he is still Drew Brees
’ favorite target. Thomas was targeted 9 times this week and was able to catch 5 of those 9. The longest play of the day came on a 32-yard reception where he simply outran his base coverage and was barely tackled by a late-arriving safety down the left sideline. Thomas will have another chance to find the end zone quickly after a short week and taking on the Falcons for Thursday Night Football.
WR Willie Snead
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (2 targets) - Only having 2 catches may seem like an inconsequential stat line, but this is the most effective Snead has been this season. 26 of his 31 yards came on a single play, but it was good to see some chemistry with quarterback Drew Brees
again. There are so many weapons in the Saints offense that it is easy to overlook Snead. As he continues to get healthy and works his way back into the system he could take targets away from Ted Ginn
and Brandon Coleman
Indianapolis Colts 10, Jacksonville Jaguars 30
What you need to know
- Jacoby Brissett
and the Colts could not get anything going against the Jaguars defense. Brissett either did not have enough time to find anyone open downfield or could not find his receivers. Brissett had two ugly interceptions and once again showed his tendency to hold onto the ball too long. TY Hilton’s stat line was inflated by a 40 yard touchdown on what appeared to be a blown coverage. Donte Moncrief
was Brissett’s most frequent target with mixed results including a failure to secure a potential big play. Jack Doyle
was almost a nonfactor in the game. Frank Gore
played well and most of the offensive success the Colts had ran through Gore and Marlon Mack
- Blake Bortles
completely shredded the Colts defense. There was only a few drives in which the Jaguars didn't end up with points; partly due to the suffocating defense played by the Jaguars but also because the Jaguars offense was finally able to consistently complete passes downfield. With the chunk plays, the Jaguars were able to win the field position battle and do what they do best.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 36 - 174 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 6 - 36 - 0 - Jacoby Brissett
and the Colts were unable to establish any sort of offensive rhythm. Brissett had very little success throwing the ball downfield. The Colts showed a commitment to running the football to open the game. The Colts were rewarded with a 25 yard carry by Marlon Mack
to set up a field goal. Brissett and the Colts moved into field goal range running their two minute offense with methodical short passes. Brissett took points off the board with an ugly underthrow to TY Hilton that was intercepted by Jalen Ramsey. The Colts put together a touchdown drive to open the second half. Nice runs by Gore and Brissett set up a 40 yard completion to TY Hilton for a touchdown. Hilton came wide open on what appeared to be a blown coverage. The Colts quickly went 3 and out on their ensuing possession. Brissett dropped a dime to Donte Moncrief
for a 30 yard gain but Moncrief could not get his feet in bounds. The only first down the Colts got during their next two drives was due to a roughing the passer penalty. Brissett was intercepted by Tashaun Gipson who undercut Chester Rogers
over the middle.
RB Frank Gore
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 61 - 0 - Frank Gore
looked smooth making a cut and getting up field on an 11 yard gain. Gore burst through a massive hole up the middle for a 16 yard gain. The Colts offense had the most success when they utilized Frank Gore
and the run game but had to go pass heavy facing a 3 score deficit in the second half.
RB Marlon Mack
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Marlon Mack
made his way through a tiny hole and exploded into the Jaguars’ secondary for 25 yards. Mack took a backseat to Frank Gore
but showed his explosive play making ability in his limited touches.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 37 - 0 (8 targets) - Donte Moncrief
made his first catch running a slant for an 8 yard gain and a 3rd down conversion. Moncrief made back to back catches running comeback routes for 7 yard gains. Moncrief picked up 9 more yards again running a comeback route. Moncrief beat AJ Bouye down the sideline but could not get both his feet in bounds to secure a 30 yard catch.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 1 (6 targets) - TY Hilton made his first catch on a screen pass for a 6 yard gain. Hilton’s second target running a curl route was knocked away by Jalen Ramsey. Hilton ran a quick out route for 6 yards. Hilton came wide open over the middle of the field and went untouched for a 40 yard touchdown.
QB Blake Bortles
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 35 - 309 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 27 - 0 - Bortles played his best game of the season. This wasn't a game like against the Ravens, or the first game against the Colts, in which wide receivers were running open freely due to the Jaguars run game. This time, Bortles carried the offense when the run game struggled. His best throw of the game came in the third quarter in which he threw the ball to the correct shoulder of Keelan Cole
, who was running a vertical route. The ball was placed in the window in between two defenders and it got the Jaguars into scoring position. Bortles did a good job of maneuvering the pocket and finding targets throughout the day as well, though he did fail to feel pressure coming off the right edge. The sack resulted in a fumble. Bortles threw two touchdowns. One was on extended play in the redzone, where Marqise Lee
ran an inside breaking route and got past the zone coverage. The throw was slightly behind Lee but not enough to make a difference. The other touchdown was on a fade to Keelan Cole
in the redzone, this one with perfect outside placement.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 57 - 1, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Fournette looked better against the Colts than he had in previous weeks, but he still failed to get much going on the ground. Too many times he was hesitant to hit the hole or tried to avoid contact and he ended up losing yards. His vision and aggressiveness have taken a step back as of late and it is affecting his effectiveness. He did score a touchdown from the shotgun formation but it was a walk in score that required virtually no real effort. In the passing game he continues to improve as a blocker and has proved to be a threat with the ball in his hands as a receiver. At one point he split out wide and ran a drag route and caught a first down pass.
RB Chris Ivory
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Ivory did not play in any passing situations and was the backup to Fournette as a ball carrier so he only saw a few snaps. In his carries, he hit the hole more decisively than Fournette did on the day but it is clear that he is lacking a gear.
RB T.J. Yeldon
, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (2 targets) - Yeldon did not get opportunities on the ground due to Fournette and Ivory having reps over him, but he was used in passing situations frequently. He was targeted several times and was able to turn check downs into positive yardage and even first downs.
WR Marqise Lee
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 86 - 1 (10 targets) - Lee had possibly the best game of his career on Sunday. From the start of the game, Lee made clutch catches in difficult situations. His best catch was on a post where Bortles threw high and outside. Lee reached back with a single hand and secured the catch against contact. Lee made several more catches on back shoulder fades near the sidelines and on vertical routes. He scored a touchdown on a drag in the redzone against the run, where he found the soft spot in the zone and then concentrated for the catch.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 78 - 0 (9 targets) - Westbrook had another solid game. He dropped one pass that would've converted a first down but besides that, he did it all for the Jaguars. He was used as the underneath possession threat in place of Allen Hurns
, and he possesses a better ability to pick up yards after the catch. The Jaguars frequently threw him quick hitting passes in space that let him find his own yards. He was able to catch a pass for a big gain in the first half after beating the Colts man coverage on a corner route and then keeping his balance through the catch. He is the most naturally talented wideout that was on the Jaguars offense on Sunday.
WR Keelan Cole
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 49 - 1 (3 targets) - Cole scored the first touchdown of his career on Sunday. He got separation on a fade route and was able to climb the ladder and find the ball in the air for the score. He did a much better job on Sunday of fighting for the ball and keeping his concentration through contact, which was the source of most of his previous drops. He shows promise due to his quickness and vision after the catch and his ability to get open deep.
Pittsburgh Steelers 23, Cincinnati Bengals 20
What you need to know
- After a sluggish start in Cincinnati, the Steelers bounced back in the second half for the critical divisional win to remain in the driver’s seat for a first round bye in the playoffs. LeVeon Bell
was stuffed for much of the first half before a huge finish to the tune of 182 total yards. Despite 106 yards and a touchdown, Antonio Brown
could have approached 200 yards with another touchdown considering his missed opportunities and an interference penalty. Juju Smith-Schuster is suspended for Week 14 for his blindside block on Vontaze Burflict, clearing targets for Martavis Bryant
and Eli Rogers
as ancillary receivers against Baltimore next week.
- The Bengals offense played well but shot itself in the foot one too many times to win with holding penalties bringing back multiple big plays, including a deep touchdown catch by A.J. Green
that would have likely sealed the win. Green scored twice. Joe Mixon
was off to a great start but had to leave the game midway through the first half due to a concussion. Giovani Bernard
consistently ripped off solid gains in relief of Mixon, with the Bengals averaging 6.0 yards per carry on the day.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 40 - 290 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0 - Battling the wind in Cincinnati and an inspired pass rush, Roethlisberger shrugged off a sluggish start for a comeback win in the closing seconds. As the Steelers fell behind 17-0, Roethlisberger had two noteworthy misfires. Roethlisberger eluded the rush, but was late and casual with a throw across his body which was intercepted. Also, Roethlisberger severely underthrew a deep out in Antonio Brown
’s direction (and against the wind) which was nearly intercepted. The Steelers passing game picked up over the final 30 minutes, however, as Roethlisberger calibrated to the wind with accurate intermediate and deeper throws. Notably, Roethlisberger threw a laser goal line touchdown to Antonio Brown
between defenders, another seam throw to Brown, and a skinny post to Martavis Bryant
as Pittsburgh marched into game-winning field goal range. While not a particularly mobile quarterback at this stage in his career, Roethlisberger also added a zone read keeper on third down to scramble for a conversion. Baltimore offers the stiffest test for the Steelers passing game since their Week 5 matchup against Jacksonville. Ben Roethlisberger
heads into the divisional rivalry with multiple touchdowns in four straight games and 12 touchdowns overall during the span.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 76 - 0, Rec: 5 - 106 - 1 (6 targets) - Bell, much like the rest of the Steelers offense, had a slow start against Cincinnati before sparking a comeback victory. It was not until later in the second quarter Bell found room to operate, splashing for a 33-yard reception as Pittsburgh finally got on the board with a field goal. In the second half, Bell exhibited his trademark patience at the line of scrimmage as the Pittsburgh offensive line opened more holes than the opening half. Bell posted two notable runs of 10 or more yards when for multiple seconds there appeared to be little available. On one of the big plays of the game, Bell caught an outlet reception and tight-roped down the sideline. A Cincinnati defender let him go as Bell was close to the sideline. However, the whistle did not blow and Bell managed to stay in bounds to turn the moderate gain into a long touchdown. Outside of a handful of chunk gains on the ground, the Bengals held Bell in check as runner. It was through the air where Cincinnati had no answer for Bell as he caught at least five passes for the fourth straight game. Bell faces a Baltimore defense next week who has allowed the fewest running back receptions in the NFL on the season and is the only team yet to allow a receiving touchdown to a running back.
WR Antonio Brown
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 101 - 1 (15 targets) - Brown saw a hearty 38% of the team targets against the Bengals. His 101-yard effort could have been even bigger as Brown also logged a long defensive pass interference penalty and had a long touchdown in his hands until he failed to control it at the last second. Brown also had two drops, one down the seam and another on a crossing route among his 15 targets. Brown’s positive moments, however, were breathtaking as Ben Roethlisberger
connected with Brown on a back shoulder catch and later a laser goal line touchdown between two defenders. Brown held on through a vicious hit which was flagged on the play. Brown enters a tough matchup against Baltimore next week on a hot streak of three straight 100-yard games and six touchdowns combined over the span. Baltimore has allowed only five wide receiver touchdowns all season and shut down Brown in Week 4 to the tune of 4-34-0 on nine targets.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 17 - 0 (5 targets) - Smith-Schuster was shut down by Cincinnati as all of his targets were close to the line of scrimmage and he did not succeed finding after-the-catch opportunities. Smith-Schuster most notably was penalized for a vicious block on Vontaze Burfict in the mid-fourth quarter and subsequent taunting on the play as Burfict suffered a concussion. Smith-Schuster has been suspended for Week 14 against the Ravens and will open expanded roles for Martavis Bryant
and Eli Rogers
as ancillary receivers.
WR Martavis Bryant
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (6 targets) - Bryant had the second-most targets on the team, six, against Cincinnati. Bryant had opportunities for a bigger performance, including a kickoff return for a touchdown called back by penalty, deep defensive pass interference penalty, and a 50/50 target which he could not win in the air. Bryant’s lone reception of note came on a skinny post, fueling Pittsburgh into game-winning field goal range in the closing minute.
WR Eli Rogers
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Rogers had a minimal role as the No.4 receiver against Cincinnati, seeing only two targets and a single reception. Rogers corralled a short out route, but also logged a false start penalty on third down to thwart a drive. Rogers stands to see a playing time uptick in Week 14 with Juju Smith-Schuster serving a one-game suspension.
TE Jesse James
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - James was invisible in the Steelers passing game until the final minutes of the game. James converted a short crosser route where he was left alone to convert a third down in the red zone. James, the lumbering athlete, even managed yards-after-catch on the play. This week marked the fourth game of the season where James caught one or fewer passes.
QB Andy Dalton
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 36 - 234 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 19 - 0 - Dalton almost got into trouble a couple times trying to squeeze the ball through double coverage into A.J. Green
but was able to avoid an interception for the sixth straight game. Dalton also threw two touchdown passes and has 20 in his last 10 games. Both touchdowns were to A.J. Green
, one from 8 yards out and the other from the 15-yard line. The duo also hooked up for a 61-yard touchdown on a well-placed deep all that was called back due to a holding call on Giovani Bernard
. Dalton made a number of clutch throws on 3rd-and-longs to keep drives moving. He hit Brandon LaFell
on an especially pretty ball down the sideline for a gain of 27 to setup a field goal.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 77 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (3 targets) - Bernard was a part of the game plan from the start, receiving the first carry of the game on the opening drive. However, he was forced into a much more prominent role once Joe Mixon
was knocked from the game with a concussion midway through the second quarter. Bernard was the lead back the rest of the way and was able to consistently rip off runs of 5-to-10 yards. While he ran well, Bernard was called for an incredibly costly hold, which nullified a 61-yard touchdown catch by AJ. Green. He also had a costly false start penalty in the fourth quarter.
RB Joe Mixon
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 34 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Mixon came out of the gates strong, ripping off solid gains of 8, 9 and 10 yards in the early part of the game. Mixon was running with excellent patience and flashed the incredibly unique mix of power, speed and change of direction that could eventually make him one of the league’s top backs. His day was cut short when he was sandwiched between two defenders after a gain of 8 yards on a screen pass. He left with 6:44 remaining in the half and never returned due to the concussion.
WR A.J. Green
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 77 - 2 (16 targets) - Green mostly played well but had another costly mistake in a big spot that might have cost the Bengals the ball game. He started off hot, scoring touchdowns of 8 yards and 15 yards in the first half. His first touchdown, he badly beat the cornerback on an out route while getting away with a subtle push on the defender’s shoulder that allowed him to create huge separation. Green caught a deep ball and then weaved his way past a pair of defenders for what looked to be a 61-yard touchdown, his third of the day but the play was called back due to a holding call. Green dropped what should have been a 20-yard completion with the game tied and under five minutes remaining. While it was raining at the time, it was a ball Green should have caught. For all his heroics, he has too often been unable to make the winning play in big games.
WR Brandon LaFell
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 55 - 0 (7 targets) - LaFell was again a go-to option for Dalton in the passing game. He made a beautiful toe-tap catch deep down the sideline on a gain that went for 27 yards. Dalton tried to force it into LaFell in the end zone despite double coverage and the play was easily broken up.
TE Tyler Kroft
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 30 - 0 (2 targets) - Kroft made a pair of tough catches down the seam for gains of 11 and 19 yards. Dalton was able to fit the ball into tight windows of the Pittsburgh zone and Kroft held on despite taking big hits on both plays.
Kansas City Chiefs 31, New York Jets 38
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City lost to the New York Jets 38-31 in a back in forth shootout that dropped the Chiefs to 6-6. Alex Smith
had his best game of the season, completing 19 of 33 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing once for 70 yards. Kareem Hunt
rushed nine times for 40 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards. Travis Kelce
had another monster game, catching four passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The difference for the Chiefs was Tyreek Hill
though, who caught six passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns, including the touchdown that put the Chiefs up 31-30 late in the fourth quarter. Albert Wilson
also chipped in with three catches for 27 yards.
New York Jets
- New York won an exciting game that featured nearly 1,000 yards of total offense. Kansas City jumped out to an early 14-0 lead, but New York quickly responded with two touchdowns of its own. As the game progressed, both offenses traded big shots. Specifically, New York's secondary did not have an answer for Kansas City's lethal vertical passing attack while Kansas City's secondary porous tackling led to big plays. Alike prior weeks, Josh McCown
funneled targets to Robby Anderson
and Jermaine Kearse
. Both Anderson and Kearse exceeded 100 receiving yards for the second straight week as McCown funneled 62% of his targets in their direction. New York's rushing attack was diverse and plentiful. New York compiled 49 attempts as six different players carried. Of note, Josh McCown
(two rushing touchdowns), Bilal Powell
(one rushing touchdown), Matt Forte
(one receiving touchdown), and Elijah McGuire
(one successful two-point conversion) all made an impact.
The fourth quarter has been New York's bugaboo, but Kansas City proved to the undisciplined team. Two costly red zone penalties gave New York's offense multiple attempts, resulting in eight decisive points.
QB Alex Smith
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 33 - 366 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 70 - 0 - Alex Smith
completed 19 of 33 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns in the Chiefs stunning loss to the New York Jets. Smith also ran one time for 70 yards, showing that he still had the athleticism and speed that made him an effective spread option quarterback in college. A week after Smith started to hear whispers about rookie Pat Mahomes potentially taking over the reins of the Chiefs offense, Smith went out and silenced critics regarding his inability to move the ball. In many ways it was a revelation, as Smith sliced and diced the Jets secondary, beating them deep down the field time and time again. The four touchdown passes equaled his touchdown total from weeks 8-12. Smith started off red hot, completing his first five passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and never took his foot off the gas. His first two touchdowns passes, both of which went to Travis Kelce
, came on plays of 22 and 36 yards. On the first play, Smith play-action faked to Kareem Hunt
and then waited for Kelce to get open on a deep crossing pattern to the left sideline. Smith threw the ball accurately into a small window and led Kelce perfectly, allowing him to sneak into the end zone. On the second play, Smith play action faked to Hunt once again, stepped up in the pocket and led Kelce very nicely down the left sideline. Kelce was wide open thanks to some nifty route-running and a mix up in the Jets secondary, but the throw was one that Smith was not making in previous weeks. Smith’s next touchdown pass came in the middle of the third quarter and went for 79 yards to Tyreek Hill
. Smith lined up in the shotgun and hit Hill on a straight go-route down the field. Hill just flat out beat his man down the field, and although Hill had to slow down slightly as he caught the ball, Smith threw the ball 44 yards in the air on a rope and it was exactly where it needed to be in order for Hill to beat his man for a touchdown. Smith’s final touchdown pass went to Hill again for a 40 yard score. Smith lined up in the shotgun, play action faked to Hunt and threw a dime to Hill on a deep slant route. While the previous touchdown pass was just a touch behind Hill as he raced down the field, this one was exactly where it needed to be. It was placed in a small window and Smith had to gauge Hill’s speed perfectly, something that is not easy to do. Throw in a 70 yard run where Smith slipped a sack at his own 10 yard line, and then raced down the field, broke another tackle around the 50 yard and finished off around the Jets 15 yard line, and Smith had his best game of the season and one of his finest as a professional.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 40 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (5 targets) - Kareem Hunt
rushed nine times for 40 yards, while also catching three of five targets for 23 yards. Despite the fact that the Chiefs scored two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, the game script was not one where he was able to get involved. The Jets caught up to the Chiefs quickly in the first half and then came out firing in the second half, forcing Kansas City to abandon the run and match them touchdown for touchdown in the passing game. It is easy to look at his stat-line and say he didn’t have an impact, but that would be foolish. Even with limited touches he was someone the Jets had to account for. Three of Alex Smith
’s four touchdown passes came on play action fakes to Hunt, and allowed Hill and Kelce to beat their defenders deep down the field in one on one coverage. Hunt’s touchdown drought is now at nine straight games, which seems nearly impossible after he scored six touchdowns in his first four games as a pro. The Chiefs are still in the playoff hunt after losing six of their last seven games, and will a solid rushing attack to fend off the Chargers (6-6) and Raiders (6-6) as the season progresses into its colder parts. Hunt is still the Chiefs best option at running back, but his volume is way down, something that is not uncommon for rookies as they hit games 10-14. He will look to bounce back against a Raiders team that was responsible for his last 100+ yard game from scrimmage.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 185 - 2 (9 targets) - Tyreek Hill
led all Chiefs receivers in receptions and yards, torching the Jets secondary to the tune of six catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns. Hill provided the spark that the Chiefs offense had been lacking in the second half of the season, scoring a pair of touchdowns that went for 79 and 40 yards, respectively. While Hill has really worked on his route-running, his touchdowns were due to pure, unadulterated speed, the kind that is rare among even the fasted receivers in the NFL. Hill understands how to use his speed, specifically hesitating and then getting back to top speed before his defenders can respond. This is exactly how Hill got behind the Jets secondary on his 79 yard touchdown catch. He ran a straight go-route and had at least six yards on his defender when Smith hit him around the Jets 30 yard line. Hill had to slow down slightly to make the catch was still moving so much faster than his defender that there was no way the play wasn’t going for a touchdown. Hunt’s second touchdown catch came late in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs trailing the Jets 30-24. Hill ran a deep crossing route from the right sideline across the field and again had at least a four yard step on his defender. Alex Smith
threw this one out in front of Hill and he made a routine catch for a 40 yard touchdown that put the Chiefs up 31-30. Although the Chiefs eventually lost this game, they got the big plays from Hill and Kelce that they had been lacking in their previous six games.
TE Travis Kelce
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 94 - 2 (8 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught four of eight targets for 92 yards and a touchdown. His final stat line looks big, but it was a little disappointing considering that Kelce had three catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns through the first five minutes of the game. Regardless, Kelce came up big on the Chiefs first two possessions, kicking it off with a 32 yard catch a run on the second play of the game. Two plays later, Kelce ran a slick crossing route to the left sideline which went for a 22 yard touchdown. Kelce’s speed, size and athleticism alone would make him one of the most dangerous tight ends in the game, but his route running is what really separates him from everyone not named Gronkowski. Kelce struck again on the first play of the Chiefs second possession. Alex Smith
lined up in the shotgun formation, play action faked to Kareem Hunt
and then waited as Kelce shook his defender and ran down the left sideline completely free. The play finished as a 32 yard touchdown catch for Kelce. Unfortunately for him, Kelce caught only one more pass the rest of the game, a four yard reception that made little impact.
QB Josh McCown
, 91 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 36 - 331 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 19 - 2 - Josh McCown
played his best game of the season. When he wasn't exposing Kansas City's porous secondary, he managed a rushing attack that compiled 49 attempts over 42 minutes of possession. McCown aided the rushing attack by accounting for two rushing touchdowns. In the first quarter, McCown called his own numberóand converted for 1-yard touchdown. Late in the fourth quarter, McCown called his own number, again, and converted for a 1-yard, game-winning touchdown. When he wasn't burrowing behind his offensive line, McCown picked apart Kansas City's listless secondary. McCown funneled targets to Robby Anderson
and Jermaine Kearse
who made numerous plays in the open field. Anderson, who primarily operated out of the slot, was peppered with intermediate targets while Kearse was targeted on deep sideline routes, short crossing routes, and screens. McCown was money on third down, converting 13-of-20 attempts to keep Kansas City's potent offense off the field. McCown and Kearse had a long play of 51 yards on a catch-and-run. Kearse ran quick crossing route, ran through two arm tackles, and accelerated into the open field. McCown tossed one touchdown pass, an 11-yard strike to Matt Forte
on a post-route. Forte was lined up in the slot, caught the quick pass, and took a big shot from Ron Parker before getting into the end zone.
In summary, McCown played very well. His offensive line completely stymied Kansas City's talented front as he picked apart their listless secondary. Anderson and Kearse made several big grabs while the rushing attack was diverse and successful. New York's defense was gashed for a several big passing plays, but credit McCown for answering with scoring drives of his own.
RB Bilal Powell
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 48 - 1, Rec: 2 - 2 - 0 (3 targets) - New York's offense totaled 49 rushing attempts, so all three running backs saw numerous opportunities. Powell, however, was utilized most frequently and was a staple in the red zone. In the first quarter, Powell took a toss-sweep off left tackle, bounced off one tackle, and skipped into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Powell was given five touches inside the 7-yard line, but was unable to score. After a Kansas City penalty created a new set of downs, McCown called his own number and scored from 1-yard out. New York showed faith by feeding Powell, but he has to convert.
RB Matt Forte
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 58 - 0, Rec: 3 - 33 - 1 (3 targets) - Matt Forte
turned in a workman-like performance. Working in tandem with Bilal Powell
, the elder stateman found some success running between the tackles. Forte had a long run of 14 yards off right tackle. As a receiver, Forte had an 11-yard touchdown reception. On the scoring play, Forte was lined up in the slot, caught the quick pass, and took a big shot from Ron Parker before getting into the end zone.
RB Elijah McGuire
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 20 - 0 - New York's offense rolled up 49 attempts, so the young rookie was used to spell his backfield counterparts. McGuire had a long run of 19 yards on a toss sweep and converted on a critical two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. A pitch to the wide side of the field was called and McGuire used his speed and acceleration to beat the defender to the corner.
WR Robby Anderson
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 8 - 107 - 0 (12 targets) - Robby Anderson
's five-game scoring streak ended, but he continued to dominate targets. Anderson has primarily been an outside receiver, but New York moved him into the slot to avoid Marcus Peters. It was a great game plan because Anderson dominated his match-up against Steven Nelson. Overall, Anderson brutalized Kansas City's overmatched secondary on intermediate and crossing routes. Anderson had a long catch-and-run of 26 yards on a deep cross route. The timing and anticipation between Anderson and McCown is special as this young receiver continues to mature and get better.
WR Jermaine Kearse
, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 157 - 0 (10 targets) - Jermaine Kearse
had arguably the best individual performance of his career. In addition to setting a season-high in yardage, he had three highlight-worthy plays. In the first quarter, Kearse dusted Steven Nelson for a 44-yard gain on a wheel route. Robby Anderson
ran a crossing route underneath, causing Kansas City's defenders to run into each other before Kearse made an easy downfield grab. In the fourth quarter, Kearse made two impressive plays. On a 3rd-and-4 play, Kearse ran an out-route and made a leaping one-handed grab to convert. Later in the quarter, McCown and Kearse had a long play of 51 yards on a catch-and-run. Kearse ran quick crossing route, ran through two arm tackles, and accelerated into the open field. Outside of the two big plays, Kearse was a fixture over the middle of the field.
WR Chad Hansen
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 25 - 0 (3 targets) - The young rookie manned the slot and made two big grabs, namely a 13-yard catch on a key third down.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - While Kearse and Anderson dominated targets, Seferian-Jenkins was an after-thought. He only saw three targets and made short grabs over the middle of the field. He wasn't utilized in the red zone at all.
Detroit Lions 20, Baltimore Ravens 44
What you need to know
- The Detroit Lions offense struggled in the running game and short passing game for much of the game against Baltimore's defense. Rookie Tion Green
was a highlight in the running game with a rushing touchdown and a 33-yard run on the perimeter. Theo Riddick
was the starter in place of Ameer Abdullah
, but was held in check in the running game outside of his four-yard touchdown. The short passing game struggled as Baltimore tackled Golden Tate
and Marvin Jones
well on screens and short passes. Stafford found success in deep passing game to Marvin Jones
and Michael Roberts
before exiting he game with a hand injury.
- Joe Flacco
and the Ravens offense put together their best performance of the season against the Lions. Joe Flacco
looked more comfortable and confident making throws downfield than he has all season. The Ravens offense put up 20 first half points and 17 second half points. Most of Flacco’s big plays and yardage came in the first half with Alex Collins
carrying the load in the second half. Collins played one of his best games of the season and will continue function as the Ravens primary running back. Collins consistently gained chunks of 5-10 yards and kept the chains moving. Mike Wallace
had his best game of the season contributing a 66 yard catch and other key conversions. Ben Watson
exploited the Lions coverage off of play action and had a nice game. Look for Danny Woodhead
to be more involved in games the Ravens are forced to go pass heavy.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 29 - 292 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 2 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
was under pressure most of the day, but managed to turn in a decent fantasy effort with the benefit of some big yardage plays. Stafford turned the ball over twice, once on a strip sack fumble, and the other an interception. Stafford's interception was a throw on the run to his left where he never set his feet. The ball came out of his hand wobbling and high, and was amongst the worst throws he made this year. Stafford nearly lost a second fumble on a snap that he was fortunate to recover. Stafford spent most of the day under pressure, and Baltimore did a good job of tackling Golden Tate
and Marvin Jones
in the screen game. Stafford was more successful throwing down the field, including 42 and 46-yard passes to Marvin Jones
, a 31-yard pass to Kenny Golladay
on a dig route, and a high point seam stretching pass to rookie TE Michael Roberts
for 23 yards. Stafford continued to show a good rapport with Jones and will take deep shots to him when he is in one on one coverage on the outside. Stafford clearly trusts Jones on deep throws, and Jones has frequently rewarded Stafford for the trust. Stafford's touchdown pass was a goal line package with back up LB Nick Bell
ore in at FB in a heavy package where Stafford hit Bellore in the flat for an easy touchdown. The package is notable because Detroit does not use a traditional fullback and the running game has stalled in the red zone much of the season. The Lions have turned to Stafford in the red zone in recent weeks which strengthens his touchdown upside. Stafford left the game in the second half with a hand injury he suffered on his interception after taking a hit, and was replaced by Jake Rudock
QB Jake Rudock
, 9 offensive snaps, Pass: 3 - 5 - 24 - 0 TD / 1 INT - Jake Rudock
replaced Matthew Stafford
when he was injured. Rudock threw a bad pick-6 where he was hit on the play, but the ball was not near a Detroit receiver. The remainder of Rudock's throws were dump off throws in garbage time.
RB Theo Riddick
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 21 - 1, Rec: 5 - 41 - 0 (5 targets) - Theo Riddick
started in the absence of Ameer Abdullah
. Riddick found little room to run in the game, as the Baltimore defense overwhelmed Detroit's run blocking. Riddick saw a red zone carry, which he bounced outside for a four-yard touchdown. Riddick can make men miss, and runs shiftier than Ameer Abdullah
, but is a better runner after the catch than he is a ball carrier. He is a better perimeter player, and too frequently kicks runs to the outside instead of planting and getting north and south. Riddick was used in the passing game where he caught all five of his targets, including a 27-yard catch where he made multiple people miss on the run.
RB Tion Green
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 51 - 1 - Undrafted rookie Tion Green
made his season debut in the absence of Ameer Abdullah
. On his first carry of the season, Green got to the edge for a 33-yard run. Green was later used in the red zone where he scored on a toss sweep. Green was the third back into the game, after Riddick and Zenner, but led the Lions in carries and rushing despite entering the game in the second quarter. Green ran with good burst and ran hard on his opportunities, where he was able to get to the edge of Baltimore's defense.
RB Zach Zenner
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0 - Zach Zenner
was the second back in the game, but only managed one carry for 4 yards. He was not involved in any high leverage situations.
WR Golden Tate
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 69 - 0 (10 targets) - Golden Tate
struggled to get going early in the game with a drop on the first drive that resulted in a punt. Tate then had several short catches with little after the catch. Baltimore's defense swarmed Tate in the screen game, and he found little room to create after the catch. Tate's biggest success was on an intermediate route where he had a catch and run for 24 yards that set up a Detroit touchdown. Despite leading the Lions with 10 targets, Tate was largely held in check by Baltimore who performed very well tackling Tate.
WR Marvin Jones
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 90 - 0 (8 targets) - Marvin Jones
continued to be Detroit's best big play threat with two catches of 42 and 46 yards. Jones was held in check in the short passing game, but was able to capitalize on his down field targets. Jones has a strong rapport with Stafford in the deep perimeter passing game, which is well suited to both player's strengths. Jones adjusted well to Stafford's deep throws, and is a consistent deep threat Detroit uses to exploit defenses.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 44 - 0 (3 targets) - Kenny Golladay
continued to see high leverage targets on his limited targets. He had the opportunity for a big play along the sidelines that went off his fingertips. The throw was high, and Golladay was well defended on the throw, but the ball was catchable. Golladay's best play of the game was a crossing route where he ran after the catch for a 31-yard gain. Golladay's usage has been primarily on the deep perimeter and crossing routes in his rookie season.
TE Eric Ebron
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (4 targets) - Eric Ebron
was used early in the game on a check down for a first down. His usage was predominantly in short and check down usage, including a solid sliding catch. Ebron is relegated to an ancillary role in the offense, but he is playing better and with more confidence than he was for large stretches earlier in the season.
TE Darren Fells
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Darren Fells
was limited to only two catches, both in the short passing game. Fells had no usage in the red zone that has buoyed his fantasy production in recent weeks.
TE Michael Roberts
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (1 targets) - Rookie Michael Roberts
flashed a nice high point catch for 27-yards down the seam to set up a touchdown. Roberts has been minimally used in the offense this season, but has receiving and blocking ability in a traditionally size tight end frame.
QB Joe Flacco
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 36 - 269 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Joe Flacco
and the Ravens passing game played their best game of the season. The Ravens first three possessions netted only 3 points in large part due to 2 dropped passes on third down. Jeremy Maclin
and Chris Moore
were each responsible for a drive killing drop. Flacco’s best throw of the game was a bomb to Mike Wallace
that hit Wallace in stride 50 yards downfield. The long pass play set up a touchdown to Ben Watson
off of play action. Flacco and the Ravens capitalized on great field position with another touchdown drive. Flacco threw a very nice back shoulder pass to Wallace down the sideline for 23 yards. Flacco capped the drive with a 3 yard touchdown to fullback Patrick Ricard. Flacco set up a field goal before halftime with 17 yard completions to Maclin and Wallace. The Ravens offense became much more conservative in the second half, relying on the run game and the short to intermediate pass game to score points. Flacco completed a 23 yard pass to set up an Alex Collins
touchdown. Collins consistently churned out yardage and moved the chains. The Ravens defense contributed 2 second half turnovers including a pick six.
RB Alex Collins
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 75 - 2, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (2 targets) - Alex Collins
made a nice cut behind Ryan Jensen and found 8 yards up the middle. Collins found 8 more yards up the middle with a physical run. Collins caught a check down from Flacco and split two defenders for a 10 yard gain. Collins came off the field with an apparent arm injury late in the second quarter but quickly returned and looked healthy. Collins showed off his quick feet making several cuts behind Ronnie Stanley for 11 yards. Collins gained the edge and got a nice block from Jeremy Maclin
on his way to a 7 yard touchdown. Collins caught a pass in the flat off of play action and was forced out of bounds after a 14 yard gain. Collins followed Patrick Ricard and Stanley to the edge for a 6 yard touchdown.
RB Danny Woodhead
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 9 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Danny Woodhead
made his first catch coming out of halftime for 6 yards. Woodhead made a nice 8 yard catch on the sideline as Flacco escaped the pocket. Woodhead took a backseat to Alex Collins
who played a great game and allowed the Ravens to control the second half. Expect Woodhead to have larger role in the offense when the Ravens are forced to play from behind.
WR Mike Wallace
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 116 - 0 (8 targets) - Mike Wallace
played his best games of the season. Wallace made his first catch on a check down in the flat for a 4 yard gain. Wallace picked up 6 yards running a curl. Mike Wallace
ran a go route from the slot and beat Glover Quinn in single coverage for a 66 yard gain. Wallace made an impressive back shoulder catch with Darius Slay in coverage for a 23 yard gain. Wallace beat his man with a smooth release and picked up 17 yards running a slant. Wallace did not see many looks in the second half as the Ravens offense became conservative after establishing a lead.
WR Jeremy Maclin
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (8 targets) - Jeremy Maclin
dropped what would have been a 10 yard gain and 3rd down conversion on his first target. Maclin ran a shallow crossing route and picked up 10 yards to convert a 3rd and 6. Maclin ran a deep in route and secured a 17 yard catch despite absorbing a hit. Maclin dropped a slant and took a big hit over the middle. Maclin ran another slant and picked up 12 yards over the middle. Maclin drew a holding penalty on an end zone target with Darius Slay in coverage.
TE Ben Watson
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 1 (5 targets) - Ben Watson
came wide open off of play action running a shallow cross for an 18 yard gain. Watson again got open off of play action for a 1 yard touchdown. Watson made a physical play to pick up 5 yards on 3rd and 4 against tight coverage. Ben Watson
dropped what would have been at least a 15 yard gain.
Denver Broncos 9, Miami Dolphins 35
What you need to know
- Denver's offense struggled mightily with three interceptions and two safeties. Chris Harris intercepted Cutler late in the 2nd quarter. Miami blocked a Denver punt attempt in the 3rd quarter and recovered in the Denver red zone. Denver took the ball back by recovering a fumble two plays later. Justin Simmons returned a tipped Cutler pass for a touchdown later in the 3rd. Trevor Siemian
kicked a bad snap out the back of his own end zone in the first half, preventing a defensive recovery for a touchdown. Punt returner Isaiah McKenzie
tried to cut back across field and fumbled the ball in his own end zone, resulting in a second safety in the 2nd half. Denver has indicated it will stick with Siemian at QB in week 14 with Lynch nursing an ankle injury.
- The Miami Dolphins beat the Denver Broncos 35-9 on Sunday, improving their record to 5-7 and keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. Jay Cutler
completed 18 of 35 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Kenyon Drake stepped into the role as the Dolphins #1 back and seized his opportunity, rushing 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, while also chipping in three catches for 21 yards. Kenny Stills
led the Dolphins receivers in catches and yards, totaling five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown. Jarvis Landry
caught five passes for 62 yards, while DeVante Parker
couldn’t shake out of his slump, registering only one catch for five yards. Julius Thomas
continued to be a big part of the Dolphins red zone strategy, catching three passes for 21 yards and a touchdown. While Drake and Stills had big games for the Dolphins offense, this game was all about the Dolphins defense, who combined for three sacks, three interceptions and a touchdown.
QB Trevor Siemian
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 41 - 200 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0 - Siemian, who had been sick with a flu-like illness earlier in the week, turned in an awful performance. He threw three interceptions with no touchdowns and also committed a safety. Miami pressured Siemian hard, recording three sacks and several more QB hits and hurries. Siemian struggled with accuracy, and most of the decent gains from his receivers came after the catch on short to medium passes. Siemian's longest completion was a play-action pass on a crossing route to Virgil Green
that the tight end turned up the left sideline for a big gain in the first half. Siemian also had a nice completion to Bennie Fowler
down the right sideline for a 23 yard gain in the 1st. His first pick was on Emmanuel Sanders
, as the receiver let a quick slant route bounce off his hands and back to the deep safety for an easy pick. Siemian had the ball snapped over his head in his own end zone on the Broncos' next offensive series and was forced to kick the ball out of the back for a safety before a defender recovered it for a touchdown. Siemian followed up with another interception in the 2nd quarter, this time a bad decision to throw an out route to a well-defended Demaryius Thomas
. Miami CB Xavien Howard anticipated the play from the snap, and jumped the route for an easy pick-6. Siemian was picked again in the 4th quarter on a pass that was deflected at the line of scrimmage. Siemian and the offense drove deep into Miami's red zone on their last garbage time drive of the game, but Siemian was sacked for a huge loss with seconds left, then threw the ball away on his final attempt. The Broncos have stated that they will stick with Siemian at QB for now as Paxton Lynch
recovers from an ankle sprain.
RB C.J. Anderson
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 67 - 0, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (7 targets) - Anderson was the only Denver player to piece together a decent fantasy performance, leading the Broncos in rushing and receiving in a losing effort. He out-touched Charles(8) and Booker(3) with 19 total touches. Anderson started out strong with carries of 7, 7, and 8 yards on the Broncos first three offensive snaps. Anderson hauled in an out route and turned it up the left sideline for a big gain early in the 3rd quarter. He leaked out of the backfield and caught a check down pass to convert 3rd and 10 early in the 4th quarter. Anderson caught another check down later in the drive for a short gain. Despite a recent trend of Devontae Booker
taking over in the 2nd half of their losing efforts, the Broncos stuck with Anderson, with Charles coming in for occasional relief.
RB Jamaal Charles
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (5 targets) - Charles entered the game in a two-back split formation with Booker late in the first, catching a swing route out for a short gain. Charles caught a RB screen at the end of the 1st half, picking up 20 yards against soft prevent coverage in the 2-minute drill.
Charles racked up a few garbage time touches as the featured back on Denver's last couple of drives of the game, down 35-9 at this point. He carried the ball a few times and caught a swing route for a gain of 10, then a halfback screen for a gain of 20 later in the drive.
RB Devontae Booker
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - Siemian's top two targets in week 13 were backs, unfortunately neither was Booker, who had been leading the Broncos' backfield in receiving lately. Booker picked up most of his touches on an early 2nd quarter series in the Miami red zone. Booker carried the ball for 5 yards and then secured a swing route for no gain, his only target of the day. He did not see much action after halftime.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (7 targets) - Sanders continues to slump, notching only 2 receptions on 7 targets. He caused Siemian's first interception when he let a quick slant careen off his hands into the air, floating there for the deep safety. Sanders did nothing until finally corralling a short curl route and a shallow crossing route for 6 and 5 yards on the Broncos' last garbage time drive of the game.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (10 targets) - Thomas led the team with 10 targets but only managed to secure two of them as Siemian struggled mightily. DT was targeted on a slant route inside the Miami red zone early in the 2nd, but a defender jarred the tough catch loose. He was the target on Siemian's 2nd interception of the day, a bad decision on an out route that was well covered and anticipated. Cornerback Xavien Howard read the play from the start, and undercut the throw before returning it for a touchdown. Thomas caught a short slant near the end of the 3rd quarter. He then beat his defender down the left sideline for what would have most likely been a long touchdown if Siemian had not underthrown the ball. Thomas hauled in a curl route on the left sideline for a 20 yard catch-and-run up the sideline late in the 4th quarter.
WR Bennie Fowler
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - Fowler took the majority of snaps with Thomas and Sanders in three-receiver sets. He had a diving catch down the left sideline for a big gain early in the 2nd quarter, his only reception of the game.
WR Cody Latimer
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (3 targets) - Latimer played a lot of special teams and limited offensive snaps. He caught a short crossing route during the 2-minute drill at the end of the 1st half.
TE Austin Traylor
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Traylor caught two quick curl routes during the Broncos last drive of the first half, moving the chains along in the 2-minute drill. The two targets were his only of the day.
TE Virgil Green
, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 36 - 0 (1 targets) - Green saw plenty of snaps but was not very involved in the passing game. He secured his only target on a play action pass, lining up with his hand in the dirt and taking off on a deep cross route for a catch-and-run of 36 yards in the 1st.
QB Jay Cutler
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 31 - 235 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Jay Cutler
completed 18 of 31 passes for 235 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Cutler’s final stat line looks adequate at best, but he did a much better job of moving the ball than he has in past weeks. With Damien Williams
sidelined, the Dolphins ran Kenyon Drake 23 times, but when Drake wasn’t running, Cutler was focused on Jarvis Landry
and Kenny Stills
who combined for 160 yards receiving. Cutler’s first touchdown pass went to Julius Thomas
on a back-shoulder fade from the nine yard line. Cutler put the ball on a dime, exactly where it needed to be, out of reach of Thomas’s defender and right where he only he could catch it. It was the type of throw that has allowed Cutler to have a career in the NFL, despite his penchant for turning the ball over. Cutler made some very Cutler-ish throws throughout the game, including an off-balance, falling away rainbow to Jarvis Landry
where he faded to his left hard and threw the ball as he was falling away from a defender. There are only a few quarterbacks who can make that throw, and even fewer who would try to attempt it, but the pass was right on the money and led Landry perfectly. Cutler’s second touchdown pass went to Kenny Stills
and again, was vintage Cutler. He dropped back and after the pocket collapsed, Cutler ran forward and just before the line of scrimmage faded to his right and passed a high-arching fade to Kenny Stills
who had two steps on a his defender and made the touchdown grab. Cutler has not produced many big games this season, but is the best option the Dolphins have. He is going to turn the ball over, but he’s also going to make the type of throws that Matt Moore
could only dream of.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 120 - 1, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - Kenyan Drake
rushed 23 times for 120 yards and a touchdown, while also catching three passes for 21 yards on five targets. With Damien Williams
on the shelf, Drake took on the role of the Dolphins bell-cow back and exploded for 140 total scrimmage yards. His day was aided by a 42 yard touchdown run that was awesome to watch the first time, but even more impressive if you were able to watch the replay. Drake took the handoff out of the shotgun formation and was to Cutlers right. He ran to the left side of the formation, stutter stepped a Broncos defender out of his shoes as he cut back to the middle of the formation. He then hand checked a downed Broncos defender and kept his momentum going forward before once again putting a stutter-step cutback on a member of the Broncos secondary, before exploding past the rest of the Denver defense for a touchdown. Without that play, Drake was averaging 3.5 yards per carry. If he’s given a large volume of touches, Drake is bound to break a big play, and he looked like an every down back in this contest. He ran well between the tackles, and he’s explosive when he gets to the outside in space. Regardless of whether Damien Williams
is able to play in week 14, Drake will see his opportunities increase, as he is the game-breaker they need to move the ball and put up points.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 62 - 0 (6 targets) - Jarvis Landry
caught five passes on six targets for 62 yards against the Broncos on Sunday. Landry was covered by All-Pro Chris Harris for most of the game, but was able to snag five of his six targets, which was a big increase on his catch percentage for the season. Landry didn’t score (he had in six of his last eight games) and wasn’t able to break free for long gains after the catch, but he did come down with some tough catches and made a fantastic toe-tapping grab on the sideline on the aforementioned Jay Cutler
throw. Landry has a good chance at a big game next week against the Patriots and their 32 ranked pass defense.
WR Kenny Stills
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 98 - 1 (13 targets) - Kenny Stills
caught five of 13 targets for 98 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos on Sunday. The 13 targets was a season high for Stills, and he just missed out on his second 100+ yard game of the season. Stills made a fantastic catch on a broken play where was he was wide open but Jay Cutler
didn’t have the angle to get enough on the ball. Stills slipped as he was turning back to catch the ball, but was able to extend and get his under the ball to keep it from hitting the ground. He then bobbled it twice but converted the catch for 22 yards. Stills had four catches of 20+ yards, including his 23 yard touchdown catch where he just blew past his defender in the red zone when Jay Cutler
broke the pocket. It was not all good though, as Stills was targeted on one of Jay Cutler
’s interceptions, and also fumbled after making a catch and run in the red zone. Stills brings a big play element to the Dolphins passing game, and has established himself as the #2 option for Jay Cutler
WR DeVante Parker
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - DeVante Parker
caught one of four targets for five yards against the Broncos. He has become the #3 option in the passing game at best, and that is generous considering the Dolphins running backs are more frequently targeted. Jay Cutler
tried to get him involved by targeting him down the field, but Parker was once again on wrong end of a Cutler interception, which has become something of a trend this season. At some point, Cutler lost faith in him, and began looking Kenny Stills
way, which was evident as Stills 13 targets more than tripled Parker’s four. Stills has lapped Parker’s production over the second half of the season and Parker has become way too inconsistent to use in your fantasy lineups. The upside no longer exceeds the risk.
TE Julius Thomas
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 1 (3 targets) - Julius Thomas
caught all three of his targets for 21 yards and a touchdown. Thomas was targeted on a back shoulder fade in the red zone where he was lined up on the right side of the formation. He is too big for the average cornerback, but he also has the athleticism to line up on the outside and run a precise route as he did on this play. It says something that the Dolphins (and Jay Cutler
) targeted Thomas on this type of route, and he remains a big part of their red zone offense. He doesn’t quite have the upside to be a weekly fantasy play, but with touchdowns in three of his last five games he can be a desperation play.
Washington Redskins 14, Dallas Cowboys 38
What you need to know
- Washington is very inconsistent offensively and offensive line injuries in compounding the problem. The entire year Washington has been shaky on third downs and red zone efficiency. Kirk is susceptible to games like this from time to time but he has to play better under pressure. The offense is what drives this team but a few injuries and overall inconsistent play keeps is their biggest obstacle.
- Dallas finally found a running game rhythm in the second half of their comfortable home win against Washington, keeping them alive for an NFC playoff spot. The Cowboys defense was the key unit as well as the line of scrimmage-controlling offensive line over the final 30 minutes. Alfred Morris
staked his claim to the lead role after Rod Smith
outshined him a week ago. Dak Prescott
struggled overall outside of a handful of key throws, but his impact was not needed this well as the game script was overtly positive for Dallas.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 56 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 37 - 251 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 6 - 0 - Kirk Cousins
had an abysmal night against the Dallas Cowboys. The quick rhythm passing game was out of sync and too many turnovers were a problem. Kirk finally got a touchdown on the board at the end of the first half to salvage an otherwise awful two quarters of play. The offensive line didn't help Kirk out much either as he saw constant pressure all game. The first interception for Kirk was somewhat unlucky as his pass deflected off his receiver's hands and into a defender. Kirk lost one of the two fumbles he had as ball security was problematic while standing in the pocket. He often looked overwhelmed by the pressure and couldn't convert under duress. The third down efficiency wasn't good for this offense which also made for inconsistency. Kirk only managed fourteen points on a night that he attempted thirty-seven passes. It was a disappointing evening against a porous Dallas secondary.
RB Samaje Perine
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 38 - 0, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (3 targets) - Samaje Perine
came into this game running hot, but got held in check against Dallas. Washington's inability to sustain drives and playing from behind all night made Perine a non-factor. He had twelve carries on the night with his longest going for fifteen. He also added three receptions as the bell cow back in this offense. Samaje is a volume based runner and this game was too off script to get him established.
RB Byron Marshall
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0, Rec: 5 - 24 - 0 (6 targets) - Byron Marshall
had nine total touches as the backup running back. He snap count increased in this game as they often played from behind and his receiving ability was needed. However, he had minimal impact on this game.
WR Ryan Grant
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 76 - 1 (9 targets) - Ryan Grant
had his most productive game this season against the Cowboys. Ryan's five receptions and seventy-six yards receiving were season highs. He also caught one of the only two touchdowns Washington scored on the evening. Ryan scored at the end of the first half as Kirk found him on the edge of the end zone. His longest reception went for twenty-four yards and Ryan was able to gain separation all night. The attention being given to Jamison Crowder
opened some opportunities for Ryan to make plays. Ryan doesn't consistently have productive games like this but he has shown a penchant to make plays when his number is called.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 67 - 0 (7 targets) - Jamison Crowder
was tied for the most receptions in this game. He biggest play came on a reception he took thirty-three yards up field as he bailed out Kirk Cousins
. He was relatively quiet in this game as Washington's offense was stagnant majority of the evening. Jamison was still heavily targeted which illustrates his importance moving forward.
WR Josh Doctson
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 1 (5 targets) - Josh Doctson
only had three receptions in this game, but caught one of the two touchdowns for Washington. Josh had less than thirty yards but once again showed his red zone prowess. Kirk targeted Josh on a few shots downfield but was unable to connect. Kirk must find a way to get Josh more involved as he has great ability to high point the ball. He has a great catch radius as well but Kirk seems to still have trouble getting him going.
TE Niles Paul
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Niles Paul
had three receptions but was a non-factor as the backup tight end. He hasn't been involved much all year and plays as a low priority in the passing game.
TE Vernon Davis
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Vernon Davis
tallied two catches for fifteen yards in this game. He was basically non-existent as the Dallas linebacker core held him in check. The offense was stuck in neutral all night and made it difficult to get in a rhythm with the passing game. Vernon hasn't been getting the splash plays for big gains the last couple weeks and has left him with very pedestrian numbers.
QB Dak Prescott
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 22 - 102 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 28 - 0 - Prescott was in ball control mode this week in the key home win against Washington. Dallas was fortunate their offensive line began dominating in the second half and the defense led to a comfortable margin as Prescott was not sharp in obvious passing situations in the first half. Prescott missed two throws and took a sack on the first four drives of the game, all punts for Dallas’ offense. Prescott nearly threw an interception on an in-breaking route to Dez Bryant
before finding some sense of rhythm on a touchdown drive. Prescott threw a laser to Jason Witten
on a red zone slant for the score. Prescott’s other touchdown came on a jump ball to contested play expert Dez Bryant
through defensive pass interference. Prescott also added a key scramble for more than 10 yards to convert a third down when little was working for Dallas’ offense in the first half. The Giants and Raiders the next two weeks offer matchups for Prescott and the passing game to find more success than the last month of comparative struggle.
RB Alfred Morris
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 27 - 127 - 1 (1 targets) - Morris logged his highest rushing total since 2013 this week against his former team, the Washington Redskins. Morris saw strong volume as the clear lead back early in the game but with minimal success. Dallas’ offensive line struggled to control the line of scrimmage and Morris was not creating on his own by eluding the initial defender. In the second half, however, Dallas’ offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage at their highest level since the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott
began. Morris’ reads were solid to open running lanes and to cap off his successful game, Morris plunged in for a goal line touchdown to ice the victory. Morris quelled concerns about being in a committee with Rod Smith
this week as the unquestioned starter in snaps, touches, and impact.
RB Rod Smith
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 27 - 1 (1 targets) - Smith played a secondary role in the huge game by Alfred Morris
against Washington. Smith’s snaps were minimal until the fourth quarter, only converting a red zone option run of note through the first three quarters. Late in the game, Smith paired together an easy perimeter run in the red zone and a goal line touchdown to support much of his cumulative stat line. Outside of a negative game script as seen in Week 12, Smith is the clear No.2 back outside of Alfred Morris
faltering with the lead role.
WR Dez Bryant
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 61 - 1 (7 targets) - While no other Dallas receiver accrued even 25 yards, Bryant managed a decent performance by finding the end zone and collecting 32% of the team targets. Bryant’s few unsuccessful targets were hardly his fault as he drew an end zone defensive pass interference penalty and two poor throws by Dak Prescott
. Bryant skied for a high-point touchdown, through defensive pass interference, as Dallas began to roll in the fourth quarter to the comfortable victory. Bryant broke a tackle for more than 20 yards on a third down in-breaking route for his other notable reception. The Raiders and Giants offer two promising matchups up next as Bryant still seeks his first 100-yard game of the season.
WR Terrance Williams
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Williams optimized his sparse involvement in the Dallas offense against Washington. Williams did not see a target until well into the second half, showing outstanding urgency on a deep comeback route on a softer throw. Williams continued to work back to Dak Prescott
and shield the defender from making a play on the pass. Williams also converted a third down late in the game when Dallas was rarely putting the ball in the air as their run game dominated Washington’s defense.
WR Cole Beasley
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Beasley was a clear ancillary target against Washington, a common theme for the slot maven this season. Beasley’s third down reception was short of the sticks despite a strong fight for the first down on Beasley’s part. Finally, Beasley drew a defensive pass interference penalty beyond the box score.
TE Jason Witten
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 1 (5 targets) - Witten struggled to separate for much of Dallas’ comfortable home win over Washington. Witten was the recipient of one of Dak Prescott
’s better throws on the day, a laser red zone slant for a touchdown. Witten’s waning production continues this year as his yards-per-catch marks a career low (8.6) and he has a single reception in 5-of-12 games.
New England Patriots 23, Buffalo Bills 3
What you need to know
New England Patriots
- -Gronk's situation bears watching, as it will have ramifications across the whole offense. He will be suspended for one game.
and Dion Lewis
look to be in a timeshare for running back touches, though Burkhead has seen more red zone volume the last few weeks.
- Buffalo's offense was able to move the ball against New England's defense, but stalled out at key points in the game. Tyrod Taylor
threw an interception in the red zone and Nathan Peterman
was unable to convert on four plays on his red zone trip. Buffalo was able to create running room for LeSean McCoy
but was unable to sustain consistent volume as Buffalo fell behind. The Buffalo passing offense struggled, particularly with Zay Jones
struggling to create separation against Stephon Gilmore in the red zone. Joe Webb
was used in the wildcat formation which created running opportunities and just missed a touchdown on a deep throw to Travaris Cadet
QB Tom Brady
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 258 - 0 TD / 1 INT - In what you could call a rarity, Tom Brady
didn't need to do much against the Bills. That is because the run game and defense dominated the day. In fact, Brady didn't throw a single touchdown, and beyond his connection with Gronk, most passes were shorter gains. The two plays that will stick out from this game for most people were lowlights for Brady. One, he missed Brandin Cooks
on a deep throw, but had other receivers open. That resulted in a screaming match on the sideline between Brady and his offensive coordinator, but that doesn't mean much in the grand scheme of things. Brady's interception was the other big play, as he underthrew Gronk on a deeper route. However, Gronk delivered a late hit to the defender after the play, and there's a chance he's suspended for the shot. Beyond that, protection was adequate against Buffalo, and Brady may have bigger days going forward.
RB Dion Lewis
, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 92 - 0 - Dion Lewis
helped pave the way for the offense along with Rex Burkhead
, as the running game and defense led the way against the Bills. Lewis routinely ripped off positive gains, including a few chunk plays. His biggest play of the day was a 44 yard scamper up the gut, which he cut to the sideline and shed a couple tacklers. He then danced his way up the sideline, displaying tremendous balance as he continued to gain yards. Lewis also had a 15 yard gain to the one yard line, but Rex Burkhead
nabbed the touchdown. Lewis has been a key cog in the run game over the past month, and should continue to be so.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 78 - 2, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (4 targets) - Along with Dion Lewis
, Rex Burkhead
helped pave the way for the run game, dominating the Bills on the ground. Burkhead scored two touchdowns, one being of the short 1 yard variety. The other was a nice 14 yard burst up the middle, cutting back and fighting defenders to barely score a touchdown. Burkhead also had a nice 30+ yard gain from the shotgun formation, displaying a one cut and go move with some decent speed to boot. Burkhead has been integrated fully into the offense since coming back from injury in multiple game phases.
RB James White
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 18 - 0, Rec: 4 - 32 - 0 (6 targets) - With the run game and defense dominating the Bills, James White
wasn't needed much, as the passing game was not the focal point on the day. Given that Rex Burkhead
and Dion Lewis
can play the passing game if needed, White's role looks to be a bit one beyond obvious passing scenarios.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - Cooks had a fairly quiet day, as the passing game ran through Rob Gronkowski
against the Bills. He was missed on a couple deep connections, but didn't see his typical volume due to game script. Better days will be ahead.
WR Danny Amendola
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 34 - 0 (4 targets) - Beyond a nice 27 yard gain to start the day along the sideline, Amendola was fairly quiet, as the passing game took a backseat to the run game.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 147 - 0 (11 targets) - Gronk had a big day against the Bills, routinely ripping off chunk gains and big plays. Even when double covered, he was still targeted relentlessly, and it paid off. However, all that paled in comparison to the cheap shot he laid on a Bills defender who intercepted a pass. The defender was blatantly interfering with Gronk and it wasn't called, so the hit was likely from frustration. Still, it was something that wasn't necessary, and there may be a big fine or even suspension coming.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 9 - 18 - 65 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 32 - 0 - Tyrod Taylor
appeared to injure his knee on the first play from scrimmage, a scramble where he was tackled along the sideline. Taylor hobbled for the next few plays, but remained in the game for three quarters. Taylor was largely ineffective throwing the ball, showing inaccuracy when he was able to throw the ball down the field. Taylor's offensive weapons did not create much space, and Taylor does not show comfort throwing the ball into tight windows. In addition, Taylor too frequently throws the ball under the yard to gain on third down and his receivers are not a dynamic enough to create yards after the catch necessary to move the chains. Taylor was held without a score and threw an interception at the end of the first drive. The throw was as bad of a throw Taylor made all year. The formation was empty with LeSean McCoy
and Charles Clay
running inbreaking routes. Taylor held onto the ball too long on the route, then was hit when he let it go. The ball came out of his hand poorly, and was intercepted by New England. Taylor was effective running he ball, scrambling for multiple first downs, including an 18-yard run on third and 11 that could have been an even bigger play, but Taylor just stepped out of bounds. Taylor's accuracy was harmed by the fact he was not healthy during the game, and Taylor was finally forced from the game with a knee injury after successive hits at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a knee injury.
QB Nathan Peterman
, 21 offensive snaps, Pass: 6 - 15 - 50 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0 - Nathan Peterman
came in to the game in the fourth quarter in relief of an injured Tyrod Taylor
. Peterman made more decisive throws than Tyrod Taylor
but multiple were nearly intercepted. Peterman was wild, missing multiple throws high and wide of receivers. Peterman did manage to lead a drive down to the red zone where he targeted Zay Jones
in the end zone three times against CB Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore broke up two of the balls and the third was over the head of Zay Jones
. Peterman continued a season long trend of Buffalo quarterbacks by throwing under the yardage to gain on third and fourth down, including a check down to Travaris Cadet
on 4th and 15 which resulted in a turnover on downs.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 93 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (5 targets) - LeSean McCoy
was the early beneficiary of running room against New England's defense, particularly in runs up the middle. McCoy had 10 of his 15 carries in the first half, and Buffalo was able to get a rhythm going early while maintaining run favorable game script. McCoy was less used in the second half as New England scored at the end of the second quarter and early in the third quarter to put Buffalo behind. McCoy did have a drop in the passing game, and was targeted near the goal line on a ball he caught but could not extend across the line to gain. The running game was non-existent on Buffalo's goal line opportunities. McCoy did cede more work to Travaris Cadet
than he previously lost to Mike Tolbert
, both in the passing and running game, but McCoy remained a high usage player in the offense.
RB Travaris Cadet
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 22 - 0, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (5 targets) - Travaris Cadet
continued to be the primary backup to LeSean McCoy
against the Patriots. Cadet has seen an expanded role than Mike Tolbert
was used prior to his injury. He was used in both the running and the passing game in substitution for McCoy. Cadet dropped a pass on a check down and could have scored a touchdown on a gadget play, but he was overthrown down the seam by wildcat QB Joe Webb
. Cadet is a pedestrian physical talent who cuts into McCoy's role more than he operates as a stand alone back in the Buffalo offense.
WR Deonte Thompson
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (8 targets) - Despite leading the team in targets, Deonte Thompson
did little against the New England Patriots. He was targeted along the deep perimeter but overthrown by Tyrod Taylor
and later overthrown in the end zone by Nathan Peterman
. Thompson's two catches short receptions of 12 and 9 yards.
WR Zay Jones
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (7 targets) - Zay Jones
struggled to separate, despite high level usage. Jones was targeted unsuccessfully three times in the end zone by Nathan Peterman
on a late drive. Two of the targets were fade routes that were broken up by CB Stephon Gilmore, and the other was a dig along the back of the end zone that was overthrown by Peterman. Jones also had a ball broken up on a crossing route. Jones continued a recent trend of being treated like a number one receiver in the Buffalo offense, but is unable to fill the role. When Jones was covered by Gillmore he was thoroughly overmatched.
WR Jordan Matthews
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Jordan Matthews
continued what has been a frustrating season, finishing the day with only one catch on a dig route for 14 yards. Matthews has struggled to get open consistently and is a poor fit for Tyrod Taylor
who struggles throwing the ball in tight windows.
TE Charles Clay
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Charles Clay
had three catches on the day, but offered little in terms of explosiveness. One of the catches was on a shovel pass, and the other two were routes on the perimeter. His lone big play was a deep corner route that was called back by penalty. Clay looks back to health after missing games earlier in the season.
Philadelphia Eagles 10, Seattle Seahawks 24
What you need to know
- The Philadelphia Eagles nine game winning streak was snapped in this game as while the overall yardage numbers were good, the Eagles had critical turnovers and drives that stalled just outside of field goal range that held them to just ten points. The running game was largely non-existent as it was a combination of game script and the Seahawks defense shutting the running game down. Carson Wentz
and the passing game statistically were very solid as they threw for 350 yards, but the passing offense struggled in the first half and key turnovers and stalled drives caused the yardage numbers to be there, but the points were unfortunately not there for the Eagles as their nine game winning streak came to an end.
- Against the 10-1 Eagles, the Seahawks needed their A-Game, and that’s exactly what they got. Russell Wilson
was in playoff form, weaving in and out of the pocket through constant pressure, en route to a 3 touchdown day. The Seahawks also may have finally found a lead back in Mike Davis
, who showed promise earlier in the season but was then knocked out with an injury. Upon his return, he was less than consistent, but overall he gave the offense a dimension they have sorely been lacking. As for the receiving corps, from a fantasy perspective, Jimmy Graham
is now the only one you can take to the bank. The blessing and curse of this team is that they have five (six, if you now count Mike Davis
) legitimate receiving threats (Baldwin, Lockett, Richardson, Graham, McKissic) and as much as Wilson likes to spread the wealth, there’s simply not enough to go around for a fantasy team to count on any one of them each week.
QB Carson Wentz
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 45 - 348 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 30 - 0 - Looking at the box score won't tell the full story on Wentz as he struggled in the first half, but was terrific in the second half. In the second-half the Eagles used more movement and have Wentz rolling out away from pressure in order to make the throws and buy his receivers a little bit more time. Wentz made an all-time great throw to start the fourth-quarter of this game as he was being brought down from behind on the run and as he was falling was able to throw the ball 40 yards to Nelson Agholor
who was wide open. As good as this throw was, turnovers including a fumble on the one-yard line that went out of the back of the endzone turned out to be the deciding factor in this game for the Eagles.
RB Jay Ajayi
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 35 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - Jay Ajayi
led the team in snaps this week as he was on the field for 42% of the plays. While it is not surprising that Ajayi out-snapped Blount, it is telling that even though the team was down most of the game they did keep Ajayi in this game instead of going with a full complement of Corey Clement
. Ajayi was used out of the passing games largely as a safety valve in this game as he was able to bring in three catches which was the most he has had thus far as an Eagles running back.
RB LeGarrette Blount
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 26 - 0 - Blount was only on the field for 19% of the snaps in this game as when the team falls behind, he is not going to see much playing time. When he was on the field, he had a tough time getting anything going as he averaged just 3.2 yards per carry and his longest run was just 11 yards. These types of weeks are tough for Blount as his strength is not in pass-blocking or receiving. Expect him to see his normal workload in games the team is winning.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 141 - 1 (12 targets) - Nelson Agholor
continues to have these games where he can take his speed and exploit defenses and he did not disappoint in this game. Agholor has developed into more than just a speed receiver, as he is able to find soft spots in deep zone coverage as evidenced by his 51 yard reception in which he saw that Wentz was rolling out to his right and in trouble and consequently found a soft spot in the zone 40-yards down-field with the nearest defender being 10 yards behind him. Agholor's was able to find the end-zone on a play in which he ran a double move against Byron Maxwell who was not able to keep up with Agholor.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 61 - 0 (6 targets) - Alshon Jeffery
continues to be a reliable player in this offense. While he only caught four passes in this game, he was on the field for 95% of the plays in this game. Jeffery drew the tough matchup this week as he was covered by Byron Maxwell, often with safety help over the top. Jeffery came close to scoring this week as he was tackled on the four yard line on a deep slant pattern.
TE Trey Burton
, 21 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (7 targets) - Trey Burton
came in for Ertz when he went down with injury and filled in nicely in this game as he continues to show his ability as a pass catching tight end. Burton continues to show his speed and when he is given a chance is a dynamic pass receiving tight end. If Ertz is out he could be in a nice spot next week against the Rams.
TE Zach Ertz
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (4 targets) - Ertz was largely disappointing in this game as the Seahawks just chose to take him out often double teaming and their pass rush caused Ertz to stay in and block for portions of this game. Ertz left this game with a concussion on a tough hit where his head hit the ground.
QB Russell Wilson
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 31 - 227 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 31 - 0 - It was the Russell Wilson
show … again. He outshone fellow MVP candidate Carson Wentz
, in a potential playoff matchup preview. As usual, he withstood constant pressure throughout the game, leaving the pocket frequently, and just often enough, getting out of that jam enough to complete a pass or gain a few positive yards on the ground. He also added a new dimension to his game: a rapport with lead back Mike Davis
. Aside from several option plays, he also relied on Davis on a few key short passing plays, and memorably tossed a lateral his way – which was clearly something they had been working on in practice – in order to get first down yardage. He continued to expertly utilize his receiving corps efficiently, relying on short passes to move the chains, while still taking downfield risks when the opportunity was there. In the red zone, Jimmy Graham
was still the first look, but because Wilson doesn’t rely on him exclusively, the defense had trouble defending against short TD throws to Lockett and McKissic. The Seahawks have some tough opponents coming up, but it’s noteworthy that Wilson defied the matchup Gods here, besting the league’s top pass rush. Next week he gets the Jaguars, who boast the top rated overall pass defense.
RB Mike Davis
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 64 - 0, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (4 targets) - Davis just ran away with the lead back duties in Seattle. He was inconsistent but showed enough game that he got 16 carries, while the other three backs on the roster had one each. He had a lot of trouble gaining yards up the middle against a stout D, including a goal line leap that got stuffed, but he proved himself versatile enough to be effective running outside and as a pass catcher – at least on short routes. Much of his damage came on an off tackle run for 22 yards, in which he found some room to run and made at least four defenders miss. It was downright Marshawn Lynch
-ian. Davis also looked dangerous after the catch on multiple short catches, and added to the highlight reel after taking a lateral from Russell Wilson
for a first down. The only caveat here is that his play did not magically improve the offensive line. While Davis is light years better of a fantasy option than Eddie Lacy
or Thomas Rawls
right now, his upside is still limited.
RB J.D. McKissic
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 1 - 15 - 1 (3 targets) - McKissic showed again how dangerous he can be as a receiver, mainly on the touchdown play in which he snuck behind the defender for the wide open catch near the goal line. The only problem here is volume. He has cemented his role as 3rd down back, but at the same time, Mike Davis
has also come on strong and will definitely take any early down snaps that McKissic might have gotten previously. Like many of the Seahawks players, McKissic is capable of a big play at any time, but simply cannot be counted on to get opportunities each week.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 84 - 0 (7 targets) - Baldwin was a hair short of adding a touchdown to his line, which would have been the difference between a third straight sub-par game and saying he’s back on track. It’s fair to say he’s ‘on track’ but the Seattle offense has opened up so much that Baldwin is not relied on as much as he was earlier in the season. He is still clearly a favourite possession receiver, and is as reliable as they come in that department. Outside of short catches that moved the chains, Baldwin had one notable catch, deep and near the end zone, that at first looked like a touchdown, but was later called back to the 1 yard line, when the review showed his toe dragging just out of bounds on his way in.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 1 (2 targets) - Lockett continues to show a great mix of big play ability and reliability on short routes. As with a few others on the team, the problem here is volume. His two catches were memorable – first, he showed some shifty moves on a short pass, picking up yards after the catch; and second was a goal line catch in which he found an opening underneath the coverage – but, as is typical, in the end it was still only two catches.
WR Paul Richardson
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (4 targets) - Richardson had a couple of big play opportunities, but came away with only two short receptions. On the deeper throws, he was in great position each time, but the coverage was right on him so he didn’t really have a chance at the ball. From the “Helpful to the Seahawks but Definitely Not Helpful to your Fantasy Team” department: Richardson also has a knack for drawing pass interference calls.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 1 (4 targets) - Graham scored again. He is clearly the Seahawks first option near the goal line. I know it, you know it, and the Eagles knew it. And yet, Wilson found him with ease yet again for a touchdown – and threw it just out of Graham’s reach on another red zone effort. Graham had a somewhat down game with only three catches, but made up for it with the score.
Houston Texans 13, Tennessee Titans 24
What you need to know
- The Texans lost Alfred Blue
, C.J. Fiedorowicz
and Braxton Miller
due to concussions. This is not a positive development for Fiedorowicz who suffered his third concussion this season.
left the game after one reception after being hit low and was lost for the game with a hamstring injury.
- The Titans offense did just enough for the victory again this week, led by their rushing attack with nearly 200 yards on the ground. Derrick Henry
busted off another 75-yard touchdown run this week to ice the game late in the fourth quarter. Marcus Mariota
also rushed for a touchdown while passing for just 150 yards as he rarely attempted deep passes. Delanie Walker
found the end zone and led the team in receiving for the second straight week as he was the only Titans receiver with a notable fantasy performance.
QB Tom Savage
, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 49 - 365 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Somehow Tom Savage
put together his best career yardages passing day of his career throwing for 365 yards on the day. Savage was cruising when he had his full complement of skill players but when C.J. Fiedorowicz
, Braxton Miller
and Bruce Ellington
all were lost, the offense was looking for any type of answers. Savage spread the ball around nine different receivers and really had no choice. His only two targets as the game wore on were DeAndre Hopkins
and Stephen Anderson
were the go to players. Anderson benefited the most from Savage who hit him for 4 yard touchdown pass on a broken play and then late in the game hit him with gains of 25 and 22 to keep the chains moving. Savage’s biggest mistake came on ball he threw up to Hopkins where he was expecting him to stay outside but a late move inside allowed the defender to intercept the ball in the end zone. With a makeshift offensive line and banged up skill group, Tom Savage
somehow was able to keep the Texans in the game.
RB Lamar Miller
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 56 - 0, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (4 targets) - It was tough sledding for the run game and Miller only had 5 carries for 11 yards in the 1st half. The second half it was a different story when Miller put up 45 yards on the gourd and 38 more yards catching 4 passes. Miller continues to be the Texans 2nd best offense threat on the field. The Texans continued to run the football and it finally opened up some in the second half.
RB Andre Ellington
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -4 - 0, Rec: 5 - 56 - 0 (6 targets) - The Texans had Ellington in for a small offensive package and concentrated throwing him the football. His first reception came out of the backfield for 29 yards but then with all of the injuries the Texans put him at slot wide receiver. Ellington was being taught where to lineup as the game went on and what routes to run on the field. He caught three passes from the slot just being claimed two weeks ago.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 81 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 80 - 0 (14 targets) - As long as DeAndre Hopkins
is on the field, he will get the majority of the targets. Hopkins missed an early TD when he could not get his right foot down after completing the catch. Hopkins caught 8 passes for 80 yards and his second half was tougher because coverage was rolled over his way with no real threats at other positions. The Texans did try to take the lead on a deep ball to Hopkins but was picked off with Hopkins and Savage not being on the same page.
WR Braxton Miller
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 71 - 0 (4 targets) - Two weeks in a row Braxton Miller
has put together strong games and this one was a 4 reception for 71 yards. Miller’s biggest catch of the day came on a vertical route to the middle of the field for 57 to set up the Texans first score of the day. Miller continues to show growth as a player when the ball is headed his way and is playing at a high level as a wide receiver split out and in the slot.
TE Stephen Anderson
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 79 - 1 (12 targets) - Anderson had a strong game going for 79 yards and even a touchdown catch for 4 yards on a broken play. He had a couple bad drops but he was able to make some clutch catches down the stretch for 25 yards and key 22 yard reception on 4th and 19. Anderson will more than likely be the Texans primary tight end target moving forward with more injuries to the group.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 23 - 150 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 23 - 1 - Marcus Mariota
had another mediocre day that was saved by his rushing productivity. He was held to less than 200 passing yards for the second straight week. Mariota's rushing touchdown came from nine yards out as he made a great read to keep the ball and roll left instead of handing it off to Derrick Henry
. Mariota even fooled the cameraman with how good of a fake this was as he accelerated to the left side and easily made it into the end zone for the Titans' first touchdown of the day. Mariota had another nice run near the end of the half as found nothing he liked downfield and proceeded to outrun three Texans' defenders to the edge for a 12-yard gain and a first down to get the Titans into field goal range. His day through the air was not as spectacular as Mariota struggled with accuracy on a number of throws. He missed a wide open Jonnu Smith
in the end zone early in this game as Mariota tried to run for the first down but was stopped. Mariota did perform well when not under pressure though, as his offensive line did a solid job throughout the game in pass protection with all 150 of Mariota's passing yards coming from a clean pocket. Mariota's lone touchdown pass was a beauty though as he found Delanie Walker
across the middle of the field with a very accurate throw for the 24-yard score.
RB DeMarco Murray
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 66 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Demarco Murray finally had a solid game as this 66 rushing yards marked his highest rushing yardage total since Week 3. Murray's workload was equaled by Derrick Henry
as they received the same amount of carries, but Murray received most of the carries throughout the first half. Murray made a nice move to pick up 13 yards on a screen midway through the second quarter for his longest reception of the day. He also had a few nice runs of over 10 yards throughout the first half as he looked explosive when in space. Late in the third, Murray showed great vision with no running lanes open in the middle of the field, bouncing a run to the outside as he picked up 22 yards and a first down. That would be Murray's last gain of the game as Derrick Henry
dominated the touches in the fourth quarter.
RB Derrick Henry
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 109 - 1 - Derrick Henry
finished with an equal amount of carries as Demarco Murray here but outshined Murray on the stat sheet due mostly to two big plays on the day. Henry had a carry midway through the second quarter on which he made a nice move in the backfield to evade one tackle, then shed off a couple more tackles on his way to near the end zone before having the ball popped out from behind him. Thankfully for Henry, the ball barely missed the pylon and went out of bounds instead of through the back of the end zone, which would have been disastrous for the Titans. Henry's other big play was the 75-yard game-icing touchdown run late in the fourth quarter. Henry took the pitch out of the backfield and absolutely turned on the burners as he blasted through the arms of defenders and simply outran the Texans secondary with his astonishing speed. Outside of those two plays, most of Henry's gains were minuscule as he would have averaged around 3.5 yards per attempt without that 75-yard run factored in.
WR Eric Decker
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - Eric Decker
saw more playing time this week with Rishard Matthews
out again. Decker actually led the team in targets with six, but he managed to catch just half of those targets for 27 yards. He was targeted on three straight plays on a Titans drive midway through the second quarter, one of which was a deep ball that Decker just missed on. Decker also did a great job drawing a couple of pass interference penalties that would not show up on the stat sheet but was impactful in moving the Titans down the field.
WR Corey Davis
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - Corey Davis
caught one pass for 13 yards on the first play of the game, but he was relatively invisible aside from that. He was targeted four times and did haul in one other catch, but Davis couldn't get anything going as he was fairly well-covered for most of the day.
TE Delanie Walker
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 63 - 1 (5 targets) - Delanie Walker
finished as the Titans' top receiver for the second straight week, as his stat line looked nearly identical this week as it did last week. Walker started slowly with just one 11-yard reception and a busted screen in the first half. However, Walker had a big drive late in the third quarter, starting with an 18-yard deep ball on a nice route on the right side. Walker later had a close play that would have been a big first down called back to give the Titans a fourth-and-one that they would convert. The play after converting that fourth down, Mariota found Walker across the middle of the field for a 24-yard touchdown pass. Mariota threw a strike to hit Walker in full stride as Walker ran a great route across the middle of the field and easily sprinted into the end zone.
Los Angeles Rams 32, Arizona Cardinals 16
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams got out to an early lead once again this week and once again it was the defense setting up the offense as it has done for most of the season. Offensively, the Rams relied on Todd Gurley
heavily in both the passing and rushing game as he had 74 yards rushing and 84 yards receiving to account for 51% of the team's total yardage in this game. Cooper Kupp
was able to once again have a nice game as Patrick Peterson was blanketing Sammy Watkins
for most of this game leaving Kupp as the primary receiver for the Rams in this one.
- Much like the Gabbert supporters, Sunday’s loss should end any speculation as to whether the Cardinals can still make a playoff run or not. After their surprise win against Jacksonville left the door slightly askew, Sunday’s lost emphatically shut it. A few individual players aside, the team has no strengths and or successes to rely on. They are bad at every level of every phase of the game. Whether management will take this offseason to acknowledge the failures and make the necessary changes for a successful rebuild remains to be seen, but any illusion of this team making a late-season run has officially ended.
QB Jared Goff
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 31 - 220 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Jared Goff
did not need to do much in this game as the Rams got out to an early lead and the Rams largely went conservative in this game not trying to force the ball too far down the field. Goff did a nice job avoiding pressure in this game as he has developed into a quarterback with great pocket awareness often stepping up right at the right time to make a play. Goff was able to throw two touchdowns in this game, both in the red zone the first on a quick slant to Gerald Everett
and the second was a simple underneath crossing pattern by Sammy Watkins
in which he was able to use his speed for the score. One drawback to the day for Goff was an interception that largely was not his fault as Kareem Martin made a tremendous play as he disengaged his blocker on the defensive line to jump up at the perfect time to make the interception.
RB Todd Gurley
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 74 - 0, Rec: 6 - 84 - 0 (7 targets) - Todd Gurley
continues to be one of the best players in football this season as when you get him into open space he is incredibly difficult to stop. As great of plays as Gurley made in space and there were plenty in which he would not get touched until he was 10 or more yards downfield, his best play of the game was on a 1st and 10 on the Rams two-yard line in which the game was still close at the time in the third quarter. Gurley who has struggled in short yardage situations at times this season was able to go straight up the middle and get nine yards which was incredibly encouraging as most of his work this season has been outside the tackles.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 68 - 0 (6 targets) - Kupp continues to be a reliable consistent target for this passing offense out of the slot. This week, Kupp was just able to find space in this defense and utilized his route running out of the slot to find mismatches as he had two 20-yard or longer receptions in this game. Kupp is unlike most slot receivers in that he works from the slot as he works a variety of different routes both deep and shallow while also working both outside and inside. This allows him to keep the defense in check and have longer receptions compared to other slot receivers.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 1 (4 targets) - Sammy Watkins
made the most of his otherwise difficult matchup with Patrick Peterson as he was able to find the end zone on an underneath crossing route in which Watkins got matched up against a linebacker and was easily able to utilize his speed to get to the corner for the score. Watkins was on the field for every snap in this game which was the first time this season that he was able to be on the field for 100% of the plays.
WR Josh Reynolds
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (6 targets) - After a tremendous first game, Reynolds came back down in this game as while he had six targets in this game he was not able to get anything going in this game as he had just two receptions for a total of six yards as the routes he was running were often very short and quick trying to utilize his 6'3'' frame. Reynolds did have two targets in the red zone including one in which he caught the ball at the one-yard line but unfortunately came up just short of finding the end-zone on a very nice play made by Tramon Williams. Reynolds was still on the field for 75% of the snaps in this game, and should continue to see playing time until Robert Woods
returns from injury.
QB Blaine Gabbert
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 32 - 221 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0 - For those few Cardinals fans still holding out hope the team had their Quarterback of the future in Blaine Gabbert
, Sunday had to remove all doubt. Gabbert was downright awful, throwing an interception on the team’s first play, setting the tone for his and the offense’s afternoon. Even as Blaine settled down and began to rebound, slightly, he often still required acrobatics from his receivers to complete any pass beyond five yards. His only really good throw of the day ended up in the hands of Larry Fitzgerald
for the team’s only passing touchdown of the day, a quick little inside post from 20-yards out that was placed right on his receivers hands. Blaine gives an admirable effort, and for a team likely in transition at the position this offseason, he is a acceptable bridge, but the more opportunity Gabbert has, the worse he’s stock has looked.
RB Kerwynn Williams
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 97 - 0 - Filling in for the injured Adrian Peterson
, Williams did what he has often done in a backup role for this team; step in and produce. That has not always been the case for Kerwynn when the coaching staff has made a concerted effort to involve him in game plans, but when he is forced into a starting role due to injury, he has generally found success. While it was Elijah Williams who scored the team’s lone rushing touchdown, Kerwynn was the engine of the offense all afternoon. Often doing his damage running behind the left-side of the line, Williams showed burst, elusiveness and determination as a runner, falling just shy of an 100 yard game. It is nothing we have not seen from Williams before, making him a known asset, but not someone who should be expected to build on Sunday’s quality start.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 98 - 1 (10 targets) - We often marvel at Fitzgerald’s career success knowing the quarterbacks he has played with fall well short of his Hall of Fame credential company, but consistently keeps producing despite it. Sunday acted as a perfect microcosm of what has unfortunately been far too much of Fitzgerald’s career. Without any other weapons around him to shift coverage, and a Quarterback who struggles to hit his receivers on target, Fitzgerald still managed nearly 100 yards, scored a touchdown, and finished the day a perfect 10 for 10 on targets to catch ratio. To put it another way, the man is simply amazing.
WR J.J. Nelson
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 42 - 0 (8 targets) - With no John Brown
, Nelson filled the role of “secondary receiver who has no impact on the outcome” with aplomb. His long catch of the game, a 26-yard grab in which he had to stop his route, then out jump his defender was arguably Nelson’s best catch of the season. Beyond that, however, he was utterly worthless. Nelson tacked on one more catch, but with eight targets throughout the afternoon, his contributions were too far and few between. That is an acceptable distinction for a boom-or-bust receiver, of which Nelson would qualify, but you must actually produce big plays. Nelson’s 26-yard catch was nice, but nowhere near enough boom to outweigh the bust.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 44 - 0 (5 targets) - While Seals-Jones was unable to match any of the career-outputs he has had over the last few games, his continued involvement in the offense is notable. Will he be able to maintain this level of success as defense begin to game plan for him? Will his connection be as strong with a starting-caliber Quarterback, or is this more about the many practice hours he and Gabbert had spent together? These questions will not be answered for a while, but it is imperative the team utilizes the rest of this season in search of this answer. There are unfortunately few building blocks in place for the rebuild ahead, and Seals-Jones will always have limitations, but learning what you have in the rookie tight end will help illustrate what needs to be invested into this position group going forward.