New York Giants 0, Arizona Cardinals 23
What you need to know
New York Giants
- The Giants returned to form this week after last Sundays offensive explosion with a miserable performance against the Cardinals. The pass protection was poor, Manning did not play well with his turnovers and the running game was non existent. The end of the season cannot come fast enough for this team. Gallman is a low end but somewhat respectable play in PPR leagues, Sheppard remains risky however. No other plays can really be reccomended if Engram is forced to miss the game due to injury.
- The Cardinals finally notched a shutout, their first since 1992, breaking the longest streak in the NFL. It is certainly a nice feeling for a defense that most frequently struggles with finishing and in the process saw some strong flashes from young players who will be counted on as primary contributors going forward. That and Fitzgerald’s otherworldly day are the positives. On the downside, the Cardinals have once again blown their way towards a top draft spot, a seemingly yearly tradition for this franchise, and will likely miss out on their next franchise quarterback. Again.
QB Eli Manning
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 45 - 263 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0 - Eli Manning
did not play well on Sunday and his turnovers killed the Giants chances at being competitive against the Cardinals. The pass protection and running game was as poor as ever this season but Manning did not help himself with his play. He threw a lot of passes off his back foot to evade a sack and many of these were ill advised throws. Manning's accuracy was scattershot and he missed several short throws with just bad ball placement. A lot of his passes were overthrown and there were a few occasions where he did not look to be on the same page as the receiver. Manning tried to connect with Engram deep on a fade but the overthrown pass was picked off by the safety. He had a lot of dropped passes by his depleted receiving corps and had an excellent 4th down conversion on a deep out to Ellison but his positive plays were simply outdone by the negative ones. He threw late off his backfoot down the field and was picked off again by the safety. Manning displayed really poor pocket awareness as he was stripped from behind and gave up a defensive score, trying to do too much. A chunk of his yards/completions came in garbage time towards the end and this game was never competitive. The Giants were rarely in the redzone and it was a tough watch for any fantasy owners.
RB Wayne Gallman
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 18 - 0, Rec: 6 - 44 - 0 (8 targets) - Wayne Gallman
was the main man in the Giants backfield again this week but struggled to accomplish much in a poor offense. He was catching a lot of passes out of the backfield and did an excellent job of making the first man miss for extra yards. Gallman also ran strong and typically fell forward when met with contact at the line of scrimmage. He was also a safety valve for Manning and caught a lot of checkdowns, which helped his value a lot in PPR leagues. The Giants like to use Gallman in the screen game and gave him several attempts but the blocking was so-so. Redzone touches were almost non existent in this game and Gallman never got a crack at the goal line unfortunately. The Giants offense is in a very poor state currently so exact evaluation on Gallman is tough but he is certainly playing better than Perkins/Darkwa were before him. A low ceiling but not terrible play in PPR leagues next week.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (8 targets) - Sterling Shepard
was typically involved in the offense on a regular basis throughout this game but came up with modest production. The passing game was inept, mostly due to inadequate pass protection/ turnover prone QB play and no running game. Sheppard got involved as he typically does with crosser/slant/curl routes and kept the Giants moving whenever he could. He was tackled immediately on most of his plays after he made the reception so yards after the catch was hard to come by. Sheppard was open on a corner route down the field but Manning's accuracy was off in this game and he overthrew this pass. A risky play in fantasy next week with the offense playing very poor, PPR leagues only.
WR Roger Lewis
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (11 targets) - Roger Lewis
jr. did not play particularly well on Sunday but did have an incredible one handed grab along the sideline at least. Lewis reached back inside to control the ball with one hand and secured his feet in bounds, making a spectacular grab. Apart from this moment of magic, he had several dropped passes and did not look to be on the same page as Manning for many other targets. Lewis ran short routes throughout and picked up a few first downs but couldn't break free for a big gain. He did break up a potential interception on a poor pass deep from Manning, though he had to draw offensive pass interference in doing so. Lewis is not worth owning in any league currently.
TE Rhett Ellison
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (7 targets) - Rhett Ellison
was the man to replace Engram once he left the game in the first half. Ellison made several chunk plays down the field for the Giants and actually looked like the most dangerous player, though the Giants set the bar low in this game. He got several big first downs when the Giants needed them and made some terrific catches in traffic, showing off dependable hands. Ellison secured a nice seam route down the field, turning his head around just in time to seamlessly grab the ball. Ellison is a low end fantasy play at tight end next week, assuming that Engram will not play. Only if you are completely desperate in deep leagues.
TE Evan Engram
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Evan Engram
only had one catch before he was forced out of the game due to injury. Engram had an excellent grab on a deep out, catching the ball in traffic and securing it in bounds. Manning tried to hit him deep along the sideline on a fade but the overthrown pass was picked off by the Arizona secondary. Engram left the game after this point and never returned. The star tight end will likely be treated with caution for week 17 and fantasy owners should keep an eye on his practice reports.
QB Drew Stanton
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 34 - 209 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0 - After the season started off to a putter of poor play and devastating injuries, many Cardinals fans and followers clamored for Blaine Gabbert
, with the misguided hope of evaluating him ability for the future. Stanton’s injury allowed for that opportunity, with Gabbert starting five games and making the return of Drew Stanton
on Sunday a welcome sight. Stanton, by simply being his average self, was leaps and bounds better than Gabbert. Throwing two touchdowns and successfully exploiting the intermediate levels of the field, Stanton succeeded at two areas which Gabbert struggled the most. He targeted Fitzgerald early and often, including in the red zone, another shortcoming of Gabbert’s. In the end, Stanton was still himself, throwing two interceptions, narrowly avoiding several more turnovers, and missing key throws. Stanton is a stable, solid veteran who can keep you afloat, which is both admirable and valuable, but it is troublesome when that is viewed as an upgrade over the previous player.
RB Kerwynn Williams
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 51 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Williams and the run game did little more than provide a sense of balance for the Cardinals offense on Sunday. Collectively falling well short of 100 rushing yards as a team, Williams’ 51 yards alone comprised the vast majority of the team’s rushing total on Sunday, and even that was primarily accomplished through a 21-yard run, the team’s long of the day. Neither offense, and specifically neither offense’s run game did much on Sunday, a credit to both team’s atrophied offensive and active defensive lines. What Williams did most impressively on Sunday was absorb hits and continue to move forward. It is not a trait often associated with Williams, nor is it apparent in his box score, but the Cardinals offense is one that needs every inch of grass and momentum to see success, and on Sunday Williams managed to provide both when the team needed it.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 21 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 9 - 119 - 1 (15 targets) - espite agreeing to a 2018 extension, it is possible Fitzgerald played his last home game on Sunday. Whether or not that becomes true, Cardinals fans will certainly remember this as one of Fitzgerald’s most dominant in the latter part of his career. 15 of the team’s 32 targets, 119 of the 230 receiving yards (with his own 21-yard toss to Jaron Brown
included in that number), and one of the team’s two scores, Fitzgerald simply was the offense on Sunday. It is impossible to say with confidence which way Fitzgerald will go. Sunday felt like a “last hurrah” game, especially seeing him get his first career passing completion, but week 17 last season had a similar feeling as well. It will not be for ability or skill if Fitzgerald walks away, but likely the beating the body takes and the understanding that a Super Bowl likely is not in reach.
WR John Brown
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 1 (4 targets) - It feels like it has been forever since John Brown
both played in a game and positively influenced it. Maybe that is why Larry Fitzgerald
erupted in such jubilation when Brown scored a touchdown early in the 3rd quarter, his first since October. Brown’s impact beyond the touchdown was minimal; he finished with the second most receiving yards and tied for second in receptions and targets, but those figures were paltry compared to Fitzgerald’s. In truth, the memory of Brown’s explosive ability is still firmly etched in the minds of many Cardinals fans, and even the smallest glimpses of what he used to be have us as excited as Fitzgerald, despite knowing it is not sign of what is to come.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19, Carolina Panthers 22
What you need to know
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- OJ Howard was placed on injured reserve earlier in the week. Desean Jackson missed week 16 with an ankle injury. The Bucs blocked an extra point attempt in the 2nd quarter. Kwon Alexander intercepted a pass that was bobbled by receiver Brentin Bersin in the 3rd quarter. Patrick Murray
missed a 51 yard attempt with 3 minutes left in the contest. Cam Newton
fumbled the snap when Carolina scored the game-winning touchdown, but scooped it up before diving in for the score. Tampa Bay got the ball back with 33 seconds left to tie a three point deficit, but Winston took a sack and lost the football on the first play of the drive.
- After back-to-back weeks of productive offensive displays, the Panthers took a step back against their bitter division rivals. Cam Newton
was not at his best; he was often late on throws and took some bad sacks as he held on to the ball too long. The offense shifted to a ground-based attack in the second half, with Newton leading the charge, and that seemed to light a fire under him. Christian McCaffrey
continues to boss the backfield, with Jonathan Stewart
relegated to a supporting role in this game. The receiver position proved to be a problem in this clash. Damiere Byrd
, who scored on a 103-yard kick return touchdown, left the game with a knee injury, depleting the receiving corps to the likes of former practice squad player Brenton Bersin
and Kaelin Clay
. Devin Funchess
was kept under wraps for the most part as the Bucs coverage remained disciplined throughout. Greg Olsen
was targeted a couple of times in the red zone, but neither pass was catchable.
QB Jameis Winston
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 27 - 367 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 6 - 0 - Winston, facing relentless pressure from the Carolina front 7, continued to turn the ball over at an alarming rate in week 16. He started his day out with deep completion to Mike Evans
on the opening drive, but lost the ball after a defender swatted his arm two plays a later. Tampa Bay drove down into the Carolina red zone early in the 2nd quarter, but Winston fumbled the snap at the 19 yard line and lost the ball again. Winston made a risky decision that paid off late in the 2nd quarter, chunking up a jump ball for short slot receiver Humphries after pulling away from a near-sack. Humphries managed to come down with the ball for a 36 yard completion deep into Carolina's red zone. Winston and the offense were unable to capitalize with a touchdown, with rookie Godwin letting a sure touchdown bounce off his hands in the end zone. Winston took six sacks total, several of them drive-killers-including a 13 yard loss that dropped the Bucs out of the Carolina red zone during a 3rd quarter drive.
Winston finally led a touchdown drive in the 3rd quarter, hitting Mike Evans
down the left sideline with a jump ball for a big gain, then finding Jesus "Bobo" Wilson in the end zone. Winston scrambled away from pressure and hit Wilson, who had worked himself open with an improvised route.
Winston and the offense drove down far enough for Patrick Murray
to attempt a 51 yard field goal with 3 minutes left, but the kicker missed wide right.
Down 22-19, Tampa Bay had the ball for one final drive with 33 seconds left and a timeout, but Winston was sacked and lost the football on the first play.
RB Peyton Barber
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 51 - 0, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (2 targets) - Barber got the start in the backfield. Winston hit him on a checkdown pass on the first offensive play for a short gain. Barber picked up the majority of his rushing yardage on a 34 yard run in the 1st quarter, bouncing off left tackle and tearing up the sideline. Barber hauled in another pass on a short crossing route in the 3rd quarter. He carried the ball inside the Carolina 5 during the 3rd quarter, but was stuffed for no gain. Barber finished well ahead of the other backs with his 15 touches total.
RB Doug Martin
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 7 - 0 - Martin entered the game in the 2nd quarter behind Barber and Rodgers. He saw limited snaps and was unable to do anything with his 6 carries. Martin was not targeted in the passing game.
RB Charles Sims
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (1 targets) - Sims saw some action in the two minute drill at the end of the first half. His only carry went for no gain. He reappeared later in the 3rd quarter, hauling in a wheel route from the backfield for a 19 yard gain into the Carolina red zone. Sims also returned one kick for 16 yards.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Rodgers was the second halfback in the game after Barber, carrying the ball once for 2 yards on the Bucs' second offensive drive of the game. He disappeared after that, with Charles Sims
fielding the only kickoff return.
WR Mike Evans
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 107 - 0 (8 targets) - Evans posted his first 100-yard receiving performance of the season. He hauled in a deep crossing route for a gain of 17 on Tampa Bay's opening drive. Winston hit him with a curl route inside the Panthers red zone on the next drive, then targeted him in the end zone, but Evans drew a pass interference penalty for pushing off on his defender. Winston targeted Evans in the end zone on a fade late in the second quarter, but the pass was well defended. Evans lined up wide left and caught a seam route at the end of the 2nd quarter for a big gain. Evans made a highlight-reel worthy catch in the 3rd quarter, soaring over his defender for a jump ball from Winston. Evans came down hard and appeared to injured his lower back. He exited the game but returned on the next drive. Evans had a clutch reception for his biggest gain of the day, hauling in a 30 yard completion on a deep post on 3rd and 12 from the Bucs own five yard line in the 4th quarter. Evans finished the day with team high reception, target, and yardage totals in Howard and Jackson's absence.
WR Adam Humphries
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (3 targets) - Humphries hauled in an out route to convert 3rd and 7 in the 1st quarter. Two plays later, he caught a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage and ran for a modest gain. Humphries made one of the highlight catches of his career at the end of the first half, pulling in a jump ball from Winston for a 36 yard gain that set the Bucs up deep in Carolina territory just before halftime. He was not targeted after the first half.
WR Chris Godwin
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 98 - 0 (6 targets) - Godwin stepped up in the place of Desean Jackson. He caught his first target in stride on a skinny post and nearly took it to the house at the end of the 2nd quarter. The 70 yard gain was his longest reception of his rookie season and the longest completion of QB Winston's career. Goodwin lined up in a three receiver bunch formation on 3rd and goal at the end of the first half and let a touchdown bounce off his hands on an easy curl route. Winston fired a jump ball Godwin's way in the end zone during the 3rd quarter, but Godwin never had a chance at it. Godwin finished the day second to Evans in targets, reception, and yards.
WR Freddie Martino
, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 57 - 0 (2 targets) - Martino saw most of his snaps after halftime. He lined up wide left and caught a deep comeback route in the 3rd, shaking his defender and jetting up the sideline for a 39 yard gain. Martino pulled in his second catch later that same drive on a skinny post, again while lined up wide left.
WR Jesus Wilson
, 4 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 1 (1 targets) - Wilson saw limited snaps but scored on the first reception of his NFL career in the 3rd quarter. After a big Mike Evans
catch set the Bucs up in Carolina territory, Wilson lined up wide left and attempted an ineffective double move but worked his way open as Winston scrambled to buy time, eventually hitting Wilson in the left side of the end zone. It was Wilson's only target of the day.
TE Cameron Brate
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - Despite Howard's absence, Brate couldn't get anything going with Winston. He caught a short crossing route on 3rd and long early in the 2nd quarter. Brate drew a defensive holding penalty on a seam route in the end zone at the end of the first half, setting Tampa Bay up with first and goal at the Carolina goal line. Brate hauled in a short checkdown pass late in the 4th quarter, then one final out route for a minimal gain on Tampa's last drive.
QB Cam Newton
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 25 - 160 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 14 - 52 - 1 - It was a game of ups and downs for Cam Newton
, who went through everything from a hit to his family jewels to fumbling the shotgun snap ñ but somehow still scoring ñ on the game-deciding touchdown. Newton appeared to have picked up where he left off against Green Bay and Minnesota with his early passes, but things steadily went downhill. Pressure from Tampa Bay started to surface some of Newton's bad habits, and he held the ball too long on a few occasions, taking one unnecessary sack that pushed Carolina out of field goal range. The offense, after being clinical in the red zone in recent weeks, sputtered in this area and had to settle for field goals. Newton's decision-making was often a beat late and in the second half there was a much greater emphasis on using his talents as a runner. Several designed quarterback runs and option plays seemed to ignite a fire in him. He tossed his only interception of the game on a downfield shot to Brenton Bersin
, who initially caught the pass, only to have it knocked out and picked off by a pursuing Buccaneers defender. To Newton's credit, he really turned it on in the final three minutes with the game on the line, tossing laser passes downfield for big chunks. With the game on the line, Newton took the shotgun snap from the Tampa Bay 1-yard line, fumbled it forwards and then scooped it up for a rushing touchdown. The play perhaps summed up the day for Newton who, despite his many hiccups during the game, found a way.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 39 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (4 targets) - Christian McCaffrey
did all he could to provide the offense with some life as the passing attack struggled. As a runner and receiver, the pint-sized pocket rocket was lively early with solid carries between the tackles, mostly out of the shotgun. On several occasions he seemed one ankle tackle away from breaking a long touchdown run. McCaffrey did an excellent job making something out of nothing on a toss play. He was also giving the Buccaneers fits as a receiver, running crisp routes and layering his routes to an extent that they had no idea when he would make his break. Lining up out wide on one snap, McCaffrey did an excellent job to commit the defensive back to the boundary, before cutting back underneath on a quick slant. It was yet another solid all-around display from the rookie, who shows no signs of hitting the proverbial rookie wall.
RB Jonathan Stewart
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (1 targets) - The forgotten man in the backfield against the Bucs, Jonathan Stewart
was often met at or behind the line of scrimmage and had little success. The second half saw a greater commitment to the run, and Stewart popped off some nice gains, but the Bucs were generally well-disciplined and able to corral him. Stewart only got his first carry in the second quarter and generally took a back seat role to Christian McCaffrey
WR Devin Funchess
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - It was another quiet outing for Devin Funchess
as the passing game stuttered for the most part. Funchess had trouble separating downfield, and it appeared the Bucs had a well-drilled defensive plan to keep the big receiver in check. Funchess made a nice low grab at the sticks for a first down early, and a subsequent screen pass in the red zone saw him wrapped up quickly. Otherwise, it proved to be a drab game for the Panthers' main option at wide receiver.
WR Damiere Byrd
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 31 - 0 (2 targets) - Damiere Byrd
lit up Bank of America Stadium with Christmas cheer after an impressive 103-yard kick return touchdown, during which he made several Buccaneers coverage team players miss. His only other involvement as a receiver came on a hitch route that he turned up the field for a nice gain after the defensive back missed the straightforward tackle. Byrd left the game with a suspected knee injury and did not return.
TE Greg Olsen
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - On a day when the passing game was stagnant, Greg Olsen
nonetheless provided a steadying presence for an erratic Cam Newton
. Olsen's well-run route on an early third down drew a penalty for pass interference, as an eager Bucs defender came through the back of the tight end to attempt to break up the pass. Olsen followed that up with first catch, a beautiful adjustment to a low pass as he slid down to the turf. A downfield shot in the second half on third down fell incomplete after what appeared to be a miscommunication between Olsen and Newton. The quarterback threw the pass to the back shoulder after diagnosing the defender's position relative to Olsen, but the tight end couldn't contort his body to the correct position. Olsen was tossed a pass in the end zone late on, but it was too high as Newton failed to step into the throw.
Pittsburgh Steelers 34, Houston Texans 6
What you need to know
- The Steelers dominated with a 34-6 victory over the Houston Texans. The offense had success picking up 20 first downs and converting 58% of their third-down attempts. With Antonio Brown
inactive, Steelers role players stepped up as Justin Hunter
and Roosevelt Nix
- Outside of Hopkins, Will Fuller
, Braxton Miller
and Stephen Anderson
were targeted a total of 7 times in the game and combined for 2 receptions for 15 yards. The Texans tried everything to get Miller into the end zone but was missed wide open in the end zone by Yates. Fuller was targeted in the end zone but a bad pass by Yates resulted in an interception.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 29 - 226 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Ben Roethlisberger
was efficient completing 20-of-29 pass attempts for 226 yards and two touchdowns. Roethlisberger looked comfortable playing without superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown
. Mid first quarter on a 3rd and 4, Roethlisberger bought time by moving up into the pocket as he found Justin Hunter
running across to the left corner of the end zone for a five-yard touchdown pass. Early fourth quarter on a third and 7, Roethlisberger completed an easy 18-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open JuJu Smith-Schuster
. Roethlisberger was taken out of the game early as the Steelers held a commanding lead.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 69 - 1, Rec: 5 - 28 - 0 (8 targets) - After the Steelers built an early lead, Leveon Bell was the focal point of the Steelers offensive attack as he finished with 19 touches for 97 total yards and one touchdown. Late third quarter, Bell ran a draw up the middle as he made a quick cut before diving for a 10-yard touchdown. Bell has now amassed 406 touches this season, the second most in franchise history.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 75 - 1 (7 targets) - JuJu Smith-Schuster
finished with a team leading six receptions for 75 yards and one touchdown. Early fourth quarter, Smith-Schuster ran a go-route before coming back for a 49-yard reception. A few plays later third and 7, Smith-Schuster beat his man defender as he quickly ran wide-open over the middle of the field for an 18-yard touchdown reception.
WR Martavis Bryant
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 60 - 0 (4 targets) - Martavis Bryant
finished with three receptions for 60 yards. Bryant only received four targets as the Steelers played with a lead for most of the game. Late second quarter on a 3rd and 3, Bryant ran a go-route down the right sideline for a 36-yard gain.
WR Eli Rogers
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (4 targets) - Eli Rogers
had a quiet afternoon with only one reception for six yards.
TE Vance McDonald
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (5 targets) - Vance McDonald
was once again a reliable option in the short-to-intermediate passing game with four receptions for 52 yards. McDonald kept the chains moving early in the game as he picked up first downs on each of his first three receptions.
QB T.J. Yates
, 47 offensive snaps, Pass: 7 - 16 - 83 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0 - It was the worst performance by a Texans quartberack all season and T.J. Yates
was missing open receivers and failing to see blitzed off the edge that led to at least 5 of the 7 sacks on the day. Yates missed a wide open Braxton Miller
in the end zone and then threw an interception intended for Will Fuller
from the 1-yard line. HE even left the game to be checked for a concussion but only completed 7 of his passes for 83 yards. He did hit DeAndre Hopkins
for a touchdown late in the game but it was a poor outing for Yates overall.
RB Alfred Blue
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 108 - 0 - It was the first time all season a Texans rusher eclipsed the 100 yard plateau with Alfred Blue
went for 108. His best run came off the right end for 48 yards that saw him get into the open field. Blue worked hard for the rest of his yards but was able to move the chains when needed. It was a solid outing for Blue overall especially since it was the best the running game has looked since the loss of Deshaun Watson
RB Lamar Miller
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 55 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - The Texans are working to cut back on Miller’s workload late in the season but he did produce 55 yards on the ground averaging 5.5 yards a carry and a long for 16 yards on the day. Miller also caught a screen pass that went for 10 yards which set up the Hopkins touchdown early in the 4th quarter.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 65 - 1 (6 targets) - DeAndre Hopkins
only had 2 targets heading into the middle of the 3rd quarter but after that was able to haul in 4 catches for 65 yards. He had a nice comeback route that was a solid 38 yard catch and run that put the Texans into scoring position. Hopkins best catch of the season came on a juggling act in the corner of the end zone where he batted the ball with his right hand to snag the falling football with his left hand and tap two feet in for a 3 yard touchdown reception. Hopkins continues to be the offenses best option and he continues to produce at a high level.
Oakland Raiders 10, Philadelphia Eagles 19
What you need to know
- The Raiders imploded late, with 5 turnovers in the final 20 minutes of the game. In cold and windy weather, Derek Carr
really struggled. He threw a pair of costly interceptions. Aside from an early 63-yard touchdown catch from Amari Cooper
, there were no highlights in the passing game. Marshawn Lynch
ran hard and again had 25+ touches but he was guilty of one of the late turnovers, with his first fumble of the season.
- The wind in this game played a significant factor as Nick Foles
and the passing offense struggled in this game and relied on having to settle for check down routes as what little offense there was ran through Zach Ertz
. The running game also had a tough time as with no deep passing game the Raiders lined up near the line of scrimmage for most of the game. Jay Ajayi
continues to own the backfield in Philadelphia as LeGarrette Blount
was used sparingly in this game while Ajayi led the running backs in snaps, carries, yards, receptions, and targets.
QB Derek Carr
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 29 - 140 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0 - Carr had a miserable game that will only add fuel to the criticism that he struggles playing in cold weather. He hit a wide-open Amari Cooper
for a 63-yard touchdown early, but that was about it in terms fo highlights. Cooper didn’t have a man within 10 yards of him after torching the corner on a double move. The first awful play of the came for Carr came on the opening drive, when he threw the ball away on a 4th-and-2 play at midfield. There was little downside to throwing it up for grabs in that situation. Carr had two interceptions and could have had more. He hit an Eagles cornerback in the chest when he badly under threw Michael Crabtree
on a go-route and was lucky it was dropped, though it is worth noting that the pass was into a vicious headwind. His first interception was easily undercut over the middle. The most costly interception came with less than a minute left and the game tied. He tried to force it into Amari Cooper
and threw it to Ronald Darby instead.
RB Marshawn Lynch
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 25 - 95 - 0, Rec: 2 - -3 - 0 (3 targets) - Lynch ran hard and again shouldered a huge workload. He was able to pound away for tough yardage up the middle, gaining positive yardage with consistency. He only broke one relatively long run, however, with a 16-yard gain up the middle on the first play of the second half. Lynch had his first fumble of the season late in the third quarter. Lynch had some impressive runs late, including a vintage “beast mode” run of 11 yards through multiple tackle attempts that was called back due to holding.
RB Jalen Richard
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 42 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Richard made multiple impact plays despite few touches. He burst off of left tackle for a 30-yard gain. Late in the fourth-quarter, he took a screen for 22 yards. He had another gain of 9 yards on the next play but had the ball ripped loose before he went to the ground. Richard has had issues holding onto the ball all season and it is a problem that could keep him from gaining more playing time if he can’t get it fixed.
WR Amari Cooper
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 66 - 1 (4 targets) - Amari Cooper
embarrassed an Eagles cornerback on a slant-and-go move against single coverage. He came wide open and was able to jog it in on a 63-yard touchdown reception. Cooper had a 50-yard reception called back due to holding.
WR Michael Crabtree
, 31 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Crabtree played just 45% of the snaps, with the Raiders often running heavy sets with multiple tight ends. Crabtree looked to be the target on an early 4th-and-2 attempt but was double-covered, forcing Carr to throw it away. He was targeted in the front corner of the end zone from eight yards out but couldn’t hold on through contact. He also was targeted on a deep ball that came up short due to the wind.
TE Jared Cook
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Cook had a quiet game despite playing 75% of the snaps. The run-heavy approach led to few downfield attempts by Carr.
QB Nick Foles
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 38 - 163 - 1 TD / 1 INT - Foles struggled in this game after having a tremendous first game as the starter. Foles just did not look comfortable from the start as he was erratic completing just 50% of his passes. Foles seemed to really be impacted by the wind in this game as it was a blustery game Monday night in Philadelphia. The issue for Foles is that he does not have the gunslinger mentality of Carson Wentz
who would keep the defense honest by throwing deep balls to Nelson Agholor
or Torrey Smith
or utilize Alshon Jeffery
's size and throw the ball up to him even when he was covered.
RB Jay Ajayi
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 52 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 1 (3 targets) - Jay Ajayi
once again carried the load for the Eagles but failed to get anything going in this game on the ground outside of a 15-yard carry in which Ajayi was fighting for extra yards but fumbled as he was going to the ground as his own teammate Chance Warmack hit him while trying to block an opponent. Ajayi was utilized in the passing game as Nick Foles
connected on a check down where Ajayi released as a blocker and was able to find open space and hit the corner for a 17-yard touchdown.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 35 - 0 (7 targets) - Agholor's role in this game was primarily underneath routes in which the Raiders did a very good job of containing the speedy receiver in this game. This is the second week in a row in which Agholor primarily stayed on underneath routes and was used in the short to intermediate passes on slants and crossing routes. Agholor was on the field for 95% of the team's snaps which was the highest percentage of the season for the former first-round pick.
WR Torrey Smith
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (5 targets) - Torrey Smith
was seemingly the only receiver who was running deep routes in this game, and while Foles took a few deep shots to Smith, he was mostly unable to connect with his receiver. While Smith did not make a big impact statistically he did keep the defense honest as he was on the field for 90% of the plays and the defense had to keep honest with Smith's speed.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 63 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Alshon Jeffery
was held without a catch in this game and was largely not a factor as he was only targeted once which was a dropped pass. Jeffery was visibly frustrated on the sidelines which is not something that you want to see as the Eagles get ready for the playoffs.
TE Zach Ertz
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 81 - 0 (14 targets) - Nick Foles
relied heavily on Ertz in this game as he was often the primary receiver as Foles often went conservative in this game. This was evident on a 4th and 3 in which Foles checked it down immediately to Ertz on a flat route to pick up the first down. Ertz was used in a variety of routes mostly underneath but his highlight catch was on a crossing route in which the throw was only five yards downfield, but Ertz was able to use his speed to turn up the field for his gain of 25 yards. Ertz led the team with 14 targets as no other receiver had more than 7.
Jacksonville Jaguars 33, San Francisco 49ers 44
What you need to know
- The Jaguars offense had an uneven day against the 49ers. Bortles had flashes of his previously brilliance from the weeks before, but there more negative plays this Sunday than in the past three Sunday's combined and the run game never got into a rhythm or made any big plays. It seemed like an abnormal and bizarre game from start to finish.
San Francisco 49ers
- The 49ers' blossoming offense has settled into a predictable pattern. Jimmy Garoppolo
is immune to pressure from the pass rush, hitting his receivers regardless -- oftentimes in stride across the middle. The receiving role at running back has shifted from Carlos Hyde
to Kyle Juszczyk
. Marquise Goodwin
is the go-to receiver on early downs, while Trent Taylor
is the go-to receiver on third down. Louis Murphy
starts because he's a big body to block in the running game, but Kendrick Bourne
has a larger role in the passing game. All of the above said, Garoppolo is the major story; a real deal skeleton key that's unlocked Kyle Shanahan's offense.
QB Blake Bortles
, 90 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 50 - 382 - 2 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 5 - 31 - 0 - Bortles had his moments; He threw several terrific deep passes to Keelan Cole
and Dede Westbrook
. He helped the team comeback from two 15+ point deficits, and he once again was perfect in the red zone. He showed good velocity and eye level once again, as well as decision making. His accuracy fell off a cliff on several instances, though. He threw three interceptions, one due to miscommunication and two due to poor accuracy. The first interception turned into a pick-six, Bortles first of the entire season. Keelan Cole
stopped running his route, indicating a miscommunication between the two. The second interception was a great play the corner, as Bortles tried to loft the ball over a corner sitting in a zone. The ball needed just a bit more on it, and he paid for it. The third interception came on a pass that Bortles threw woefully behind his wideout and right into the hands of the cornerback. Bortles did throw for two touchdowns, both in the redzone. The second came after a pass deflected on Leonard Fournette
's hands and into Jaelen Strong
RB Leonard Fournette
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 48 - 1, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (3 targets) - Fournette truly could not have had a less noteworthy game. He scored on a one-yard dive up the middle but outside of that he, and the rest of the run game, were woefully ineffective. Fournette showed fine vision and speed to the hole but failed to break many tackles, if any at all. He did show some great work as a pass protector.
RB T.J. Yeldon
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 13 - 1, Rec: 7 - 64 - 0 (10 targets) - Like Fournette, Yeldon scored on a one-yard touchdown and didn't do anything else with the rest of his snaps. He dropped one third down pass target on a screen.
WR Keelan Cole
, 77 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 108 - 0 (13 targets) - Cole had his fourth consecutive 100-yard game thanks to several big plays made as a deep threat. He got himself into penalty trouble on several plays but was targeted 13 times on the day, showing the trust that the QB and staff have in him. His best play came on a go route in the third quarter. He was able to use his quickness off the line to create separation and then used a burst of acceleration to catch up to the ball.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 87 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 74 - 0 (7 targets) - Westbrook's best play came on a back shoulder throw to the corner of the goal line. He was able to track the ball in the air and then use his vertical and his body to snatch the ball out of the air and hold onto it through the catch. Westbrook also converted a 2nd-and-12 pass into a first down. He got the pass at the marker thanks to an adjustment in his route and the ability to finish the catch against contact. He has shown the most veteran savvy among the young Jaguars wideouts and this continued on Sunday.
WR Jaydon Mickens
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - Mickens only caught one pass for five yards but he was targeted a number of times by Bortles, namely across the middle.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 30 - 242 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 1 - If you've been reading these recaps for the past few weeks, this performance by Garoppolo should be no surprise. Everything that's been mentioned -- pocket presence, anticipatory throws, and the dropping of dimes -- showed up against Jacksonville. As an example of his anticipatory throws, Garoppolo completed a 13-yard pass to tight end George Kittle
across the middle by throwing the ball before Kittle had even made his inside break. Both of the other two attributes were on display on Garoppolo's touchdown pass to Trent Taylor
on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line. To get a better throwing lane, he rolled out left. In response, slot cornerback Aaron Colvin left his zone to attack a potential run. With Colvin bearing down on him (and ultimately delivering a hit), Garoppolo side-armed a high-velocity strike to Taylor so as to avoid Colvin's outstretched arms.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 54 - 1, Rec: 3 - 19 - 0 (3 targets) - Unlike last week, Hyde's longest run actually gained double-digit yardage. That said, that run was the only one; otherwise he was shut down as a runner once again: 19 of 21 carries went for 5 yards or less. The tape shows that this lack of production and efficiency was due to Jacksonville's game plan. On most plays, they either utilized an 8-man box or they had cornerback Aaron Colvin play press man coverage so as to have an extra defender near the line of scrimmage in the event of a run.
RB Matt Breida
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 74 - 1, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Breida's signature play in this game was his 30-yard, victory-sealing touchdown run with 90 seconds left. On the play, Breida was lined up as the single back in a trips left formation. Marquise Goodwin
went in motion, which got the Jaguars' defense moving in one direction. Jimmy Garoppolo
faked the jet sweep to Goodwin, and instead pitched to Breida going in the opposition direction. This designed misdirection resulted in Breida being able to run untouched into the endzone. (Although he was untouched, it should be noted that he made a deft tackle-avoiding, tight rope-walking move along the sideline about half way there.) Otherwise, Breida's only other clear display of individual running skill came on a 13-yard run near the end of the second quarter. This time in an I-formation, he bounced off would-be tacklers behind right guard, then cut back inside and ran away from two more, and then powered through another tackle attempt 10 yards downfield.
RB Kyle Juszczyk
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 76 - 0 (5 targets) - Juszczyk's receiving performance elicited deja vu. As was the case two weeks ago against Houston, his long gain resulted from lining up in his usual spot as lead blocker in an I-formation and then running a wheel route after the play-action fake. Unlike against Houston, Juszczyk actually went completely uncovered down the left sideline, which is why this yardage again was in the 40s instead of the 30s.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (6 targets) - Predictably, Goodwin was shut down by the man-to-man coverage of Jacksonville's cornerback trio. A full two-thirds of his yardage total came on one reception, in which he motioned inside and beat Ramsey on a crossing pattern across the middle -- a middle that was completely vacated due to Jacksonville sending an all-out blitz at Jimmy Garoppolo
WR Trent Taylor
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 19 - 1 (4 targets) - Talented and resourceful as he is, the rookie nevertheless got shut down by Aaron Colvin, who is one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league. Indeed, his main contribution, a red zone touchdown catch that put San Francisco ahead 30-19 in the fourth quarter, came via Jimmy Garoppolo
escaping Jacksonville's pass rush, rolling out, and then side-arming his pass to Taylor through a near-impossible window.
WR Louis Murphy
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 17 - 0 (1 targets) - At this point, it's clear Murphy is Bill Murray in "Groundhog Day." His existence in San Francisco's offense is like clockwork: Every Sunday, he starts and plays about 50 percent of snaps, but has no role in the passing game.
WR Kendrick Bourne
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (5 targets) - All five of Bourne's targets came during the first half. (He didn't get hurt and wasn't being shadowed, so the reason for his lack of targets in the second half is a mystery pending further investigation.) What explains Bourne's dismal 20 percent catch rate is as follows: 1) He was wide open on a deep crossing pattern, but Jimmy Garoppolo
overthrew him; 2) He broke open towards the sideline on a busted play, but a sack-escaping Garoppolo threw it towards the inside instead, resulting in an interception; 3) He slipped and fell while covered like a blanket, so Garoppolo threw the ball away; and 4) He was wide open, but the pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. The good news here is that three of these four incomplete targets came in the red zone.
TE George Kittle
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 42 - 1 (3 targets) - Kittle made the most of his three targets, catching all three for gains of 13 yards, 21 yards, and an 8-yard touchdown. To boot, each of the three showed off different aspects of the rookie's individual skill set and/or grasp of Kyle Shanahan's offense. On his first catch, Kittle lined up as the strong-side tight end in a three-point stance and beat safety Barry Church inside on a dig route. On his second catch, Kittle was lined up in the same position and ran the Shanahan West Coast Offense special: Back side crosser off a play-action quarterback bootleg. Finally, on his touchdown reception, Kittle stood up in a tight slot right alignment, sat down in middle zone, and fell forward into the end zone.
Atlanta Falcons 13, New Orleans Saints 23
What you need to know
- Two offensive penalties for Atlanta during the first two drives of this game nullified pivotal plays that would have extended drives and led to punts. Atlanta used Jones in bunch sets frequently enough to keep Lattimore off the receiver. This worked last game and they went back to it early in this one. Atlanta then had four consecutive penalties during its third drive, leading to a 1st and 40 and eventually its third consecutive punt. Marvin Hall
let a deep dig route go through his hands for an unlikely Lattimore interception that he pulled from his backside to control at the end of the half, leading to a deep crossing route to Ted Ginn
for a long touchdown to pad the Saints’ lead to 13 points. Atlanta had a golden opportunity to score from inside the Saints’ two after Dion Jones intercepted a crossing route, but Devonta Freeman
ran into the back of center Alex Mack and fumbled the ball away.
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints were able to get revenge on an Atlanta team that beat them 15 days ago. It was a tight back and forth game that the Saints were able to pull out. The biggest difference this week was the performance of the Saints defense. With key 4th down stops, 5 sacks of Matt Ryan
, and a candidate for interception of the year, the defense was the true story this week. The run game was held to under 100 total yards and Drew Brees
threw an interception. This was a tough game against a division rival with playoff implications. There were a few blown calls and missed opportunities for the Falcons that let the Saints get the home victory and keep their seat atop the NFC South. Brees and company travel to Tampa Bay to close out the regular season next week and need to win to keep their division crown hopes alive.
QB Matt Ryan
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 36 - 288 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0 - He targeted Julio Jones
against Marshon Lattimore early in this game, generating two receptions on crossing routes and a defensed pass on an out. Atlanta used Jones in bunch sets frequently enough to keep Lattimore off the receiver. This worked last game and they went back to it early in this one. After multiple penalties during the third drive of the game, Ryan got sacked by Cameron Jordan on 3rd and 30 while climbing the pocket, leading to Atlanta’s third punt. He found Jones on a back-shoulder fade from the slot to begin Atlanta’s final drive of the half—once again, against Lattimore. However, Jordan hit Ryan during his throw two plays later, which led to a 3rd and 10 throw under pressure to Marvin Hall
on the dig. Hall could not extend far enough to control the ball and it wound up landing on Lattimore’s backside, which he pulled off his butt to earn the drive-ending interception. The pass was catchable but the ball when through Hall’s hands. Jordan sacked Ryan a second time on a 3rd and 2 in the third quarter, beating the right tackle fast enough that Ryan barely finished his drop. Ryan connected with Jones late in the third quarter on an out-and-up against Lattimore for 44 yards.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 36 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - He picked up a 2nd and 2 for a first down with a short gain and then took a misdirection pitch to the left up the sideline for a long gain across midfield but Jake Matthews held the inside pursuit unnecessarily and nullified the gain. New Orleans stopped Freeman on a 3rd and 2 after Taylor Gabriel
gained 20 on a 2nd and 22 during the second drive. He picked up a 4th and 1 off left tackle on the next play, but the fullback Derrick Coleman
moved before the ball was snapped and it nullified a second pivotal rushing play and forced Atlanta to end its second drive with a punt. Freeman delivered a face mask to Te’o on a toss right as the LB ran free to the backfield and forced the RB out of bounds on 1st and 15 and set up a 1st and 30 during the third drive. After Dion Jones intercepted a crossing route on the opening drive of the second half, Freeman fumbled a third-down run inside the Saints two after running into the back of center Alex Mack and Te’o recovered the ball. Freeman earned a strong gain up right tackle on a 3rd and 1 Wildcat play during the second drive of the third quarter with Sanu as the quarterback – Atlanta’s first third-down conversion of the game. He earned another five yards two plays later on a player around left tackle and he made a strong cut downhill.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 12 - 0, Rec: 4 - 40 - 1 (4 targets) - Manti Te’o penetrated the A gap at the snap and met Coleman in the backfield after his exchange with Ryan to force a 3rd and 12 during Atlanta’s first drive. Te’o got outside the Falcons offensive line to stop Coleman off right end for a one-yard loss to begin the third series at the end of the first quarter. He worked around right end and cut downhill for a few yards but wrapped from behind byt the pursuit two plays later. Atlanta once again forced Coleman wider than he wanted to go for a short loss on a toss play to the left during the second drive of the second half. He found a crease for 15 yards from an I-formation run inside the left tackle in the middle of the third quarter. He was stuffed on the following play for no gain.
WR Julio Jones
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 149 - 0 (11 targets) - Atlanta used Jones in bunch sets frequently enough to keep Lattimore off the receiver. This worked last game and they went back to it early in this one. He earned eight on an opening-drive play-action roll out. Jones worked free to the right sideline on the crossing route. He dropped a 3rd and 12 out route that was thrown late and Marshon Lattimore knocked the ball away as Jones waited on the ball. He earned 16 yards over the middle on the opening play of the second quarter on a crossing route against Lattimore. Jones earned yet another crossing route early in the third series and ran past a linebacker in the flat to earn the first down and a few more up the left sideline. They led off the final drive of the half with a back shoulder fade with Lattimore tight to the inside to reach midfield. Lattimore wrapped Jones too early on a 3rd and 5 early in the third quarter, but the officials didn’t call the penalty and it led to a Matt Bryant
field goal to cut the lead to 10. ON the following series, the officials ruled there was incidental contact on an uncatchable ball on a go route up the right sideline. Jones beat Lattimore on an out and up and earned three yards of separation up the left sideline for a 44-yard gain.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (6 targets) - He committed a pass interference penalty on a 1st and 30 screen pass to Julio Jones
during the third drive to set up a 1st and 40. Sanu earned a fade route up the right sideline, but Ken Crawley covered Sanu step-for-step and the throw was way too low. He high-pointed the ball on a route breaking back to the QB as Lattimore hit him in the chest to earn eight yards. He earned 10 up the middle on an outlet route backside of a designed play-action rollout late in the third quarter.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 12 - 0, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (4 targets) - He found a seam inside Mohamed Sanu
and then outside Austin Hooper
on a screen pass for 20 yards on 2nd and 22 early in the Falcons’ second drive. He took an end-around to set up a 1st and goal late in the third quarter.
WR Andre Roberts
- Typically a good decision maker in the return game, Roberts took the second kickoff and wound up stuffed at the 15 when he fielded the ball deep in the end zone.
WR Marvin Hall
, 7 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Ryan made a 3rd and 10 throw under pressure to Marvin Hall
on the dig with less than a minute in the half. Hall could not extend far enough to control the ball and it wound up landing on Lattimore’s backside, which he pulled off his butt to earn the drive-ending interception. The pass was catchable but the ball when through Hall’s hands.
TE Austin Hooper
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - He caught a 2nd and 36 pass for 6 yards in the right flat during the Falcons’ third drive of the game. Hooper earned 10 up the left seam on 2nd and 11 during the second drive of the second half.
QB Drew Brees
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 28 - 239 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - -4 - 0 - Brees capped off yet another 4,000-yard passing season and added his 22nd touchdown pass on the season. However, the Saints offense appeared to struggle most of the game. Brees was not pushing the ball down the field and was content on short crossing routes and finding his check downs. The big play was a 54-yard bomb to Ted Ginn
for a touchdown. Brees hit him 30 yards downfield on a crossing route and Ginn outran the rest of the defense for the other 24 yards into the end zone. Brees was harassed in the pocket and made a few poor throws that could have been intercepted. There was one play around the Saints own goal line that Beasley tipped the ball up in the air but could not find it on its way down for what would have been an easy pick 6. Brees will have one more game against a very poor Tampa secondary to get things back on track heading into the playoffs.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 32 - 0, Rec: 7 - 58 - 0 (9 targets) - This was not a great rushing game for anyone, but Kamara struggled immensely. Ingram was able to break one big play and get into the end zone, while Kamara could not get free and was beat up all night. Almost half of his rushing yards came on a single play and he barely surpassed 30 rushing yards on the day. Kamara did lead the team in targets with 9 and broke a big play for 25 yards and accounted for almost half of his receiving yards. It is rare to see a running back lead a team in targets, especially one that has Michael Thomas
. Kamara is just short of 700 yards on the season with 7 rushing touchdowns and will have one more week against Tampa Bay to cement his offensive rookie of the year candidacy.
RB Mark Ingram
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 44 - 1, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (3 targets) - The two-headed rushing monster was held in check this week, especially in Ingram as he was held to under 50 yards rushing. The only saving grace this week for Ingram was with his 26-yard rushing touchdown. The 26-yard scamper accounted for more than half of his yards on the ground and helped put the Saints ahead in a tight contest. Ingram weaved his way through the defense and was barely touched on his way to the end zone. It was his only impressive run of the night as he was constantly stopped in the backfield or right around the line of scrimmage. Ingram had 13 carries to Kamara’s 12, but only had 3 targets compared to 9 for Kamara. The two running backs have gotten closer and closer in their total touches down the stretch, but Ingram still manages more of the rushing attempts. This game solidified another 1000-yard season and he added his 12th rushing touchdown.
WR Ted Ginn
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 14 - 0, Rec: 4 - 76 - 1 (5 targets) - In his first game back from injury, Ginn showed he is still explosive as he broke a 54-yard reception for the Saints first touchdown. He lead the team in receiving yards this week and had the same number of targets as Michael Thomas
. With Brandon Coleman
and Willie Snead
struggling, it has been Ginn who stepped up to fill that second receiver spot. On his touchdown reception, Ginn ran a deep crossing route and caught the ball 30 yards downfield. He then made one move and outran his defender and safety to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. It was the big play in the passing game that the Saints have been lacking in recent weeks. Ginn has one more week against a Tampa secondary to prove he is healthy and get his timing back with Drew Brees
WR Michael Thomas
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 66 - 0 (5 targets) - Thomas snapped his string of 3 straight games with a touchdown reception this week and only put up 66 yards. This was a very marginal game for Thomas who has emerged as a top receiving option in the NFL but has suffered a bit with the emergence of the New Orleans running game. Thomas ran his normal quick slants and deep out routes and caught 4 of his 5 targets. His biggest catch of the game was a 27-yard catch and run down the sideline that he could have broken for a touchdown if he could have passed one more defender. Thomas has been the best pure receiving option for the Saints who will need him to continue to add balance for their playoff run.
Minnesota Vikings 16, Green Bay Packers 0
What you need to know
- The Vikings got an early Christmas present when Aaron Rodgers
was put back on the IR and the entire Packers offense appeared to not show up. The temperature was below freezing at kickoff and only got worse as the game got going. The Vikings did not have much success on offense but were able to score enough to win the game. Keenum did not look comfortable throwing in the cold and missed on 11 of his 25 throws today. The defense was the real story this week, pitching their first shutout since 1993. Harrison Smith picked off Brett Hundley
twice and held the Packers offense to under 300 total yards. The Vikings cannot win home field advantage after the Eagles won on Monday night and still have not wrapped up a first-round bye. The Packers close the regular season against Chicago next weekend.
Green Bay Packers
- There’s not much to feel good about with Green Bay’s offense. If the offensive line can open some holes for Jamaal Williams
, he might be a decent flex play against Detroit, but there really is nothing here better than that. Avoid this, try to forget about the season and pray they bounce back in 2018.
QB Case Keenum
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 25 - 139 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -2 - 0 - The offense was not sharp this week, but Keenum was able to do just enough to secure the Vikings 12th victory. Keenum struggled to grip the ball in the cold and missed on several throws to open receivers. He was unable to get his top target in Adam Thielen
going and only completed 2 of 6 attempts his way. Keenum found the most success looking towards Stefon Diggs
while completing 5 of 8 attempts and a touchdown. The touchdown was a beautiful fade right over Diggs shoulder who was able to toe tap just before going out of the back of the end zone. Diggs beat his man and there was no safety to come over and help. Keenum was unable to scramble out of the pocket and was harassed all day. If the Vikings manage to lock up their first-round bye next week, they will have to go through Philadelphia in the NFC Championship if they make it that far.
RB Latavius Murray
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 69 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - The pecking order in the Minnesota backfield has come in to focus the final few weeks of the year. Despite the hot start from McKinnon, Murray finally looks healthy and has taken over. Murray out touched McKinnon 22 to 8 this week as the Vikings tried to go to a power run game in the cold. Murray did not find a lot of success against a Packers defense that stacked the box on almost every play and he averaged 3.3 yards per carry. The Packers defense wanted to make Case Keenum
beat them and brought the house to stop Murray. His longest run of the day was a 14-yard burst off the right tackle and he added 1 catch for 8 yards in the passing game. The Viking run game should get a boost next week against the Bears at home.
RB Jerick McKinnon
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - This was a tough game for Viking running backs as a whole, but McKinnon may have been the lone bright spot in his limited duty. McKinnon averaged 6 yards per carry, but the Vikings still did not increase his usage this week. McKinnon had the longest running play for the Viking as well with a 17-yard scamper down the sideline to help set up a field goal for the Vikings. McKinnon was not used nearly as much in the passing game as he only saw 2 targets and caught 1 for 9 yards. The Vikings have a two-headed rushing attack that they have moved away from in recent weeks. McKinnon seems to be being rested down the stretch, but the Vikings will need him as the playoffs approach.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 5 - 60 - 1 (8 targets) - While the rest of the Viking offense struggled in the cold, Diggs stepped up and made plays when needed. Diggs saw more targets with 8 than any other receiver and scored the only touchdown of the game. Diggs also added a 20-yard catch and run for a big first down on top of his touchdown reception. Diggs’ touchdown came on a 4-yard fade route where he was able to toe tap just before going out of the back of the end zone. Diggs simply beat his corner in coverage and the safety did not have enough time to get over and cover. This was the biggest play of the game and proved to be the only touchdown for either team.
WR Adam Thielen
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 24 - 0 (6 targets) - Case Keenum
just could not get on the same page as Thielen. The Packers were not in particularly great coverage, Keenum just missed on several throws and the Vikings has committed to the run. Thielen managed 21 of his 24 yards on 1 deep crossing route. This is the same route that he has been running all season and Keenum was able to hit him in stride. The QB/WR duo missed on 4 of their 6 targets this week, but with a dominant defensive performance, they were not needed. Thielen may not have been needed this week but he will have to continue his breakout season in the playoffs if the Vikings want to make a run.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - The Viking offense did not perform particularly well and Rudolph almost completely disappeared this week. The Packer linebackers did a great job covering Rudolph as he was only targeted once for a 6-yard reception. Keenum struggled in the passing game and could not find his big tight end. Rudolph disappeared in the red zone as well where he has been the most effective all season. Rudolph made sure to say it was not his ankle that had him limited this week and that he would be healthy and ready to go for the playoffs.
QB Brett Hundley
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 40 - 130 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 5 - 48 - 0 - Even though there is a one more game left, this should put a button on Hundley’s season and any lingering thoughts Packers fans have as to his fitness as a starting quarterback. Yes, the Vikings defense is fierce, but that aside we saw the same inability to complete passes downfield, the same hesitancy in the pocket and the same poor decisions we’ve seen all season long.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 58 - 0 (3 targets) - While Williams has shown us he has the capability to be a solid running back, one thing he hasn’t shown is an ability to create yards when his line isn’t opening holes, or when he faces a solid defensive front. The Vikings’ front is very stout, so Williams went nowhere at all Saturday night.
RB Aaron Jones
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0 - Jones’ previous knee issues cropped back up in the first half against the Vikings. He left the game and didn’t come back.
RB Aaron Ripkowski
, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - The fullback was on the field for all of twelve snaps, mostly as a blocker, though he did have one catch.
WR Randall Cobb
, 61 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -6 - 0, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (7 targets) - Out of the pure receivers, Cobb was the most “productive”, second behind Lance Kendricks
of all people in overall receiving options. As bad as Brett Hundley
was under center, Cobb was just as hobbled by the Vikings defense which blanketed him on most routes.
WR Jordy Nelson
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (5 targets) - Nelson’s season of doom continued on Saturday, as he had another mediocre first half, and then left the game with an apparent shoulder injury n the third quarter. He was in a tremendous amount of pain but as of Tuesday there had been no official announcement as to the nature of the injury.
WR Jeff Janis
, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Janis is mostly just a special teams player, and we didn’t see anything different when Jordy Nelson
went down and Janis had to step in. He wasn’t helped by Brett Hundley
’s poor play, either.
WR Geronimo Allison
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Other than a tremendous effort in Week 3 against the Bengals, Allison has been as bad as anyone else this season. He wasn’t able to get open consistently and when he was, Brett Hundley
had trouble connecting with him, which was pretty much the case across the board.
WR Trevor Davis
, 16 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Davis is generally so buried on the Packers’ depth chart you couldn’t see him with a microscope, and the only reason he saw any target at all was because the Packers receiving corps is a mess due to injury.
TE Lance Kendricks
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (9 targets) - Kendricks has had a pretty rough season, though he survived where Martellus Bennett
couldn’t. Primarily a blocker, the Vikings let Kendricks run a little free, which didn’t amount to much because quarterback Brett Hundley
was off target on most of the throws to the big tight end.
Cleveland Browns 3, Chicago Bears 20
What you need to know
- The Browns fell to 0-15 with a 20-3 loss to the Bears on a cold, snowy, windy day in Chicago. The weather affected the offenses of both teams as neither was able to move the ball consistently. The Browns did have their chances to pull off a win, however. Defensive end Myles Garrett had a pick-six nullified by an offsides penalty against Carl Nassib. Later in the game, wide receiver Rashard Higgins
caught a pass in the red zone and, while fighting for extra yardage at the Chicago three-yard line, fumbled into Chicagoís end zone, ruining a scoring chance. Rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer
added two more interceptions to his league-leading turnover total. The only bright spot for Cleveland was an excellent receiving performance out of Duke Johnson
. Next week, the Browns have one more chance to avoid a winless season when they travel to Pittsburgh to
- The Chicago Bears won another football game. Congrats, Bears organization; you officially lost draft position on those who now are worse than you. The Bears downed the Cleveland Browns by the score of 20-3.
Playing in blustery and snowy conditions, Mitchell Trubisky
played about as well as one could have given the circumstances and the team for which he plays. Depending on your criteria, one could argue that it was his most complete game of the season. Despite only finding the end zone once, a rushing TD, Trubisky managed to not turn over the ball for another four quarters. In other news, Jordan Howard
found the end zone twice.
You didn’t miss much other than that.
QB DeShone Kizer
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 36 - 182 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0 - It was a rough day for Kizer, who added two interceptions to his league-leading total, with one coming in the end zone. While the windy and snowy weather in Chicago did him no favors, he struggled with his accuracy yet again in what has been an issue for him all season. Kizer's first throw of the game was a poor one to Josh Gordon
on a third down where he threw off of his back foot. Later in the first quarter Kizer almost threw an interception as he was hit while he was throwing. The defender had the ball in his hands but dropped it as he fell to the ground. Kizer finally got the offense moving on the second drive of the second quarter, leading his team on a 12-play drive down the field. The drive ended with Kizer throwing an interception in the end zone. He forced a poor pass to a closely covered Josh Gordon
. It appeared Kizer had made up his mind to throw to Gordon regardless of coverage on the play. Kizer did make an excellent pass on the final drive before the half as he stepped up in the pocket to avoid the pass rush and hit Ricardo Louis
for a 35-yard gain. That set up his team's only score, a 48-yard field goal. In the third quarter, Kizer did make a few plays but wasn't helped out by his receivers. He put a great pass in Josh Gordon
's hands but Gordon dropped the ball. Then, from the Chicago 20-yard line, Kizer managed to find Rashard Higgins
right before being sacked. Higgins weaved his way down to the Chicago three-yard line but was hit hard from behind and fumbled into the Bears' end zone. In the fourth quarter, Kizer threw his second interception when he forced up a pass instead of taking a sack.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 44 - 0, Rec: 1 - -1 - 0 (4 targets) - Crowell was used heavily at the beginning of the game as the Browns called his number on their first four plays from scrimmage. Crowell didn't do much with those chances as he totaled 19 yards on that series. As has been the case far too often this season, Crowell's usage plummeted as the game went on. He saw a carry on the first play of the third quarter but the play was nullified by a holding penalty. That was his only carry of the half as he saw just one touch on a reception which lost one yard in the second half.
RB Duke Johnson
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 20 - 0, Rec: 7 - 81 - 0 (7 targets) - Johnson was the Browns' top offensive player against the Bears as he led his team in receiving. Almost all of his work in the passing game came on short dump offs on a day where the snowy, windy Chicago weather made passing downfield difficult. Most of his work in the first half went for short gains but Johnson did rip off a 29-yard gain in the third quarter. He caught a short pass and evaded the defender who was waiting to make the tackle around the line of scrimmage. Johnson only saw four carries in the running game and had a 10-yard rush nullified by a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.
WR Josh Gordon
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (8 targets) - Gordon and DeShone Kizer
struggled to get on the same page yet again. The wide receiver looked a bit off in this game, dropping a catchable pass in the third quarter and allowing a pass breakup on another catchable ball in the fourth quarter. After the game, head coach Hue Jackson told the media that Gordon was dealing with an illness of some kind. Gordon did see an end zone target in the second quarter but he was closely covered and had no chance at making the catch. The ball shouldn't have been thrown by Kizer. Gordon was held to one catch until late in the fourth quarter when he found a soft spot in the Bears' zone coverage, tacking on an 11-yard gain.
WR Corey Coleman
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (6 targets) - As has been the case in three of the four games with both Coleman and Josh Gordon
on field, Coleman was an afterthought in the Cleveland offense. Coleman was mostly invisible on offense until the fourth quarter when he made his only catch. He also saw a target in the middle of the field which was thrown too high. Coleman was closely covered on the play and would have had to make a contested catch had the pass been on target.
TE David Njoku
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Njoku saw two of his three targets on the Browns' second drive of the game. He caught the first target on a short pass and racked up some yardage after the play by racing down the left sideline. That catch, which went for 13 yards, was his only one of the game. Another target sent his way was broken up by the defender. Njoku's usage in the red zone has dipped of late, partially due to the Browns running limited plays there the past few weeks and partially because Josh Gordon
has drawn targets away from him.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 23 - 193 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 44 - 1 - Mitchell Trubisky
completed 14 of 23 passes for 193 yards in Sunday’s 20-3 win over the Cleveland Browns. The performance arguably was his most complete of the season as he completed 61 percent of his passes, rushed for 44 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and did not turnover the ball.
Trubisky’s improvement over the past few weeks has been noticeable. On multiple occasions against the Browns, while facing pressure, Trubisky made the right decisions to not make poor throws into coverage; instead he ran the ball seven times and also threw it away a few times.
His ability to move in the pocket is what made him successful in the win over Cleveland. The offensive even called to quarterback draws inside the red zone, which demonstrates the amount of confidence this coaching staff has in his ability to run with the football.
RB Jordan Howard
, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 44 - 2 - Jordan Howard
had both a good and bad day in the 20-3 win over the Cleveland Browns. Howard carried the ball 22 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns. There you have it, the bad and the good.
Cleveland’s rush defense, while it had been struggling in the few weeks leading up to Sunday, looked pretty tough. Howard’s runs, mostly, went up the middle (between the tackles), which hasn’t been successful this season. Howard’s longer runs come when his very injured offensive line moves the defense as he runs toward the edge. This very rarely was the case Sunday, aside from Howard’s second touchdown run -- his longest run of the day, 16 yards. Aside from that 16-yard run, Howard only gained 28 yards on 21 carries. Ouch.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Not much to see here. Week 16 must have been Tarik Cohen
’s week to be a decoy, as he only ran the ball two times for nine yards and caught two passes on two targets for 12 yards.
The game play, for the most part, was stale and ugly. Twenty-two Jordan Howard
runs, most of which he was stuffed up the middle for little-to-no gain, muddied up the game script, leaving the Bears with quite a few third-and-long situations. Instead of Cohen’s name being called in those spots, it was Bennie Cunningham
who received the critical targets.
Until the Bears hire a new coaching staff, preferably one that can conjure up some creative ways to infuse Cohen into an offense, it’ll be touch to trust him for production on a weekly basis.
WR Kendall Wright
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - Sunday’s 20-3 win over the Cleveland Browns is another example of the Kendall Wright
Disappearing Act -- coming to a football field near you.
Sure, Wright caught four of six targets for 27 yards. But that stinks, let’s be real here. Wright needs to create more separation for his rookie quarterback. He’s not consistently doing the things his quarterback needs him to do. Wright, sadly enough, is the best best receiving option right now. Maybe it’s on the coaching staff, who knows. Well, it’s probably on the coaching staff. When a 5-10, 185-pound guy is your No. 1 receiver, you need to be more creative than Dowell Loggains was on Sunday.
Buffalo Bills 16, New England Patriots 37
What you need to know
- Buffalo's offense started well early in the game, but stagnated later in the game. Buffalo set up misdirection to get plays for LeSean McCoy
and Charles Clay
, and were able to get Deonte Thompson
deep for a chunk gain. Buffalo's offense got in bad spots with penalties and bad play calling in the second half, and their offense fell off New England's pace. Kelvin Benjamin
had the best game of his time with Buffalo, beating Stephon Gilmore multiple times and showing a good rhythm with Tyrod Taylor
for the first time.
New England Patriots
- The New England Patriots struggled early against the Buffalo defense, but were able to wear the Buffalo's defense down in the second half. The focal point of the New England offense was Dion Lewis
. Lewis ran well in the second half when he was elusive and forced missed tackles against a Buffalo defense that has struggled to tackle recently. Lewis scored both a running and a receiving touchdown while Mike Gillislee
punched in a goal line score. Rob Gronkowski
was the leading receiver, and scored a highlight touchdown on a back shoulder throw, and drew a defensive pass interference on a would be second touchdown.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 38 - 281 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 16 - 0 - Tyrod Taylor
had an up and down day against New England. On the positive side, Taylor found his best success of the season with Kelvin Benjamin
. Taylor found Benjamin on key perimeter routes, which is the first time the two had found a rhythm together this season. Taylor also threw a fade to Kelvin Benjamin
for what was initially ruled a touchdown. The play was later overturned on replay as the NFL ruled Benjamin did not establish control of the ball with two feet in bounds, on a call that had tenuous video support at best. On the negative side, Taylor struggled with deep perimeter passes, including deep targets to Charles Clay
and Deonte Thompson
. He also was contained in the pocket as the Patriots were effective containing his rushing ability. Taylor was held scoreless after Benjamin's call was overturned, and was also hurt by an end zone drop by Charles Clay
RB LeSean McCoy
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 71 - 0, Rec: 5 - 76 - 0 (7 targets) - LeSean McCoy
was an early focus of the Buffalo offense with runs of eight and nine yards on the first drive. McCoy found his best success up the middle and on the left side of the line. He was involved in the red zone, with carries in the red zone and a target, but was unable to score a touchdown. McCoy was elusive, including a 39-yard reception that showcased the best of McCoy's elusiveness. McCoy was spelled by Mike Tolbert
in odd places, including a spread set where Tolbert recorded a drop at a key point in the second half. McCoy had conversions in key spots, but Buffalo did not get McCoy the ball enough in the most important spots of a key game.
RB Mike Tolbert
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Mike Tolbert
split time as LeSean McCoy
's backup with Travaris Cadet
. Tolbert was largely ineffective, recording a key drop, and lost three yards on three carries.
RB Travaris Cadet
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - Travaris Cadet
's day was cut short by a bad looking ankle injury on his only carry of the game. The injury was later reported as a dislocated ankle.
WR Kelvin Benjamin
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 70 - 0 (7 targets) - Kelvin Benjamin
had his best day as a member of the Buffalo Bills. Benjamin saw a lot of coverage by Stephon Gilmore, and Benjamin had success against Gilmore. He was successful on the perimeter on curl, back-shoulder and comeback routes, and broke a big run after the catch for 35 yards against the Patriots. Benjamin was targeted on a fade in the corner of the end zone for what was initially ruled a touchdown. Benjamin bobbled the ball on the play, and the replay did not appear conclusive in anyway to overturn the call. However, the call was overturned and ruled an incomplete pass. Buffalo targeted Gilmore in Buffalo's first matchup against New England, but the targets were to Zay Jones
and largely ineffective. Benjamin allowed Buffalo to expose what they saw as holes in Gilmore's game.
WR Deonte Thompson
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 91 - 0 (5 targets) - Deonte Thompson
played well against New England. He was involved early on a flat pass where Thompson was shifty after the catch. Thompson also had a big corner route for 46 yards on a well set up play against under coverage. Thompson continued to be the primary deep target in the Buffalo offense.
WR Zay Jones
, 53 offensive snaps (1 targets) - For the second consecutive week, Zay Jones
had no impact on the Buffalo offense. He was held without a target and is behind Kelvin Benjamin
, Deonte Thompson
, LeSean McCoy
and Charles Clay
in the Buffalo passing game.
TE Charles Clay
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (10 targets) - Charles Clay
was the most targeted receiver for Buffalo, but his day was largely a game of what might have been. He had two red zone targets, one a rushed throw by Taylor that was off target, and a second that was dropped. He also had a deep target along the perimeter that could have been a big play but the throw was wide and off target. He was also targeted on a deep corner route, but Taylor could not fit the ball into double coverage. Clay remained a crucial piece in the Buffalo offense, and saw expanded usage, including splitting out wide in the formation, something Clay has done little of this season.
QB Tom Brady
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 28 - 224 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0 - Tom Brady
struggled for much of the game against Buffalo. Brady threw an interception intended for Kenny Britt
that was undercut by Safety Jordan Poyer. Brady was late on the throw as he scanned back to the middle of the field off his first read, allowing Poyer to undercut the throw. Brady also missed a big play to Brandin Cooks
on a go route. Cooks beat Tre'Davious White on a go route, and Brady overthrew him. He also threw behind Rob Gronkowski
on a slant route. Brady was also to convert two touchdowns, the first a back-shoulder throw to Gronkowski who made a highlight catch, and the second, a screen to Dion Lewis
. Both scores were more the work of his receivers than Brady himself. Brady could have had a third touchdown but Gronkowski was interfered with in the end zone, which set up a rushing touchdown.
RB Dion Lewis
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 129 - 1, Rec: 5 - 24 - 1 (5 targets) - Dion Lewis
got the start for the New England Patriots and was a focal point from the outset. Lewis did not find success early, but the cumulative effect of his touches paid off late in the game when Lewis gashed Buffalo for multiple chunk runs. Lewis ran on the interior and found success on the left side of the formation late in the game. Lewis scored a receiving touchdown on a well-run screen pass in the fourth quarter and later added a score on the ground. Lewis was shifty and committed in the running game, and his elusiveness paid off against a worn-down Buffalo defense. Lewis was the clear lead back with Rex Burkhead
inactive. Mike Gillislee
did get the opportunity for a goal line carry that he converted, but Lewis capitalized on his other red zone usage.
RB Mike Gillislee
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 28 - 1, Rec: 1 - 15 - 0 (1 targets) - Gillislee was active for the first time in over a month as the clear second back behind Dion Lewis
. Gillislee served as Dion Lewis
's backup with Rex Burkhead
injured, and was involved to spell Lewis. He converted on a goal line opportunity, and ran hard on his seven touches. Gillislee best showing was a screen pass which he caught and ran for 15 yards.
WR Danny Amendola
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (3 targets) - Danny Amendola
was limited to three targets on the game, all in the short and intermediate area of the field. Much of the passing game on the day ran through Dion Lewis
and Rob Gronkowski
, which left little for Amendola when New England only passed 28 times.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (5 targets) - Brandin Cooks
was shadowed for a good portion of the game by Tre'Davious White and was limited to two short curl routes. Despite his poor box score numbers, Cooks could have had a much bigger day. He beat White on a go route that Tom Brady
over threw Cooks on, and later drew a deep defensive pass interference against Micah Hyde.
WR Phillip Dorsett
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 24 - 0 (1 targets) - Phillip Dorsett
caught his lone target in the flat and flashed some agility making two defenders miss for a 24-yard gain. Dorsett was not otherwise involved the offense.
WR Kenny Britt
, 9 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Kenny Britt
was held to only one catch on an intermediate inbreaking route. Britt was the intended receiver on Tom Brady
's interception, where Britt ran a slant. Brady was late throwing to Britt, but Britt did not have a good feel on how to react to Buffalo's zone coverage on the play.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 67 - 1 (7 targets) - Rob Gronkowski
led the Patriots in receiving against the Buffalo Bills. Gronkowski was used up the seam and in the middle of the field frequently where he was able to expose a weak Buffalo linebacking corp. He scored a touchdown on a back-shoulder throw that he caught, and tip toed into the end zone along the sideline. Gronkowski's day could have been bigger, as he was interfered with on an end zone target. The pass interference set up a New England rushing touchdown.
Indianapolis Colts 16, Baltimore Ravens 23
What you need to know
- Jacoby Brissett
was off at times, but he did enough to keep the Colts in the game with downfield passing to TY Hilton. Frank Gore
still ran with the vigor of a younger player, and Marlon Mack
flashed some potential on a catch and run that set up a field goal, including a few broken tackles.
- Joe Flacco
had a steady, if unspectacular performance in the rain. He used a myriad of targets and the touchdowns went to obscure options Maxx Williams
and Mike Campanaro
. Alex Collins
led the backfield in touches again, but was contained on most of his carries.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 33 - 215 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 8 - 0 - Brissett was victimized by drops on the first drive of the game and on the two-minute drill, but he also had a few throws go awry to slow down the offense, including a pass to TY Hilton in the red zone. A long pass to Hilton that could have been an even bigger play only got the team into field goal range because it was low. Brissett did account for the only Colts touchdown of the day on a screen pass to Frank Gore
. A pass to Hilton got the team into field goal range again, but another pass behind Hilton stalled the drive before it got into the red zone. Brissett was able to convert a 4th down with a run to keep the team alive. He led a field goal drive to get the Colts within a score, and a blocked punt set the team up in Ravens territory for a chance to tie, but Brissett was under pressure and a pass into coverage in TY Hilton on fourth down fell incomplete.
RB Frank Gore
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 68 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 1 (2 targets) - Gore ran with an energy and power that was surprising considering his age and the punishment he has taken on a losing team this year. He exhibited patience on his inside runs, and a spring in his step on outside runs, even enough to make a tackler miss. He scored on a screen pass in the red zone to post the only Colts touchdown, and he was still winning collisions in the second half. Gore had a handful of touches on the possible game-tying drive including a good run and a screen pass, but when he tried to get outside, he was thrown for a loss and the drive eventually stalled.
RB Marlon Mack
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0, Rec: 2 - 37 - 0 (2 targets) - Mack actually had a good inside run to start his day, and he broke tackles on more than one touch in an uncharacteristic development. Mack did lose a yard on a run when he tried to get outside and couldn't get the corner, but he also took a short pass all the way into the red zone with good speed and yardage after contact, which set up a Colts field goal.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 100 - 0 (12 targets) - Hilton got open downfield with ease, but his quarterback didn't always give him accurate passes to finish the play. A long ball that could have been an even longer gain only got the team into field goal range because it was low. A ball in the red zone was a drop because it was behind Hilton. Hilton had key catches on more than one drive to key the offense in a very productive game that probably came too late for fantasy owners that had given up on him.
WR Chester Rogers
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (4 targets) - Rogers had a drop to end the first drive of the day, but did have a catch in the fourth quarter to get the team into Ravens territory when they were on the comeback trail. He has played a very small role after showing some promise after coming back from an injury this year.
WR Kamar Aiken
, 50 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Aiken had a bad drop in the rain that typified a disappointing season for the free agent pickup.
TE Jack Doyle
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 41 - 0 (10 targets) - Doyle got open for a few catches in the two minute drill and converted a third down, but wasn't a key cog in the offense for most of the game.
QB Joe Flacco
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 38 - 237 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -2 - 0 - Flacco was steady and moved the offense consistently despite the rain. He worked the short passing game with skill and negotiated the pocket well against the mild Colts pass rush. Flacco converted third downs effectively and often atoned for mistakes - getting yardage back to preserve a field goal after a sack and finding Mike Campanaro
for a score after he badly missed a wide open Nick Boyle
. Flacco was able to use the middle of the field downfield with Mike Wallace
and his arm was the main engine of the offense.
RB Alex Collins
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 51 - 0, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (4 targets) - Collins was patient and ran hard, but save for a few runs that saw him break into the open field, he was usually met in the backfield or behind the line of scrimmage. He also had a fumble on a reception that was recovered by a teammate. Collins did have two chances on goal to go downs on one series, but ended up losing yards on a reception and was stymied on a carry. His best two plays were a sliding catch for a long reception after a Flacco scramble and a combative run to gain a first down once he got outside with a strong stiff arm.
RB Javorius Allen
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 37 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Allen was the secondary back behind Alex Collins
again in this one. He did convert a third and a fourth down and had a pair of excellent runs to get the Ravens deep in Colts territory before being stacked up on a second and short. Allen was used in the red zone despite not scoring and his role is greater there than between the 20s.
RB Danny Woodhead
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 33 - 0 (6 targets) - Woodhead made a handful of receptions, displaying impressive ability to adjust to the ball in flight. He was involved on third down, in the two minute drill and in obvious passing situations, but was the least used of the Ravens main three backs.
WR Mike Wallace
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (6 targets) - It looked like Wallace was going to have a large role in this game based on the first drive, when he got open downfield in the middle of the field for a nice gain, but his targets ended up being sparse on the day. Later he added a big first down catch and got open downfield for a nice gain once again, but otherwise Flacco spread the ball around and chose to stay in the short passing game.
WR Mike Campanaro
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 1 (2 targets) - Campanaro had a small role, but it was impactful. He scored on a short touchdown catch, had a nice gain on an end around, drew two penalties as a receiver, and had a catch and run to set up a field goal.
TE Ben Watson
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (6 targets) - Watson once again looked spry for his age, and was involved early in the red zone with a first down reception. He broke tackles on another reception, but also had an ugly drop. His production was modest because of the involvement of the other two tight ends, but Watson is still an important target for Joe Flacco
TE Nick Boyle
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 9 - 0 (4 targets) - Boyle recovered an Alex Collins
fumble and had a few chances to score in the red zone, but was stopped on one, and missed badly by Flacco on the other.
TE Maxx Williams
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 6 - 1 (3 targets) - Williams scored on a reception as a fullback and he had another short reception, but looked sluggish after the catch and appears to have lost a step that he's not getting back.
Miami Dolphins 13, Kansas City Chiefs 29
What you need to know
- The Miami Dolphins lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 29-13, dropping them to 6-9 on the season. Jay Cutler
had an up and down game, completing only 19 of 38 passes for 286 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Running back Kenyan Drake
rushed 13 times for 56 yards, but was held without a reception for the second time this season. Jarvis Landry
caught five passes for 51 yards, and DeVante Parker
caught five passes for 63 yards. Kenny Stills
caught four passes for 54 yards, but the star of the day for the Dolphins was Jakeem Grant
who caught four passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. Julius Thomas
was put on injured reserve by the Dolphins. His backup, the newly signed AJ Derby, caught one pass for 11 yards.
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City beat the Miami Dolphins 29-13 to improve their record to 9-6 while also clinching a playoff berth and the AFC West title. Alex Smith
completed 25 of 39 passes for 304 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Kareem Hunt
rushed 29 times for 91 yards and one touchdown while also catching four passes for 15 yards. Tyreek Hill
caught six passes for 109 yards, but he was also the victim of a terrible call by the officials as he should have had another reception for a touchdown. Travis Kelce
caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs had a tumultuous season, but they were able to play well the last two games and close out the season on a high note by winning the AFC West.
QB Jay Cutler
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 38 - 286 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - -1 - 0 - Jay Cutler
completed 19 of 38 passes for 286 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. It was only the fourth time all season that Cutler did not turn the ball over. For most of the game Cutler was unable to move the ball for the Dolphins offense, but he did connect with Jakeem Grant
twice on the same play that went for a total of 91 yards. The first time Cutler did lined up in the shotgun formation and used Jarvis Landry
as a play-action threat as he came in motion from the left side of the formation and looked as though he was going to run a reverse. Cutler faked the hand off to Landry, which completely froze the Chiefs defense and had most of their secondary moving to the right, and then threw a screen pass to Jakeem Grant
to the left. Grant used his speed and ability to cut quickly and created a 26 yard gain. The second time, Cutler again lined up in the shotgun formation but this time used Kenyan Drake
as the play-action threat. The Chiefs defense bit again on the play-action fake, and Cutler threw the same screen pass to Grant. Grant is an explosive player at 5-7, 169 pounds, but he showed some serious toughness on this play. He got up to top speed so quickly that he was able to run over two Chiefs defenders and break four tackles on his way to a 65 yard touchdown. If not for Grant, Cutler would not have broken 200 yards passing and would not have thrown a touchdown. He was able to connect with DeVante Parker
for a 34 yard pass, but it was a complete prayer that was thrown into tight double coverage. Parker however, went up and snatched the ball and made a fantastic catch. This basically sums up the day for Cutler, as his receivers did all of the work and he did not create any plays on his own.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 57 - 0 (3 targets) - Kenyan Drake
rushed 13 times for 57 yards, but was unable to reel in any of his three targets and was held without a reception on the day. Drake played well when given the ball, but he only saw 13 carries which was the entire workload for the Dolphins running backs despite the fact that Damien Williams
was healthy. Drake’s long carry of the day went for 18 yards where he broke through the right side of the line and was able to get into space. On one drive, Drake had plays of six yards, seven yards and then the 18 yard rush, but aside from that he was bottled up for much of the day. He also had carries of 12 and 11 yards that were both called back due to offensive penalties. With Jay Cutler
throwing the ball 38 times, it was a big disappointment that Drake did not have any receptions on his three targets. He should have a much easier time against the Bills next weekend, and look for Drake to end the year on a big note.
WR DeVante Parker
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 63 - 0 (10 targets) - DeVante Parker
caught five passes for 63 yards on 10 targets against the Chiefs. The 10 targets were the most on the Dolphins, which is interesting considering Parker had really lost the confidence of Jay Cutler
in the second half of the season. It does make sense though, as Jarvis Landry
will be a free agent after this year and Miami needs to know what they have in Parker. Parker’s long catch of the day came on a 34 yard gain where he beat Marcus Peters down the field, however Cutler did not see him until it was too late. By that time, two Chiefs defenders had caught up with Parker, and Cutler threw up a prayer that Parker was able to jump up and high point the ball, making a very nice catch. Other than that catch, Parker was held to four catches for 29 yards and did not make much of an impact. He was targeted down the field twice, but both were bad throws by Cutler that Parker had no shot of catching.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 51 - 0 (7 targets) - Jarvis Landry
caught five of seven targets for 51 yards against the Chiefs on Sunday. On Landry’s first reception of the day, he ran a short out-route and then turned the ball up field. As Landry approached two defenders he was taken down and stripped of the ball, which the Chiefs recovered, leading them to a field a goal and the first points of the day. Landry’s long reception of the day was a 21 yard crossing route where Jay Cutler
threw a nice ball and hit Landry in stride. Landry was able to turn slightly up field before being crushed by several Chiefs defenders. The rest of Landry’s receptions were short routes that were contained very well by the Chiefs secondary. It was only the second time all season that Landry was held without either six catches, 60 yards or a touchdown. Jakeem Grant
was the star of the day and he ran many of the same routes that Landry does, however he was able to break the big plays on the day.
WR Jakeem Grant
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 4 - 107 - 1 (6 targets) - Jakeem Grant
caught four of his six targets for 107 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs, and was absolutely the star of the day for the Dolphins offense. Grant was able to create two long gains, which came on the same exactly play. It was a screen pass to the left side of the formation that Cutler used play-action to get the defense moving one way while turning and throw a screen to Grant on the opposite side. Grant then used his speed and make several quick cuts on the first play, gaining 26 yards. On the second screen pass, Grant got up to top speed so quickly that he was able to run over two Chiefs defenders while breaking four tackles on his way to a 65 yard touchdown. Grant is only 5-7, 169 pounds, but he was instant energy for the Dolphins and they need to continue to figure out ways to get him involved in the offense.
WR Kenny Stills
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 54 - 0 (6 targets) - Kenny Stills
caught four passes for 54 yards on six targets against the Chiefs. Stills statistics don’t look too bad, but he played very poorly in this game. He lost a fumble, committed an offensive pass interference penalty on a long gain and had a bad drop. He lost snaps to Jakeem Grant
late in the game, which Grant used to his advantage, creating several big plays while outplaying Stills. We will see what week 17 holds, but don’t be surprised if Stills continues to lose snaps to Grant.
QB Alex Smith
, 83 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 39 - 304 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0 - Alex Smith
completed 25 of 39 passes for 301 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing four times for 13 yards. It was Smith’s fifth game with 300+ passing yards and his 11th game without an interception. Smith played really well in this game and took advantage of a weak Dolphins secondary. He hit Tyreek Hill
down the field for gains of 33 and 52 yards. The first play came with Smith in the shotgun formation, where he took a two-step drop and threw the ball to Hill’s back shoulder 30 yards down the field. Hill made a nice catch before stepping out of bounds for a big gain. Smith hit Hill again on a 52 yard reception where Smith just threw a perfect ball 50 yards and hit Hill in stride between two defenders. It was the type of throw that Smith is criticized for not being able to convert, but there isn’t a quarterback in the NFL who could have thrown a better ball deep down the field to Hill. Smith’s only touchdown pass came on a nine yard play to Travis Kelce
. Smith lined up in the shotgun formation took a two-step drop before throwing a dart to Travis Kelce
on a slant route in the end zone. Smith threw a hard ball up and in to Kelce who made a nice snag. I don’t know what Smith ate before this game, but he came out throwing the ball much harder than I’ve seen in any other game this season. His downfield passes were on target and placed perfectly for his receivers to make the catch but their defenders could not make a play on the ball, which is exactly what you want out of your quarterback. The Chiefs are a dangerous team with playmakers at the skill positions and on their defense and special teams, so don’t be surprised to see them make a post-season run.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 29 - 91 - 1, Rec: 4 - 15 - 0 (4 targets) - Kareem Hunt
rushed 29 times for 91 yards and a touchdown while also catching all four of his targets for 13 yards. Hunt went through a tough stretch in the middle of the season, most likely hitting the rookie wall in weeks nine, 11, 12 and 13. He has recovered nicely in the last three weeks and it is mainly due to the volume that the Chiefs have given him. In weeks nine through 13, Hunt totaled 47 touches for 157 yards and no touchdowns in four games. In his last three games, Hunt has totaled 78 carries for 362 yards and three touchdowns. It is no surprise that the Chiefs have won the last three games, so you don’t have to be an NFL head coach to see the correlation between the Chiefs establishing the run and their ability to win games. Hunt’s long gain of the day came on an option play where Smith lined up in the shotgun and then took off running to the right side of the formation. Smith drew in the defenders perfectly and then pitched the ball to Hunt who got around the edge, broke a tackle and took the ball all the way down to the three yard line for a 24 yard gain. Hunt was then given two more carries, the first going for two yards, and the next one for an easy one yard touchdown where Hunt hopped through the formation and crossed the goal line.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 6 - 109 - 0 (7 targets) - Tyreek Hill
led all Kansas City receivers in yards and receptions, catching six passes for 109 yards. Hill got going early in the 2nd quarter with a big play on 3rd and 15. Hill ran a deep slant-route where he started off running a go-route, but then crossed the field diagonally where he could create some space. He did have a step on his defender, but the credit goes to Alex Smith
, as he was able to throw a perfect ball between two Dolphin defenders. Hill did make a nice play on the ball, and it went down as a 52 yard reception. Later in the 2nd quarter, Hill again ran a deep go-route where Smith threw it to his back shoulder. Hill again made a nice play on the ball, stopping quickly and reeling in the catch before stepping out of bounds. Hill has shown that he is not just an explosive player once he gets the ball in space, he is a legitimate #1 receiver who can make tough catches in traffic and go up and get the ball in 50/50 situations. Hill should have had a much bigger day was but completely screwed over by the officials on a play where he was able to double-tap his feet in-bounds in the end zone. The play was reviewed and up held as an incompletion but no explanation was given as to why it was not a touchdown, as Hill clearly got both of his down in-bounds. That touchdown would have capped an awesome day for Hill, but it was still a fantastic game and Hill’s fourth 100+ yard game on the season.
TE Travis Kelce
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 47 - 1 (8 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught four of eight targets for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. Kelce led the Chiefs in targets, but it was a slow day for Kelce as he wasn’t able to break any big plays down the field. His touchdown catch came on a slant route from the nine yard line. Kelce lined up on the right side of the formation and faked outside before turning inside towards the middle of the field. Alex Smith
threw a great ball that was up and away from Kelce. Smith threw the ball with a lot of velocity in the perfect place, and Kelce threw his hands up quick and made a great catch for a touchdown. Kelce could have had another touchdown in the 4th quarter but was unable to reel in the catch. Kelce has 83 receptions for 1038 yards and four touchdowns on the year, and he has a great matchup next week against the Broncos, who he burned for seven catches, 133 yards and a touchdown in their first meeting.
Seattle Seahawks 21, Dallas Cowboys 12
What you need to know
- Depending on your point of view, the Seahawks either played a terrible game on offense or a very conservative one. They actually had more penalty yards against (142) than offensive yards (136). Russell Wilson
made more than his share of miscues against the Rams last week, and it seemed like a safer approach at work here. He didn’t make any risky downfield throws, instead opting for checkdown passes to running backs and tight ends, or running the ball himself. The running game overall was bad, but had a few hopeful moments. Mike Davis
led the charge but had a forgettable day, while Thomas Rawls
made a re-appearance after several games, and actually looked quite good on limited carries. Wilson’s yardage total was awful, but he still threw for two touchdowns, to favourite targets Doug Baldwin
and Jimmy Graham
- In a must-win game, Dallas came up small in a home loss against Seattle. Dak Prescott
played one of his worst games of the season, along with Dez Bryant
as Dallas’ passing game struggled to balance Ezekiel Elliott
’s chain-moving return to the Cowboys run game. Elliott was a sustaining element for Dallas, but did not impact through big plays or in the red zone, especially during a questionable second half goal line sequence where Elliott did not see a carry as Dallas squandered a critical opportunity. The Cowboys enter Week 17 with nothing on the line as Dak Prescott
struggled through his second season, the offensive line was average at best and Dez Bryant
and Jason Witten
enter the offseason as high-priced and under-performing pass catchers from 2017.
QB Russell Wilson
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 21 - 93 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 29 - 0 - Wilson ran the ball often, and while that’s not unusual in itself, he seemed to start much earlier in this game. Last week was a game filled with mistakes and this week seemed to be a reactionary safer approach to the offense. Wilson did not take chances downfield. Instead, he used RB Mike Davis
and TE Luke Willson
frequently as checkdown options, or ran the ball himself. Wilson was effective in the red zone, finding Jimmy Graham
(like clockwork) and Doug Baldwin
for scores. Some might say Wilson played a bad game, based on the numbers, but it can be characterized as conservative. He usually takes more risks, and is successful more often than not; but in this game, with the Seahawks leading in the second half, and the running game showing some promise, the play calling was firmly focused on the safe and short variety.
RB Mike Davis
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 25 - 0, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (5 targets) - Davis is still the lead back, as evidenced by his getting the lion’s share of the carries. Early on, he looked great busting through the middle and was used often as a receiver on short, check down type routes. Overall, however, Davis had a very poor day – the O-line alternated between opening holes and giving up negative yardage; not a good recipe for any ground game.
RB Thomas Rawls
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 20 - 0 - Rawls played sparingly, and added some life to the ground game when he did so. He did a great job hitting the hole up the middle and off tackle for good gains. He also had a couple of chances to score, first with a short gain in the red zone, and then on a goal line carry in which he got absolutely stuffed, through no fault of his own. The defender was on him as he was taking the handoff. He did enough to likely earn more carries next week.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 35 - 1 (6 targets) - Baldwin’s overall numbers were low, but proportionately, he still had the majority of good chances compared to the other receivers. What was lacking was deep opportunities, as the Seahawks took zero downfield risks against the Cowboys. He almost had a TD on a diving fingertips catch, but the ground caught a piece of it before he could maintain possession. A couple of plays later, he schooled a rookie cornerback for an easy wide open catch for the score.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets) - Like most of the Seahawks receivers, Lockett was a non-factor against the Cowboys. He had scored twice in recent weeks, but it looks like the honeymoon is over and he’s back to boom-or-bust status.
WR Paul Richardson
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - Richardson made a couple of clutch catches look routine, and as with the rest of the WR corps, saw his overall numbers suffer because of a very weak passing game, in which the long ball – Richardson’s forte – was not even attempted. In the 4th quarter, Richardson made a key first down, showing great awareness with a catch just past the marker.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (1 targets) - Graham was a non-factor for the most part, but he did pull in a short yardage catch for a touchdown. He’s still about 50/50 on any given day for a score, so regardless of matchup or game plan, he’s always a fantasy threat at a weak position.
QB Dak Prescott
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 34 - 182 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 21 - 0 - Prescott continued his second half struggles in a home loss against Seattle, ending Dallas’ playoff chances. Prescott threw multiple interceptions for the fourth time in the last six games as pocket pressure and inaccuracy were commonplace throughout the game. Prescott had highlight moments, but they were fleeting. Prescott spun away from the rush, and then juked a defender in space on a high-level scramble. Later, he eluded two rushers and delivered a accurate downfield pass to a diving Dez Bryant
for a long gain while rolling left. However, Prescott was consistently pressured on third downs and added an ugly interception overthrowing Ezekiel Elliott
on a basic outlet route, which was returned for a touchdown. The Eagles defense offers little solace next week as the Cowboys close out a disappointing season.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 97 - 0, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (7 targets) - Elliott was back from his suspension as the feature back for Dallas, rarely leaving the field. Elliott’s 28 touches were in line with his typical workload before the suspension. While a sustaining element to Dallas’ offense, especially early in the game, Elliott struggled to rip off any substantial gains. In the mid-second quarter, Elliott had his best string of carries, totaling 17 yards on three straight attempts. The success was short-lived, however, as Dallas’ offensive line had an average day in run blocking. Elliott’s offensive involvement was pass-centric later in the game as Dallas fell behind. Elliott dropped two passes, including one where he absorbed a huge hit on the play. Elliott’s best chance for a touchdown came with Dallas positioned with first-and-goal from point blank range. Instead of feeding Elliott, Dallas passed the ball twice and drew a penalty without featuring their running back at the goal line.
RB Rod Smith
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (3 targets) - Smith was the clear No.2 back for Dallas with Ezekiel Elliott
back from suspension against Seattle. Smith played minimally but did see snaps in the second quarter of note in relief of Elliott. Smith’s most notable impact came in the fourth quarter, catching a third down target and breaking a tackle to convert for a first down. With Dallas’ season over, Smith may see additional playing time in Week 17 to save wear and tear on Ezekiel Elliott
WR Terrance Williams
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (4 targets) - Williams, despite catching all four of his targets, had a non-descript performance against Seattle. Only one catch came on third down and Williams did not find any after-the-catch opportunities. As Dallas’ season comes to an end, the entire passing game is up the air with Dak Prescott
underperforming, Dez Bryant
and Jason Witten
owed high salaries in 2018 after lackluster seasons, and Williams reluctantly brought back in 2017 as a de factor No.2 receiver.
WR Dez Bryant
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (6 targets) - Bryant logged another disappointing game against Seattle this week. On six targets, Bryant managed more negative plays than positive ones with a drop, interception, and fumble bookending his day. Bryant dropped an easy slant route early on and lost a fumble on a hitch route. While in field goal range, Bryant tipped a pass up in the air, which was intercepted. Bryant’s lone positive impact play came on Dak Prescott
’s best throw of the game. While rolling left, Prescott delivered a strike downfield to a diving Bryant for more than 30 yards.
WR Cole Beasley
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Beasley’s lackluster season continued with 12 yards against Seattle, where Beasley has been held to less than 25 yards in 12-of-15 games this year. Beasley did draw a long defensive pass interference penalty uncharacteristically beyond the box score. Beasley did not see a target until the final minute of the first half. His other notable play came late in the game, converting fourth-and-short with a reception as Dallas stayed alive in their comeback efforts.
TE Jason Witten
, 76 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (9 targets) - Witten led the team with nine targets against Seattle, but his performance could have been much better. Witten’s first targets came in the closing seconds of the first half, including a drop and being out-of-bounds before securing the catch. Witten’s only notable reception was converting a third down late in the game. Witten also contributed a holding penalty as a blocker.
Detroit Lions 17, Cincinnati Bengals 26
What you need to know
- The Detroit Lions struggled against Cincinnati, as the offensive line was missing multiple injured players and struggled to create running room. Matthew Stafford
was erratic particularly in the middle of the field, and only had one deep completion on a corner route to Marvin Jones
. Eric Ebron
continued his recent strong play and the offense attempted to manufacture touches for rookie Kenny Golladay
- Joe Mixon
left early in the first quarter with an ankle injury, which left Giovani Bernard
as the lead back the rest of the way. Behind a shuffled offensive line missing multiple starters, Bernard had a monster game on 30 touches. He racked up yardage throughout and finished off the Lions with a late touchdown run. Andy Dalton
and A.J. Green
had up-and-down games but made just enough plays to get the win.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 35 - 203 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
struggled in a crucial game against Cincinnati. Stafford was erratic throwing, missing targets to Golden Tate
and Eric Ebron
in the middle of the field, and threw a bad interception in the middle of the field. His interception occurred when he was hit while throwing but there was no receiver near the defender on the play. Stafford was limited in the vertical passing game, with his lone success coming on a perimeter throw to Marvin Jones
. Despite some erratic throws, the day should have been better for Stafford. Marvin Jones
drew a defensive pass interference on a deep target and Kenny Golladay
could not make a catch in contested coverage on a well throw ball. Stafford was also hurt by what appeared to be a bad call on a deep throw to Golden Tate
. Tate made what appeared to be a catch in contested coverage but the ball was forced out of his hands when he was on the ground. The officials ruled an incomplete pass and Detroit missed what looked like a good opportunity to challenge the call. Stafford also continued a long trend of bogging down in the red zone, hurt by receivers were unable to create separation in the game. Stafford appeared hobbled when forced to scramble and appeared to be in back pain after a hit, but did not miss any time during the game.
RB Theo Riddick
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 16 - 0, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - Theo Riddick
started the game against the Cincinnati Bengals but was hurt by the offensive line which created little room for Riddick to run. Riddick lost work to Tion Green
in the red zone, and Ameer Abdullah
in the second half, but neither had more success outside of Green’s touchdown. Riddick was held in check in the passing game outside of a garbage time catch and run where he broke a tackle for 14 yards.
RB Ameer Abdullah
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 21 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Ameer Abdullah
was the third back in the game behind both Theo Riddick
and Tion Green
. Abdullah showed more burst than he has in recent weeks, but was largely limited to little running room. Abdullah saw expanded usage in the second half as a runner in the second half. He also handled the kickoff duties, and Detroit tried to get him the ball on a wheel route, but he never got separation on.
RB Tion Green
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 43 - 1 - Tion Green
continued to see usage in the Detroit offense, operating as the short yardage and goal line back. Green had key third and fourth down conversions and had a goal line rushing touchdown. Green runs hard, but does not have good vision running between the tackles where he ran into his linemen multiple times.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (8 targets) - Kenny Golladay
tied for the team high in targets with eight, in a game where Detroit tried to manufacture ways to get him the ball. He was used on misdirection plays when he was in motion and on a shovel pass. When Golladay was split out wide, he was used on slants and in breaking routes. He had a deep target in a one on one situation where he struggled to elevate for the ball. He was also targeted as a secondary read in the end zone where the ball was broken up on an in route.
WR Golden Tate
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (6 targets) - Golden Tate
struggled against Cincinnati. He had a good run after the catch on an early screen, but the rest of the day was limited. Stafford missed Tate on a crossing route and later threw a deep prayer to Tate in contested coverage. Tate jumped to catch the pass and took it to the ground and appeared to be down by contact, but the ball was then knocked out of his hands. The play was ruled incomplete and appeared to be a missed opportunity for Detroit to challenge the call.
WR Marvin Jones
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 50 - 0 (5 targets) - Marvin Jones
was underwhelming against the Bengals. He had a bad drop on a curl route on a third down which forced Detroit to kick a long field goal which was missed. His highlight was a corner route from the slot where he caught the ball in contested coverage. He also drew a defensive pass interference on a deep perimeter route. Jones was the primary target in the offense for a solid stretch of the season, but has been capped by the development of Eric Ebron
and Detroit trying to manufacture touches for Kenny Golladay
TE Eric Ebron
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 83 - 1 (8 targets) - Eric Ebron
continued his recent stretch of strong play. Ebron made catches in tight areas and ran well after the catch. He was moved around the formation, including split to the perimeter of the formation. Ebron was targeted in man coverage while split out wide, and won on a go route against a linebacker for his touchdown. Ebron has been playing significantly better over the past month after struggling mightily early in the season.
QB Andy Dalton
, 86 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 41 - 238 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -1 - 0 - Dalton got off to a slow start, in part due to some drops. He also threw a terrible interception early when he sailed the ball well over A.J. Green
’s head and into the chest of a safety. Much of the passing success came on screen passes and short outs to the running backs, who combined for 11 receptions and over 100 receiving yards. Dalton’s lone touchdown came on a 1-yard touchdown pass to the backup tight end off of a play action fake.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 72 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 116 - 1, Rec: 7 - 52 - 0 (7 targets) - When Mixon had to leave early, Bernard stepped into the role of lead back and had a monster game game. Bernard had 30 touches and made an impact as both a runner and receiver. He picked up a pair of 3rd-and-1 conversions on tough runs up the middle early. Bernard’s receptions came in bunches, with four on a single 1-minute drive before halftime that setup a field goal. Early in the second half, Bernard made a nice move after a catching a short pass over the middle to spin by a tackler and get it down to the Detroit 7-yard line. The highlight of the day for Bernard came on a 10-yard reception. It looked like Dalton hung him out to dry but Bernard spun through a big hit, accelerated upfield and spun through a second tackle attempt as well to pick up 10 yards. Bernard also had a huge run in the final two minutes to put the game away. Facing 3rd-and-6 from the 12-yard line, Bernard found the middle stacked up and bounced it outside. He was able to get to the corner and into the end zone for a 12-yard score.
RB Joe Mixon
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Mixon was off to a fast start and looked to be headed toward a big game with 32 yards in the first six minutes. However, he suffered an ankle less than halfway through the first quarter and near returned.
RB Brian Hill
, 7 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 34 - 0 (1 targets) - When Joe Mixon
left early with an injury, Hill received some chances as the primary backup to Giovani Bernard
. He broke a tackle near the line of scrimmage and rumbled for 12 yards on his first carry of the game. Made an awkward looking catch on a short out route but was able to keep his feet and accelerate through traffic for a 34-yard gain.
WR A.J. Green
, 81 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 81 - 0 (10 targets) - Green had a rough start to the game. He got deep behind Darius Slay and had the ball hit him in the facemask. He also was called for an offensive pass interference penalty against Slay that brought back a long reception down the sideline. Green dominated the matchup in the second half, however. He caught a short pass and made Slay miss with a spin move to get by for a long gain. He also got inside of Slay on a slant for a nice gain and picked up a key third down on a short completion along the sideline.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (6 targets) - After being a healthy scratch multiple times in recent weeks, Boyd was back in the lineup and made an impact. He was targeted deep down the seam on an early third down and dropped what would have been a moderately difficult catch. He made some key catches as the game went on though, including a 3rd-and-long catch where he found a soft spot in the zone. Boyd also nearly scored on a 6-yard reception. He dove to extend the ball toward the pylon but came up a yard short.
WR Brandon LaFell
, 76 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 8 - 0 (6 targets) - LaFell was mostly targeted on short passes, including a failed screen attempt and a shovel pass that was blown up for a loss. LaFell did draw a 24-yard pass interference penalty on a deep pass down the seam.
TE C.J. Uzomah
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets) - The backup tight end went up to catch a 1-yard touchdown pass off of a well-designed play action fake.
TE Tyler Kroft
, 86 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (5 targets) - Dalton missed Kroft twice on an early drive. Both throws sailed high. The first would have gone for a long gain and the second miss was over Kroft’s head in the end zone on what could have been a 13-yard touchdown. Kroft had a bad drop on a short pass underneath.
Denver Broncos 11, Washington Redskins 27
What you need to know
- Emmanuel Sanders
(ankle) and Cody Latimer
(thigh) were inactive. Jamaal Charles
was a healthy scratch so that the Broncos could give rookie RB DeAngelo Henderson
a look. Will Parks intercepted Kirk Cousins
in the end zone early in the 3rd quarter. Von Miller recovered a Samaje Perine
fumble late in the 4th quarter. After Osweiler's struggles, the Broncos have announced that Paxton Lynch
will start at QB in week 17.
- Washington has been swarmed with a plethora of injuries and they have ultimately taken it's toll. Kirk hasn't been able to operate efficiently due to all the fallen pieces around him as well. This season has been up and down but it is clear when everyone is healthy Washington can compete with anyone.
QB Brock Osweiler
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 38 - 193 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 27 - 0 - Osweiler had a nice rhythm going with Demaryius Thomas
on the opening drive, hitting him down the seam for a big gain on the first offensive snap, then an out route for a nice catch-and-run. The Denver passing game quickly devolved into a complete mess as Osweiler was constantly harried by pressure from the Washington front 7. Sanders and Latimer were out, and Osweiler couldn't get anything going downfield. Osweiler targeted his backs 20 times (Anderson-9, Booker-8, Janovich-2, Henderson-1) on passes that were mostly checkdowns or screens. Osweiler fumbled and lost the ball while attempting to escape a Ryan Kerrigan sack late in the 2nd quarter. The Broncos got the ball back before the half, but Osweiler unfortunately tossed an interception after the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Osweiler was sacked four times and was mostly ineffective with his scrambling, typically sliding down a yard or two past the line of scrimmage. He did break one long run of 18 late in the 4th quarter after Washington had moved to a soft prevent defense with a 24 point lead. Osweiler and the offense led a scoring drive late in the 4th, with CJ Anderson punching in a five yard touchdown and catching a short two-point conversion. Denver has announced that Paxton Lynch
will start in week 17.
RB C.J. Anderson
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 88 - 1, Rec: 7 - 45 - 0 (9 targets) - Anderson came out of the gate strong, constantly moving the chains with runs of five or more yards. He hauled in his first target, a short checkdown pass on the Broncos' second offensive drive. Anderson took a carry off right tackle and bounced it outside for an 18 yard pickup early in the 2nd quarter, then ripped his longest run of the day(21 yards) right up the middle on the next drive. Osweiler peppered Anderson and Booker with checkdowns, screens, and swing routes from the backfield as the Denver passing game struggled downfield. Anderson ran a halfback screen out of bounds at the end of the first half for a short gain. Osweiler found Anderson on a swing route for a minimal gain early in the 4th, then a shallow crossing route for a similar gain. Anderson's prettiest reception was a straight shot down the seam late in the 4th where Osweiler hit him in stride for a 14 yard gain. Anderson scored a few plays later on a 5 yard run right up the middle, then scored the two-point conversion on a short out route.
RB Devontae Booker
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 47 - 0, Rec: 5 - 24 - 0 (8 targets) - Booker entered the game on Denver's second offensive drive, converting a 3rd down with a short carry. Booker picked up a couple more first down carries on the drive and hauled in a short out route on his first target of the day. Osweiler would continue to pepper him with targets as Denver's passing game struggled downfield. Booker caught a halfback screen at the end of the first half and weaved his way through tacklers for a 19 yard gain. Osweiler hit him with a swing pass in the 4th that picked up a couple of yards on the left side of the formation. Booker caught a screen that was blown up behind the line of scrimmage on the next play. Booker caught a short checkdown pass late in the 4th and had the ball knocked loose. Booker got most of the work in relief of Anderson as rookie Henderson only recorded one carry and one target.
RB DeAngelo Henderson
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Henderson saw limited offensive snaps. He caught a checkdown pass for a gain of 7 late in the 3rd quarter, and carried the ball just once for a loss of 3.
RB Andy Janovich
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (2 targets) - Fullback Janovich caught a short out route and turned it up the right sideline for a 16 yard gain in the 2nd quarter. Janovich hauled in the same route on the next drive, but was tackled before turning up the sideline.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (6 targets) - Even with Sanders and Latimer out, DT couldn't get much going after the first drive. Osweiler hit Thomas with a play action pass for a 24 yard gain down the seam on the first play of the game. The two connected again two plays later on an out route that Thomas turned up the right sideline after the catch. DT then disappeared until the 4th quarter, drawing a holding penalty to extend a drive early in the final quarter. Osweiler found him on a crossing route on the next drive, but DT couldn't get anything going after the catch. He hauled in one last comeback route on the sideline, finishing the day behind Anderson and Booker in targets.
WR Isaiah McKenzie
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - McKenzie caught a short curl route near the sideline with a few seconds left in the first half, but instead of running out of bounds, he turned back to the middle of the field. The Broncos, out of timeouts, were unable to scramble the field goal unit onto the field in time for an attempt on 4th down. Osweiler and head coach Joseph were visibly upset with McKenzie.
WR Jordan Taylor
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 22 - 0 (2 targets) - Taylor lined up in a tight bunch formation hauled in a deep post route at the end of the first half for a gain of 22. He also returned two punts, with Bennie Fowler
resting him for one return.
WR Bennie Fowler
, 56 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Fowler was targeted on a deep crossing route late in the 2nd quarter, but couldn't secure the diving catch. He got open down the left sideline with seconds left in the first half, but Osweiler overthrew him badly. Fowler was targeted on a slant route late in the 4th quarter but let the pass careen off his hands. Fowler also returned one punt for a short gain.
TE Austin Traylor
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Osweiler missed Traylor on a curl route late in the 2nd quarter. Traylor finally secured his only catch of the game late in the 4th quarter, setting up CJ Anderson's touchdown run with a 14 yard gain on an out route.
TE Jeff Heuerman
, 37 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Heuerman saw his share of offensive snaps, but watched his only two passing targets hit the dirt well short of their target.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 37 - 299 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 8 - 0 - Kirk Cousins
had an up and down afternoon versus the Denver Broncos. He struggled with accuracy but made enough plays to help secure the victory. Kirk threw three touchdowns in this game and each one came in impressive fashion. He only completed nineteen out of thirty-seven passes which illustrates his inaccuracies on the day. Kirk's most impressive pass on the day was a touchdown he threw to Vernon Davis
off his back foot avoiding a blitz. It was a dime towards the corner of the end zone from thirty yards out. There were still struggles in the red zone that showed Kirk's season long inconsistencies. Kirk also did a better job of making plays under pressure in this game which resulted in getting points on the board. Kirk accounted for one interception as he has been keeping his turnovers to a minimum lately. The passing game was aggressive today and Kirk did a decent job getting the ball down field versus the Broncos pass rush.
RB Samaje Perine
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 53 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Samaje Perine
had steady usage in this game but he wasn't able to make much impact. Perine had seventeen carries but he wasn't finding much room to run behind a injury depleted offensive line. His longest carry went for eleven yards and he was also battling an injury. Samaje had a couple of carries go for over ten yards but were called back due to penalties.
RB Kapri Bibbs
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 26 - 0, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (4 targets) - Kapri Bibbs
filled in as the passing down back. He had nine total touches but wasn't able to make a ton of impact in his role. Kapri's biggest play came on a twenty-yard reception out of the backfield. Kapri's role as a backup didn't allow much statistical success aside from making splash plays.
WR Ryan Grant
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 85 - 0 (6 targets) - Ryan Grant
had his most receptions yards of the year in this game. He also had the most receptions with four. Kirk was able to find Ryan on a thirty-six yard gain and a few big first downs. Ryan didn't record any of the three touchdowns but he led all receivers in yardage and receptions.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 47 - 1 (4 targets) - Jamison Crowder
came into this game less than full health but was still able to make an impact. He tallied four receptions for forty-seven yards but was also able to score a touchdown. His touchdown came on a fifteen yard catch across the middle as he beat man coverage off the line of scrimmage. He was tied for the game high in receptions but came off the field a little more than usual because of the injury.
WR Josh Doctson
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 61 - 1 (13 targets) - Josh Doctson
only had two receptions but his forty-eight yard touchdown reception was the longest of the day. Kirk misfired on deep passes to Josh Doctson
several times throughout the day. Kirk found Josh on a wide open touchdown reception when he beat the blitz. He hit Josh in stride on a blown assignment down the sideline. Kirk has struggled connecting with Josh on deep passes and this game was't any different.
TE Vernon Davis
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 42 - 1 (3 targets) - Vernon Davis
only had two receptions but had one of the three touchdowns on the day. Vernon out ran the linebacker up the seam to score a touchdown on a blitz. He should have had two touchdowns on the day but Kirk overthrew him in the end zone. Vernon has been a big play guy all year and his touchdown shows that Kirk looks for him in big play moments. Kirk does a better job finding guys on intermediate routes over the middle which is where Vernon does most of his damage.
Los Angeles Chargers 14, New York Jets 7
What you need to know
Los Angeles Chargers
- The Chargers played down to their competition this week against the Jets, narrowly emerging with the victory. Melvin Gordon
was held in check outside of a handful of plays in the third quarter as the cornerstone of his production. Antonio Gates
enjoyed by far his season-best game with Hunter Henry
inactive. Mike Williams
’ disappointing rookie season continued as he dropped all three of his targets, including one in the end zone, and also sustained an injury on the play.
New York Jets
- Bryce Petty
struggled for the second straight week. His footwork was messy and he missed several open receivers. The play calling was extremely limited, which emphasizes the coach staff's lack of trust. Due to Petty's struggles, a 145-yard rushing day for Bilal Powell
was wasted. Powell looked spry and quick-and his big day included a 57-yard touchdown scamper, a 45-yard off right tackle, and a shift 20-yard gainer on a cutback run.
QB Philip Rivers
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 40 - 290 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - Rivers rebounded from a rough Week 15 game against Kansas City to get the win over the Jets. However, Rivers was not without his struggles on the road in New York. Rivers should have logged an interception as he floated a deep pass toward a well-covered Travis Benjamin
off his back foot. Rivers also fumbled a snap and started the game with two straight off-target throws, leading to an early punt. Rivers made the few plays he needed in the low-scoring affair, with a stick throw to seldom-used tight end Sean McGrath
down to the goal line and hitting Keenan Allen
on multiple deep in-breaking routes in critical situations. Rivers finishes his season against a Raiders defense next week who shut down the Eagles in Week 16.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 81 - 1, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (3 targets) - It was a rough start against the Jets for Melvin Gordon
as he was consistently stuffed on rushing attempts in the first quarter. Gordon’s highlight sequence came in the third quarter with four touches accumulating for roughly 80 yards of his 128 on the day. Gordon came wide open for nearly 40 yards on a well-blocked screen pass and 20 yards to the perimeter on a run play with the defense pinned in by blockers. Gordon showed a strong cut on third-and-one to convert and ran through a defender on another occasion for a chunk gain. Gordon added a goal line touchdown on his lone scoring opportunity of the game. Gordon suffered an ankle injury late in the game with his status for Week 17 in the air as he begins the week of preparation in a walking boot.
RB Branden Oliver
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Oliver, like starter Melvin Gordon
, struggled to produce with most of his rushing attempts against the Jets. Oliver did flash on one of his carries, making a strong move in the backfield to turn a loss into a three-yard gain. Oliver may see and expanded opportunity in Week 17 with Melvin Gordon
’s status uncertain after an ankle injury late in Week 16.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 50 - 0 (6 targets) - Williams saw a hearty six targets against the Jets with his route of choice being a crossing route. Williams uses his speed well across the field more than throttling down on more precision-based routes. Williams’ lone deep opportunity was caught but he was just out of bounds before getting his feet in on the play. Williams was wide open on two of his crossing routes and was stuffed immediately after the catch on two other occasions.
WR Keenan Allen
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 63 - 0 (10 targets) - Allen led the team with 10 targets against the Jets. While Allen did not break a long gain or see any optimal touchdown opportunities, Allen functioned as the steady chain-mover with his receptions. Allen broke a tackle on a short hitch for after-the-catch yardage and iced the game in the closing minutes with a longer reception between defenders. Allen did add a drop on third down to his performance and was stuffed on a swing route.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -4 - 0 (5 targets) - Benjamin did not make the box score in the passing game, but logged a drop and was a target down the field on a likely interception by Philip Rivers
into heavy coverage. Benjamin was stuffed on a reverse as a runner and returned a punt for a touchdown, which was called back by penalty. This was Benjamin’s third time being shutout as a receiver this season.
WR Mike Williams
, 26 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Williams struggled again to carve an impactful role, this time against the Jets. Williams dropped a short in-breaking route, another in the end zone, and finally a third drop before exiting with an injury. Williams has yet to post a strong game or move up the depth chart in what has been a lost rookie season.
TE Antonio Gates
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 81 - 1 (8 targets) - With Hunter Henry
inactive, Gates had a golden opportunity to post his best game of the season. Gates took full advantage against the Jets, finishing second on the team in targets and nearly tripling his next best receiving output of 2017. Gates had three chunk gains, one of a wide open throwback play design and another down the seam. Gates showed better movement than much of his 2017 tape in this game. Gates also added a classic touchdown where he boxed out a defender in single coverage on a goal line slant – too easy of a play for the future hall of famer. With Henry out again in Week 17, Gates has another strong opportunity to produce against Oakland.
QB Bryce Petty
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 28 - 119 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 33 - 0 - Today's performance proved that Petty isn't the long-term answer at quarterback. A combination of poor mechanics and bad throws spelled doom for a Jet offense that was highly productive on the ground (197 yards). Petty's footwork was poor, leading to overthrown balls and misguided passes. Petty had multiple chances to hit wide open receivers, but he airmailed easy throws. Granted, Petty was operating behind a makeshift offensive line, but he didn't step up in the pocket and throw the ball with confidence. Petty did take two big hits to his right arm and right hand, but remained in the game and played through pain. Petty was intercepted on a Hail Mary pass attempt right before halftime and didn't account for any touchdown passes. The rushing attack compiled nearly 200 yards, but Petty's poor play doomed his team, especially on third downs.
RB Bilal Powell
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 145 - 1 (1 targets) - Bilal Powell
turned in one of his best performances to date. Powell ran with power and confidence as he took Los Angeles' rushing defense to task. In the second quarter, Powell ripped off a 45-yard off right tackle. A toss sweep was called-and an inside cut black opened, allowing Powell to cut back and run free for a long gain. In the third quarter, Powell ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run. A toss sweep to the left was called, Powell got to the corner, and sprinted into the end zone. Credit Kelvin Beachum and the center, Jonathan Harrison who made a great downfield block. In the fourth quarter, Powell picked up 20 yards on an impressive cutback run-a toss sweep right was called, but Powell cut back to an open field for a big gainer.
RB Matt Forte
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - It was a forgettable final home game for Matt Forte
. Forte fumbled early in the second quarter, killing a promising drive. Otherwise, he was largely bottled up as a runner and ceded lead back duties to Bilal Powell
WR Robby Anderson
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 51 - 0 (7 targets) - Anderson ran his normal route tree, which features short-to-intermediate crossing routes and was the defined first read on the majority of his routes. Anderson had a long catch-and-run of 16 yards on play action. Anderson sat down in Los Angeles' zone coverage and made a tough grab before taking a big hit.
WR Jermaine Kearse
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (8 targets) - Anderson ran his normal route tree, which features short-to-intermediate crossing routes and was the defined first read on the majority of his routes. Anderson had a long catch-and-run of 16 yards on play action. Anderson sat down in Los Angeles' zone coverage and made a tough grab before taking a big hit.
TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (8 targets) - The big tight end had a long gain of 11 yards on a drag route.
Los Angeles Rams 27, Tennessee Titans 23
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- Todd Gurley
carried this Rams team this week in an unbelievable performance that won many people their fantasy championships. Gurley accounted for 66% of the team's offense in this game and largely bailed out Jared Goff
who struggled at times in this game. Goff was erratic and looked like he did earlier on in the season where he was inconsistent at times trying to force deep throws down the field that were not there. Cooper Kupp
made an incredible touchdown catch with tremendous body awareness to get his knee in-bounds. Sammy Watkins
also scored a touchdown on the quick slant play that we have seen several times this season.
- The Titans offense wasn't sharp again, but Marcus Mariota
did enough to move the ball for 275 passing yards despite passing for no touchdowns, one interception, and multiple blocked passes near the line of scrimmage as he had pressure in his face for most of this game. The running game was ineffective as Demarco Murray suffered a late-game knee injury that will likely end his season, yielding to Derrick Henry
for Week 17. Corey Davis
had a career-day with 91 receiving yards as he was the top Titans receiver, while Eric Decker
continues to come around late in the season with his third straight game of over 55 receiving yards.
QB Jared Goff
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 38 - 301 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -6 - 0 - Jared Goff
's job was relatively easy in this game as the game plan was to dump the ball down to Todd Gurley
and take deep shots down the field to keep the defense honest. Besides the screens and check-downs to Gurley, Goff was just 10/25 in this game. Goff was erratic as he overthrew several receivers and threw several 50/50 balls that his receiver was unable to come down with. Goff did throw four touchdowns in this game two of which were to Gurley one on a screen that he took 80-yards and another was a red-zone play on a dump off. Goff's third touchdown was one that he has thrown several times this season as it was a quick slant to Sammy Watkins
from inside the five-yard line. Goff's final touchdown was a 15-yard pass that Goff overthrew, but Cooper Kupp
made an incredible catch getting his knee down. Overall the stat line looks great due to 300-yards and four touchdowns, but this was not Goff's best game as Todd Gurley
's playmaking was the primary cause for a lot of these yards and touchdowns.
RB Todd Gurley
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 118 - 0, Rec: 10 - 158 - 2 (13 targets) - If you haven't heard by now, you probably aren't reading this in week 17. Todd Gurley
had a game for the ages as he was the focal point of this offense, through the air and on the ground. We have talked about Gurley in open space all season and he showed off his ability on an 80-yard screen route in which he seemed untouchable as once he gets to full speed he is almost impossible to bring down. Gurley showed off his signature hurdle move several times in this game on receptions as he turned these into extra yards. As great as Gurley was in this game, he could have had an even bigger game as he was brought down by shoestring saving tackles on two separate carries early in the game that would have potentially led to additional long touchdowns.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 65 - 1 (6 targets) - The Rams took three shots for touchdowns to Kupp in this game and while he was only able to come up with one of the three which ended up being the touchdown that he caught it was a great sign that the team was giving him these looks. Kupp's touchdown was a play that he really had no business catching the football as Goff overthrew him and Kupp made an incredible catch but reaching as far as he could as the ball was already out of bounds. Even more incredible is that Kupp knew that based on how far he was lunging for the ball he would not be able to get two feet in-bounds so he dropped his knee down to get the touchdown.
WR Robert Woods
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (8 targets) - Robert Woods
was largely a non-factor in this game as the team tried to get him involved but was largely unable to in this game as Woods and Goff were not on the same page for most of this game. Woods still saw 8 targets in this game so continue to expect him to be involved in future weeks but this was a week in which Woods and Goff were not on the same page.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 1 (7 targets) - The Rams tried to get Sammy Watkins
involved with some deep throws in this game, but Goff was trying to force it to Watkins when he was not necessarily open and did overthrow at times to Watkins. Watkins did salvage his day on a play that we have seen several times this season which is a goal-line package where Watkins is the lone receiver on the right side of the field, Goff takes a three-step drop and Watkins runs a quick slant boxing out the cornerback for the touchdown.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 39 - 275 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 24 - 0 - Marcus Mariota
had another tough outing as he got off to the worst start possible with an interception on his first pass of the game. He also had another pass that was nearly picked off in the end zone after a tip late in the first quarter. He was under pressure for most of the day despite only taking one sack, as the pressure showed with Mariota's overall inaccuracy along with multiple passes getting batted down at the line of scrimmage. He made a great play with his legs late in the first half as Mariota danced down the left sideline for 14 yards, surprisingly not stepping out of bounds earlier than when he was called out. Mariota threw a few great balls later in the game as he did a better job moving the offense, including a pass that was on target to a sprinting Taywan Taylor
deep downfield, but Taylor simply could not haul it in under heavy coverage. Corey Davis
was a big target here for Mariota as he placed the ball very well on a few deep throws in the direction of Davis, including a perfect out route around 20 yards downfield in the fourth quarter. The last play of the game for the Titans and Mariota was an ugly one though, as Mariota scrambled to the right but could not find an open receiver before misjudging Conner Barwin and inevitably falling backward while recklessly chucking the ball in the air for an incomplete pass and turnover on downs.
RB DeMarco Murray
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 48 - 1, Rec: 3 - 11 - 0 (4 targets) - Demarco Murray saw over 70% of the snaps for the third straight week as he rushed 15 times with three receptions compared to Derrick Henry
's eight carries and one reception. Murray was not very productive at all with his 15 rushing attempts, barely averaging over three yards per carry despite finding the end zone once. Murray's touchdown run came in the third quarter as he cut back through a massive hole that looked to even surprise him by how wide it was, easily accelerating through the middle of the field into the end zone from six yards out. Murray had a nice pinball run late in the game as he nine yards down the middle of the field on what would be his longest run of the day. He did suffer a knee injury late in the game though that was later reported to be an LCL sprain which will likely rule Murray out for the final game of the season.
RB Derrick Henry
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 25 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Derrick Henry
saw limited work again as he carried just eight times for 25 yards with a lone reception late in the game for six yards. Henry was used differently in this game as he was brought in to spell Murray instead of what we had been seeing in recent weeks where the Titans allotted an entire series to one running back or the other. Henry came in for one or two touches on five of the Titans' first seven possessions of the game, but he never did get an entire series to himself. With Murray's knee injury likely keeping him sidelined next week, Henry will take over for the Titans as their workhorse running back in Week 17.
WR Eric Decker
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 73 - 0 (10 targets) - Eric Decker
finished as the most heavily targeted receiver for the Titans this past week with 10 in total, hauling in six of those for 73 receiving yards. He had a couple of clutch receptions within the red zone in the first half, but most of his production ended up coming after halftime. Decker showed his physicality throughout this game, and especially after his long reception of the day for 25 yards as he stiff-armed the Rams defender while running to the sideline for an extra 13 yards after the catch. Decker now has over 55 receiving yards in three straight games exceeding the 50-yard mark in a game just once through the first 13 weeks of the season.
WR Corey Davis
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 91 - 0 (9 targets) - Corey Davis
had a career day as he finally exceeded his Week 1 yardage total, leading the team last week with 91 receiving yards. He made a spectacular grab midway through the first quarter as he plucked the ball over the head of a defender while sprinting across a route downfield for the 18-yard gain. Early in the second half, Davis has his longest play of the day on a comeback route in the middle of the field that Davis then proceeded to turn upfield for another 15 yards for a total gain of 37 yards.
WR Rishard Matthews
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 48 - 0 (4 targets) - Matthews made a great play midway through the third quarter as he caught the ball after an out route, then shedding his would-be tackler before accelerating up the sideline to get the Titans into the red zone. His only other reception of the day was another big one as Matthews ran a short slant route, catching the ball about four yards from the line of scrimmage but again ram right through the cornerback covering him as Matthews scampered for 23 yards in total on that play. This was the first game of the season in which Matthews finished with fewer than three receptions as his overall usage was certainly down despite a couple of long plays.
TE Delanie Walker
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - Delanie Walker
had a quiet day as he managed only three receptions for 33 yards. All of Walker's receptions came on short routes, two of which he managed to add on some yards after the catch to turn them into longer gains. Walker did see a red zone target in the first quarter, but the play was called back due to a penalty. This ended up being one of Walker's least productive games of the season as he had not finished with fewer than 35 receiving yards since Week 6.