San Francisco 49ers 16, Seattle Seahawks 43
What you need to know
San Francisco 49ers
- One has to dig especially deep to learn anything from a game in which two-thirds of San Francisco's offensive yardage came amid defensive indifference. Four things stand out after said digging. First, Nick Mullens
needs to get better at handling pressure, improve accuracy when he's on the run, and stop throwing balls late across the middle. Second, Jeff Wilson
is the poster child for the argument that running backs are replaceable commodities, just as Matt Breida
was before him. Third, Dante Pettis
' route-running ability and understanding of zone defenses means he is going to thrive in this offense if the team parts ways with Marquise Goodwin
. Finally, Richie James
needs to quickly forget that this game ever happened.
- The Seahawks were a force on the ground in this one, and yet, they still scored four TDs in the air. Russell Wilson
made the most of his few opportunities, with a couple of deep completions in addition to his red zone heroics. Chris Carson
led the way on the ground, with steady gains all day; while Rashaad Penny
proved to be a big play thread, adding a touchdown of his own.
QB Nick Mullens
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 30 - 48 - 414 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0 - Don't be fooled by Mullens' 414-yard passing yardage total. He threw for 300 yards down three-plus scores in the second half, including 180 in the fourth quarter alone. And while the yardage was there against defensive indifference, the scoring was not, which is kind of a big deal when you're down by a bunch of points. On San Francisco's final two drives, Mullens led the team inside Seattle's 5-yard line and came away with a grand total of 0 points. On the first, Mullens threw late across the middle at the goal line, which resulted in a pick-six by Bobby Wagner. On the second drive, Mullens was no match when Seattle dialed up the pressure. (Although, a false start and delay of game exacerbated matters.)
RB Jeff Wilson
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 61 - 0, Rec: 8 - 73 - 0 (9 targets) - Wilson got the bulk of the running back work due to the never-ending story that is Matt Breida
's on-again, off-again ankle injury. He had an impressive three-play sequence on San Francisco's first drive of the second quarter. Play 1: He cut back behind the line of scrimmage to avoid quick penetration, then burst through the open hole off left tackle, and then went low to absolutely obliterate safety Tedric Thompson to finish off an 11-yard gain. Play 2: He weaved his way through considerable traffic to manage 3 yards on an outsize zone run. Play 3: He leaked out for a screen pass, accelerated through the lane created by his blockers, and ran through an arm tackle for a total of 24 yards. Other than that, his performance wasn't anything special. For instance, later in that same drive, Bobby Wagner ripped the ball out of his hands at the Seahawks 5-yard line just as San Francisco was about to reduce their 13-0 deficit. In addition, despite Seattle's defense softening up while ahead for three-plus scores the entire second half, Wilson didn't have a single run of double digit yards.
RB Matt Breida
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 6 - 0, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (3 targets) - Breida aggravated his never-ending ankle injury during pregame warmups. He still started, but ceded first-half playing time to Jeff Wilson
and didn't have a touch in the final 27 minutes of game time. Speaking of that last touch, it was quintessential 2018 Breida, what with gaining 26 yards on a well-designed screen pass, but having to hop off the field after being tackled from behind; never to be seen again.
WR Dante Pettis
, 71 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 5 - 129 - 2 (7 targets) - The most important thing to know about Pettis' fantasy output in this game is that all but one of his targets came during the second half with San Francisco down three-plus scores. That said, more than any other Niner, Pettis was actually able to make the most of the situation individually. His first target of the second half resulted in his first touchdown of the game. On the play, he sat down in front of Shaquill Griffin's zone coverage, stiff-armed Griffin into oblivion at the 10-yard line, and then cut outside to avoid oncoming tacklers and squeeze inside the pylon. (Hat-tip to Kyle Juszczyk
for a timely block along the sideline.) His next catch, for 14 yards and a first down, was another example of understanding how to find the soft spot in a zone, this time on a deep cross. Both of those were a mere prelude to his 75-yard touchdown catch, which was about as Goodwin-like as it gets in this offense. Pettis ran a post route between cornerback Tre Flowers and safety Bradley McDougald that would have only been a 20-yard gain if not for Pettis' speed. He caught the ball in stride and simply ran away from three defenders, even after stumbling when Flowers clipped his heels at the Seattle 40-yard line.
WR Kendrick Bourne
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (6 targets) - As has been the case for months now, Bourne played the Pierre Garcon
role in San Francisco's offense. His first target didn't come until the second quarter, and a rolling-out Nick Mullens
threw high and wide on an open shallow crossing route. The rest of his targets occurred during garbage time, so not much to learn from those, except for his 33-yard reception with six minutes left. It was a deep hook route in front of cornerback Shaquill Griffin, wherein a spin inside after the catch avoided both Griffin and safety Delano Hill, and then a matrix-level, open-field juke on safety Tedric Thompson set Bourne off to the races. (He's not that fast, so he ended up losing the race.)
WR Richie James
, 30 offensive snaps (2 targets) - James split time with Trent Taylor
in the slot and as a returner. He did not avail himself well, to say the least. His first "target" was actually batted down at the line of scrimmage, but his only legitimate chance came late in garbage time, and he dropped the pass. As a returner, he muffed a punt at the 49ers' 11-yard line, thereby gifting the Seahawks another score (and a 20-0) lead going into halftime.
TE George Kittle
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 70 - 0 (9 targets) - Kittle's longest play was a 28-yard gain late in the third quarter that was the result of deceptive play design and perfect execution. He lined up as a blocker on the right side of the line, and the 49ers faked a run to the left. Kittle sold that he was blocking, but weaved his way across the field through second-level traffic and broken open behind safety Bradley McDougald, who vacated his Cover-3 zone responsibility to bite hard on the play action. Otherwise it was a rather pedestrian day for Kittle, thanks to a combination of McDougald's coverage and errant, pressure-induced throws by Nick Mullens
. (Note: One of his "targets" wasn't even a target as it was batted down at the line of scrimmage.)
QB Russell Wilson
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 17 - 185 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0 - Wilson sure made the most of his throws. In all, he had only 11 throws to his wideouts; four of which were TD passes. He also threw 5 passes to his backs and TE. On a day when the ground game took over, this has to be seen as a best case scenario for Wilson. He was lucky on one drive (in a fantasy sense), in that Chris Carson
failed to convert two goal line drives, which resulted in the short touchdown to Baldwin. Wilson was chased a little bit in the pocket, but made the 49ers pay with accurate throws while scrambling, including one to Jaron Brown
for a score.
RB Chris Carson
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 69 - 0, Rec: 3 - 39 - 0 (4 targets) - Carson set the tone with his usual smash-mouth routine on the opening drive, rushing up the middle on three consecutive plays to open the game. Between three backs, he carried a little over half the load. As Mike Davis
’s carries dwindle, Carson is now getting more looks outside the tackles, in addition to the inside runs. On the downside, Carson was stopped multiple times in short yardage situations, including being stuffed twice in a row at the one yard line. Aside from that blip – or red flag, if you prefer – he ran steadily all game. Carson left the field in the fourth quarter with a dislocated finger, but is expected to play next week.
RB Rashaad Penny
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 65 - 1 - Penny showed tantalizing speed on an early carry that helped set up the first touchdown. He ran outside and used pure speed to accelerate into the seam for a first down. His role is not quite defined yet, but he looks to be the perfect counter to Chris Carson
: Penny excels on outside runs, while still proving to be effective between the tackles. His 20-yard touchdown run was a well blocked play, but even so, Penny made no less than four defenders miss as he ran into the end zone completely untouched. Penny is proving to be quite the big play threat, while Carson (and Davis, to an extent) grind out their yards along the way.
RB Mike Davis
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0 - Davis seems to be the odd one out in the backfield. He got the bulk of his carries when he came in for a drive late in the second quarter, backed up close to his own goal line. He had a nine yard gain nullified by penalty, and then ran hard up the middle on consecutive plays, but was stopped short of the first down.
WR Jaron Brown
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 67 - 2 (3 targets) - Brown found himself wide open on an early drive as Wilson found him easily for a big gain. Later in the drive he got open again, this time in the end zone, and he didn’t disappoint, making the easy catch. In the 4th quarter, he repeated the feat with his second score of the game, finding a zone gap in the end zone as Wilson scrambled and found him with a low throw.
WR Doug Baldwin
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 1 (4 targets) - Baldwin first drew a pass interference call as he was targeted in the end zone; then, a few plays later, got the ball on a simple flats pattern that found him wide open for the short TD. He had a chance for extra yards on a catch up the middle, but wasn’t able to find enough open field. It was a low volume day for all Seahawks receivers, but Baldwin is still miles away from being the receiver most expected him to be this season.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 10 - 0, Rec: 1 - 52 - 1 (2 targets) - Lockett only had one catch, but his presence was felt all day. He made his TD catch look easy; a 52-yard bomb from Wilson that floated right to him in the moment he separated from his coverage, which he then ran in easily. He also brought a kickoff return all the way to the 49ers twenty, and might have gone all the way if he hadn’t slowed to fend off a tackler who couldn’t actually reach him. In the second half, Lockett drew a long pass interference penalty, and also rushed for a 10-yard first down. Lockett is typically a low volume receiver, though this week was even less than usual, due to only 12 passes being thrown to wide receivers. We also keep saying his fantasy numbers are touchdown dependent – which they are – but then, he keeps on scoring touchdowns.
WR David Moore
, 28 offensive snaps - Moore laid an egg in this one, which was disappointing after last week’s 103-yard total. Blame it partly on a big lead and a run heavy offense, but Russell Wilson
did manage to fire four touchdown passes on the day, and Moore wasn’t a factor on any of them.
TE Nick Vannett
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Vannett as a receiver was an afterthought in a game which featured the run from the get-go. His lone target was an easily caught checkdown pass for a short gain.
New York Jets 22, Tennessee Titans 26
What you need to know
New York Jets
- At this point, having now watched both Sam Darnold
and Josh McCown
, that the lack of a vertical passing game isn’t so much on the quarterbacks as it is on the offensive coordinator and head coach. Conservative is one thing, but the Jets play scared. The result is an offense which allows defenses to play close to the line, stifling not only the run game but the short passing game the team likes as well. That pretty much kills any fantasy production the Jets might provide.
- The Titans offense started off on the wrong foot in this game with six penalties, two sacks allowed, an interception returned for a touchdown, and a blocked punt all before halftime. Five of those first-half penalties were on the offensive line, which struggled throughout the day with very sloppy play. Marcus Mariota
turned it around after halftime to help lead the rally, connecting with Taywan Taylor
on a couple of impressive deep balls to propel Taylor to his first career 100+ yard game. The ground game was non-existent outside of a goal-line plunge from Derrick Henry
(who led the team in carries with 10), while Mariota spread the ball out to nine different receivers. Tight end Anthony Firkser
saw the first receiving touchdown, while Corey Davis
got the game-winner.
QB Josh McCown
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 30 - 128 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - In two of the three games McCown has started, the Jets have not had a passing touchdown, and Sunday against Tennessee was no different, as the Jets stalled every time they were on the Titans’ end of the field and had to settle for field goals. While much of that falls on the lack of anything like creativity on the offensive side of things, McCown has certainly showed his age during this stretch, as well as his limitations. McCown wasn’t horrible — his interception was a hail mary to close the game — but he isn’t good either, and that showed in the fourth quarter when he failed to find a way to connect with receivers on critical throws which often overthrown, underthrown or just flat out off-target. McCown’s general inability to create plays when the Jets needed them, along with the lame-duck offensive playcalling, made it impossible for the Jets to hold, or regain, the lead.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 98 - 0, Rec: 4 - 9 - 0 (5 targets) - While Crowell had his best day since the Week 5 drubbing he delivered to Denver, his efforts weren’t enough to salt away the game for the Jets in the fourth quarter. Crowell carried the ball once on the Jets’ first drive of the fourth and then didn’t see a touch at all in the next series, while the Titans pulled to within a field goal. On the next drive he only got one touch, with the Jets calling a pair of pass plays to no avail, forcing them to punt. During the next drive, Crowell gained 13 yards on three carries before getting replaced by Trenton Cannon
on 3rd and 5. Cannon didn’t gain any yards and the Jets were forced to punt. Overall, Crowell looked good behind an offensive line which had issues opening holes and in an offense which is so short-yardage focused that it begs the defense to crowd the line of scrimmage.
RB Elijah McGuire
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - -4 - 0 (2 targets) - For all the talk in preseason that McGuire was someone the coaching staff was high on, the running back has seen very little use since returning from injury, and almost had his touches matched by Trenton Cannon
, who actually got a critical carry in relief of Isaiah Crowell
instead of McGuire. When McGuire did get on the field, he was the least efficient of the Jets running backs with just 3.2 yards per carry compared to 4.7 buy Crowell and 4.5 by Cannon. Some of that is the result of the playcalling, which is so short-field focus that the defense can play close to the line, and some of it is due to lackluster offensive line play. Still, it’s clear that some of it is McGuire, who seems a bit slow to the hole when it is there and is not having as much success moving the pile when he receives contact. McGuire had one reception for a loss, which was the result of an obvious playcall the Titans read and were on top of before McGuire could do much.
RB Trenton Cannon
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Once thought to be headed back to the special teams unit with Elijah McGuire
returning, Cannon has been more involved than anticipated. Sunday against Tennessee was no different, as he saw just two less carries and the same amount of catches as McGuire, while accruing a better yards per carry. The undersized rookie showed some decent burst getting through the holes the offensive line opened for him and occasionally made some tacklers miss. He also got the nod in relief of Isaiah Crowell
on a key fourth quarter carry, but failed to get any traction. The Jets punted and the Titans turned that punt into a touchdown drive.
WR Robby Anderson
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 0 (7 targets) - As long as the Jets insist on throwing close or behind the line of scrimmage, Robby Anderson
will not see much production. A vertical threat in a short-yardage offense, Anderson is also starting to look frustrated and it shows in some lackluster route running and efforts to catch the ball, and on Sunday, a boneheaded unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which wiped out a 16-yard gain he had on a short pass across the middle. Anderson really only does one thing well, and right now that makes him a bad fit for this offense. McCown still got him involved, and Anderson had flashes, but for the most part he was very limited in his impact again this week.
WR Andre Roberts
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Roberts had a nice catch for ten yards in the first half and then showed some speed on a run for 18 yards in the third quarter. Otherwise he was strictly a special teams player.
WR Quincy Enunwa
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (6 targets) - One of the aspects of the Jets offense which is hardest to figure out is the lack of impact plays by Enunwa. The one guy who really seems to be a great fit for a dink and dunk offense, Enunwa once again saw just six targets and the three directed towards him in the second half were not high quality chances.
TE Chris Herndon
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 31 - 0 (6 targets) - Since Week 8, Herndon hasn’t seen a red zone target, much less the end zone. He’s still seeing targets, but that isn’t translating to production, although that wasn’t helped this week when a really impressive 28-yard catch and run at the end of the first half was called back by a flag for holding. That short pass was turned into a big gain due to Herndon’s speed and nose for open field, and is worth noting even if it didn’t stand. More often than not, though, Josh McCown
struggled to give Herndon manageable balls to catch. Herndon has good athleticism and has shown nice hands, but right now it’s hard to know what he brings to the table week to week despite being on the field for 70-75% of the offensive plays each game.
TE Jordan Leggett
, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - Leggett continues to be a blocker first and foremost, though he did have a really nice 14-yard catch and run called back due to an illegal block in the third quarter. Josh McCown
went back to him eight plays later on the same drive for an 8-yard play which gained enough for a first down.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 35 - 282 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 43 - 0 - Mariota’s day started off terrible as his first five drives went nowhere, hampered largely by very poor offensive line play that helped cough up multiple sacks and a blocked punt. Mariota did not help himself early on as he held on to the ball far too long while also throwing an interception returned for a touchdown on this second possession of the game. He would get some momentum before halftime as Mariota led a 68-yard drive highlighted by a well-thrown ball about 20 yards downfield to Davis, a 14-yard rush up the middle helped by some solid blocking from Anthony Firkser
, then rewarding his blocking tight end with a 12-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Firkser. The second half started slowly, but it was a much better half overall for Mariota. He would toss a couple nice deep balls to Tajae Sharpe
to set up a touchdown in the third quarter, then a couple drives later, Mariota managed to lead a full speed Taywan Taylor
to a 44-yard gain from an excellent deep ball that was right on target. Mariota would deliver another deep strike to Taylor on the next drive as he completed a 55-yard ball, also right on the money. Despite having 1st-and-goal on both drives, Mariota couldn’t lead the Titans into the end zone as they had to settle for field goals on each drive. He had been under pressure all day long, even on the final drive of the game when Mariota almost took sacks on two consecutive plays but managed to use his legs for a magical gain that almost ended in heartbreak. Mariota tucked it and scrambled for 25 yards, making a nice sidestep on Jets defenders while breaking a couple tackles before taking a huge hit that knocked the ball loose. The Titans recovered the fumble, which allowed Mariota to continue this impressive game-winning drive with a couple more quick completions capped off by an 11-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis
for the win.
RB Derrick Henry
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 40 - 1, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Derrick Henry
led the Titans in carries with 10 as he finished with a respectable 40 yards and a touchdown considering the relatively soft workload. Neither Henry nor this Titans offense could get much going in the first half. Henry did contribute with a couple productive runs on their final drive before halftime, but one of them was called back due to a defensive penalty. Midway through the third quarter, Henry had a nice first down run of 11 yards to put the Titans near the goal line before he was afforded the opportunity to punch it in on the very next play. Henry would initially be stopped behind his linemen, but on a second effort, Henry found a hole to the right and easily made it in for the short touchdown. With the Titans in pass-first mode during their second-half rally, Henry saw very limited looks for the remainder of this game.
RB Dion Lewis
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 36 - 0, Rec: 2 - -2 - 0 (3 targets) - Dion Lewis
got the start in this one but finished with very little volume as he was not much of a factor in the Titans offense. The first half was a rough one for this offense as a whole as they couldn’t sustain drives due to poor offensive line play and penalties. Lewis had basically one productive rush on each of the first two drives before hauling in a couple passes and busting an 11-yard run to the right side against soft defense on a long second-down. He would see just one more touch before halftime, then basically disappear after the half with only one touch for the rest of the game. That one touch came on a play where Lewis was caught off guard, not expecting the handoff on a play to close out the third quarter. He fumbled on the surprise exchange, but scooped up the ball immediately and actually gained eight yards. The Titans were in pass-first mode for much of the second half while Mariota was airing it out to his wide receivers with Lewis or Henry needed in the backfield to block.
WR Corey Davis
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 12 - 0, Rec: 3 - 42 - 1 (7 targets) - Corey Davis
had an up and down outing as Mariota spread the ball out to nine different receivers with no one receiving option seeing more than three receptions. Davis led the team in targets, but he only managed to haul in three of those seven. His second touch of the day was an end around that Davis took for 12 yards to the left side--matching the longest run of any Titans rusher outside of Mariota. Only a couple plays later, Davis was flagged for an illegal block that negated what would have been a 20-yard pass play to Cameron Batson
. Davis also didn’t help himself by dropping a routine screen pass thrown right to him on their drive midway through the second quarter. His first big catch and longest gain of the day was for 22 yards, coming from a dig route late in the first half as Davis found plenty of room in soft coverage. Outside of a couple deep balls near the start of the second half, Davis was virtually invisible until what would be the final meaningful play for the Titans offense as Davis hauled in the game-winning touchdown from 11 yards out. He caught it just a few yards from the goal line and managed to power his way over the line for the score--his third touchdown in the last four weeks.
WR Taywan Taylor
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 104 - 0 (5 targets) - Taywan Taylor
made a boisterous return to the field this week after being sidelined since Week 9. Taylor would lead the Titans in receiving yards highlighted by a couple of spectacular deep balls in the fourth quarter. He would not even see a target until the first play of the fourth quarter when Mariota missed him deep over the middle. On the next drive, they connected on a 44-yard deep ball where Taylor leaped forward to make a spectacular catch over his shoulder. On the first play of the next drive, Taylor streaked downfield on his way to a 55-yard reception as his straight-line speed was simply too much for the Jets secondary. Taylor was again the target of the first pass of the next drive as he hauled in the short one for five yards to get him over the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career.
WR Tajae Sharpe
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (6 targets) - Tajae Sharpe
looked healthier in this game after nursing an ankle injury for the past few weeks as he saw the second-most targets for this Titans passing offense. The majority of Sharpe’s production came on just one drive as he would take advantage of soft zone coverage to catch an easy pass about 14-yards downfield before doubling his gain by turning it upfield and fighting for extra yards at the end of the play for a 28-yard reception. Just two plays later, Sharpe Streaking across the field, Sharpe went up high to pluck a well-thrown deep ball out of the air for another big reception--a 20-yard gain. Sharpe saw a few more targets here, one of which was a deep ball, but he finished with just one more three-yard reception on the final drive of the game.
TE Anthony Firkser
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 42 - 1 (3 targets) - Anthony Firkser
continues to be involved in this Titans offense as he actually finished with an identical receiving stat line as Corey Davis
in this game despite receiving just three targets compared to the seven of Davis. Firkser got started just before halftime with a short reception followed just a few plays later by a 12-yard touchdown catch on which he was left wide open, ignored by the secondary. Firkser’s next and final target came on the last drive of the game where he hauled in a massive 24-yard catch to set the Titans up in the red zone.
TE Jonnu Smith
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (3 targets) - Jonnu Smith
had a quiet day highlighted by continued effort displayed after the catch. Smith’s first catch of the game wasn’t until after halftime as he hauled in a reception near the line of scrimmage before powering downfield for an 11-yard gain. Smith would rack up more impressive yards after the catch on a screen pass late in the third quarter. He did drop a ball in the end zone to close out that drive, wasting his only red zone look of the day as Anthony Firkser
ended with more receptions than Smith with an equal three targets each.
Minnesota Vikings 10, New England Patriots 24
What you need to know
- It was a very poor showing all around for the Vikings. They traveled to New England and just unraveled at the hands on the Patriots. Kirk Cousins
had one of his worst games as a Viking starter and the offense just did not seem to click. The Vikings were able to tie the game at 10 in the 3rd quarter, but the Patriots scored on the next drive and pulled away. There was a heated exchange between Adam Thielen
and Bill Belichick on the sideline in the 4th quarter when New England challenged a spot ruling. The cameras picked up some of the exchange and it was very heated. Thielen was clearly distraught after being held and interfered with on several plays as well as not catching 2 balls he normally would have. Stefon Diggs
took issue with the referees as well but to no avail. The Vikings just faded in the New England cold as the Patriots were able to pull away. It was a sloppy game filled with penalties on both sides. At one point this was thought to be a potential Super Bowl preview but both teams are currently struggling. The Vikings will travel all the way across the country to take on the Seahawks on Monday night next week.
New England Patriots
- -This is still Sony Michel
's backfield when it comes to carries - 15 to 20 per game isn't unreasonable provided game script isn't lopsided
's deep ball continues to look wonky at times, but it doesn't seem like it's arm strength. Rather, mechanics and timing.
-If the Pats defense can continue to mesh, it will make life easier on the offense as a whole. The secondary was outstanding against the Vikings, almost completely shutting down Diggs and Thielen.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 44 - 201 - 1 TD / 2 INT - It was not a banner day for Cousins this week. The New England defense took away his top receiver in Adam Thielen
and he just could not find his rhythm outside of that. 29 of his 43 targets went to Thielen, Cook, and Robinson. There were a few large chunk plays down the field, but New England tackled well, and no Viking receiver was really able to break free. There were 2 plays in the corner of the end zone where the Patriots defender was draped all over Thielen and then Robinson, but the referees kept the flags in their pocket and let the players play. Both Thielen and Robinson were visibly upset, but Cousins did not throw the best pass to begin with. His lone touchdown was a 5-yard score to Thielen who ran a drag across the field and caught a floater in the corner or the end zone. It was an easy pitch and catch for Cousins and Thielen. The game ended with back to back interceptions from Cousins. The first was just unlucky as he took a deep shot to Robinson in the end zone. His receiver looked to make the sliding catch but bobbled the ball as he went to the ground. It then hit and rolled on the defender before being kicked in the air and caught by a second defender. T should have been a touchdown if he had held on to the ball but ended up being an unlucky interception. The second interception that ended the game was a deep shot down the middle towards Thielen. The route was just undercut by the defender and there was nothing Thielen could have done. Cousins struggled this week and is going to have another tough test next week in Seattle.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 84 - 0, Rec: 8 - 22 - 0 (10 targets) - The Vikings were playing from behind this week and abandoned the running game early on. Cook was finding success on the ground and averaged 9.3 yards per carry. His averaged was bolstered by a 32-yard run and that he only got 9 carries. The Vikings only ran the ball 13 times as a team and did not surpass 100 yards on the ground. Cook caught 8 of his 10 targets but could not do very much with them. They were short swing passes and check downs where he was tackled almost immediately. His longest reception was 5 yards and there was not much of a chance for more on any of his other catches. The Vikings tied the game in the 3rd but had already decided the abandon the run at this point. Cook is starting to show flashes of the reason why the Viking think he is their back of the future. He is going to need to continue to progress for the rest of the season and show the Vikings that he can be the lead back they thought he could be.
RB Latavius Murray
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0, Rec: 2 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - It was not a very involved game for Murray. He was given 4 carries and 2 receptions. For comparison, Cook had 9 carries and 10 targets. Murray was never really given a chance to get going with the Vikings playing from behind in the second half. There is a good chance that Murray is no longer part of the Vikings next season, but he needs more opportunity to establish value. His longest run was 5 yards and his longest catch was 2. There was no room for Murray to run this week and the game plan for the Vikings did not help with that. Seattle has been softer against the run than recent seasons, but Murray will still need to have his number called more to make a difference.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (5 targets) - It was a frustrating day for Viking receivers. They seemed to take exception with the coverage by New England and were looking for flags all over the place. Diggs was visibly angry on the sideline when they did not call pass interference on a play in the end zone to Robinson. Diggs caught all 5 of his targets this week but only broke free once for 24 yards. This was one of the rare times a Viking player was able to break a tackle and get extra yards after the catch. It was not a great game for the Viking pass game this week and Diggs is going to have to play much better next week if the Vikings want to keep their playoff hopes alive.
WR Aldrick Robinson
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 37 - 0 (9 targets) - What could have been for Robinson if Cousins had a better day under center. Robinson had 9 targets this week, but only snagged 5 receptions. His longest catch was 10 yards and everything else was just short out routes. There was a period where the Vikings ran the same play 3 times and Robinson caught it along the sideline each time. The big play went from being a touchdown to an interception very quickly. Robinson ran a go route up the seam and Cousins looked to have made a great throw to a sliding Robinson for a score. Unfortunately, he was unable to hold on to the ball, and after the ball rolled on the back of one defender it got kicked into the air and intercepted by another defender. Robinson had another exchange in the corner of the end zone that could have been a touchdown had it not been for interference that was not called. The defender had wrapped his arm around Robinson and held him to the point that he could not jump and make a play on the ball. It was the same referee who did not throw a flag when Thielen was interfered with in the exact same spot. It was a tough game for the Vikings, but Robinson could have easily had 2 touchdowns and changed the outcomes of the game.
WR Adam Thielen
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 28 - 1 (10 targets) - It was not a great showing for Thielen this week. He dropped balls he would normally catch, he took exception with the referees and the lack of pass interference calls, and then got into a shouting match with Bill Belichick on the sideline after a spot challenge. It was a very heated exchange and was caught on camera. The game was not great either as he only caught half of his 10 targets. Thielen and Cousins did not look to be on the same page this week after lighting up the NFL all season long. His longest catch was 9 yards. He dropped a much deeper pass down the middle of the field after a diving attempt, and then had a clear pass interference call not be made in the end zone that would have been a 20-yard touchdown. It was a misstep on what has been an amazing season for Thielen. He still had a touchdown catch this week. It was a 5-yard drag route where he outran his defender to the back corner of the end zone. It was an easy pitch and catch with Cousins for the score. Unfortunately, the rest of the game is going to overshadow the score and will be one to forget for Thielen.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 38 - 0 (3 targets) - It looked like Cousins was finally going to start using Rudolph more, but that fell off in the second half this week. Rudolph had a big 23-yard catch and another tight roping catch on the sideline but did not see much outside of that. Cousins continues to forget about him in the red zone and just does not use him as much as they should. Rudolph does not lose looks to other tight ends, but instead competition from Diggs, Robinson, and Thielen. Cousins elected to throw to Cook out of the back field 10 times rather than look for Rudolph down the field. It has been a frustrating season for the big tight end but he continues to show flashes of how he can be a great tight end in the NFL.
QB Tom Brady
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 32 - 311 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0 - This was one of those luxury days for Tom Brady
. He didn't need to be on his A game, as the Pats defense completely dominated the Vikings to the tune of 10 total points, shutting down Diggs and Thielen in the process. Many of the throws on the day were short passes, working the flats, etc, particularly early in the game. Brady's lone touchdown was to a wide open Josh Gordon
who sat in the middle of zone coverage then raced into the end zone. The "big" milestone was Brady hitting 1,000 career rushing yards on what was a very quick QB scramble/draw, something we may never see again. Brady's deep ball was once again iffy - as an example, he completed a deeper pass to Patterson for about 30 yards in the air, but it was barely at Patterson's shoetops. Brady's interception was a bad one, with the ball thrown right to a defender on an out route. Beyond that, it was a fairly unremarkable outing, taking what the Vikings defense gave. Rain also had a slight hand at points in the game, but not enough to cause serious dagame.
RB Sony Michel
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 63 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Perhaps the highlight of Sony Michel
's day was that he was stuffed at the goal line a couple times, and subsequently had touchdowns vultured by James Develin
. Two of them, in fact. The Vikings are a tough defense to run against, and this was no exception, as Michel found little room to run on several of his carries. Still, it was good to see him in a feature role even with Rex Burkhead
RB James White
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 26 - 0, Rec: 7 - 92 - 0 (9 targets) - White's stat line was a bit misleading, as about 40 of his receiving yards came on a dump off at the end of the first half when everyone expected a hail mary. Other than that, he was very involved in the short passing game as always, as the Vikings allowed many completions underneath. Business as usual for the receiving stud.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 20 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (2 targets) - This was Burkhead's first game action in several weeks, and he was integrated slowly with a handful of touches. The important thing is that he looked healthy, but this is clearly Sony Michel
and James White
's backfield as of now, with Burkhead in as a change of pace/designed play back.
WR Julian Edelman
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 35 - 0, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (8 targets) - It wasn't Edelman's best day through the air, as he didn't contribute much by way of yards or catches. He also dropped a critical third down pass, as the game was still in question at that time. However, he did have 2 designed runs which saw big chunk gains, highlighting his versatility in other ways.
WR Josh Gordon
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 58 - 1 (3 targets) - His volume wasn't strong as the Pats worked the short game, but Gordon did get wide open on his touchdown, finding a nice open spot in the middle of the field. He then raced into the end zone for a fairly easy score. Tom Brady
also did a great job stepping up in the pocket in the face of pressure on the throw.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets) - A fairly quiet day once again for Gronk against the Vikings. The big tight end isn't running with the same fluidity he has in seasons past, which makes one wonder if injuries are taking a toll on his body. Still, the only concern for him and the Pats is once again the playoffs, so don't be surprised if he's treated lightly until then.
Buffalo Bills 17, Miami Dolphins 21
What you need to know
- Josh Allen
had a career game on the ground rushing and threw two touchdown passes to Zay Jones
, who also had a career game. Allen was inaccurate at times, but also showed the ability to make big time throws and displayed his athleticism. LeSean McCoy
struggled outside of a big play during hurry up time.
- The Dolphins were able to get back to .500 with a win against the Bills this week. It was a back and forth affair with Miami coming out on top. It looked like a contest of 2 teams who are trying to figure things out as the season winds down. The Dolphins have not committed to a running back and split 15 carries between their top 2 backs. The passing attack continues to falter after Danny Amendola
was inactive with a knee injury. They have struggled with Tannehill under center as he did not seem to click with the receiving core as much as Osweiler. The defense had 2 interceptions, a fumble recovery, and 2 sacks and was the main reason they came away with the win. After getting back to .500 they will have tough tests against the Patriots and Vikings in the next 2 weeks.
QB Josh Allen
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 33 - 231 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 9 - 135 - 0 - Josh Allen
had a familiar game against Miami: he showed the heights of his ability and all the concerns about his profile in the pre-draft process. Allen was highly athletic, showing the ability to escape the pass rush to throw and was effective running, compiling 135 yards rushing. Allen’s rushing attempts were largely scrambling, but there were a couple of designed zone reads where Allen was able to get to the edge of the defense. Allen had back to back runs over 20 yards on a drive late in the fourth quarter as the Bills attempted a comeback. He also had some good throws, including on the run with strong ball placement like a touchdown pass to Zay Jones
in the back of the end zone. He also threaded the needle through tight coverage on a dig route to Jones for their second touchdown of the game. Allen had a rushing touchdown called back on a drive where Allen finished with a touchdown to Jones. Allen also showed good touch on a pass up the sideline to Patrick DiMarco
, where he struggled on a nearly identical play early in the season. On the other hand, Allen made numerous quizzical throws. He was fortunately erratic on a dig to Kelvin Benjamin
where the DB undercut the route and would have intercepted a well thrown pass. Allen also overthrew Robert Foster
on a wide-open pass that would have been a 65-yard touchdown and missed Jones wide open on a post in the end zone. Allen had two interceptions, and neither was his fault. The first was a Hail Mary at the end of the half and the second was a post to Kelvin Benjamin
that was undercut by the DB. Benjamin jogged through the route and showed no willingness to attempt to feign interest on the play, which unfortunately shows up on Allen’s stat sheet. Allen was also stripped on a blind side sack and Buffalo was fortunate to recover. He could have been helped by his supporting cast as he attempted to score a game tying touchdown with a scramble and throw across his body deep into the end zone. The ball hung up in the air and should have been caught by Charles Clay
by running back through the ball, but instead tried to dive and went through his hands. Allen plays a wide-open game that for better or worse is high variance for real life football purposes, but his rushing ability is a consistent floor factor for fantasy football. He will face the Jets next week at home.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 52 - 0, Rec: 4 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - LeSean McCoy
struggled against Miami to create running room and finished with 64 yards on 19 touches. McCoy’s big play, an 18-yard rush, was against Miami’s defense in prevent at the end of the first half. Outside of that, McCoy struggled to make big plays. McCoy is still shifty but has lost his top gear to make big gains where he avoids first contact. McCoy was the clear lead back in the game and handled the lone running back attempt inside the 5-yard line, an interior run that was stopped for no gain. McCoy will look to bounce back next week against the Jets.
RB Chris Ivory
, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 4 - 0 - Chris Ivory
was minimally involved in the Buffalo offense against the Dolphins. Ivory did not see any touches until the second quarter when he tripped and fumbled his first carry. He only saw six carries for four yards, while spelling LeSean McCoy
during the game. Ivory appeared to have an opportunity to get free for a longer gain on one carry but was tracked down by a trailing defender. He had stronger role in the red zone early in the season, but McCoy got the lone carry inside the 5 on Sunday.
WR Zay Jones
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 67 - 2 (9 targets) - After a quiet game last week, Zay Jones
had a career game against the Jets. Jones caught two touchdowns, one across the back of the end zone on a Josh Allen
scramble and the other a contested dig route where Jones showed good strength, concentration, and effort to catch the ball and get into the end zone. Jones could have had an even bigger day, but Josh Allen
threw the ball behind him on a post in the end zone, where he was wide open. Jones had a drop on a crossing route on a high ball, but the game was one of the better of his career. Allen is high variance and struggles in the chain moving role Jones had with Nathan Peterman
, Derek Anderson
, and Matt Barkley
playing quarterback, so seeing him play deeper in the passing game is a good development for his role in the Allen led offense. Jones will look to continue his strong play next week against the Jets.
WR Robert Foster
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 27 - 0 (4 targets) - Robert Foster
had strong games in recent weeks but was quiet through three quarters against the Jets. Foster should have been able to walk in for a 65-yard touchdown where he beat the Jets defense down the field, but Josh Allen
overthrew him. Foster did catch a good dig route later in the fourth quarter. Foster is a deep threat and can capitalize on Allen’s big arm but is a boom-bust type option in the offense.
TE Charles Clay
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Charles Clay
had a quiet game against Miami outside of the last offensive play for Buffalo. Clay was the intended target on a Josh Allen
scramble where Clay was wide open in the end zone. Allen threw the ball across the body while on the run and underthrew Clay. While working back to the ball, Clay dove for the pass instead of running to catch it, and the ball went through his hands. Clay is minimally involved in the offense of late and struggles to distinguish himself on the field.
QB Ryan Tannehill
, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 24 - 137 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -5 - 0 - Despite the 3 touchdowns, it was still a struggle for Tannehill this week. He failed to surpass 200 yards passing, only completed passes to 6 different receivers, and did not show great chemistry with anyone. He did not attempt to push the ball down the field and had his longest completion go for only 18 yards. His 3 touchdowns tied his season high from week 1 against the Raiders. His first touchdown was an 18-yard shot down the field to Parker. It was a beautiful shot right down the middle of the field in front of a crashing safety. The second touchdown was a short dump off to Drake in the flat. He put the ball out just far enough in front of him that he could sprint to the pylon for the score. The third touchdown was a 13-yard throw off his back foot into the corner of the end zone to Stills. The pocket collapsed around him and instead of stepping up he retreated in the pocket and threw it off his back foot. Stills broke free of his man and ran to the corner for the touchdown. Tannehill also threw an interception this week and simply did not see the defender trailing in coverage. It is going to be a tough test next week against the Patriots. In their game earlier, this season he threw for only 100 yards and an interception. He will need a much better showing if they do not want a repeat of their last game.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 31 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 1 (4 targets) - There was not a lot of success on the ground and Drake was no exception. He had 1 fewer carry than Gore, but 10 more yards. Drake had 4 targets to Gore's 1 and only 3 more yards. The important part was the 3-yard reception for a touchdown. He leaked out into the flat and took a Tannehill pass to the pylon for the score. Drake had the longest play of the game for the Dolphins with a 20-yard burst on the ground. He only managed 11 yards on his other 6 carries and suffered the same fate as Gore with being met at the line of scrimmage by a defender on almost every play. The Dolphins really struggled against a poor run defense this week and will need a much better showing next week against the Patriots.
RB Frank Gore
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 21 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Buffalo has been terrible against the run this season, but Miami was not able to get anything going on the ground. Gore only had 8 carries and only broke free on an 8-yard run once. He also chipped in with a 10-yard catch for his longest play of the game. Gore and Drake will flip flop each week with who gets more carries, but it was an almost even split this week. Gore was bottled up at or behind the line of scrimmage on almost every play. The team failed to rush for over 100 yards as a whole while the opposing quarterback racked up 135 yards on the ground. Gore has been a work horse this season when they use him, but this was not one of those games.
WR DeVante Parker
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 1 (7 targets) - Just like the rest of the receivers, Parker has had an up and down season. He will explode for a game and then disappear for a few weeks. The relationship with the team seems to have gotten better, but he has not lived up to the first-round draft pick. Parker opened the scoring on the first drive with an 18-yard touchdown. It was a perfect throw right down the middle of the field and in front of the safety. Parker took a hit when he caught the ball but was able to hold on for the score. The Patriots will be a tougher test next week and Parker will need to play much better for any chance of a win.
WR Kenny Stills
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 1 (6 targets) - It has been very down season for Stills. He exploded in week 1 and then has faded in the offense. He may be the only receiver who has played better with Tannehill under center. He caught 4 of his 6 targets and was second on the team in receiving yards. His biggest play ended up being the game winning touchdown. Stills ran a deep drag and found himself in the back of the end zone trying to track down the Tannehill pass. His quarterback felt the pressure and fell backwards as he threw rather than stepping up in the pocket. Stills tracked the ball in the air and caught it in the corner of the end zone for the score. The 13-yard score was also his longest play of the game.
TE Mike Gesicki
, 22 offensive snaps - The Dolphins have struggled through the air and Gesicki did not have a single target. There is not a lot to write home about in regard to the tight ends for Miami. He is still the best option on the team but will need to see more work in the offense to show it. Their passing game struggled last time out against the Patriots, but they can be susceptible to plays from tight ends. Look for either Gesicki or O'Leary to have a better game next week.
Cleveland Browns 13, Houston Texans 29
What you need to know
- All the positive momentum the Browns had been showing in the past few weeks came to a screeching halt in Week 13 against the Houston Texans. Playing the toughest defense they had seen in a while, Cleveland struggled to move the ball, especially in the first half. Facing a 23-0 deficit heading into the second half, they were able to start moving the ball, partially thanks to soft coverage from Houston. Baker Mayfield
threw three consecutive first-half interceptions while the Browns lost two key defensive players due to injury. Denzel Ward left with a concussion and Larry Ogunjobi left with a biceps injury.
- WR Keke Coutee
was inactive for the game due to his ongoing hamstring issue. WR DeAndre Carter
filled in for him at the slot position.
RB D’Onta Foreman will have his fate decided this week on whether the Texans activate him to the 53-man roster. The Texans have until Thursday to make the decision.
QB Baker Mayfield
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 43 - 397 - 1 TD / 3 INT - Mayfield played his worst game in a while, but he still showed the flashes that have many in Cleveland excited about his future. Mayfield shows excellent accuracy and zip on his passes, even when throwing on the run. His first half was brutal, as he completed just 5-of-13 passes for 46 yards while throwing three consecutive interceptions. His first pick was brutal as it went for a pick-six. Facing pressure from the pass rush, he forced a poor pass down the middle of the field. Mayfield's second interception came when the defender read his eyes and jumped in front of Antonio Callaway
's route. He had another interception overturned by replay but came back and threw his final pick at the end of the second quarter. He targeted David Njoku
in the end zone but overthrew the tight end. The ball wound up in the hands of a Houston defender. The second half was better as Mayfield led the Browns to a touchdown on their first drive. The second drive of the third quarter should have ended in another touchdown. It appeared as though Mayfield had a 76-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Callaway
but the play was nullified by an offensive holding penalty. After a running play, he hit Callaway again, this time going for 71 yards. Callaway appeared to have a chance to score but he was stripped and lost the ball at the Houston one-yard line. Mayfield's lone touchdown pass went to Rashard Higgins
in the fourth quarter. He showed great accuracy on the run to hit Higgins in the back right corner of the end zone for the 17-yard score. This game served as a good reminder that despite how well Mayfield has looked at times, he is still a rookie and is going to make mistakes along the way.
RB Nick Chubb
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 31 - 1, Rec: 3 - 41 - 0 (3 targets) - Thanks to the Browns getting themselves in a 23-0 hole at halftime, Chubb only wound up seeing nine carries in the game. He still managed to turn in a solid day, thanks to a two-yard touchdown and three catches in the passing game. He continues to show excelling running ability, juking defenders to avoid tackles and showing good vision on cut backs to find holes in the line. In the second quarter, it appeared Chubb had an 11-yard reception but the official scorers changed the ruling, deciding that it was a running play. He did most of his damage on the Browns' first touchdown-scoring drive of the third quarter. Chubb ripped off receptions of eight and 24 yards to help get his team in scoring position. He even lined up wide right on one play. His touchdown capped off that drive, a two-yard run up the middle where he cut back to find the hole. Chubb remains one of the more exciting young running backs in the league and continues to prove he's an asset in the passing game.
RB Duke Johnson
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Johnson surprisingly only saw two touches despite the Browns trailing for the entire game. One would expect negative game script would be a recipe for success for Johnson but he simply wasn't a big part of the game plan. His first target came down the right sideline. Baker Mayfield
misfired on the throw, but Johnson had stepped out of bounds before the pass came, which would have nullified the catch had he been able to make it. In the third quarter, Johnson appeared to have a 22-yard reception but that play came back thanks to an offensive holding penalty. He finished his day with a short, five-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Johnson had been showing signs of life when the new coaching staff took over in Cleveland but this is two straight weeks where he was an afterthought in the offense.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 103 - 0 (9 targets) - Landry broke a mini slump, topping 100 yards for the first time since Week 3. He caught three passes in the team's poor first half, going for 16, seven, and 22 yards. His 22-yard reception over the middle was a nice snatch catch off of an accurate throw from Baker Mayfield
. Landry was then quiet until garbage time in the fourth quarter. He made an impressive one-handed catch which went for 25 yards and then tip-toed the sideline for a 28-yarder. On the second drive of the fourth quarter, it appeared he and Mayfield would connect on another long pass but a hard hit near the right sideline jarred the ball loose. The replay showed the defender may have gotten away with a helmet-to-helmet hit on the play. Landry's final catch was a short five-yarder on a crossing route. While Landry isn't showing the high floor he did in fantasy when he was a Dolphin, he remains the team's top wide receiver and should see enough volume to stay afloat, especially in games where the Browns are trailing or passing to keep up on the scoreboard.
WR Rashard Higgins
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 62 - 1 (4 targets) - Higgins wasn't heard from until the third quarter but he made his mark on the game. Higgins caught a 19-yard pass on the team's first drive of the third quarter. He then came back in the fourth quarter and hauled in a 21-yard pass. He was wide open in the middle of the field and had no issues securing the easy catch. Higgins caught Baker Mayfield
's lone touchdown pass, a 17-yard strike in the back right corner of the end zone. He got behind his defender on a double move and did a nice job getting both feet down in bounds for the score.
WR Antonio Callaway
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 84 - 0 (6 targets) - Callaway had an adventurous game, coming close to scoring twice. He was mostly quiet in the first half, catching a six-yard pass, although he did draw a 47-yard defensive pass interference penalty. In the third quarter, the rookie wide receiver appeared to have a 76-yard touchdown pass from Baker Mayfield
but the play wound up getting nullified thanks to offensive holding. A few plays later, he caught another pass from Mayfield and took it 71 yards before getting stripped and losing a fumble at the Houston one-yard line. He had a good chance at falling into the end zone for a touchdown had he been able to hold onto the ball. He made one final catch in the fourth quarter, a seven-yard catch. Callaway has been inconsistent in his rookie season but he has been trending up over the past few games.
TE David Njoku
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 8 - 0 (6 targets) - Njoku wound up turning in a disappointing stat line against a Texans defense that has struggled to cover opposing tight ends. He lost five yards on his first catch of the game. In the second quarter, he had a target nullified when he drew a defensive holding penalty. He did see an end zone target on one of Baker Mayfield
's three interceptions. Mayfield saw Njoku in the end zone but the pass was overthrown, giving him no chance to make a play. In the fourth quarter he appeared to be open in the middle of the field but the ball was tipped at the last second by Tyrann Mathieu. His final catch went for nine yards. Njoku has been up-and-down of late but he remains one of the top-two options in the team's passing game.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 31 - 224 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 30 - 0 - It continues to be an impressive run throwing the ball for Deshaun Watson
during this win streak. Watson has improved his accuracy and continues to depend on DeAndre Hopkins
in the passing game. Watson was able to hit Hopkins for 29 and 24 yards to open up the passing attack against the Browns. He threw a nice corner route to Hopkins who was being draped on by the defensive back who was grabbing hair and a face mask but a pinpoint pass allowed Hopkins to haul the pass in. Watson also threw 6 smoke screen this game targeted for DeAndre Carter
and Hopkins but it was Carter who was able to eat up yards with 11 and 7 yard gains. Watson was able to control the 10-19 yard range and that came with completions to Demaryius Thomas
for 15, Jordan Akins
for 13 and Hopkins for 17. Add in the work he did with the tight end group for five receptions on five targets for 56 yards and a touchdown. Watson’s only touchdown on the day was on a 11-yard play action pass to Jordan Thomas
who ran a nice corner route to beat the safety that was covering him. Watson also had 30 yards on the ground which continues to be a good sign for the Texans who have tried to limit how much he has been running.
RB Lamar Miller
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 103 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Lamar Miller
has now rushed for 100-yards in 4 of his last 6 games and it continued to be a productive day for the veteran back. Miller rushed for 103 yards and his longest rush was for 32-yards to get him over the century mark. Again, Miller was able to break down the the Browns and the cut back was there for him in the zone game. Miller remains the bell-cow for the Texans offense but they are being careful with him not to overload him with work running the football.
RB Alfred Blue
, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 54 - 0 - The Texans are still trying to split the carried between Blue and Miller, it is working keeping both fresh for the game. Blue continues to get the grunt work but he is getting yards when needed. He has a 17-yard rush that almost broke but was tripped up from behind, Blue also had a 21-yard touchdown run called back due to a holding call. Blue remains a viable option in the offense especially how the Texans want to play the game during their win streak.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 91 - 0 (12 targets) - When the targets head his way, DeAndre Hopkins
continues to make plays. Hopkins caught passes for 29 and 24 yards to open up the offense in the 1st quarter. Hopkins also had a nice in route where Watson waited for him to real and hit him for 17 yard gain to keep the chains moving. There were some questionable non-calls on Hopkins the refs left defenders get away with not letting him get into routes that caused some errant passes from Watson.
WR DeAndre Carter
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 32 - 0 (6 targets) - With Keke Coutee
down for the game, the Texans turned to DeAndre Carter
to fill in at the slot position. Carter had 6 targets and caught all of them for 32 yards. They used Carter in the smoke screen game where he had four opportunities with just that play. He had a 11, 7, 2 and a no gain in this chances. The 11 yard gain looked like it could have been more if he kept his eyes up and went to where there was open field. Carter also had a key 8 yard reception in the middle of the filed to pick up a key first down late in the game. The one thing plaguing Carter is that he is having trouble holding onto the football, he had a fumble on a reception that bounced out of bounds.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (5 targets) - The Texans might get caught up on getting the ball to Hopkins but they are doing a better job on getting Demaryius Thomas
involved in the offense. Thomas had reception for 15, 9 and 7. The 15-yard gain was on a good in-route deep in the middle of the field and his route opened up a nice window for Watson to hit him. There is still work to be done but they are working to keep Thomas involved in the offense.
TE Jordan Thomas
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 1 (3 targets) - The young tight end shows signs of being a big play maker for the tight end position and then he will disappear at times. This week, Thomas was able to get back into the end zone with a 11 yard touchdown reception. Thomas was able to run a good out route and get away from a defender holding him in coverage. He also caught a check down pass for 15 yards filling the void where the defender was blitzing from. Thomas continued to evolve was a pass catcher which is a positive for Watson.
Carolina Panthers 17, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24
What you need to know
- It proved to be the offense and not, as it has been recently on the losing streak, the defense that let Carolina down against Tampa Bay. Cam Newton
was under duress early and often, with the offensive line at times overwhelmed by the Tampa front seven. His accuracy suffered as a result, with his mechanics soon following suit. His four interceptions occurred primarily because of the pressure being exerted, with Newton making poor decisions to throw the ball in harm's way. The bigger concern may be Newton's shoulder, which appeared to be affecting the velocity on his throws as the game wore on. Christian McCaffrey
was bottled up on occasion, but managed to spring loose for a couple of big runs to boost his numbers. Among the receiving corps, it was Curtis Samuel
who provided the surest set of hands for Newton after Greg Olsen
was forced out of the game by injury. Olsen's replacement, rookie tight end Ian Thomas
, performed well in relief and will be forced into a larger role going forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Desean Jackson sat with a hand injury. Receiver Bobo Wilson
was promoted from the practice squad in his absence. Chris Godwin
shined and Adam Humphries
continues to show great chemistry with Winston. Andrew Adams picked Cam Newton
off once in the 1st quarter and twice in the 4th. Javien Elliot also intercepted Newton and returned it 50 yards in the 2nd quarter. Peyton Barber
lost a fumble at the goal line in the 2nd quarter. Jameis Winston
did not turn the ball over while tossing two touchdowns and leading the team in rushing. Jacquizz Rodgers
was active but was not seen on offense.
QB Cam Newton
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 41 - 300 - 2 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 6 - 33 - 0 - An off-colour performance from Cam Newton
put the Panthers offense in a hole that they never climbed out of. The Bucs pass rush was intense and relentless throughout, and it appeared to affect every aspect of Newton's throwing motion. His mechanics suffered at times and he often failed to step into throws, including on a horrendous high pass to Devin Funchess
on a crucial fourth down late in the game. The offensive line failed to pick up blitzers at times and often put Newton in bad situations, forcing quick throws. His first of four interceptions came on a target intended for D.J. Moore
, with the low pass over the middle impressively scooped by a Tampa Bay defender. Newton responded with an excellent drive culminating in a red zone touchdown pass in the right flat to Christian McCaffrey
, who dove for the pylon to seal the deal. Penalties and sacks killed a lot of drives, so Newton often how to operate from less-than-ideal platforms. His second pick came on a slant pass intended for Moore, but Newton failed to see a defender dropping into the path of the route. It was easily picked off. Newton bounced back with a zipped pass to Devin Funchess
on a slant in the red zone, placing the ball behind the receiver to lead him away from an oncoming defender. Eventually the dam burst for Newton, however, and he threw two more pressure-induced interceptions; the first came on a ball that hung up on the sideline after getting hit, the second came on a lofted pass down the middle intended for Curtis Samuel
. Newton was provided opportunities to tie the game late on, but the final nail in the coffin came on a fourth down incomplete pass intended for Devin Funchess
. The receiver was wide open down the seam on the play, but Newton fired too high as his mechanics disintegrated at the crucial moment.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 106 - 0, Rec: 9 - 55 - 1 (10 targets) - The Bucs remained disciplined defensively and stymied the Carolina rushing attack early. It didn't take long for Christian McCaffrey
to break out, however, and it came off left guard after an excellent block. McCaffrey darted up the left sideline and was tripped up inside the 10-yard line. The very next play saw McCaffrey sprint out to the right flat, catch a zipped Cam Newton
pass and dive for the pylon and the Panthers' opening touchdown of the game. McCaffrey remained a safety blanket for his quarterback as the Panthers played from behind on the scoreboard. He absorbed massive shots from lurking Bucs defenders and did more damage as a receiver than as a runner. McCaffrey and the offense were only able to bite off small chunks of yardage in the second half for the most part.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 6 - 88 - 0 (11 targets) - Second-year pro Curtis Samuel
played an inspired game against the Buccaneers and staked a claim for a larger role than he currently boasts. After an early target hit the turf, Samuel sprung into life and began to test the Bucs downfield. An end zone target looked to be a touchdown, but the ball hung up for a second too long and the cornerback in coverage batted it down before it could meet Samuel's waiting hands. A target on a post route was broken up by the safety later in the half. Samuel continued to run excellent routes and got open routinely, linking well with Cam Newton
in the no-huddle at the start of the second half. Samuel made acrobatic sideline catches and also contributed as a runner in a solid performance.
WR D.J. Moore
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 21 - 0, Rec: 4 - 44 - 0 (8 targets) - D.J. Moore
injected some spirit and life into an at-times listless Carolina offense. Moore was utilised as a satellite player on option looks, targeted on swing patterns into the flat both on passes and pitches by Cam Newton
. His first target resulted in an interception, but the mistake was on Newton, who threw into traffic and too low for Moore to haul in. Moore showed excellent strength after the catch to battle for extra yards and became a favourite target early in the second half on consecutive plays, one of which was an impressive sideline catch. Moore repeated the feat later, unbelievably dragging both feet in bounds on the sideline. As a downfield receiver, Moore couldn't quite get into the contest and was primarily used as a short to intermediate option.
WR Jarius Wright
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 44 - 0 (3 targets) - Slot maestro Jarius Wright
assumed a larger role when Greg Olsen
left the game, with his biggest contribution coming on a rare catch-and-run jaunt that went for 33 yards. Wright made the first tackler miss before scooting out to the sideline, cleverly cutting back inside when the space presented itself. Wright was the recipient of one more pass that went for a short gain.
WR Devin Funchess
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 1 (3 targets) - Returning from injury, Devin Funchess
played fewer than half the snaps and contributed very little. A penalty for offensive holding called back a would-be touchdown for Funchess after he came back to his scrambling quarterback and boxed out a defender nicely in the end zone. Funchess got another opportunity in the second half and cashed in, adjusting nicely for a rocket pass on a slant route in the red zone. A late target on fourth down that could have been crucial to a potential game-tying score soared well over Funchess' head, a poor miss from his quarterback.
TE Ian Thomas
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 46 - 0 (5 targets) - The rookie tight end must have endeared himself to his quarterback in his limited action, snagging a pair of sideline catches - one of which displayed excellent body control as he contorted at the catch point - to aid the comeback effort. Thomas' athleticism was on full display throughout, but he was generally passed over by Cam Newton
for downfield targets with the game out of hand.
TE Greg Olsen
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets) - The luckless veteran Greg Olsen
's foot injury came back to haunt him again against Tampa Bay, with a ruptured plantar fascia set to rule him out for the season. On the field, Olsen only caught one pass - a sideline dart from Cam Newton
- and earlier drew a pass interference penalty on a benign target between the hashes. Olsen left the game in the second quarter and did not return.
QB Jameis Winston
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 30 - 249 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 48 - 0 - Winston did not turn the ball over for the second week in a row while finding the end zone twice. He led the offense to the end zone on the opening drive, completing several passes to Adam Humphries
, including a short touchdown pass to cap the drive. Winston scrambled to the left while Humphries ran a shallow crossing route from the other side of the formation on the score. Winston found Chris Godwin
for his second touchdown at the end of the 1st half. Winston once again scrambled out of the pocket in the face of pressure and found Godwin with a jump ball in the back right corner of the end zone. Winston's longest play of the day was a 48 yard connection to Godwin on a deep post route. Winston spread the ball around with 9 targets to Humphries and 6 each to Evans, Godwin, and Brate.
Winston also led the team in rushing with 48 yards. He pulled the ball down and ran for 18 yards in the 1st quarter, taking it down to the Carolina 6 yard line. Winston had a 17 yard scramble early in the 4th quarter. He was sacked four times, including two big sacks on consecutive plays late in the 2nd quarter.
RB Peyton Barber
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 45 - 1 (1 targets) - Barber saved his day with a 1 yard touchdown, but didn't do much else in week 13. He found a big hole in the middle of the defense for a 17 yard run on the first drive of the game. Barber lost the ball while crossing the goal line on a questionable call in the 2nd quarter. Carolina recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback. Barber had a run of 20+ yards called back for a holding penalty on the offensive line in the 3rd quarter. He scored an easy 1 yard conversion in the 3rd quarter after Tampa Bay drew a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone.
Barber was targeted once in the 1st quarter on a checkdown pass, but it was well defended by Luke Kuechly
RB Ronald Jones II
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 2 - 0 - Jones returned from a hamstring injury that had sidelined him for several weeks. He played sparingly in relief of Peyton Barber
. Jones was featured briefly during a 2nd quarter drive, but didn't do much with his 4 carries. He was not targeted in the passing game.
WR Adam Humphries
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 61 - 1 (9 targets) - Humphries led the team with 9 targets, most of them the short variety. He lined up in the slot and caught an out route on the first offensive play of the game, turning up the right sideline for an 11 yard gain. Winston hit him a couple of plays later with the same play to the opposite side of the formation. Humphries capped the drive with a touchdown(his 3rd week in a row finding the end zone) as Winston found him out of the slot on a shallow crossing route from the Carolina 6 yard line. Humphries caught a curl route and shook a couple of defenders to convert 3rd down early in the 2nd quarter. Winston hung Humphries out to drive with a high pass on a crossing route in the 3rd quarter, but the receiver bounced back up after taking a big shot while extending for the ball. Humphries caught a swing route from the left slot for a short gain on his last reception in the 3rd. He had another big gain called back because of a holding penalty later in the 4th quarter.
Humphries muffed a punt return in the 2nd quarter, but was able to recover the ball.
WR Chris Godwin
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 101 - 1 (6 targets) - Godwin took advantage of Desean Jackson's absence with several big plays and a team-high 101 yards. He worked primarily outside opposite Evans with Humphries in the slot. Godwin hauled in a jump ball over his defender on the first drive of the game, converting 3rd and short. Godwin caught a deep post route on play action early in the 2nd quarter and got loose in the secondary for a 48 yard catch and run, the longest passing play of the game. Godwin made an athletic catch for a touchdown at the end of the 1st half. He lined up wide right of the formation and worked his way open in the back of the end zone while Winston bought time with his feet. Godwin converted 3rd and long with an 18 yard reception on a deep out route halfway through the 3rd.
WR Mike Evans
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 0 (6 targets) - Evans had a slow game as he tied with Godwin and Brate for second most targets(6) behind Humphries' team-leading 9 looks. Evans caught a short curl route late in the 1st to start his day. Winston found him again on a short out route early in the 2nd quarter. Evans picked up 20 yards(his longest play of the day) on a deep post in the 2nd quarter. He was slow to get up after the diving catch and disappeared for a few plays, but returned to catch a deep crossing route just before halftime. Evans drew a big pass interference penalty early in the 3rd quarter on a deep ball down the right sideline. Evans himself was flagged for pass interference later in the 4th quarter on a narrowly missed connection down the left sideline.
WR Justin Watson
, 7 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Watson played sparingly on offense. His only target was tipped at the line of scrimmage in the 4th quarter.
TE Cameron Brate
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (6 targets) - Brate very nearly scored on the first drive of the game, but he couldn't hold on to a short pass as he was caught up between three defenders. Winston and Brate barely missed a long connection on a deep post route late in the 2nd quarter. Brate sniffed the goal line at the end of the 1st half when he caught an out route and was tackled on Carolina's 3 yard line. Brate's biggest gain of the day came on an 18 yard connection up the left seam at the end of the 3rd quarter.
TE Alan Cross
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Cross worked as a blocking back and backup tight end. He picked up a few yards on his only target early in the 2nd half.
Indianapolis Colts 0, Jacksonville Jaguars 6
What you need to know
- The Colts offense was shut out and regressed to the form they showed while they struggled early in the season. The Jaguars defensive line won the battle against the Colts offensive line. Andrew Luck
seemed to be just a little bit off a number of throws especially downfield. At the same time receivers were failing to secure catchable passes. The Colts almost entirely abandoned the running game in the second half. The Colts were stopped on 4th and 1 three times and had a number of penalties. TY Hilton and Eric Ebron
were the Colts most productive players. But their production was more a product of volume than explosive plays or efficiency. With their pass heavy approach the Colts turned to Nyheim Hines
who out snapped Marlon Mack
- This was a very similar game to the Jaguars' 2017 Week 17 matchup against the Titans. The main difference is that Indianapolis got greedy, going 0-3 on fourth down within field goal range. The 2017 Jaguars defense showed up for the first time since September, which was a fairly predictable outcome. Bortles was a wet blanket for both sides of the ball, the locker room had been lost, and the team was playing as if they knew they were going to lose. Putting Kessler in made the rest of the team believe they could win again, even with a no-show performance from the offense.
QB Andrew Luck
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 52 - 248 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0 - Andrew Luck
played one his worst games of the season against the Jaguars. Luck was simply a little off. The absence of Jack Doyle
may be a bigger deal than originally thought. Doyle helps in pass protection, is valuable as a blocker in the run game, and makes plays in the passing game. Without Doyle the Jaguars matched Hilton with Ramsey while keying on the run game and Eric Ebron
. The Colts offense struggled to execute, sustain drives, avoid penalties, and create explosive plays. Luck was pressured and intercepted on his first pass attempt. Luck targeted Ebron downfield and failed to see DJ Hayden underneath who made a nice play on the ball. The Colts moved the ball down the field methodically thanks in large part to penalties by the Jaguars. Luck connected twice with TY Hilton for 3rd down conversions and the Colts drove all the way down to the Jaguars 1 yard line. On 4th and goal from the 1 Luck's pass to Wilkins was stopped for no gain. On the ensuing possession the Colts went for it on 4th and 1 and Eric Ebron
fumbled and was dropped for a loss. Luck and his targets were just off on several throws downfield. Luck had 3 near completions to Hilton downfield, 2 to Dontrelle Inman
, and a near miss targeting Eric Ebron
. Luck could have made better throws but his receivers did have the opportunity to catch the passes. Luck had a 35 yard completion to Pascal who made a physical play to secure the catch negated by a holding penalty. The Colts again went for it on 4th and 1 and Luck was sacked by nearly immediate pressure.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 5 - 0, Rec: 9 - 50 - 0 (9 targets) - Nyheim Hines
led the Colts backfield in snaps and touches. Hines was a beneficiary of the Colts going to a pass heavy attack and essentially abandoning the running game. Hines made most of his catches underneath with minimal opportunity to pick up yards after catch. Hines made his first catch on 3rd and 3 for 4 yards. Hines lined up at wide receiver and ran a curl for a gain of 10. Hines made a nice move to get up field and took a screen pass for 11 yards.
RB Marlon Mack
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 27 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Marlon Mack
saw limited work in his return from a concussion. Mack found some success on his first half carries. Mack failed to convert a short yardage pitch play that may have contributed to his limited workload. Mack appeared hesitant to accelerate into contact to pick up the necessary yardage. Mack made his only catch underneath for 6 yards. Hines could take over as the lead back but I'd expect Mack to see more carries going forward.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 77 - 0 (13 targets) - TY Hilton had an up and down game in a tough matchup. Hilton won and lost some reps against Jalen Ramsey. Hilton could have had a significantly bigger game and wasn't able to get open deep downfield but he played well. Hilton had his first target go through his arms as he went low trying to secure a potential 17 yard catch. Hilton converted a 3rd and 7 with a nice catch for 7 yards. Hilton took advantage of a matchup against a linebacker and picked up 8 yards to convert another 3rd and 7. Hilton made a 7 yard catch to convert another 3rd down with Jalen Ramsey in coverage. Hilton had a potential 14 yard reception knocked out of his hands by Ramsey. Hilton picked up 10 yards and his 4th 3rd down conversion of the game running a crossing route with DJ Hayden in coverage. Hilton took a screen pass for 9 yards on 3rd and long. Hilton made a nice contested 16 yard catch running a comeback with Ramsey contesting. Hilton ran a comeback route from the slot for 11 yards. Hilton made a 10 yard catch running another comeback in front of AJ Bouye.
WR Dontrelle Inman
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (6 targets) - Dontrelle Inman
dropped what would have been a great catch over the middle. Inman gained 8 yards running a comeback route out wide. Inman ran an in route for 6 yards.
TE Eric Ebron
, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -9 - 0, Rec: 10 - 81 - 0 (16 targets) - Eric Ebron
did most of his damage as an underneath receiver and saw a lot of attention from Jaguars defenders. Ebron saw his second target fall incomplete with Taushan Gipson playing physical coverage. Ebron made his first catch running a curl over the middle for 10 yards. A few plays later Ebron picked up 6 more again running a curl. Eric Ebron
took a jet sweep hand off on 4th and 1 and was dropped for a 1 yard loss and fumbled on the play. Ebron made a catch in the flat and made a nice move after catch for 8 yards. Ebron made two underneath catches on consecutive plays for 11 yards. Ebron picked up 9 yards on a check down. Ebron was stopped after a 6 yard gain on 3rd and 7 running a crossing route. Ebron made a 20 yard catch running a out route.
QB Cody Kessler
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 24 - 150 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 28 - 0 - Let's be clear that Cody Kessler
is not good and not the answer. However, his day is about what you'd hope for in a win and something Bortles hasn't been able to provide in months. He didn't turn the ball over and he made a few key third down conversions. The offensive line is in shambles, but he mostly didn't panic or sack himself. He used his legs effectively. 6 points is a subpar performance for an NFL offense, but it was enough to win this game. He didn't actively lose the game for them, which is what they had been getting from the quarterback position for the last two months. His third down conversion to Dede Westbrook
is an example of a difficult but makeable play that they simply haven't gotten out of the quarterback position since September.
RB T.J. Yeldon
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 16 - 0, Rec: 7 - 49 - 0 (8 targets) - Yeldon got the start in this game and led the team in both receptions and receiving yards. With Fournette out of the picture, he saw his workload increase again and was extremely efficient with his touches. He has done everything the Jaguars could have asked him this year, and he will honestly be a key loss for them this offseason.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 36 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - TJ Yeldon got the start, but the Jaguars tried to run a fair amount of their offense through Hyde. He fumbled on the third play of the game. The dropoff from Leonard Fournette
to Hyde was noticeable in this game. They tried mostly slamming him up inside from heavier formations, and the Colts defense stopped it easily.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - Westbrook was mostly a non-factor in this game. He was not targeted until halfway through the second quarter and didn't record a reception until the third. He also had what qualified as a ‘carry’ but was really a lateral/backwards pass that lost a yard and also holding was called on the play. Like Moncrief, he also had a big third down conversion that helped to lead to one of Jacksonville's two field goals. He ran a Stick route and converted it to an Out once he saw Kessler pressured and scrambling.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (4 targets) - Moncrief led the Jacksonville receivers in yards and catches. He had a huge 3rd and 12 conversion in the second quarter on a catch-and-run Shallow Cross that went for 22 yards which helped led to one of Jacksonville's two scoring drives of the day.
WR Keelan Cole
, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - After three straight games without a catch, Cole finally got on the board with 2 for 16 in this game. He remains a non-factor in the offense.
Kansas City Chiefs 40, Oakland Raiders 33
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders, 40-33 to improve their record to 10-3 on the season. Patrick Mahomes
completed 23 of 38 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing nine times for 52 yards. Spencer Ware
, who stepped into the starting role after the Chiefs released Kareem Hunt
, rushed 14 times for 47 yards and a touchdown, and caught one pass for five yards. Tyreek Hill
had a very disappointing day, catching only pass for 13 yards. Chris Conley
fared slightly better, catching three passes for 25 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Travis Kelce
was the star of the day for the Chiefs, catching 12 passes for 168 yards and two touchdown.
- -The Raiders showed some fight, battling back from a big deficit to make it close in the fourth quarter. They might have won but for each of their three running backs losing fumbles.
’s fumble was costly but he looked extremely explosive and probably earned more carries going forward.
and Jordy Nelson
were the top two targets in the Raiders passing offense.
saw way fewer targets but was able to score a short touchdown on a jump ball.
QB Patrick Mahomes
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 38 - 295 - 4 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 9 - 52 - 0 - Patrick Mahomes
completed 23 of 38 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing nine times for 52 yards. Mahomes was not perfect on the day, as he and Hill had a lot of trouble finding their timing and Mahomes seemed a little eager in trying to create plays in the first half. With that said, he did a great job of spreading the ball out to seven different receivers, including 10 completions for 114 yards and two touchdowns to the likes Demetrius Harris
, Demarcus Robinson
, Damien Williams
, Chris Conley
and Spencer Ware
. With Kareem Hunt
now off the team and on the commissioners exempt list, the Chiefs offense will depend even more on Mahomes ability to throw the ball and create the type of big plays that Hunt was known for the last two seasons. Mahomes first touchdown pass came with the Chiefs facing a first and goal at the Raiders three yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center and fake the handoff to Ware, before rolling out to his right and hitting Kelce, who had dusted his defender with a sick in-out route where he pivoted on the goal line and reversed field to the right side of the end zone. Mahomes second touchdown pass came with the Chiefs on the Raiders six yard line, with 12 seconds to go in the first half. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and immediately rolled to his right on a designed play to get him outside the pocket. The play called for Kelce to run a delayed out-route, where Hill ran an in-route in front of him and also acted as sort of a pick to give Kelce room on the goal line. Mahomes threw the ball where only Kelce could get it, low and outside, and Kelce made a fantastic catch on his fingertips while managing to roll inside the end zone to put the Chiefs up 19-7 just before the half. Mahomes third touchdown pass off the day came on a first and 10 from the Raiders 13 yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center and facing pressure from the Raiders pass rush, broke the pocket and rolled out to his right. While on the run, Mahomes threw a dart across his body back to the middle of the field where Harris was able to secure the touchdown catch with two Raiders defenders draped all over him. Mahomes final touchdown pass came with the Chiefs facing a third and goal at the Raiders two yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun, and Hill again ran a rub route to the outside, which acted as a pick, allowing Conley to duck inside of him with his route and be wide open for the touchdown pass from Mahomes.
RB Spencer Ware
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 47 - 1, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Spencer Ware
rushed 14 times for 47 yards and a touchdown, while also catching one pass on one target for five yards. Ware stepped into the starting role after Hunt was released by the Chiefs this week. Ware has had some experience in the lead role prior to Hunt being drafted, so this isn’t exactly new territory for him. While he is a versatile back, who can excel in all three phases (rushing, passing, red zone) of the Chiefs offense, he does lack the explosive ability of Hunt, which is going to be a harsh reality for an offense that has depended on big plays this season. Ware was serviceable in this game, but did not do much to separate himself from back up Damien Williams
. In fact, Williams averaged 7.6 yards carry (five rushes for 38 yards) and caught two passes for seven yards, to Ware’s one catch, so it would be not a stretch to see Williams more involved going forward. Ware’s touchdown run came with the Chiefs facing a fourth and goal from the Oakland one yard line. Mahomes was off the field, and Ware lined up as the quarterback in the Chiefs version of the Wildcat, with Hill and Kelce flanked on both sides of him. Ware took the direct snap, faked the handoff to Hill and then rushed up the middle for the touchdown, breaking through a wall of Raiders defenders on his way into the end zone.
WR Chris Conley
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 1 (7 targets) - Chris Conley
caught three passes for 25 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against the Raiders on Sunday. With Sammy Watkins
still nursing an injury, and Hunt now out of the picture, Conley is on the radar as an every week flex option. Conley has seen 15 targets in his last two games, and turned that into 10 catches for 99 yards and three touchdowns. At 6’3, Conley gives the Chiefs an added dimension in the red zone, and they have been running plays specifically for him around the goal line. Conley’s touchdown catch came with the Chiefs facing a third and goal at the Raiders two yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun, and Hill, who was lined up in the slot, immediately ducked underneath the coverage and ran to the left flat. Hill’s route acted as a pick, allowing Conley to duck inside of him and be left wide open in the endzone for an easy touchdown catch.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 37 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (6 targets) - Tyreek Hill
caught one pass for 13 yards on six targets, while also rushing two times for 37 yards. Hill had his worst game of the season, failing to reach 50 yards for the first time all year. It was a frustrating game for Hill, as the plays were there for him to have a big day. He dropped a long touchdown pass from Mahomes that should have been an easy 50+ yard score, and then with Hill behind the Oakland secondary again, Mahomes underthrew him and Hill was unable to adjust to the ball and come down with the touchdown. Those two plays alone would have put Hill over 100+ yards with two touchdowns, and those are the type of plays Hill has made all season long. The Chiefs have a tough matchup against the Ravens this week, but Hill remains a #1 receiver, especially with Kansas City having to rely on the passing game more.
TE Travis Kelce
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 12 - 168 - 2 (13 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught 12 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets in the Chiefs win over the Raiders on Sunday. Quite simply, Kelce was a force to be reckoned with, and the Raiders had no answer for him. I don’t think there is any doubt that Kelce is the best route-running tight end in the league, but that may be selling him short, as he is one of the best route-runners period. His first touchdown catch was a great example of how well he is able to sell his routes. With the Chiefs at the Raiders three yard line, Mahomes took the snap under center and fake the handoff to Ware, before rolling out to his right. Kelce was lined up out wide to the right, came in motion closer to the slot and then ran a slick route where he cut inside at the goal line, and then after one step pivoted and ran an out-route to the right side of the end zone. Mahomes delivered the ball to Kelce right at the goal line and he was able to cross into the end zone for an easy touchdown. His defender had no way of stopping the play, it was executed perfectly by Kelce. Kelce’s second touchdown catch came with the Chiefs on the Raiders six yard line, with 12 seconds to go in the first half. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and immediately rolled to his right on a designed play to get him outside the pocket. The play called for Kelce to run a delayed out-route, where Hill ran an in-route in front of him and also acted as sort of a pick to give Kelce room on the goal line. Mahomes threw the ball where only Kelce could get it, low and outside, and Kelce made a fantastic catch on his fingertips while managing to roll inside the end zone to put the Chiefs up 19-7 just before the half. It was a fantastic catch on Kelce’s end, and it displayed why he is the most complete tight end in the game today. Opposing defenses that try to sell out and stop Hill deep down the field, have to contend with Kelce between the hash marks, and as he proved in this game, that is a recipe for disaster as Kelce cannot be guarded one on one. Cornerbacks don’t have the size to contend with his catch radius, and he is too fast/quick for linebackers. Look for Kelce to continue to his dominant play as the Chiefs face off against a tough Ravens defense in week 15.
QB Derek Carr
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 38 - 285 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0 - Carr did a tremendous job maneuvering in the pocket to buy time and threw a dart to Marcell Ateman
in the back of the end zone for what was almost a 33-yard touchdown, but Ateman couldn’t control it as he hit the ground. A pass attempt to Seth Roberts
in the end zone drew a pass interference penalty to set up a short rushing touchdown. Carr hooked up with Jared Cook
for a number of long gains, including a 24-yard touchdown. On the play, Carr pump-faked right to hold the safety and then fired it into the back of the end zone to Cook. Carr also hooked up with his other tight end, Lee Smith
, for a 1-yard touchdown pass off of play action. He did a good job avoiding pressure just enough to loft it to Smith, who was uncovered. Carr got hot in the second half and pulled the Raiders back to within three points, 33-30, after tossing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Marcell Ateman
RB Doug Martin
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 61 - 1, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - On the opening possession, Martin burst through the line for a 6-yard gain on 4th-and-1 but the play got called back due to holding and the Raiders were forced to punt. The next drive ended when Martin had the ball punched out after a short gain and the Chiefs recovered. Martin was mostly effective on short yardage plays. He was able to maintain his balance and find enough room to pick up a few 3rd-and-short runs. After an end zone interference penalty set the Raiders up with 1st-and-goal at the one-yard line, Martin got back-to-back carries. He was stacked up just short on the first attempt but burrowed through a small hole for the 1-yard touchdown on the next play. Aside from a 17-yard run in the fourth quarter when the Raiders were trailing by three scores, he wasn’t able to bite off any big chunks. It was a workman-like performance without any highlights but Martin kept the chains moving when he had to.
RB Jalen Richard
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 95 - 0, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - Richard picked up eight on a 3rd-and-7 swing pass, pushing through a pair of defenders to gain the final two yards and pick up the first down. It looked like Richard was going to be dropped in the backfield for a loss, but he was able to break a tackle and burst free for a 30-yard gain. Richard ripped off a 23-yard gain on his next carry, showing his elite burst as he zoomed through a small hole off of right tackle. He had a 10-yard carry on the next play brought back due to an illegal shift. Richard got a carry on a two-point conversion attempt but was dropped just shy of the goal line. Richard ripped off another spectacular run for a 17-yard gain, weaving through defenders but had the ball poked out at the end. The Chiefs recovered and it was a back-breaking play for Oakland. Richard has had issues holding onto the ball throughout his whole career and it seems to become an especially big problem just when he gets more carries than normal. He looks spectacular in flashes but if he can’t figure out the fumbling issue, it is hard to blame his coaches for not giving him more opportunities. To their credit, the coaching staff stuck with him after the fumble and he rewarded them with another spectacular run on a 16-yard gain down to the Chiefs 3-yard line on which he spun through an attempted tackle and weaved his way close to the end zone.
RB DeAndre Washington
, 6 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0 - Washington got his first carry late in the first half and promptly fumbled it. He didn’t play much after that, logging just three touches on the day.
WR Jordy Nelson
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 97 - 0 (11 targets) - Nelson grabbed a back-shoulder fade for a 24-yard gain. Nelson did a great job twisting through a tackle and extending the ball to barely pick up a first down on a 3rd-and-3. Nelson had a short catch on a pick play called back to due to offensive pass interference. Nelson did most of his damage on quick passes and underneath routes. He was the go-to guy on shorter passes. He did get some looks downfield as well, with a 20-yard catch along the sideline on a fade route.
WR Seth Roberts
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (6 targets) - Roberts caught a slant at a full sprint on 3rd-and-13 and was able to accelerate and pick up 16 before being dragged down. Roberts drew a pass interference call in the end zone to convert another third down later in the same drive and set up the first touchdown of the game.
WR Marcell Ateman
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 1 (4 targets) - Ateman almost brought in a 33-yard touchdown catch from Carr on a scramble drill play where Carr bought time maneuvering in the pocket and pointed to Ateman where he wanted him to go. Ateman went up and had both hands on it and looked like he was able to toe tap along the back line of the end zone, but wasn’t able to control the ball to the ground. Ateman caught a back-shoulder fade for a 9-yard touchdown. He got away with a push off against the much smaller cornerback and then boxed him out to make the catch.
TE Jared Cook
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 100 - 1 (8 targets) - Cook caught a 12-yard pass over the middle. He powered through a couple of defenders to pick up a few extra yards at the end. Cook showed tremendous hands, extending high while in full stride to pull in a fast ball from Carr along the sideline and then turning it up for a 29-yard gain. Cook picked up 20 yards on a catch down the right sideline, hurdling the first defender and stiff-arming the second to pick up a few extra yards at the end of the play. Cook picked up another big chunk gain on a 24-yard touchdown pass. He lined up in the slot and ran straight down the seam, running away from the linebacker in coverage to get wide open in the center of the end zone.
Chicago Bears 27, New York Giants 30
What you need to know
- The Bears were plagued with turnovers in this game as they struggled to find consistency from drive to drive as they had 9 of their 15 drives end with either a three and out or a turnover. The passing game was a two-man game this week as 23 of the team's 39 targets went to Tarik Cohen
or Allen Robinson
. The game plan was to get Tarik Cohen
the ball out of the backfield and out of the slot this week and let him utilize his speed. This was a very similar game plan last week with Daniel as the goal was to get the ball out of his hands quickly if his initial read was not there. The rushing attack for the Bears showed some life as the offensive line created holes for both Jordan Howard
and Tarik Cohen
to run through. The Bears also utilized Akiem Hicks as a fullback for a rushing touchdown in this one.
New York Giants
- - The Giants rushing attack has improved dramatically since the beginning of the season and a lot of credit has to go to the offensive line. Barkley has been incredible too but the line has definitely opened up more holes and improved their blocking as a unit.
- The pass blocking and Manning remains a concern however. Manning looked rushed and took a few bad sacks that hurt the Giants.
- The passing game had a general down week but some of this was due to the success with Barkley on the ground as the Giants maintained a solid lead for most of the second half.
QB Chase Daniel
, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 39 - 285 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0 - This game was very similar to the Detroit game and what we can largely expect every time Chase Daniel
is in the game. He's a limited quarterback who is going to get the ball out of his hands quickly which is exactly what they did this week. Daniel would look at Allen Robinson
and if it did not look like Robinson would get open he would check it down to Tarik Cohen
. This ultimately led to both of his interceptions as he quickly looked to check down and did not see Alec Ogletree both times which caused two interceptions for the Giants. Daniel did throw a passing touchdown to tight end Adam Shaheen
on a beautifully executed play action play.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 42 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 1 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 30 - 0, Rec: 12 - 156 - 0 (14 targets) - The Bears exploited the Giants linebacking group which has struggled mightily in covering running backs out of the backfield this season. Whether it was Landon Collins or Grant Haley, the Giants did not have an answer for Cohen out of the backfield as he was often the second look for Chase Daniel
and he was seemingly open on every play. Cohen showed his ball skill ability on a 46-yard wheel route in which the ball was under-thrown but Cohen was able to come back to it and make a tremendous catch. The wheel route was the play of the day for Cohen as he was able to burn Grant Haley for 32 yards, and then on 4th down on the final drive of the day was able to run past Landon Collins again for a 23-yard completion that set up the tie. Cohen showed off his arm at the end of the game on a reverse wide receiver pass where Cohen was lined up out of the slot and Cohen threw the ball for one-yard for the touchdown to Anthony Miller
RB Jordan Howard
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 76 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - The Bears went with some unique blocking schemes to get their run game going this week. This included a play in the first quarter in which left tackle Charles Leno pulled to the right sealed the edge as Jordan Howard
ran off tackle following Leno for a 22-yard gain. The offensive line played very well in this game giving Howard room to run which he is not going to create his own lanes or make defenders miss so it is critical that the offensive line plays to their ability to get the running game going as the Bears head into the playoffs.
WR Allen Robinson
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 79 - 0 (9 targets) - Robinson had to work hard for his 79 yards this week as B.W. Webb had Robinson contained for a large majority of this game. Robinson's key catch in this game was a 30-yard reception on a deep fade route in which the ball was thrown on the inside of B.W. Webb so Robinson had to go up and catch the ball on Webb's helmet. Robinson was the first read almost every play for the Bears this week as he is most weeks, but the Giants did a good job containing him, for the most part, this week.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 17 - 0 (7 targets) - This was largely a game that Taylor Gabriel
wanted to forget. Gabriel was largely a non-factor and when he was a factor it was due to a late fumble in the fourth quarter that ultimately allowed the Giants to kick a field goal to make the game a 10 point game with just 2 minutes left. Gabriel was targeted 7 times in this game but wasn't able to get on the same page with Daniel in this game.
TE Trey Burton
, 67 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Burton once again was a non-factor for the Bears this week as he saw just one target. He still was on the field for 82% of the plays, but this week Chase Daniel
was not looking past his third read and at this point, Burton is not a primary receiver in this offense.
QB Eli Manning
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 35 - 170 - 1 TD / 1 INT - Eli Manning
wasn't very productive on Sunday against the Bears and struggled throughout to keep the Giants in this game despite a lot of help from his defense and running game. Manning started off the game with a questionable decision to fire a pass deep to Beckham who was double covered. The defense doubled Beckham a lot and the Giants passing game struggled to move the ball when he wasn't involved regularly. Manning had a poor interception, throwing to a spot on an in breaking pattern but the defensive back read the play and stepped in front to pick it off. A lot of balls were batted down at the line or incomplete due to tight coverage, the bears secondary played very well.
Manning was almost picked off again on a deep crossing middle route as the defender undercut it but they couldn't quite catch it. The Giants got a pass interference call on a high endzone pass to Beckham which set them up well for a touchdown. Manning faced a heavy rush on a 4th down redzone call but saw Beckham unravel and became wide open as he heaved a high pass in the direction for the easy score. The Giants had the lead at this point and decided to rely heavily on Barkley/ the running game to try and close out the game. Manning really struggled to close this game out with penalties/sacks but the Giants found a way eventually.
RB Saquon Barkley
, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 125 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - Saquon Barkley
had a very strong performance on Sunday and has really brought reliability this Giants rushing attack. Barkley kept the Giants moving forward throughout, picked up key first downs and provided a lot of relief to his quarterback who wasn't having the strongest performances himself. Barkley was more involved in the ground game and less in the passing game this week, which was helped by the fact that the Giants held the lead for most of the second half against the Bears. His offensive line was playing very well in terms of run blocking and they have picked it up in recent weeks as the line has improved as a unit. Barkley got several toss/short pitch balls on the ground and he executed these very well. He was a very patient runner, allowing his blocks to be set up before powering through the gap in the defense. Barkley chose the correct gap, hit it at right moment and then allowed his talent to take over for the biggest possible gain. His agility and strength is evident, allowing him to weave between defenders but also delivering tough stiff arms when required to get an extra yard. Barkley was unfortunate not to get into the endzone as the Giants tried him several times in goal situations but the Bears defense stiffened up. Regardless, he was a constant positive for the Giants and is a challenge to bring down on every down where he gets the ball.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - Sterling Shepard
was quiet in this game as the Giants struggled to pass the ball effectively and relied heavily on the running game. Shepard got several first downs with short routes like slants/in/out over the
middle to keep the chains moving but there wasn't a lot of targets going his direction. Shepard did have an incredible chance to score a long touchdown in overtime. Manning floated a deep pass into the endzone and Shepard dove for it but just couldn't quite secure the ball as he went to the ground. This was his biggest chance to score on Sunday and he really didn't contribute much else.
WR Odell Beckham
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 49 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 3 - 35 - 1 (9 targets) - Odell Beckham
was targetted a decent amount in this game but only managed three catches for a modest recieving total. Manning was forcing the ball into Beckham's direction a lot but these passes were ill-advised on many occasions as the Bears frequently double covered the star reciever. Beckham was bumped at the line often and struggled to get involved down the field. Luckily, for the Giants and fantasy owners he found another way to get involved.
Beckham got his hands on the ball from a reverse, then bought some time before heaving a deep pass to a wide open player for the easy touchdown that was very well executed. Beckham clearly has enough arm for this trick play to surface every now and again as he effortlessly threw it 50+ yards. He was wide open himself on 4th down in the redzone, unravelling after a few seconds into his route while catching a lofty ball but Beckham was alone so it was easily caught.
WR Russell Shepard
, 7 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 59 - 1 (2 targets) - Shepard was the leading reciever for the Giants on Sunday but this was a bit of a flukey game for him. He was wide open on Beckham's deep pass attempt and easily caught the big touchdown play, which was amazing to watch but he barely did anything else in the game. He is not fantasy relevant in this offen
Arizona Cardinals 20, Green Bay Packers 17
What you need to know
- The Cardinals pulled out the road win against the Packers, but t was a result of quality defense and key plays more than a sustained offensive effort. Josh Rosen
made a handful of clutch throws but was erratic more than efficient. Chase Edmonds
stole the running back show with 66 yards and two touchdowns on seven touches as David Johnson
struggled through his 21 touches. With only 11 completions, it was a late-game catch by Larry Fitzgerald
as the highlight moment standing out for the Arizona passing game. On the negative side, Christian Kirk
landed on injured reserve after the game with a broken foot. Trent Sherfield
has flashed on limited snaps as a potential uptick candidate in Kirk’s absence to close the season. Arizona all but eliminated the Packers from the playoffs and triggered the firing of Green Bay’s head coach Mike McCarthy.
Green Bay Packers
- The Green Bay Packers lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 20-17, in what turned out to be Mike McCarthy’s last game as the head coach of the Packers. Aaron Rodgers
was 31 for 50 for 233 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing three times for 20 yards. Aaron Jones
carried the ball 11 times for 36 yards and a touchdown, and caught four balls for 16 yards. Davante Adams
once again led the Packers in receiving, catching eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. Marquez Valdes-Scalding caught two passes for 19 yards, while also rushing the ball two times for 29 yards. Randall Cobb
made his return to the lineup, but only caught three passes for 25 yards. Tight end Jimmy Graham
was much more involved in the game plan than he had been in recent weeks, catching eight passes for 50 yards.
QB Josh Rosen
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 26 - 149 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 32 - 0 - Rosen was up-and-down against the Packers in cold, windy, and rainy conditions on the road. Rosen’s best handful of throws were of high quality, however, including a game-changing pass across his body to Larry Fitzgerald
deep to convert third-and-23 in the closing minutes. Arizona finished the drive with the ultimate game-winning field goal, fueled by Rosen’s rollout throw. Rosen’s mistakes were not always exploited by the Packers defense as a late fourth quarter should-have-been interception was dropped by Green Bay. Rosen had a rare scrambling moment of impact this week, avoiding pocket pressure and escaping for more than 30 yards. The mistakes in scoring range have been consistent throughout the season and this week was no exception. Rosen took a critical third-down sack on the fringe of field goal range early in the game to force a punt. The Lions heading to Arizona in Week 14 presents another potential win next week.
RB David Johnson
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 69 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - Johnson had arguably his weakest game since Week 2 against the Packers. Despite the road win and 21 touches, Johnson struggled mightily outside of an opening carry for more than 10 yards, getting skinny through the line of scrimmage, and two quality runs late in the game through contact. Johnson was stuffed on his lone reception, a screen pass, as Johnson quizzically had his lowest receiving yardage total of the season. Johnson had no touchdown opportunities this week. Primary backup Chase Edmonds
stole the show with a pair of touchdowns and decisive running especially in the red zone. While Johnson was the clear preferred option in terms of snaps and touches, Edmonds’ involvement in scoring yards and his effectiveness is noteworthy.
RB Chase Edmonds
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 53 - 2, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Edmonds came out of nowhere with a highlight performance of his young career. In cold, windy, and rainy conditions in Green Bay, Edmonds set a career high in total yards (66) and was used frequently in the red zone. Edmonds pushed the pile (with the assistance of the Arizona offensive line) down to the one-yard-line on a red zone carry, following it up with the goal line touchdown. Edmonds exploited a huge hole for more than 30 yards down to the goal line again on a later drive. Edmonds’ contact balance and low center of gravity were on display, plowing through a defender for another red zone score. Edmonds also had a reception called back by penalty. Edmonds did not see a significant uptick in snaps, but enjoyed a career day in efficiency.
WR Christian Kirk
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (8 targets) - Kirk led the Cardinals in targets and receiving yards despite cold, windy, and rainy conditions in Green Bay. Kirk added a well-blocked end-around rushing attempt to his performance. Kirk’s best chance for a big play, getting wide open deep, was underthrown by Josh Rosen
to thwart the opportunity. Rosen also overthrew Kirk on a middle screen and underthrew Kirk on a third down attempt. Kirk has been a fixture in Arizona’s weekly plans with multiple catches in each game since Week 1 and at least four targets over the span. Kirk landed on injured reserve after Week 13 with a broken foot. An already weak receiver group takes a huge hit for the final month of the season. Trent Sherfield
as flashed on limited snaps as a potential uptick candidate.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 48 - 0 (6 targets) - Fitzgerald had a quiet game against the Packers until the closing minutes. Fitzgerald’s lone significant opportunity through three-and-a-half quarters was a seam target woefully overthrown by Josh Rosen
. However, the pair connected for the biggest play of the game by Arizona’s offense. In a tie game and faced with third-and-23 from deep in their own territory Rosen rolled right and found Fitzgerald on a deep completion. Fitzgerald corralled the pass near the ground in a highlight moment and Arizona rushed to the line of scrimmage to avoid a Green Bay challenge. Arizona went on to kick the game-winning field goal for the surprising road win.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones
, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - Seals-Jones has shifted from relevant to forgettable in recent weeks, logging his third straight game with 10 yards or less through the air and a single reception in each game. Seals-Jones’ lone catch was a contested play on third down, but his snaps have waned since the return of Jermaine Gresham
and Seals-Jones has gone 19 receptions, spanning nine games, without a touchdown this season.
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 50 - 233 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 20 - 0 - Aaron Rodgers
completed 31 of 50 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing three times for 20 yards. This performance was really a microcosm of Rodgers entire season, as he completed only 62% of his passes, and averaged a meager 4.6 yards per attempt. The Cardinals defense has been competitive at times this year, but should not have posed the problems they did for a quarterback of Rodgers stature. Rodgers and the Packers offense could not get anything going early, punting on their first three drives and seven of their first nine possessions. While Rodgers was sacked only once, it would be incorrect to say that the Cardinals pass rush didn’t have a big influence on this game. They were constantly in the backfield and forcing Rodgers to step up in the pocket, or get outside the pocket where had to throw to receivers who were covered. It is not a stretch to say a less accurate (and less savvy) quarterback would have thrown several interceptions, but Rodgers was able to throw the ball away on many occasions, while giving his receivers a small, but fighting chance to make tough catches. The problem was his receivers were not making many plays for him, although to be fair, even if you put DeAndre Hopkins
, Antonio Brown
or Julio Jones
on the field, they were not coming down with the type of passes that Rodgers was throwing. Rodgers only touchdown pass on the day came with the Packers at the Cardinals 13 yard line, facing a 4th and four. It was a curious decision given the score was tied 0-0, and the Packers had barely moved the ball up until that point, but it turned out to be a good one for Green Bay. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun formation and immediately looked to his left at Valdes-Scalding who was running a fade route. The Cardinals had him covered well and safety help to boot, so Rodgers ran through his progressions before ultimately directing Adams across from the right side of the field to the left. Rodgers threw a very accurate pass to Adams crossing to the back left side of the end zone, and Adams was able to make a nice catch and get both of his feet just barely down short of the end line.
RB Aaron Jones
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 36 - 1, Rec: 4 - 16 - 0 (4 targets) - Aaron Jones
rushed 11 times for 36 yards and a touchdown, while also catching four passes on four targets for 16 yards. In Mike McCarthy’s last act of defiance against Jones, he managed to split carries between Jones and Jamaal Williams
, 17 for Jones to 11 for Williams. Anyone who has watched the Packers this year knows that Jones has been the real engine of this offense, and talent wise, Williams just not does compare to Jones. In a 20-17 game where Rodgers threw the ball 50 times, it is pretty easy to see where the Packers went wrong with their game plan. Jones only averaged 3.3 yards per carry on 11 rushes, but given the game-flow, he should have had 20+ carries. Jones averaged 4.5 yards per carry on first downs, but only saw four opportunities. For some strange reason, with the Packers struggling to move the football, McCarthy started giving first down carries to Williams, who predictably did absolutely nothing, averaging only 1.9 yards per carry on the day. As much as Jones had a disappointing outing, it is hard to blame him because McCarthy did a poor job of giving him advantageous opportunities on early downs. Jones did salvage his day with a fourth quarter touchdown that came on a first and goal from the Cardinals eight yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and handed off to Jones who got a nice seal and ran inside the left tackle. With a head of steam, Jones encountered two Arizona defenders at the four yard line and literally ran right over one of them, flattening him on his back while keeping his legs moving hard and pushing the second defender back towards the end zone. Another Arizona defender came over to help but Jones just kept pushing them back until he crossed the end zone. It was a great display of power running for Jones, who has proven this year that he has much more than speed and quickness in his arsenal.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 13 - 0, Rec: 4 - 14 - 0 (4 targets) - Jamaal Williams
rushed seven times for 13 yards, while also catching four passes for 14 yards on four targets. Williams had combined for five touches in his last three games, so the 11 total touches was a surprise, especially in a game where the Packers had trouble moving the football. With Jones having a breakout season, it has become apparent that Williams is not an NFL caliber starting running back, but it has gotten to the point where he will be lucky to be anything more than a #3/4 string running back who makes his living on special teams. Williams averaged 1.9 yards per carry in this game, and four of his seven carries went for a total of two yards.
WR Davante Adams
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 93 - 1 (13 targets) - Davante Adams
caught eight passes for 93 yards and one touchdown on 13 targets in the Packers loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. Adams was the lone bright spot on an otherwise struggling Packers offense, which is really what could be said of his performance all season. Even with Rodgers having trouble completing passes, Adams was able to bail him out several times, making tough catches along the sidelines that were desperate attempts Rodgers made to avoid being sacked. One of those catches came with the Packers facing a 2nd and seven at the Cardinals 27 yard line, down 17-10. Rodgers took the snap out of shotgun and the Cardinals rushed only four men. The Packers offensive line did a fantastic job on this play, as Rodgers danced around the pocket for 10 seconds, yes, 10 seconds! Rodgers was able to keep the play alive by moving side to side and eventually directing Adams to the left sideline. Rodgers threw a dart, and Adams was able to make a toe-tapping catch as he was moving back towards Rodgers and towards the left sideline, and he made the catch wit the ball out of bounds but his feet inside the sideline. It was the type of catch that few receivers in the NFL can make, and it kept the Packers hopes alive as Jones scored the tying touchdown a few moments later. Adams touchdown catch came with the Packers driving at the Cardinals 13 yard line, facing a 4th and four. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun formation and immediately looked to his left at Valdes-Scalding who was running a fade route. The Cardinals had him covered well and safety help to boot, so Rodgers ran through his progressions before ultimately directing Adams across from the right side of the field to the left. Adams had initially run what looked to be a go-route from the inside left slot position, but managed to curl his route along the back line towards the left side of the end zone. Rodgers threw a perfect pass and Adams was able to make a nice snag and get both of his feet down in the back of the end zone.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 29 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (7 targets) - Marquez Valdes-Scantling
caught two passes on seven targets for 19 yards, but managed to gain 29 yards on two carries, which nearly made him the leading rusher for the Packers on the day. Valdes-Scantling saw the third most targets on the day for the Packers, but was unable to make much of a difference as a receiver. His big play of the day came on a play-action reverse with the Packers facing a first and 10 at their own 20 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center, faked the handoff to Jones and then pitched the ball to Valdes-Scantling who was coming across the field from the left outside hash mark. Scantling was able to find a nice crease and cut inside his blockers, accelerating up the field and reaching the second level of the Cardinals secondary. Unfortunately for him, he lost his footing, tripping over his own feet, which was brutal because there were no Cardinals defenders in front of him and had he managed to stay upright, this most likely would have gone for an 80 yard touchdown run.
WR Randall Cobb
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (5 targets) - Randall Cobb
caught three passes on five targets for 25 yards in the Packers loss to the Cardinals on Sunday. It was Cobb’s first game back since getting injured in week nine, and he has now found himself in a timeshare with Valdes-Scantling (the preferred #2 option) and Equanimeous St.Brown. Cobb’s day could have been a bit better, but he had a 24 yard catch negated by a holding penalty in the 2nd half. Outside of Davante Adams
, no receiver in the Green Bay offense can be trusted on a week to week basis, and it really comes down to whomever is going to break that one big play. The Packers offense is no longer the juggernaut that we have seen in years past, so Cobb can be left on the waiver-wire as we head into the fantasy playoffs.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 50 - 0 (11 targets) - Jimmy Graham
caught eight passes for 50 yards on 11 targets in the Packers 20-17 loss to the Cardinals. It was the first time since week six that Graham had caught five or more passes, in fact, Graham had only caught nine passes in the Packers last five games. Graham finally looked healthy, so it was good to see him get back on track as he had been battling thumb and knee injuries and the Packers really need another reliable pass catcher in the middle of the field. Graham was Rodgers safety blanket against the Cardinals, which resulted in a lot of short targets as Arizona was consistently getting pressure on Rodgers. With the tight end position being so shallow this season, a healthy Graham with Rodgers throwing him the football, remains a startable asset going into the playoffs. This is especially true in week 14, as the Packers have a juicy matchup at home against an Atlanta secondary that has provided advantageous matchups to opposing offenses all season.
Denver Broncos 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10
What you need to know
- Rookie RB Phillip Lindsay
just keeps getting better, racking up 157 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in week 13. Brandon McManus
missed a 50 yard attempt in the 2nd quarter. The Broncos capitalized on several Cincinnati turnovers. Dymonte Thomas recovered a fumbled punt return in the 2nd quarter, Justin Simmons intercepted Jeff Driskel
in the 3rd, and Bradly Chubb recovered a Driskel fumble late in the 4th quarter. Devontae Booker
appeared to be the third receiving option behind Sutton and Sanders, as he lined up frequently as a receiver and drew more targets than receivers Patrick and Hamilton. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr broke his lower leg in the 1st half.
- -The Bengals offensive line either gave up sacks or picked up flags seemingly every other snap, which doomed the offense. The offensive tackles had no chance against Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
re-injured his foot and looks likely to be lost for the season.
ran well but all of the offensive line penalties kept him from being able to build any rhythm.
and C.J. Uzomah
continue to play well and should be the top two targets in the passing offense the rest of the way.
QB Case Keenum
, 59 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 21 - 151 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0 - Keenum had to play game manager as the Broncos capitalized on turnovers and Phillip Lindsay
's big performance on the ground. Keenum threw just 21 passes, targeting Sutton 7 times and Sanders 6. The highlight of Keenum's day was a touchdown pass to Sutton in the 3rd quarter. Keenum took the snap under center with Janovich and Freeman in the backfield behind him, faking the handoff before hitting Sutton with a jump ball in the end zone for a 30 yard score down. Keenum was sacked twice in the contest, and scrambled twice for 9 yards.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 157 - 2, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Lindsay torched the Bengals defense for over 150 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. Lindsay came out of the gate strong, carrying the ball twice for 10+ yards on the opening drive. Lindsay made a beautiful cut for his first touchdown in the second quarter. He lined up in a single back set with Keenum under center and took the ball off right tackle, cutting back inside when a lane opened up and walking into the end zone untouched. Lindsay took a 3rd quarter pitch play around left end and showed off his wheels as he housed it for a 65 yard touchdown run, leaving most of the secondary in the dust. Lindsay's offensive line did a great job of blocking downfield, and Lindsay wove through the defense with great vision and smooth cutting. Lindsay continued to rip off runs of 10+ yards well into the 4th quarter as the Broncos burned clock with a healthy lead. Backup Freeman carried the ball 12 times while Devontae Booker
siphoned off a few targets in the passing game.
Lindsay had one target, an out route that he secured for a short gain at the beginning of the second quarter.
RB Royce Freeman
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 48 - 0 - Freeman logged 12 carries behind Phillip Lindsay
, who embarrassed the Bengals with his 157 yards 19 carries. Freeman was fairly successful, but did lose a fumble. He entered the game later in the 1st quarter with a tough run right up the middle of the defense. Freeman got hung up on his feet fighting for extra yards and had the ball ripped out of his hands on a 3rd quarter carry, with the Bengals recovering the ball. Freeman was not targeted in the passing game.
RB Devontae Booker
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 2 - 38 - 0 (2 targets) - Booker got to work early, lining up as a wide receiver in multiple positions on the opening drive with Phillip Lindsay
in the backfield. Booker shifted to the backfield and got a rare 1st down carry on the same drive, picking up 4 yards. Booker lined up in the right slot and ran a deep comeback route in the 2nd quarter, getting open up the right sideline for a 30 yard gain. He lined up wide right and caught a shallow crossing route on the next play for an 8 yard gain inside the Cincinnati red zone.
RB Andy Janovich
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets) - Janovich caught a swing route out of the backfield for a 7 yard gain in the 2nd quarter.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 19 - 0 (6 targets) - Sanders had a disappointing fantasy day as the Broncos rode stud rookie RB Lindsay to victory in week 13. Case Keenum
only threw 21 passes total. Sanders drew 6 targets, 1 fewer than Sutton, who had a banner day. Sanders motioned across the formation and converted 3rd and short with a shallow out route on the Broncos opening drive. Keenum found him in traffic on a comeback route in the 2nd quarter and Sanders shook a couple of defenders for a 14 yard gain, his longest of the day. Sanders took a scary hit in the 4th quarter while laying out for a pass down the right sideline. A defender made hard helmet to helmet contact while Sanders was fully extended for the ball. Sanders left the game briefly but did not appear to suffer any injury. Sanders ran an end-around option for a loss that was ruled a pass because it was a forward pitch.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 85 - 1 (7 targets) - Sutton led the team in targets and yards while finding the end zone once. He was finally able to connect on several of the deep jump balls that he and Keenum have been working on all season. Sutton caught a slant route on the Broncos' opening drive. Keenum overthrew Sutton on a deep crossing route on the next drive. Sutton had the receiving highlight of the day with a 30 yard touchdown catch in the 3rd quarter. He lined up wide right and took off on a fly route, making a leaping catch over his defender in the end zone. Sutton had another great catch on a jump ball down the right sideline later in the 3rd quarter. Sutton made a diving catch on a seam route down the left sideline later on in the 4th quarter, then had to leave briefly with a leg injury.
TE Matt LaCosse
, 47 offensive snaps (1 targets) - After watching fellow tight ends Jake Butt
and Jeff Heuerman
go down for the season, LaCosse assumed the role of starting tight end with disappointing results. He was targeted just once on a shallow out route that failed to connect.
QB Jeff Driskel
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 37 - 236 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0 - Driskel threw a miserable interception late, making the awful decision to heave it down the middle of the field into coverage while falling away to avoid pressure. Aside from that mistake, he looked a capable NFL quarterback. In fact, very little blame for the offensive struggle against the Broncos falls on Driskel. For most of the game, he was on time and on target when throwing. He also showed his athleticism on a couple of designed runs. It was surprising the Bengals didn’t incorporate more designed quarterback runs. The failure to design a game plan to take advantage of his full skillset is an indictment of the Bengals offensive braintrust. The passing game was completely doomed to failure by the disastrous performance of the Bengals offensive line. When they weren’t giving up sacks, they were committing costly penalties. In fact, every single Bengals offensive lineman had drawn at least one flag by midway through the second quarter. Driskel showed a nice arm and solid rapport with Tyler Boyd
and CJ Uzomah. He hit Boyd for some big gains down the seams. Driskel also hit Cody Core
for a 30-yard touchdown in the third quarter on a post route.
RB Joe Mixon
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 82 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Mixon was fantastic and it was a travesty he didn’t get more touches and playing time. Part of the issue was how many times penalties put the offense in impossible downs and distances. However, the Bengals coaching staff often put themselves in those spots by trying to pass on early downs when they should have just been riding Mixon. Mixon looked like he was on his way to a big game when he dominated the opening drive, catching a short pass and rushing four times for 40 yards. He ripped off back-to-back gains of 7 and 8 yards on the first two offensive plays. A few plays later, he burst through the line, made a man miss and weaved his way for a 23-yard gain. Mixon had one of the few highlights plays for the Bengals offense on a 9-yard catch and run to pick up a first down. He caught the ball short near the right sideline, made the first man miss and then powered through another tackle attempt to pick up the first down on a play where it looked like he had no chance. Even though the game was close nearly the whole way, Mixon played just 57% of the offensive snaps.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 14 - 0, Rec: 6 - 32 - 0 (8 targets) - Bernard received extended playing time, logging 41% of the snaps. His 13 combined carries and targets was just one fewer than Mixon’s total on the day. Bernard wasn’t able to do much with his five carries, all of which went for short gains. He did have a long run on a 3rd-and-forever draw that was called back due to a hold. Bernard did make a solid impact as a pass catcher. He lined up in the slot and had a nice catch and run on a short slant route.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 97 - 0 (8 targets) - Boyd continues to play great football. He made a diving grab deep down the seam for a 22-yard gain to setup the Bengals first field goal. He also had a 20-yard gain on a sweet route where he faked inside and pivoted outside and hauled it in along the sideline. A couple plays later, he made a 23-yard diving grab down the seam. On both plays, he got up slowly and looked to be favoring his right side. He left the game briefly but was able to return and finish out the game. With Green lost for the season, Boyd will remain the go-to player for the Bengals passing offense down the stretch. He showed a real chemistry with Jeff Driskel
, which bodes well for his ability to remain productive without Andy Dalton
in the lineup.
WR John Ross
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Ross made it look easy on an 11-yard catch on a comeback route. His deep speed forces cornerbacks to give a big cushion. It was a quiet day for Ross, who was just 5th on the team in targets despite playing 88% of the snaps. He is clearly behind Tyler Boyd
, C.J. Uzomah
and the running backs in the pecking order for targets.
WR A.J. Green
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Green caught a 7-yard dump off over the middle on third-and-long that came nowhere near the first down marker. He came up limping after running a route early in the second quarter. Green likely aggravated the foot injury that kept him out for the past month. It is almost certainly a season-ending injury and may require surgery to fix.
WR Cody Core
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 30 - 1 (4 targets) - Core made an excellent play for a 30-yard touchdown. He caught the ball on a post route 20 yards downfield and then quickly pivoted back towards the outside and stiff-armed the defender to run the final 10 yards into the end zone. Aside from the touchdown, it was the same old struggles for Core. He dropped an easy one that hit him in the hands and wasn’t able to hang onto any of his three other targets. With A.J. Green
back in the lineup, Auden Tate
was inactive. Once Green went down in the second quarter, Core stepped in for him as the third receiver. With Green out moving forward, the Bengals will have more receivers up on game day and Core will have more competition for playing time.
TE C.J. Uzomah
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 33 - 0 (7 targets) - Uzomah continues his strong play. He has the speed to get separation from linebackers trying to cover him and has shown a tremendous ability to go up high and make catches at full extension. On an early gain down the right sideline, Uzomah was able to leap and grab a poorly thrown ball that said on Driskel.
Washington Redskins 13, Philadelphia Eagles 28
What you need to know
- Injuries have torn this team apart and have made it tough to remain competitive. The defense has been relatively healthy due to constant exposure they haven't held up well. Washington can't play complimentary football right now as the offense is constantly going ‘three and out’ which wears on the defense in the second half of games. This was once a quality team running the football and helped mask their deficiencies. Now they will need to find a way to put points on the scoreboard with second and third string players at numerous positions. Washington being down to their third string quarterback could spell the end as a NFC competitor.
- The Eagles took care of business at home against an injury-ravaged Washington team losing Colt McCoy
during the game and relying on Mark Sanchez
. Carson Wentz
was comfortable and efficient outside of a handful of glaring misfires and Josh Adams
has steadied a running back position in flux since Jay Ajayi
’s earlier-season injury. Darren Sproles
and Corey Clement
played strong complimentary roles and Zach Ertz
and Golden Tate
were active within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage making for easy throws from Carson Wentz
. The schedule gets much more difficult with Washington, Dallas, and the Rams up next.
QB Mark Sanchez
, 32 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 21 - 100 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0 - Mark Sanchez
came in as relief for Colt once he left the game with an injury. He didn't have much impact on this game in an unexpected debut. Mark hasn't been with Washington more than a month which meant they had to simplify the game plan. Therefore, he threw a ton of checkdowns and averaged less than five yards per pass attempt. He did manage to throw an awful interception while trying to make play escaping pressure. The offense was held scoreless in the second half with Mark at the helm.
QB Colt McCoy
, 13 offensive snaps, Pass: 4 - 4 - 50 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Colt McCoy
went 4-4 in the first half before going down with a fibula injury. The offense hadn't put any points on the scoreboard prior to his departure. Colt looked relatively sharp in his short stint moving the offense down field. However the production was negated by penalties.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 98 - 1 - Adrian Peterson
had a ninety yard touchdown in the second quarter. However, he ended the game with ninety-eight yards. The Washington offensive line was further decimated by injuries as they are now down to third string guards. In addition to the offensive line injuries the offense went completely off the rails with Mark Sanchez
RB Chris Thompson
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (5 targets) - Chris Thompson
made his way back into the lineup from injury. He only tallied three receptions against the Eagles to go along with three carries. None of his touches resulted in much impact as the offense had a meltdown due to injuries.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 36 - 0 (4 targets) - Jamison Crowder
made it back from injury to face the Eagles. He caught all four of his targets for thirty-six yards. He didn't make much impact with his receptions but showed that he is healthy and ready to contribute. As the slot guy in the Washington offense he could be really busy down the stretch as the offense is simplified.
WR Josh Doctson
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (5 targets) - Josh Doctson
led all Washington receivers in yardage and targets. He only had three receptions but he made the most of them by providing chunk plays. He was able to gain separation in the Eagles below average secondary but Washington could not take advantage. Josh has been involved in the passing game much more of late.
WR Michael Floyd
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Michael Floyd
had one catch for nine yards. He received an endzone target as well but a near sack threw the pass off target going directly into the air. Michael isn't a weekly contributor so his production usually fluctuates.
WR Maurice Harris
, 28 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Maurice Harris
received one target but recorded zero receptions. He seemed to be integrated into the offense but he has regressed the last couple of weeks.
TE Jordan Reed
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - Jordan Reed
had four catches for twenty-one yards. He has been much more productive as of late but once Colt left the game injured his production suffered. The entire offense had issues once Colt went down and had difficulty getting on track.
TE Vernon Davis
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (2 targets) - Vernon Davis
had fifteen yards on two receptions. Vernon being that backup tight end lends itself to quiet games much like this one. The offense shutdown in the second half so he didn't even have opportunities for splash plays.
QB Carson Wentz
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 39 - 306 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - -4 - 0 - Wentz had a clean game going against Washington until a horrible goal line interception, keeping the game close for a few more possessions. Wentz was processing quickly, especially against the blitz, and the quick game to Zach Ertz
and Golden Tate
aided Wentz avoiding pressure and optimizing his throws. Outside of the interception, Wentz was sharp in the red zone, extending a third down to find Golden Tate
for a score and a spot throw for a touchdown slant to Jordan Matthews
right on the numbers. The notable misses include a wide open Nelson Agholor
on a crossing route and a potential big play to Zach Ertz
against a linebacker down the sideline. Dallas offers a much stiffer test in a divisional showdown next week.
RB Josh Adams
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 85 - 0 - Adams continued to show well as the lead back for the Eagles. Adams was patient on a number of inside runs, waiting for the offensive line to declare a running lane before exploiting the opening with a cut to the outside. Adams had two chunk gains with that game plan and found a cutback land on another notable run. Adams was stuffed on his two touchdown chances, including one goal line carry on fourth down when the game was still in doubt. Adams has been minimally involved in the passing game and this week was no exception without a target as Corey Clement
and now Darren Sproles
are active as receivers. Dallas offers a stiff test for Adams next week.
RB Corey Clement
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 27 - 0, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (3 targets) - Clement had one of his best games of the season, surpassing 70 total yards for the fourth time. Clement was active in the pass game and the red zone, converting a third-and-short carry in the red zone and breaking off chunk gains on all three of his screen receptions. Clement’s chemistry with offensive line blocking in the screen game, blending his patience and vision of the blocks with their timing was outstanding against Washington.
RB Darren Sproles
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 22 - 1 - Sproles made this season debut against Washington, playing select snaps, including in the red zone. Sproles broke his notable carry for a red zone touchdown, bursting through a well-blocked hole and breaking tackle for the score. Sproles has been a receiving maven in his career but did not see a target in his first game back as Corey Clement
was the primary pass-catcher of the backfield.
WR Golden Tate
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 85 - 1 (7 targets) - Tate had his best game since joining the Eagles, blending chain-moving receptions with downfield forays against Washington. Tate corralled a goal line touchdown as Carson Wentz
extended a third down with his mobility. Tate was at his after-the-catch best on a quick out reception, turning up field with a broken tackle for more than 30 yards. Tate broke his touchdown drought, dating back to Week 4, spanning more than 30 receptions. Tate has been a fixture of the Eagles passing game since his arrival, supplanting Alshon Jeffery
as the preferred wide receiver target to compliment Zach Ertz
WR Nelson Agholor
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 56 - 0 (8 targets) - After a recent downturn in offensive involvement Agholor popped up with eight targets against Washington, second most on the team. Agholor converted a deep crossing route for more than 35 yards into field goal range and nearly scored on a red zone slant, tackled at the one-yard-line. Agholor had potential for a bigger game but Carson Wentz
missed a wide open Agholor on a third-down crossing route with after-the-catch promise. Agholor is an ancillary target most weeks, but saw his highest volume of targets since Week 4.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (5 targets) - Jeffery was a distant fourth on the team in targets against Washington, but did convert two third down targets among his opportunities. Jeffery’s touchdown drought continues, spanning five games and 18 receptions currently, as his lone touchdown opportunity was a goal line slant route which was thrown behind him by Carson Wentz
resulting in an interception. With Zach Ertz
and Golden Tate
dominating targets in recent weeks, Jeffery has morphed into an ancillary target for the Eagles.
TE Zach Ertz
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 83 - 0 (10 targets) - Ertz saw at least 10 targets for the eighth time this season and was a fixture for the Eagles within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Ertz’s lone catch down the field was a full-extension grab down the seam while Carson Wentz
misfired on a big-play opportunity for Ertz down the sideline against a linebacker. Ertz added a false start penalty on third down in the red zone beyond the box score. Dallas is up next, a matchup Ertz exploited for 14-145-2 back in Week 10, his best statistical game of the season.
TE Dallas Goedert
, 39 offensive snaps (3 targets) - After a promising three receptions last week, Goedert was shut out against Washington. Goedert saw three targets but slipped out of his break on one, was overthrown on a screen, and had a deep out tipped away leading to his disappointing box score. Goedert is buried on the Eagles’ passing game pecking order and has not registered a catch in three of his last four games.
Los Angeles Chargers 33, Pittsburgh Steelers 30
What you need to know
Los Angeles Chargers
- Keenan Allen
was absolutely dominant from start to finish. He hauled in three receptions on the team's opening drive, and never let up from there. By the end of the game, he had posted a game-high 14 receptions, a team high 148 yards, scored a touchdown, added a two point conversion, and basically showed the Steelers he was uncoverable at times. Fantasy owners who remained patient with Allen through the season have been richly rewarded in recent weeks.
benefitted from some really good fortune on his two touchdown passes (one of them came on a missed penalty, and the other was a deflected pass). But that shouldn't take away from yet another stellar performance in what is shaping up to be an MVP-type campaign. He continues to put up huge stats while also remaining wildly efficient, and he put the team on his back yet again despite almost zero contributions from the running game until late in the second half.
The running back tandem of Austin Ekeler
and Justin Jackson
filled in admirably for Melvin Gordon
, though nearly all of the key production came courtesy of Jackson. The duo combined for 125 yards and a touchdown on 27 touches, although 82 of those yards and the score despite being out-touched 18-9.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers showed up against the Chargers after two down offensive weeks. Week 13 was a tale of two halves, missed opportunities, and missed calls for the Steelers. The Steelers seemed to right the ship in the first half of the game. Not with a balanced offense, but with offensive efficiency and big plays. Ben Roethlisberger
was accurate enough to all levels of the field, James Conner
received consistent touches throughout drives, and the offensive line was dominating at the attack point. Things began to derail for the Steelers in the third quarter. The Chargers were getting more pressure on Roethlisberger, the Steelers were running the ball less, and the Chargers began running the ball more effectively. The Chargers had taken almost all the air out of the Steelers sails after a punt return for a touchdown. On the final field goal of the game the Steelers were called offsides twice before the Chargers kicker made the game winning field goal.
QB Philip Rivers
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 36 - 299 - 2 TD / 0 INT - Rivers continues to enjoy an MVP-type campaign. He extended his streak of being the only quarterback in the league to throw at least two touchdown passes in every game this season, and nearly went over 300 yards again in the process. He started off hot, picking up right where he left off last week. One week after completing, he completed 10 of his first 11 passes in this one. Included in that group was a very suspect touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin
. It appeared the Chargers had committed a false start penalty, but the officials all missed it. Rivers took advantage, lofting a bomb down the sideline to Benjamin, who waltzed into the end zone for a 46-yard score. The offense slowed a bit later in the first half, as Rivers completed just 3 of his next 9 pass attempts. But in the second half, the Chargers caught fire once more. Rivers almost exclusively leaned on Keenan Allen
any time he was looking for a big play, and time and time again Allen got open and came down with the football. An astounding 14 completions went to Allen, out of a total of 26 in the game. On the rare occasions he ventured elsewhere, good things happened (the Benjamin touchdown, and he was 4-4 on first down conversions on passes completed to Tyrell or Mike Williams
). Rivers' second touchdown pass may have been even luckier than the first one. He threw a bullet to Keenan Allen
into double coverage in the end zone. The pass appeared destined to be intercepted, until two Steeler defenders collided with one another. The impact popped the ball up in the air, and Allen managed to snag the spinning football out of mid-air and keep control on his way to the ground for the score. He then floated a perfect touch pass to Antonio Gates
in the corner of the end zone for the two pointer. Following a punt return touchdown by the Chargers, Rivers then found Allen for yet another two pointer. This one took considerably longer to convert, but once he broke into the open it was a perfect pass. With the game tied at 30, Rivers made two crucial completions to keep the drive alive. The first was a flip to Austin Ekeler
while under heavy duress that resulted in a first down, and the next (also under pressure) was a pass to Allen on 3rd and 4 to convert another first down. Those two plays helped extend the drive and set up the eventual game-winning field goal.
QB Geno Smith
, 1 offensive snaps - Smith came in for one play, which ended up being an option handoff to the running back - nobody was fooled on the play.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 21 - 0, Rec: 5 - 22 - 0 (8 targets) - Ekeler had almost no room to run whatsoever, getting swarmed by Pittsburgh defenders nearly every time he got near the football. The defense softened up just a bit in the second half, allowing him to at least get some positive yardage gains, but still found mostly tough sledding. It's important to note that Ekeler had 18 touches to Justin Jackson
's 9, but it's equally important to note that Ekeler's 13 carries resulted in just 21 yards whereas Jackson's 8 carries resulted in 63 yards (including an 18-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter). Late in the game, Ekeler took a huge hit on an attempted screen pass out of the backfield. It was ruled that he never fully had possession on the play; otherwise, it would have been ruled a fumble. Finally, Ekeler contributed a positive play late in the game when he was the bailout option for Rivers just before he was about to get sacked. But otherwise, it was an uninspiring performance as the team's de facto featured back. This was the second time this season Ekeler has gotten an opportunity to be the lead guy, and it was the second time he underwhelmed. It is also noteworthy that it was Jackson and not Ekeler who was in the game on the potential game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter.
RB Justin Jackson
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 63 - 1, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (1 targets) - With Melvin Gordon
out with a knee injury, most observers felt that Austin Ekeler
would be the go-to guy and that Jackson would provide backup depth or perhaps work as a change of pace. While it's true that Ekeler out-touched Jackson by an 18-9 margin, Jackson greatly outpaced Ekeler in terms of production. Running behind the same line and against the same defense that Ekeler struggled to gain 1.6 yards per carry against, Jackson averaged a whopping 7.9 yards per carry. He looked shifty between the tackles, hitting holes with smoothness. Some of that can perhaps be attributed to the Steelers focusing on taking Ekeler away and not giving Jackson as much attention, but he still pushed ahead for yardage and found holes that Ekeler could not. On one swing pass, he looked like he was going to run out of bounds but instead toed the line and turned up field for close to 15 yards. He capped his afternoon with a phenomenal inside run, side-stepping a defender and taking it up the gut for an 18-yard score. It was very telling that with the Chargers driving for the go-ahead score, it was Jackson in the backfield and not Ekeler. And he was given the all-important carries to get the Chargers into field goal range for the game-winning kick. There are some whispers about Gordon possibly returning as soon as next week, but until he does it would appear that there is still value in both Charger running backs.
WR Keenan Allen
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 14 - 148 - 1 (19 targets) - Allen had his best game of the season by far, dominating the Steelers throughout the contest. They appeared content to cover Allen with a linebacker for the majority of the afternoon, but 14 receptions for 148 yards later shows that that may not have been the best strategy. Allen caught three passes on the opening drive, and never let up from there. On the opening drive, he showed off his remarkable concentration and athleticism simultaneously on a diving grab. He slipped to the turf, got up and somehow re-located the football, then made a lunging grab just shy of the first down marker. That play was one of a small handful of missed opportunities. He was targeted on a deep crossing route near the sideline later in the half, but it was just out of reach. And he also dropped a pass earlier in the half when he tried to run before he had secured the ball. But that's about it as far as negatives. In the second half, it was total domination by Allen. He picked up a big gain in the flat, beating a tackle to pick up a few yards after the fact. Then he added his touchdown, which was equal parts luck and skill. The pass from Philip Rivers
appeared headed for an interception in the end zone, but two Steeler defenders collided with one another, sending the ball spinning in the air. Allen remarkably maintained concentration and snagged the ball, keeping control of it as he went to the ground for the score. He stood up grinning, perhaps knowing that it was a bit more luck than skill on that particular score. Following a punt return touchdown early in the fourth quarter, Allen broke free on a crossing route for the game-tying two point conversion. It was the first of his many key contributions that quarter that put the Chargers in position to win. With Steeler fans loud and trying to swing momentum back to their side following a big hit of Austin Ekeler
, Allen calmly hauled in a key reception over the middle to quiet the crowd. He then added an amazing diving grab of a seemingly errant pass from Rivers, picking up the first down and possibly saving an interception in the process. And then on the final scoring drive, Allen had perhaps the key reception in the game when he converted a 3rd and 4 just past the sticks to pick up a first down and keep the drive alive. That drive would eventually result in a game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock.
WR Travis Benjamin
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 2 - 44 - 1 (2 targets) - Benjamin was the recipient of some good luck (or poor officiating, depending on how you look at it) late in the first half. With the Chargers trailing 13-0, a lineman appeared to commit a false start penalty. The Steeler players all pointed to it, and perhaps let up a bit on the defensive end, expecting a flag that never came. Benjamin took full advantage, racing past the defense down the right sideline, where Philip Rivers
lofted a perfect pass right in his hands. Benjamin hauled it in for the 46-yard touchdown to get the Chargers on the board. Aside from that long pass, Benjamin's other reception was a short swing pass that he juggled for a loss, and he had a jet sweep handoff attempt that only gained a yard.
WR Mike Williams
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (3 targets) - Williams made two nice sliding grabs over the middle to convert first downs, one in the first half and one in the second. The first one set up the long Travis Benjamin
touchdown. His last reception of the game was probably his most impressive, going high in the air to pick up 18 yards on a third and 14 with the Chargers trailing 23-7. He appeared to be injured on the play and was looked at on the sideline for quite awhile. So while Williams didn't get a heavy volume of passes thrown his way, he more than made up for that on the degree of difficulty.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - Williams caught just one pass in the game, going high over the middle with defenders surrounding him. He took a big hit right as he caught the ball, then another almost simultaneously as he descended. But impressively, he managed to hang on to convert a third and 10 at a key moment to keep the Charger drive going. Like most Chargers, he took a distant back seat to Keenan Allen
, who hauled in 14 of Philip Rivers
' 26 completions.
TE Antonio Gates
, 24 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Gates' first target of the game didn't come until late in the third quarter. It was a huge reception at the time, converting a critical third and 4 when Rivers found him wide open across the field for a big gain. But the play was negated by a holding penalty. He did get into the scoring column late in the third quarter when he hauled in the two point conversion attempt from Rivers following a Keenan Allen
touchdown. Gates went straight to the corner while Rivers perfectly floated it over the defender to convert the conversion and cut it to an 8-point game. So Gates managed positive fantasy production despite not recording a single reception in the game.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 45 - 281 - 2 TD / 1 INT - For a majority of the game Roethlisberger enjoyed strong offensive line play on passing downs against the ferocious pass-rush of the L.A. Chargers. The problems came when Roethlisberger was being deceived in coverage. Roethlisberger's worst play came in the second quarter. Roethlisberger saw his tight end streaking down the field and thought he had him for an easy touchdown. Roethlisberger underthrew the ball and Drewin James grabbed the easy interception. Roethlisberger's best throw of the game came right before the half. The ball was snapped, and the pressure was surrounding Roethlisberger. He slid to his left in the pocket and stepped into a rope down the middle of the field to Antonio Brown
perfectly on target. In the second half, the Steelers were not able to sustain drives and were held scoreless in the third quarter. It wasn't until the Steelers final possession of the game that Roethlisberger was finally able to drive the offense down the field.
RB James Conner
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 60 - 2, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (4 targets) - On the National television stage, and with huge running lanes available, Conner was not able to get into a rhythm. Conner benefited from two first quarter trips to the 1-yard line where he converted two of his three goal line opportunities into touchdowns. Conner's highlight run showed his two best traits, reading his blockers and strong burst through the line of scrimmage. On Conner's final run of the night he twisted his ankle and was taken back to the locker room. The severity of his injury will at least keep him out for Week 14.
RB Jaylen Samuels
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 1 (3 targets) - Samuels came up for the Steelers in the most crucial situation of the game. James Conner
injured his ankle and the Steelers needed a big play to tie the game. Samuels ran a shallow crossing route and broke the defender's angle on him. Samuels has stepped out as the next man up for the Steelers in the backfield.
WR Antonio Brown
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 154 - 1 (13 targets) - This was a flashback to dominant Antonio Brown
. He was winning with strong moves at the catch point with excellent body control, dominated one on one coverage, and beat double coverage. In addition to his ten receptions, Brown's season-high total, Brown had a reception turned over because he didn't get a second foot down. Brown's highlight catch came against double coverage. Brown ran an in-breaking post route which broke the coverage of two defenders and Brown was found in the endzone for a touchdown.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 49 - 0 (9 targets) - Smith-Schuster had a workman-like game. The Chargers were not going to let Smith-Schuster beat them with big plays after the catch. Smith-Schuster did excel when Ben Roethlisberger
needed a conversion. Smith-Schuster's most critical catch came on the final drive of the game for the Steelers. Smith-Schuster caught the ball for a nine-yard gain and allowed the Steelers to continue their drive after James Conner
converted a critical fourth down.
TE Vance McDonald
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (7 targets) - McDonald had another quiet game in Week 13. Even with Roethlisberger over 40 pass attempts McDonald is only able to account for four receptions, his lower total since Week 8, and 28 yards. In fact, Vance McDonald
has averaged 30.2 receiving yards over his last five games. While McDonald's recent yardage has been low, he has an optimistic upside.
New Orleans Saints 10, Dallas Cowboys 13
What you need to know
New Orleans Saints
- The 10-game win streak has come to an end after a disappointing showing against the Cowboys on Thursday night. Drew Brees
looked human and threw an interception in back to back games for the first time this season. He was off the mark all night and could not develop any rhythm with his receivers. He missed on all 3 passes to open the game and did not connect with a receiver until their second drive and his 5th attempt. The rushing attack did not do him any favors and struggled to get anything going as well. Alvin Kamara
was stopped on 4th and goal from the 1 in the second quarter and this was the first time the Saints were held scoreless in the first half all season. The defense held Ezekiel Elliot largely in check but did allow Dak Prescott
to complete almost 86% of his passes and sustain drives down the field with short passes. It is surprising to see a Saints team that only gave up 13 points to lose and they just looked out of sorts playing on a Thursday in consecutive weeks. After buzzing through the NFC elite in recent weeks, the Saints had a slight hiccup this week. New Orleans will travel to Tampa Bay in week 14 and try to avenge their season opening loss to the Buccaneers. It is the perfect defense for everyone to get back on track against.
- The Cowboys played a near-perfect first half against the Saints, especially on defense, but untimely sacks and stalling for field goals led to a second half where they held on for the important home win. Dak Prescott
posted an impressive stat line, but missed his most important throw of the game – a likely long touchdown to Michael Gallup
– to potentially ice the game. Ezekiel Elliott
was once again the engine of the offense, approaching 30 touches for more than 130 total yards. Dallas’ tight ends and Cole Beasley
were notable small components for the Dallas passing game which ran through Amari Cooper
and Michael Gallup
for 11 receptions between them.
QB Drew Brees
, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 28 - 127 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - It was not a banner night for Brees as he did not look like the MVP candidate that he has in recent weeks. He opened the game with 4 straight incompletions and never found a rhythm. His longest play of the game was also his touchdown to Keith Kirkwood
. The play was only possible after a 15-yard roughing the punter call that extended the drive. The 30-yard pass to Kirkwood was just a simple go route that he took up the seam and required a perfect throw from Brees into traffic. Kirkwood caught the ball just over his shoulder in the end zone with Tre'Quan Smith also in the area. The route shows the confusion on the part of the Saints offense as the receivers were running almost stride by stride next to each other into the end zone and it caused the Cowboys to have 4 defenders in the area. It was a mistake on the part of the young receivers, but Brees made it work for the touchdown. Brees had a chance to be the hero on the final drive of the game. The defense came up with a big fumble recovery after the Cowboys had taken nearly 7 minutes off the clock and were deep in Saints territory. Brees started on his own 15-yardline and had a long way to go for the tying field goal. On the second play of the drive, he threw the ball behind Alvin Kamara
and a diving interception was made by the Cowboys defense. It was a disappointing end to a disappointing game for Brees. He will have a chance to get back on track next week against Tampa Bay.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 36 - 0, Rec: 8 - 36 - 0 (11 targets) - With Drew Brees
struggling, the rushing attack needed to pick up the slack, but that did not happen this week. Kamara hit a wall of defenders every time he touched the ball and was able to break free only once for 7 yards. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry this week and was bottled up by a devastating defense this week. He did his damage in the passing game by catching 8 of his 11 targets, but his longest play through the air was only 8 yards. Kamara only averaged 4.5 yards per catch this week and could not break free there either. He was also targeted on the final drive of the game where Brees threw the interception, but there was nothing he could do to change that play. Kamara saw 35 offensive snaps or about 63% of their plays. This was 14 more snaps than Ingram, but he only did more damage in the passing game. It was not a great day for Kamara or anyone else in the Saints offense.
RB Mark Ingram
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 27 - 0, Rec: 2 - 1 - 0 (3 targets) - Someone needed to step up this week against the Cowboys and unfortunately it was not Ingram. He was given 7 carries to Kamara's 11 and had a slightly better average at 3.9 yards per carry. His longest rush was 13 yards and it was the only real big play on the ground for the Saints. Ingram caught 2 of his 3 targets and was quickly wrapped up each time. Ingram saw 21 offensive snaps or about 40% of the offensive snaps. He was out paced by Kamara this week and has seen a decline in recent weeks. It is tough to predict what the Saints do at running back each week, and it was Ingram who took the back seat today. A matchup against a Tampa defense next week could get everything back on track.
WR Michael Thomas
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 40 - 0 (8 targets) - After the explosion against the Rams, Thomas has been pretty quiet. He has not surpassed 100 yards in his previous 4 games and has not found the end zone in the last 2. He caught 5 of his 8 targets but could not surpass 50 yards this week. The Dallas defense did a great job jamming him at the line and took away his quick hitting plays. The Saints are still missing a clear number 2 behind Thomas and it is starting to show. Opposing defenses are able to assign added help on Thomas and it is cutting into his production. His longest catch was 11 yards and he did not come close to finding the end zone this week. Thomas is going to need more help on the opposite side to open the defense for him a little more. He still has a great matchup next week against a weak Tampa defense. He should be one of the top receivers next week in a rebound game.
WR Keith Kirkwood
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 30 - 1 (3 targets) - There were not a lot of big plays for the Saints this week on offense, but Kirkwood provided the lone one. He was responsible for the 30-yard touchdown catch, but that was the only reception he pulled in from his 3 targets. Kirkwood ran a go route up the seam and caught the perfect pass from Brees. It would have been the perfect play had it not been a mistake. Both Kirkwood and Smith ran to the exact same spot and pulled 4 Dallas defenders to the area. It took a perfect throw from Brees to make the touchdown work, but someone ran their route wrong. Kirkwood now has a touchdown in back to back games and has seen 3+ targets in his last 3 games. This role could be diminished if and when Brandon Marshall
finally suits up.
WR TreQuan Smith
, 44 offensive snaps (1 targets) - The enigma that is Smith continues to baffle Saints fans. After not playing in week 12, he was back this week and played 44 offensive snaps or about 85% total. He registered a single target, but it was on a ball thrown away by Brees and was nowhere near catchable. Smith has seen 60%+ of offensive snaps since week 5 but cannot show sustained success. After having 10 catches for 157 yards and a touchdown in week 11, Smith was a non-factor this week. Smith has a great chance to get back on track against a very soft Buccaneers defense next week.
TE Ben Watson
, 20 offensive snaps - It has been a steady decline all season for Watson. Despite the lack of big time weapons in the receiving core this year, the Saints have gotten away from using Watson in recent weeks. The big tight end only played 38% of offensive snaps this week and did not have a single target. The Saints have been using their backup tight ends in recent weeks and this could be a sign that they plan to move away from him in the off season. He has not been the big-time weapon they expected when they signed him.
QB Dak Prescott
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 28 - 248 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 22 - 0 - Prescott secured the home win over the Saints, posting an efficient stat line. However, Prescott withered in key moments, leaving the game in doubt despite an outstanding effort by the Dallas defense. Prescott airmailed his most important throw of the game, a wide open Michael Gallup
down the sideline, which would have iced the game in the closing minutes. Prescott also took key sacks on third down and lost a fumble in the red zone late in the fourth quarter, another chance to essentially end the game. On the plus side, Prescott made the most of his rushing opportunities with two key scrambles for first downs, breaking multiple tackles for a third down conversion on his highlight run. The critical games continue next week against the Eagles, a suspect secondary where Prescott will get a chance at redemption on downfield throws.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 76 - 0, Rec: 6 - 60 - 1 (6 targets) - Elliott had tough sledding against an inspired Saints run defense. Fortunately, Elliott was featured in the pass game with two noteworthy screen passes with excellent design, one for 15 yards and another for a red zone touchdown. On the ground, Elliott was held in check outside of a beautiful cutback in the fourth quarter for more than 20 yards. On another occasion Elliott fought through penetration to turn a loss into a small gain. Elliott rarely left the field and saw nearly 30 touches as one of the few unquestioned foundation running backs in the NFL.
WR Amari Cooper
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 75 - 0 (8 targets) - Cooper led the Cowboys in targets and receiving yardage, proving valuable as a chain-mover in critical situations. Cooper’s two best plays came on a hitch turning into a 19-yard catch with a quick pivot for additional yardage. In the closing minutes, Cooper iced the game by drawing a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone. On the negative side, Cooper lost a fumble after Dallas dominated the game to a 10-0 lead, breathing life in the Saints. Cooper has been used more on quick-hitting routes since joining the Cowboys, while Michael Gallup
has functioned more as a downfield receiver over the same span.
WR Michael Gallup
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 76 - 0 (7 targets) - Gallup saw a career-high seven targets against the Saints and thrived against secondary coverage with Amari Cooper
monopolizing defensive attention. Gallup displayed a variety of routes, including a full extension grab on an out route and beating press coverage on a 40-yard reception down the sideline. Gallup likely would have added a long touchdown to his already strong game as he was wide open deep but Dak Prescott
made his worst throw of the game and overthrew Gallup. With the suspect Eagles secondary next week, Gallup is likely to see more downfield opportunities.
WR Cole Beasley
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Beasley’s decline of offensive involvement continued against the Saints, seeing a mere three targets. Beasley converted a third down on one of his short receptions, however, Beasley is a clear fourth in Dallas’ passing game pecking order behind Amari Cooper
, Michael Gallup
, and Ezekiel Elliott
, and he suffered a foot injury in this game.
Baltimore Ravens 26, Atlanta Falcons 16
What you need to know
- Lamar Jackson
and the run game once again led the Ravens to victory. Jackson made a number of nice throws downfield but also had a pair of ugly misses targeting John Brown
. Jackson had 17 rushing attempts and absorbed a couple of hits on his 13 yard touchdown run but otherwise did well to avoid unnecessary punishment. Michael Crabtree
and Mark Andrews
have shown to have good rapport with Jackson and Jackson looks to them as he extends plays. Andrews had shown excellent speed to gain separation and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. Expect John Brown
to get going in the coming weeks. The Ravens backfield has turned into a 3 headed monster with the return of Kenneth Dixon
. Gus Edwards
will continue to handle the majority of the early down work with Ty Montgomery
as the receiving specialist, and Dixon doing a combination of both.
- Atlanta dealt with a pressure, penetrating run defenders, and its own receiver’s mistakes during the first half, limiting the offense to three points. However, Grady Jarrett strip-sacked Lamar Jackson
early in the second quarter and Vic Beasley returned the fumble 74 yards to earn a 3-point lead. However, the Ravens’ defense was too much for Atlanta. In addition to a route that he ran too shallow to set up a fourth-down, Calvin Ridley
dropped an accurate third-down corner route later in the second quarter thanks to a Marlon Humphrey hit that jarred the ball loose and forced Atlanta’s second punt of the half. The Ravens limited Atlanta to less than 100 yards of offense for the first three quarters of the game and sacked Ryan for the third time, stripping the ball on a first-down blitz for a touchdown return by cornerback Tavon Young. This upped the Ravens’ lead to 16 and while Ryan drove Atlanta to close to 10 with a fade-away touchdown pass to Austin Hooper
, the Ravens ran out the clock with its run game.
QB Lamar Jackson
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 21 - 125 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 17 - 75 - 1 - Lamar Jackson
played well against the Falcons. Jackson fumbled 3 times against the Falcons and has 5 fumbles in his first 3 starts. A number of those have come on read option exchanges with Gus Edwards
. Jackson led the Ravens offense down the field for a touchdown on their opening possession. Jackson connected with Mark Andrews
and Michael Crabtree
each for 18 yards. Jackson then kept the ball on an option play and scored a 13 yard rushing touchdown. Jackson had a pair of ugly off target throws on consecutive plays targeting John Brown
when he was wide open. The first was on third down and resulted in a three and out. The second was a potential 49 yard touchdown. Neither pass was close to catchable. A few plays later Jackson had poor ball security when moving in the pocket and was stripped and the fumble was returned for a touchdown. Jackson made his best throw of the game to set up a field goal before halftime. Jackson threw a laser threw a tiny window to Crabtree over the middle for 10 yards. Jackson led the Ravens down the field for a field goal on the Ravens opening possession of the second half. Jackson completed a 21 yard pass to Mark Andrews
. Jackson made it look like he was going to run the ball but kept his eyes downfield and found Andrews. Jackson was kicked in the face following a 10 yard run but his teammate who was up ended on the play. As a result Jackson underwent extensive concussion testing and missed the Ravens ensuing possession. Jackson returned and led the Ravens down the field for a field goal to give the Ravens a two score lead. Jackson had his best run of the game for 18 yards showing great patience and spatial awareness at the second level. Jackson also had an impressive 7 yard run on 3rd and 8 making a defender miss in tight quarters along the sideline.
RB Gus Edwards
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 82 - 0 - Gus Edwards
now finds himself as part of a 3 headed committee with the return of Kenneth Dixon
and the emergence of Ty Montgomery
. Edwards is rarely targeted a a receiver but expect him to continue to dominate the early down work. Edwards is not flashy but he is very physical, reliable, and consistent. Edwards is almost never dropped for a loss and gets stronger as the game progresses. Against the Falcons Edwards consistently picked up gains of 4 and 5 yards on early downs to keep the offense on track. Edwards was also excellent in short yardage situations showing good vision to find a hole with a cutback. On the Ravens first offensive play Edwards found 9 yards up the middle running behind Marshal Yanda who pancaked his man.
RB Kenneth Dixon
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 37 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Kenneth Dixon
returned to the line up in a complimentary role and looked great. Dixon ran very hard and looked healthy for the first time his season. Dixon looked explosive and strong. Dixon made a catch underneath on a check down from Jackson for 6 yards. Dixon showed impressive leg drive and physicality running inside. Dixon made a man miss on the edge with a nice juke to gain 13.
RB Ty Montgomery
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (7 targets) - Ty Montgomery
has taken over the pass catching duties in the Ravens backfield. Montgomery lined up at wide receiver on a number of plays and was used on option plays with Lamar Jackson
. Montgomery made his first catch on a delayed screen pass but found only 2 yards. Montgomery made a catch running a crossing pattern after lining up at wide receiver for 6 yards. On 3rd and 1 Montgomery caught a check down from Jackson for a 10 yard gain. Montgomery picked up 14 yards on a screen pass showing good patience waiting for his blockers before exploding. Montgomery made an 8 yard catch on 3rd and 7 running the same crossing pattern as he did earlier.
WR Michael Crabtree
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (4 targets) - Michael Crabtree
showed excellent chemistry with Lamar Jackson
and made some nice catches. Crabtree worked back to Jackson as he scrambled and made an 18 yard catch over the middle. Crabtree dropped a slant on 3rd and 7 but he likely would have been stopped short on the play. Crabtree drew a 13 yard pass interference penalty on Robert Alford. Crabtree made an impressive 10 yard catch running a slant with a defender all over him. Crabtree made a nice 8 yard catch along the sideline running an out route.
WR Willie Snead
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Willie Snead
dropped his first target that would have kept a drive alive for the Ravens. Snead made his first catch running a curl for a gain of 8.
TE Mark Andrews
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (3 targets) - Mark Andrews
played his best game of the season against the Falcons. Andrews made his first catch running a shallow crossing route and hurdled a defender for 8 yards. A few plays later Andrews came uncovered over the middle of the field and picked up 18 yards running a deep slant. Andrews ran a deep crossing route and showed off nice hands making a 21 yard catch along the sideline. Andrews drew a 19 yard pass interference penalty on what could have been a 28 yard touchdown running an out and up from the slot.
QB Matt Ryan
, 53 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 26 - 131 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0 - Sharp to begin the game with short passes in the flats and over the middle, Ryan and the Falcons stalled out inside the Ravens’ 35 during the opening drive when Ryan overshot Tevin Coleman
on a wheel route and threw the ball behind Calvin Ridley
two plays later on third-down. The Ravens also out-strategized Ryan pre-snap when Eric Weddle disguised a blitz, baiting Ryan into an audible into a more advantageous play for the Baltimore defense. Ryan had to call a time out when he saw he was baited. This led to a Matt Bryant
field goal. He began the second series with a wounded duck that forced Julio Jones
into a jump-ball situation on a deep play-action pass that was way short and Eric Weddle knocked from Jones’ grip. Two plays later, Terrell Suggs cleaned up with a sack after pressure up the middle on third-down forced Ryan to the right flat. This led to a punt to end the second series with a three-and-out. In the third series, Ryan made an off-balanced throw on third and five to Austin Hooper
on a crossing route into an open flat for 16 to extend the drive—this wouldn’t be the last of its kind of the day. Ryan dealt with errors from his receivers in Atlanta’s third series. Jones dropped a five-yard stick route to begin the drive and Calvin Ridley
ran a comeback a yard too short and put Atlanta in a fourth and one. Atlanta went for it and got stuffed to end the series. The Ravens confused Ryan again with pre-snap secondary shifts and got pressure on him off the left side, hitting him in the leg as he was throwing and the ball came out high to his intended receiver to force a third-and-eight during the fourth series for the offense. Consistent pressure forced Ryan into difficult throws with hit-or-miss accuracy and cornerback Marlon Humphrey delivered multiple hard hits to pry targets loose from receivers. Ryan took his third sack on a first-down blitz in the middle of the fourth quarter and Tavon Young returned the sack fumble for a touchdown to increase the lead to 26-10. Ryan threw a touchdown to Austin Hooper
to the goal line on a fade away throw late in the fourth quarter with pressure bearing down.
RB Ito Smith
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 22 - 0, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - He earned 11 on the third play of the game from an I-formation split zone run up the middle. Smith earned two on the opening play of the third drive after running through a wrap four yards in the backfield by Terrell Suggs and staggering to the left edge. He broke another tackle on a toss right on the next play to earn three. The Ravens reached the backfield on both runs and disrupted Smith. Nice cut back to the middle by Smith for a first down in the middle of the second quarter.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 8 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets) - He earned two yards on a quick shotgun run up left guard after an eight-yard completion on a slant versus a blitz on the play before to open the game. C.J. Mosely stuffed Coleman on a toss right for a loss of two near midfield after a series of successful plays to open the game, setting up a third and three. Coleman earned a first down on second and three on a run to right end a few plays later. Ryan overshot a wide-open Tevin Coleman
on a wheel route up the left sideline inside the Baltimore five. Michael Pierce stuffed Coleman up the middle on a fourth and one to end the third series. Coleman and the left side of his line generated a small push for two yards to begin Atlanta’s fourth series. Baltimore’s defense opened the second half with a stuff of Coleman for a two-yard loss. Coleman fumbled after catching a short pass at the end of the third quarter but recovered it.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 44 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (4 targets) - He earned 11 yards with his first catch midway through the third quarter on a crossing route against zone on 2nd and 12. On the next play, he was the Wildcat quarterback and attempted a deep seam route to Jones but overthrew the pass and led to a third punt for the day. Sanu worked up the middle on a short catch after Baltimore’s sack-fumble-touchdown return in the middle of the fourth quarter. He was seldom a factor in the offense today.
WR Calvin Ridley
, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (5 targets) - Ryan threw behind Ridley on a slant and bounced off the receiver’s outstretched hands on third and nine, stalling the opening drive and leading to a Matt Bryant
field goal of 44 yards. Ridley didn’t run a deep enough route on 3rd and 10 against off coverage and broke back a step too early and forced a 4th and 1 that the Ravens stuffed to end Atlanta’s third series. Ridley dropped a corner route on third and five of the same drive when Humphrey knocked the pass loose as well, forcing Atlanta’s second punt. Ridley caught a dig route on third down to begin the third quarter but couldn’t weave through the defense to get the first down, forcing another punt. He scored on the rebound of an inaccurate pass to Mohamed Sanu
that was tipped by three defender players while Ryan was hit throwing the ball, but the right tackle nullified the play with a hold.
WR Julio Jones
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (8 targets) - He earned a quick nine yards on a play-action crossing route to midfield early in the game. Jones made a great catch against tight coverage for about eight yards against Jimmy Smith
on a well-anticipated pass on third and three. Atlanta began the second series with a wounded duck that forced Julio Jones
into a jump-ball situation on a deep play-action pass that was way short and Eric Weddle knocked from Jones’ grip. Jones dropped a stick route that bounced off his hands near his waist – a concentration drop where he turned his head up field before securing the ball. Marlon Humphrey defended Julio by stacking the receiver and forced Julio into a difficult attack of the ball to force a 3rd and 10. Ryan found Jones on an out but Marlon Humphrey knocked the ball loose with a hard hit but the officials called a helmet-to-helmet hit on Humphrey when it was Jones who lowered his head into the contact and it gave Atlanta new life. Jones dropped a deep over route between defenders where Ryan threaded the needle but a holding call on the tackle would have nullified a catch.
WR Russell Gage
, 1 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - He earned a short crease in the right flat for seven yards to get inside the 35 on the first Atlanta drive.
TE Austin Hooper
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 44 - 1 (5 targets) - Atlanta opened with a slant to Hooper for eight yards against a blitz. Ryan made an off-balanced throw to Hooper on a crossing route on third and five for 16 yards. Hooper turned it up the right hash for another 10 on the play at the end of the first quarter. Hooper earned 18 yards on 1st and 20 in the second quarter on an over route that was wide open. Ryan threw a touchdown to Austin Hooper
to the goal line on a fade away throw late in the fourth quarter with pressure bearing down.
Los Angeles Rams 30, Detroit Lions 16
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams passing offense had some ugly moments in the first and third quarters of this game. This was probably Goff's worst showing of the season. The Rams receivers are an extremely tough and dependable group. Todd Gurley
is the best parachute in the NFL.
- Detroit struggled with their offensive identity against the Rams Sunday. Matthew Stafford
struggled to create any vertical throws in the offense while LeGarrette Blount
has occasional success running against the Rams defense. Bruce Ellington
led the team in targets, while Kenny Golladay
continued to struggle as a WR1.
QB Jared Goff
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 33 - 207 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0 - This was arguably Goff's worst game to date this season. A lot of meat was left on the bone in the passing game, and the two turnovers he had were his fault. He had a potentially huge missed play where he pre-determined to go to Robert Woods
on a Drag-Wheel conversion and missed Cooks come wide open on the Deep Over. He tried hitting Cooks on a Deep Over route on the next drive, but it was triple covered. Goff sailed the ball a bit and it was easily intercepted. He opened up the second half with a 23 yard Deep Over to Robert Woods
on the first play. On the next play, he was pressured off the edge after a deep drop off play action. A replay angle showed that he had Woods open on a Deep Over again, but he dropped his eyes just as the route came open. He scrambled vertically into the teeth of the rush and was taken down for a sack, fumbling and turning the ball over in the process. The offense sputtered through much of the third quarter, with the Rams' only scoring drive coming on a field goal after Detroit attempted an onside kick (and was flagged for illegal touching), allowing the Rams to start at the Lions' 38 yard line.
RB Todd Gurley
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 132 - 2, Rec: 3 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - The last we saw of Gurley, he was a non-factor in one of the highest scoring games in NFL history (through no fault of his own, as he sustained and played through an injury very early in the game). The Rams offense (the passing game in particular) sputtered in both the first and third quarters, but they were able to lean on Gurley for production in their leaner moments of the game. By the 4th quarter, the Lions defense was gassed and had given up. He ran untouched for 13 yard right up the on his first touchdown run. While the Rams were trying to run clock in the last four minutes, Gurley went untouched until the third level, where he broke the safety's tackle. He ran back and forth inside the five, trying to use as much time as possible. He scored easily two plays later for his second touchdown.
WR Robert Woods
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0, Rec: 5 - 67 - 1 (9 targets) - His first target came on a Shallow Cross on 3rd and 3. The defensive back took him down with the ball in the air, drawing the flag and converting the first down off of penalty. On his next target he ran a deep Comeback along the right sideline. The corner actually played well in man coverage and contested the catch. Hew was the recipient of a nasty hit in the second quarter, as Goff was pressured and threw him a hospital ball on the run - a Deep Over that was high and behind Woods. He got his hands on it and was immediately smacked by the defender while in the air. The team leaned on Gurley to take them down the field for the drive, and Woods capped it off with a touchdown on a Shallow Cross from inside the 10 yard line where he easily just ran away from the defender on him in man coverage.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 62 - 0 (6 targets) - He was targeted on Goff's first two attempts. The first was a Deep Curl along the left sideline against off coverage. On the next play he started from the offensive's left, went in Jet Motion and converted it to a Wheel route up the right sideline. The linebacker to his side took a good angle, taking the Wheel away and forcing Goff to throw it where neither could make the catch. Woods fought through the contact, securing the ball at the high point, boxing the corner out, and coming down with the ball in bounds. He had back-to-back big gains on receptions running out-breaking routes from the slot in the two-minute drill before halftime.
WR Josh Reynolds
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (5 targets) - For being a frail-built, he displays a tremendous amount of toughness. He's not afraid to mix things up with linebackers on the second level and is not afraid of contact over the middle. He had potential for a bigger day than the statline suggest. He was targeted on one of Goff's early redzone throws, but got tangled with the coverage as the ball was in the air. He also came open on a Corner route in the second quarter, but the defensive back grabbed him and impeded him from coming out of his break and was flagged for defensive holding.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 33 - 245 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
continued to struggle in a loss to the Rams. Detroit’s offense lacks continuity without Golden Tate
, Marvin Jones
, and Kerryon Johnson
, which severely hampers Stafford’s upside. Stafford has little in terms of field stretchers in the offense. The only vertical option is Kenny Golladay
, who drew a defensive pass interference, but did not help Stafford by getting too close to the sideline on a back-shoulder throw where he could not get two feet down and another pass in the end zone where he could not get his feet down along the end line. The offense also struggled with interior pass rush from Aaron Donald and was out of down and distance because of sacks and penalties. Stafford had the opportunity for another touchdown in the red zone, but he was hit as he threw to Theo Riddick
and the ball was too low for Riddick to handle. Stafford’s lone touchdown was a trick play to Taylor Decker where the Rams did not realize Decker was an eligible receiver. Stafford has struggled with turnovers recently and Sunday was no exception. He lost a fumble on a sack from Aaron Donald and later threw an ill-advised prayer into the end zone that was easily intercepted. Stafford will look to rebound against the Arizona Cardinals.
RB LeGarrette Blount
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 61 - 0 (1 targets) - LeGarrette Blount
drew the start again with Kerryon Johnson
injured. Blount had success running on the interior against the Rams and was able to get to the edge for a 24-yard gain in the fourth quarter. Blount was used in the passing game once, on a screen that bounced off his hand. Blount did not get any opportunities in the red zone, which is necessary for Blount to have difference making fantasy impact. Blount will face the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but Kerryon Johnson
’s injury status is important to monitor for Blount’s role.
RB Theo Riddick
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 32 - 0, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets) - Theo Riddick
saw limited usage against the Rams on Sunday. Riddick was used to spell LeGarrette Blount
in the backfield briefly and saw 8 carries on the game, but his passing game usage was limited to 4 targets, largely a result of the emergence of Bruce Ellington
in the slot. Riddick had an opportunity for a touchdown on an angle route where he was open, but Matthew Stafford
’s arm was hit as he threw, and the ball was too low for Riddick to catch. Riddick faces Arizona in week 14.
WR Bruce Ellington
, 38 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 7 - 35 - 0 (10 targets) - Bruce Ellington
continued his emergence as Detroit’s primary slot receiver on Sunday. He led the team in targets, but their value was capped by a short depth of target. Ellington was targeted on screens frequently and used to convert multiple third downs out of the slot. While Ellington led the team in targets, he did not see any vertical opportunities in the game. With Marvin Jones
out for the season, Ellington should continue to see a significant portion of Detroit’s passing game targets.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 50 - 0 (8 targets) - Kenny Golladay
continued his inconsistency against the Rams on Sunday. Golladay struggled to create separation against man coverage and had jumped an inbreaking route and nearly intercepted. Golladay’s successes came against zone defenses when he ran crossing routes between the linebackers and safeties for receptions. After an early crossing route reception, Golladay largely disappeared until the last drive of the first half when he caught an out route. Golladay drew a deep pass interference penalty but did not have any other vertical completions. He missed a key opportunity in the end zone when he caught a ball along the end line but did not give himself room to come down in bounds. He made a similar mistake on an open back shoulder throw along the sideline. Golladay will likely get a matchup with Patrick Peterson next week when Detroit faces Arizona.