New York Giants 40, Washington Redskins 16
What you need to know
New York Giants
- - The Giants offense took advantage of many possessions on Sunday against a hapless Redskins offense that could not hold onto the football. They ran the ball extremely well and Manning was highly efficient throwing it.
- The offensive line has taken a big step up in recent months in terms of run blocking and Barkley has become a force against opposing defenses. The pass protection is still questionable and Manning takes too many sacks occasionally.
- Rather than one player recieving the bulk of the targets in Beckham's absence, Manning spread the ball very evenly and did not let the defense focus on any particular player.
- The Washington offense has been decimated with injuries. They're now down to a third string quarterback that hasn't even been with the team a month. It will be tough for them to remain competitive as the defense is suffering as well due to prolonged snaps. If Josh Johnson
can help revive the run game with some of his mobility and running prowess then maybe they can find life. Otherwise, Washington's playoff hopes could but almost over as they've lost five of their last six games.
QB Eli Manning
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 22 - 197 - 3 TD / 0 INT - Eli Manning
was very efficient on Sunday against the Redskins and had a lot of opportunity with the football as the Giants defense kept getting the ball back for the offense. Manning had a few questionable decisions with forced passes and he could have been picked off on a few occasions but generally played at a high level for most of this game. He floated a deep ball perfectly for Corey Coleman
along the sideline who couldn't come up with the ball as he dove to the ground. He later came back to Coleman and connected on an over the shoulder pass play deep to set up the Giants in the redzone. Manning tried to hit Sterling Shepard
in the back of the endzone on a pass over the middle but it was overthrown. His next trip to the endzone he found Shepard wide open in the corner of the endzone after the reciever got lost in man coverage. Manning struck again shortly after with an excellent pass on the run from a rollout play in the endzone. Manning could have been picked off shortly after but Shepard managed to break up the pass attempt. His final touchdown came on another play action rollout, firing a quick ball with perfect ball placement to Russell Shepard
who was wide open. Manning left the game shortly after as the Giants had amassed a big lead.
RB Saquon Barkley
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 170 - 1, Rec: 4 - 27 - 0 (5 targets) - Saquon Barkley
was simply amazing to watch again on Sunday as he torched the Redskins with big runs. Barkley had an ususual drop on a short pass out of the backfield but he shook this off and Manning was not put off by the early drop whatsoever. He showed great concentration catching an errant pass along the sideline and managed to stay in bounds. Barkley began to warm up as the game developed and he was stiff arming defenders and slipping through initial tackle attempts. He had an explosive touchdown run off the left side which was aided by some excellent blocking from the entire Giants offense. Barkley took advantage of space on the outside due to key blocks set up and simply outran the entire defense as he went untouched the entire run for the score. He had another big gain on the ground as he cut back across the field, showing elite speed that made defenders look silly as they couldn't catch upto him easily. Barkley was just lethal once he broke in the open field, punishing out of position defenders and then delivering stiff arms and shoulders at the end of the run to get every last yard. He even made a one handed catch out of the backfield late in the game. Barkley was eventually rested for Gallman as the victory was not in doubt in the fourth quarter.
Barkley remains an elite talent/fantasy option that has transformed this offense and has undoubtedly rewarded fantasy owners who drafted him.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 1 (6 targets) - Sterling Shepard
contributed very little to this game in terms of catches but at least rewarded fantasy owners by getting into the endzone. Shepard was wide open after he unravelled in the back of the endzone for his easy score. Shepard was targeted in the redzone earlier in the game but the pass was too high and sailed over everyone. He also did an excellent job of breaking up a sure interception on an errant pass targeting him in the endzone but the accuracy was off. Shepard didn't benefit from Beckham's absence as guys like Coleman/Engram/Barkley filled the gap easily.
WR Corey Coleman
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 43 - 0 (2 targets) - Corey Coleman
made some nice plays against the Redskins on Sunday and could have had a bigger day. He wasn't targeted much from Manning who managed to spread the ball very evenly amongst his teammates in the absense of Beckham. Coleman was open on a go route in the first quarter and dove for a long ball along the sideline but failed to come up with it despite getting his hands on it. It was ruled he was interfered with previously so that kept the Giants moving. He later caught an over the shoulder grab along the sideline which was a perfect ball from Manning, this helped set the Giants up nicely in the redzone. Coleman had to wait a moment for the ball. He caught another curl route for a first down later in the game but then became relatively invisible. Coleman showed he has the talent to get open deep and could be a bigger factor next year but he has to prove his consistency in these games first before the Giants will trust him more.
WR Russell Shepard
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 1 (4 targets) - Russell Shepard
had only one catch, though it was for a touchdown. Manning executed a terrific play action rollout play to find Shepard quickly who was wide open in the endzone. Shepard was targeted a few other times but registered no additional catches. He cannot be relied upon in terms of fantasy as the Giants simply have too many other bigger names to contend with.
TE Evan Engram
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 77 - 0 (5 targets) - Evan Engram
looked very fast and athletic on Sunday as he broke many plays down the field and was able to run away from defenders on multiple occasions. His first catch was a simple checkdown from Manning that was short of the first down. Engram then hauled in a pass over the middle and exploded up the defense for many yards before eventually going down. He had another explosive catch&run in the second half, showing he is too fast for many linebackers. Engram has always had top level talent for his position and showed it today. He remains a solid fantasy play most weeks but the entire Giants offense is somewhat up and down, however playing better in the second half of this season.
QB Josh Johnson
, 29 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 16 - 195 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 45 - 1 - Josh Johnson
took the field a little more than midway through the third quarter in relief of Mark Sanchez
. His production was garbage time the rest of the way, but he still proved to be more effective running the offense. Josh found Jamison Crowder
on a drag route that he took in for a touchdown from seventy-eight yards out. He added a rushing touchdown as well. Josh attempted sixteen passes and made the most of his completions as a few of them went for chunk gains. His mobility was a factor keeping plays alive to find open receivers. The offense remained very limited as Josh has barely had time to digest the playbook but it was clear he is the best fit moving forward.
QB Mark Sanchez
, 33 offensive snaps, Pass: 6 - 14 - 38 - 0 TD / 2 INT - Mark Sanchez
had an abysmal outing versus the Giants. He managed to accumulate just thirty-eight yards on ten drives and was ultimately benched. He added two interceptions as well and was subbed out for recently signed Josh Johnson
. This might have been the last time we see Mark Sanchez
at the helm for Washington.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 16 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Adrian Peterson
was a nonfactor in this game as Washington was down by thirty points in the first half. Washington inability to establish the run game due to the large deficit left Adrian without much of a role to remain a contributor. The offense was also a disaster with Mark Sanchez
at the helm which didn't do Adrian any favors as well. He received ten carries but was held in check on less that two yards per carry.
RB Chris Thompson
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 23 - 0, Rec: 3 - 15 - 0 (5 targets) - Chris Thompson
had a total of six touches versus the Giants but was held in check. He ended the game with less than forty yards as the offense was in disarray all day. Chris' explosive plays have been really inconsistent as the cohesion along the offensive line has abysmal. His injuries have played a role in some of his ineffectiveness as well.
RB Byron Marshall
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Byron Marshall
received one carry in this game as the third string running back. He was not a contributor in this game.
WR Josh Doctson
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 84 - 0 (5 targets) - Josh Doctson
gathered most of his production with the game out of hand. He had eighty-four yards on five catches. His biggest play came on a fifty yard reception where he was tackled at the goal line. Josh wasn't much of a factor throughout the game but managed to get a few looks in the fourth quarter. The offense was stalled all game so his ability to contribute was limited.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 87 - 1 (7 targets) - Jamison Crowder
scored one of the two touchdowns for Washington in this game. Jamison took a drag route seventy-eight yards for the score. He had seven targets in this game and only came down with two. The offense was horrendous all day and the inefficiencies for everyone was on display.
WR Michael Floyd
, 31 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Michael Floyd
was held to zero catches on two targets. As a bottom tier option in the passing game Michael Floyd
will continue to be an inconsistent contributor.
TE Vernon Davis
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - Vernon Davis
caught all four of his targets for thirty-one yards. The Washington offense didn't allow much productivity as the quarterback play was a disaster. However, Vernon may take on a larger role in the coming weeks depending on the severity of Jordan's foot injury.
TE Jordan Reed
, 7 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Jordan Reed
did not record a catch versus the Giants and exited this game with a foot injury.
New York Jets 27, Buffalo Bills 23
What you need to know
New York Jets
- For much of the game, the Jets looked close to what they have all season long – ultra-conservative and unwilling to take many risks. That changed a bit in the fourth quarter, and may have had something to do with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold
being more comfortable after almost a month off. Even though he played a solid fourth, though, the Jets offense is still a fantasy football wasteland and in the fantasy playoffs, you can’t trust them in any way shape or form. Robby Anderson
had the best game of the Jets fantasy players, and you can’t expect him to do it again, given how inconsistent the team is, so be very careful using him against Houston this weekend.
- The Buffalo Bills lost to the New York Jets on Sunday while struggling in the passing game. Josh Allen
ran well, getting multiple chunk gains, but struggled throwing the ball, including two interceptions. LeSean McCoy
suffered a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return as Chris Ivory
took the lead role in the running game. Zay Jones
struggled with two drops in the passing game, while Robert Foster
had his third game above 90 receiving yards in the past four games.
QB Sam Darnold
, 51 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 24 - 170 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0 - In his first action since Week 9, the rookie looked better as the game went on, his day culminating in a very nice nine play, 61 drive to put his team ahead for good near the end of the fourth quarter. Doing that in the cold, on the road was the most impressive part of the drive, but it’s worth noting that it was the rare time when head coach Todd Bowles took a chance and went on fourth down to win, versus just playing to tie. That gave Darnold the opportunity to win a game, even if the play to do it was a handoff to Elijah McGuire
. Darnold was 3-of-5 passing on that drive, including a dime to Robby Anderson
down the sideline to put the Jets on the Bills’ front doorstep. On that play, Anderson was pretty well covered by the corner, but managed to give himself enough room along the sideline for Darnold to throw. The quarterback fired off a perfect pass, over his receiver’s outside shoulder where the corner couldn’t make a play, and Anderson did a nice job of getting both feet in for a 37-yard gain. Another impressive effort resulting in an Anderson catch was on an earlier drive to tie the game at 20. On the play, a 3rd-and-5 in the fourth quarter, the Jets were on the Bills 7- yard line. Darnold dropped back to pass but found nobody open and was flushed out of the pocket by defensive tackle Kyle Williams
. Darnold moved to his right, evaded a diving Williams, and then with several Buffalo defenders nipping at his heels, cut left and ran upfield. During this, Darnold did an excellent job of keeping his eyes downfield and scanning for an outlet. He eventually found one in Anderson along the middle of the end zone and delivered a perfect pass for the score. Darnold looked a tad rusty to start the game, but came alive in the fourth quarter and overall showed some of the skills which had Jets fans excited early in the season, despite the usual conservative playcalling for much of the game. What’s more, he did it against what has been considered one of the best pass defenses in the NFL this season.
RB Elijah McGuire
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 60 - 1, Rec: 3 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - With Isaiah Crowell
forced out of the game with a foot injury, McGuire got the bulk of carries. It was an uneven effort, with McGuire showing some skill, but overall struggling to have success on a carry to carry basis. Without a doubt folks will point to McGuire’s game winning touchdown as the high point of his game, and of course it was critical. McGuire did show some tremendous patience as he waited for the hole to open up and then nice burst to zoom through it. The more impressive effort for the day, however, was a 34-yard run near the close of the third quarter. The jets had just converted a first down, but were on their own 26-yard line. McGuire took the handoff from quarterback Sam Darnold
, and found a nice seam in the A gap, breaking through the one-hole and moving through the line of scrimmage untouched. He then showed some nice speed as he got to the second level, stiff-armed a defender at the 45 yard line, and then danced along the sideline for several extra yards. While the consistency wasn’t quite there, and the sometimes slipshod efforts of the offensive line made his job harder, McGuire showed some upside against the Bills on Sunday.
RB Trenton Cannon
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 3 - 1, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Cannon didn’t do much with the carries he got, usually taking a loss and going down with initial contact. He did have a nice 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but in that case mostly succeeded because of solid blocking up front.
RB Isaiah Crowell
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 5 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Crowell was forced out of the game early with a foot injury, and it is unknown if it will result in more missed time for him going forward.
WR Robby Anderson
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 76 - 1 (7 targets) - In what was his best game in a long time, Anderson had several big plays. The two most critical came late in the game. The most critical extended a drive and put the Jets on the Buffalo 5-yard line and within striking distance of winning the game, which they did with an Elijah McGuire
touchdown moments later. On that play to set up the touchdown, Anderson ran a vertical route down the sideline and while he was pretty well covered by the corner, Anderson did an excellent job of moving the coverage inside and leaving a wide margin of open space along the sideline for quarterback Sam Darnold
to throw. The quarterback fired off a perfect pass, over his Anderson’s outside shoulder where the corner couldn’t make a play, and Anderson showed good footwork in getting both feet in-bounds for a 37-yard gain. Anderson also did a very nice job finding open space on his touchdown reception, as Darnold was forced from the pocket and scrambling around the field. Anderson was able to break away from coverage for a moment in the end zone, where Darnold delivered a pass for the score.
WR Quincy Enunwa
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Enunwa got hurt in the first half, and while he came back after halftime, looked a bit gimpy and between the injury and some good coverage, only managed a couple of catches when he returned.
WR Rishard Matthews
, 3 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Matthews was only on the field for three snaps, but was targeted on one of them for a 6-yard gain.
WR Jermaine Kearse
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Kearse seemed to have a hard time breaking free of coverage and he was on the field for just half the Jets offensive plays. He seems to be a pretty insignificant afterthought in the offense right now.
TE Jordan Leggett
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Leggett continues to only really be on the field for a fraction of the offensive plays, and then mostly as a blocker.
TE Chris Herndon
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (2 targets) - The return of quarterback Sam Darnold
didn’t goose the rookie tight end’s numbers, and with Robby Anderson
able to produce big plays, the quarterback didn’t need to try and force the ball to Herndon, although it was curious that the athletic tight end was not targeted on the final scoring drive considering what a mismatch he has been for defenses.
QB Josh Allen
, 76 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 36 - 206 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 9 - 101 - 1 (1 targets) - Josh Allen
struggled as a passer in critical situations against the New York Jets. Allen threw two interceptions, and both were bad decisions. On the first, Allen was scrambling to his right and threw across his body into traffic for an easy interception. The second was on the final drive, where Allen targeted Zay Jones
down the field. The coverage on the play was man under, and the cornerback sagged underneath Jones reading Allen the entire time for an easy interception. Allen’s fantasy success came on the ground, with 31-yard and 21-yard scramble on top of a red zone roll out for a 6-yard touchdown rush. Allen has success against defenses playing man defense because the middle of the field is open for his scrambles and Allen is quick to capitalize. Allen had success with throws to the perimeter to Robert Foster
and Isaiah McKenzie
, especially on throws that required him to throw with velocity. However, Allen struggled on precision and touch throws in the short area of the field. Allen’s game could have been bigger with a deep throw to McKenzie but he drew a defensive pass interference on the play. Allen also lost a fumble while running. Allen will look to rebound against the Lions next week in Buffalo.
RB Chris Ivory
, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 42 - 0 (1 targets) - Chris Ivory
took over the Buffalo backfield after LeSean McCoy
left in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. Ivory looked quicker than in recent weeks, especially early in the game, but struggled with little offensive line success as the game wore on. LeSean McCoy
did get the benefit of a red zone carry from the 6 instead of Ivory, but Ivory got no opportunities in the red zone after McCoy left the game. Ivory was also used in the passing game once but was underthrown by Josh Allen
. Ivory profiles as a capable three down back if McCoy misses time, but a low upside play with Josh Allen
getting extensive rushing opportunities in the red zone and the offensive line struggling to consistent create running lanes. He will play the Lions next weekend and McCoy’s injury status is critical to monitor during the week.
RB Marcus Murphy
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Marcus Murphy
worked to spell Chris Ivory
after LeSean McCoy
left with an injury. Murphy is an unexceptional athlete but a dependable rusher and receiver. He will likely backup Chris Ivory
if McCoy misses time but will struggle for fantasy relevance behind an offensive line that struggles to create running room.
RB LeSean McCoy
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - LeSean McCoy
left the game early with a hamstring injury and never returned. In his short time in the game, McCoy dropped a screen pass and had a red zone carry from the 6-yard line that was stopped for no gain. McCoy will look to recover during the week to allow him to play at home next week against the Lions.
WR Isaiah McKenzie
, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 22 - 1, Rec: 4 - 47 - 0 (7 targets) - Isaiah McKenzie
had another strong outing against the Jets in a loss. McKenzie was used on two end arounds, including a red zone carry where he got to the edge and scored a touchdown. He also drew a deep defensive pass interference. McKenzie saw targets limited to the screen game and short passing game in earlier weeks but saw expanded usage this week. He was used on a variety of routes, including routes in the middle of the field and out routes, on top of screen passes. McKenzie benefitted from release of Kelvin Benjamin
and fits well with the speed-based approach Buffalo is building to surround Josh Allen
. McKenzie will face the Lions next week at home.
WR Robert Foster
, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 104 - 0 (8 targets) - Robert Foster
bounced back after a quiet week last week. Foster has had three out of the past four games with 94 yards or more. Foster’s prior workload was largely deep balls, but Sunday was an expansion of his usage, as the Jets played safeties deep to prevent the deep passes. Foster worked the perimeter of the field, with out routes, comeback routes, and a back shoulder catch that turned into a big play. The Jets worked a lot of two deep safeties to prevent Josh Allen
from making deep throws, which could be a tactic future opponents adopt, so Foster’s continued development as a perimeter receiver is important to watch, especially with more opportunities after Kelvin Benjamin
WR Zay Jones
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (9 targets) - Zay Jones
had a rough day in the first game since Kelvin Benjamin
was waived. Jones was targeted early on quick out routes but dropped a crossing route and a curl later in the game. He was also targeted in the end zone, but tightly covered and the ball was broken up by good coverage. Jones also had the opportunity on the Buffalo version of the Philly Special, throwing a high point ball to Josh Allen
in the end zone that Allen could not haul in. Jones will look to bounce back next week against the Lions.
TE Charles Clay
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Charles Clay
had a quiet game against the New York Jets, managing only a short reception for 6 yards. Clay also had a drop on an open crossing route that could have been a big gain. He was also targeted deep down the seam on a ball that was overthrown but drew an illegal contact penalty on the play. Clay will look to bounce back next week against Detroit.
Minnesota Vikings 7, Seattle Seahawks 21
What you need to know
- The Vikings season is on the verge of collapse after their most recent loss to the Seahawks. The game was riddled with errors, poor calls, and ineffective play on the offensive side of the ball. Kirk Cousins
is not looking like the quarterback everyone thought they were signing or is just continuing to not show up in big games like he has for his entire career. The offense failed to reach 300 total yards of offense and the defense was the only thing keeping them in the game. The Vikings held Russell Wilson
to 72 yards passing and only allowed him to complete 50% of his throws. Unfortunately, they also allowed over 200 yards on the ground and could not overcome a defensive touchdown by Seattle. There was a key flag picked up on a blocked field goal in the 4th quarter. At this point the game was still 6-0 in favor of Seattle and Bobby Wagner was flagged for using other defenders to aid his jump over the line to make the block. This penalty comes with a 15-yard walk off and would have given the Vikings a first down. No explanation was given on the play and the Vikings were unable to challenge. Things are quickly falling apart on the Vikings offense with Adam Thielen
speaking out about play calling and poor performances all over the place. The Vikings play host to the Miami Dolphins next week as they look to get back on track and save their season.
- This ought to be short. Russell Wilson
threw for a career-low 72 yards, and added a ridiculously dumb interception along the way. The running game remained strong, with the dynamic upstart Rashaad Penny
seeming to finally take the #2 designation from strong-and-steady Mike Davis
. The receiving core was minus Doug Baldwin
, which may have some-thing to do with Wilson’s not-so-lofty total (but still, it’s no excuse). Give the Vikings defense credit where it’s due, but this one was awful for the Seahawks offense, no matter how you look at.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 33 - 208 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0 - It was another very poor performance for Cousins this week. He is not getting the ball out on time and is missing his receivers. Cousins missed on 13 of his throws this week, making for one of his least accurate games of the season. He failed to push the ball down the field and only averaged 6.3 yards per completion. His lone touchdown did not come until the end of the game when there was not enough time left to matter. The pass was a short 6-yard strike to Cook across the middle. Unfortunately, it came on the heels of a strip sack returned for a touchdown by the Seahawks on the previous drive. That pushed it to a 3-score game and well out of reach for Cousins. The route tree was unimaginative this week and the Vikings continue to run the same plays. Defenses have found a way to contain Thielen underneath and the Vikings are not stretching the field with Diggs enough. It has been an all-around failure from the play calling to the decisions made by Cousins on the field. A perfect example is the 4th and goal play from the 1-yard line in the 4th quarter. Rather than line up in a power formation and run it in, they attempted to throw the ball. Cousins targeted Rudolph but threw it behind him and the play was broken up by the Seahawks. It was a bad call and a bad read that could have changed the game entirely. Cousins will look to get back on track against the Dolphins next week.
RB Dalvin Cook
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 55 - 0, Rec: 5 - 28 - 1 (7 targets) - The running game has just not been there for the Vikings this season. Cook finally got a fair amount of carries this week but was unable to do very much with them. His longest run was 13 yards and his 13 carries were 10 more than anyone else on the team. The Vikings elected to go with Murray in the 4th and 1 situation, but he was stopped for no gain and it was a turnover on downs. Cook had 7 targets in the passing game but was ineffective outside of the late 6-yard touchdown. Cousins found him across the middle for a garbage time touchdown with the game already well out of hand. Coach Zimmer entered the week without committing to Cook in the back field. He said the flow of the game would dictate how many carries he had and that they were not ready to turn over the keys entirely just yet. The lack of confidence is baffling as the Vikings fight to stay in the playoff race.
RB Latavius Murray
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0 - Murray was a complete nonfactor this week for the Vikings. He only received 3 carries and came up short in the one spot they really needed him. Murray's name was called on a 4th and 1 play in Seattle territory, but he was stopped short of the line to gain. Maybe this play is what caused the Vikings to not run the ball on the 1-yard line later in the game. Murray has seen a decline in carries since Cook came back but the Vikings also are not committed to running the ball at all. Look for Murray to sign elsewhere in the off season where he will get used more.
WR Adam Thielen
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 5 - 70 - 0 (7 targets) - It has been a tough stretch for Thielen since his magical 8 week run to start the season. Teams have found ways to take away his routes underneath and are disrupting his timing with Cousins. After the blowup on the sideline against the Patriots last week, Thielen was heard cussing about the play calling of the Vikings this week. He caught 5 of his 7 targets, but most of it came late in the game when the Seahawks had secured the lead. He had 1 big gain of 35 yards, which accounted for half of his total in the game. Thielen was targeted in goal to go situations twice but the errant pass from Cousins fell to the ground both times. It is going to take a lot more from both Thielen and Cousins to help turn the Vikings season around with 3 games to go. They need to find their rhythm from the first several weeks to ignite that offense.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 76 - 0 (6 targets) - By the time Diggs made a big play it was too little too late. His 48-yard catch down the side line late in the 4th quarter helped set up the only score for the Vikings but there was not enough time left to make a difference. The rest of the game was a comedy of errors from Cousins and ineffective play calling. Diggs had more than half of his yards on that one big play and was tackled right after the catch or after a short gain on almost every other throw. Cousins was delivering the ball just a little too late and Diggs had not time to break free. With the Vikings not showing any sort of run game, teams have been able to focus their time and attention on Diggs and Thielen. It is almost impossible to make plays when the ball is not getting there on time or when there are extra defenders in the secondary. It is going to take a monumental effort from Diggs in the final 3 weeks and a lot of other things to happen around the league for the Vikings to make the playoffs.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 7 - 0 (5 targets) - Another week and another poor showing for Rudolph. The entire offense struggled this week and not just Rudolph. The only time his number was called when it mattered was on a 4th and goal play from the 1 where the ball was thrown behind him and into coverage. Rudolph was unable to make the catch and it may have been an interception if Cousins had actually thrown it to the correct spot. Rudolph caught 2 of his 5 targets and failed to surpass 10 total yards. It has been a very down season for the big tight end and he is starting to see some competition from Ty Conklin in recent weeks. The change to Cousins this year has not been beneficial for Rudolph.
QB Russell Wilson
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 10 - 20 - 72 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 61 - 0 - Wilson had the kind of day you just want to forget about and move on from. Career low in passing yards? Check. Rookie-like mistakes in the clutch that lead to a turnover? Check. Zero percent red zone conversion rate? Check. On a day that go to receiver Doug Baldwin
was out of action, Wilson was chased from the start, which led to an above average (but not quite season high) seven rushing attempts on the day. He looked strong on one play, as he fought for a first down rather than go with the QB slide move. When he did have an opportunity to air it out, the pass was under- or over-thrown, every single time – including one to Tyler Lockett
that drew a long pass interference call. It was the polar opposite of the uncanny deep accuracy we usually see from Wilson’s arm. He had four chances in the red zone, and came away with: 2 sacks, 3 incompletions, and a shameful no-look, wild throw-like interception that you wouldn’t wish on a high school quarterback. The worst part was that, had he simply thrown it away when he had the chance to do so, they had the ball at the two yard line, with enough time on the clock for another play. Instead, it was a hair away from being a pick-six, and ended the half on a sour note. Wilson redeemed himself ever so slightly near the end, with the Seahawks still clinging to their 6-0 lead, as he ran the ball down the sideline for a 40 yard gain, setting the stage for the game’s only touchdown.
RB Chris Carson
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 90 - 1 - Carson had perhaps the only fantasy friendly line on either side of the ball. With a long gain of 11 yards, he played a strong and steady game throughout, and looked as impressive taking the ball outside as he did with his patented power running game up the middle. His two yard touchdown burst up the middle was in important nail in the coffin near the end of the game, that suddenly put the game out of reach. His gutsy running was the glue that held this offense together. Carson remains the clear #1 runner in this backfield.
RB Rashaad Penny
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 44 - 0 - Penny has finally usurped backfield mate Mike Davis
for the keys to the #2 RB designation. He was explosive and dynamic in limited work against the Vikings. The most notable was on a play in which he saw the called play (left side run) blocked and changed direction for a 17-yard gain down the right side. What made it all the more impressive was that it looked like he still should have been bottled up. The combination of his quick decision – he did not cut back because he was fully cornered; that would have been too late. No, it was a clear and bold choice that, once acted upon, he somehow made good on with an extra dose of speed and pure gumption.
RB Mike Davis
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Carson had perhaps the only fantasy friendly line on either side of the ball. With a long gain of 11 yards, he played a strong and steady game throughout, and looked as impressive taking the ball outside as he did with his patented power running game up the middle. His two yard touchdown burst up the middle was in important nail in the coffin near the end of the game, that suddenly put the game out of reach. His gutsy running was the glue that held this offense together. Carson remains the clear #1 runner in this backfield.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -3 - 0, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (6 targets) - Lockett was the most reliable receiver of the bunch, and without him, it would be scary to see the potential passing line in this one. All catches were of the shorter variety, but he made a few clutch plays. Namely, coming back to make a low diving catch to convert a key 3rd down; a key play in which he drew a long pass interference call (which set up a field goal), and a nifty behind-scrimmage crossing pattern to secure a 2-pt conversion late in the game.
WR David Moore
, 52 offensive snaps (5 targets) - Moore showed once again that he is not quite ready for prime time. While he has proven that he is a fine complementary piece of the offense, Moore is clearly not quite up for the clutch moments. He wasn’t without his opportunities. First was a deep pass in which he had enough of a step on his man – underthrown, not his fault. A terrible drop on what should have been an easy first down on a slot slant pattern, which stalled a drive. And the icing on the cake: A beautiful TD catch, in stride, near the back of the end zone… with … only one foot in bounds. Moore has talent, and value in this offense, but for every ‘wow’ game, there is also one of these. Consistency. Not there yet.
TE Nick Vannett
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Since his eight target explosion in Week Nine, Vannett has come back down to earth, with no more than two targets in any week since. On a day in which the whole passing game amounted to 72 yards, he hauled in a 12-yard first down conversion early in the game, and then wasn’t looked to again. Unless your pool has a ‘Percentage of Team’s Passing Yards to Tight Ends’ stat, you can safely move on.
Indianapolis Colts 24, Houston Texans 21
What you need to know
- The Colts started the game with 5 ugly possessions but quickly started finding success when they threw the ball downfield. Andrew Luck
played very well outside of those first ugly possessions. Luck made multiple pinpoint downfield throws. TY Hilton repeatedly got wide open downfield generating 4 gains of 25 or more yards. Hilton seemingly got open at will and looked unstoppable against a number of different defenders. Eric Ebron
had a pair of drops and a few early miscues with Luck but also made some nice plays. Zach Pascal
continues to show strong hands and wide catch radius and could become fantasy relevant if he sees targets. The Colts backfield did not see much work and found limited success on their opportunities. Throwing the ball downfield was the path of least resistance for the Colts.
- WR DeAndre Carter
suffered a concussion which really hurt the Texans offense moving forward. Carter will enter the concussion protocol and his status is up in the air with a Saturday game for the Texans.
WR Keke Coutee
is still dealing with a hamstring injury and the Texans are being extra careful with their starting slot. His impact is clear for the offense and the Texans know they have to be careful with him especially heading into the playoffs if they can close out a berth in the postseason.
QB Andrew Luck
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 41 - 399 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 6 - 16 - 0 - Andrew Luck
and the Colts picked up where they left off against the Jaguars with 4 straight 3 and outs to open the game. The Colts first three possessions ended quickly with 3 ugly plays on 3rd down. Colts tight ends Eric Ebron
and Erik Swoope
each dropped a pass and Andrew Luck
had a pass batted at the line of scrimmage. Under pressure Luck threw a high pass over the middle that went through the hands of Zach Pascal
and was intercepted. Following the interception Luck took his play to another level and began aggressively throwing the ball downfield. Luck's next throw was a nearly perfect 60 yard bomb to TY Hilton to set up a Marlon Mack
touchdown. Luck stayed hot with 23 and 28 yard completions to Ebron and Pascal respectively. Luck capped with drive with a dart to Ebron for a 14 yard touchdown. Luck engineered another touchdown drive with a 15 yard completion to Ryan Grant
on 3rd down and a 34 yard gain to Hilton. Followed by a 12 yard throw to Pascal for a touchdown. One of Luck's best throw's of the game was a 28 yard back shoulder throw to TY Hilton showing perfect timing and placement against tight coverage. Luck sealed the win for the Colts drawing Jadeveon Clowney offsides with the hard count.
RB Marlon Mack
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 33 - 1 (1 targets) - Marlon Mack
saw limited work with the Colts struggling to sustain offense early then moving the ball with passes deep downfield. Mack played well but found little room to run on his opportunities. Mack scored a 4 yard touchdown running off right guard. Mack is clearly the lead back and should continue to get the majority of the work in the backfield.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (5 targets) - Nyhiem Hines saw limited usage against the Texans. The Colts did not run the ball much and the success of the downfield passing game minimized the need for the Colts to use Hines. Hines picked up 10 yards on catch in the flat. Hines ran a quick out from the slot for 6 yards.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 199 - 0 (12 targets) - TY Hilton functioned as the engine of the Colts offense generating explosive plays downfield at will. Despite being questionable with a shoulder injury Hilton looked healthy and unstoppable. Hilton made his first catch for an 8 yard gain on a screen pass. Made a catch running a comeback route and slipped a tackle for a 19 yard gain. Hilton blew by double coverage running a post route and hauled in a bomb from Luck for 60 yards. Hilton gained 8 running a slant. Hilton found a huge hole in the Texans coverage between the corner and the deep safety and made an easy catch for 34 yards. Hilton roasted another member of the Texans secondary for 28 more yards running a corner route. Hilton made an outstanding back shoulder catch with Jonathan Joseph in coverage for 29 yards.
WR Chester Rogers
, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 36 - 0 (6 targets) - Chester Rogers
saw a bump in targets with Inman out of the line up. Rogers mostly functioned as underneath receiver in the flat and on screen passes. Rogers gained 10 running a comeback route over the middle. Rogers converted a 3rd and 10 with an 11 yard gain on a screen pass.
WR Zach Pascal
, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 68 - 1 (6 targets) - Zach Pascal
played his best game of the season making plays downfield and over the middle. Pascal made a 9 yard catch running a slant. Pascal picked up 8 yards running a curl from the slot. Pascal had a high and off target throw from Luck go through his hands and get intercepted. Pascal came open running down the seam in front of the deep safety for 28 yards. Pascal ran a double move against Shareece Wright for a 12 yard touchdown. Pascal made a 12 yard catch over the middle running a comeback route.
TE Eric Ebron
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 65 - 1 (8 targets) - Eric Ebron
had an up and down game against the Texans. Ebron's first 3 targets fell incomplete. Including a drop that would have been a sure conversion on 3rd and 4. Ebron came wide open running up field on what appeared to be a blown coverage for 23 yards. Ebron made a nice adjustment to secure the catch running an out route and rolled into the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown. Ebron gained 13 running a comeback and getting yards after the catch. Ebron dropped a pass in the flat. Ebron picked up 15 yard running another comeback on 3rd and 10.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 38 - 267 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 35 - 0 - The big takeaway for Deshaun Watson
was him missing two key touchdown throws to both Demaryius Thomas
and DeAndre Hopkins
. Watson overcooked both throws the receivers who had clear separation on the defenders in coverage, it proved to be the difference in the game on the scoreboard. Watson continues to complete passes at a high clip and he is starting to depend on his tight end group more over the recent weeks and against the Colts he was 11 of 11 for 151 yards. Watson had more 20+ yard pass attempts in recent weeks and could have had an even bigger day through the air. His only touchdown of the day came when the Texans entered the red zone and he was flushed out of the pocket and found DeAndre Hopkins
in the back of the end zone by himself for a 7-yard scoring play. Watson had a strong passing day but he left too many big plays on the field that could have put points on the board.
RB Lamar Miller
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 33 - 1, Rec: 5 - 19 - 0 (6 targets) - It was an ugly day for the Texans running game and Lamar Miller
struggled to get going on the ground. The offensive line was getting consistently beat forcing some poor runs for Miller. His longest rush of the game was 13 yards and coming out in the second half, the Texans opted to use Alfred Blue
instead. Miller did have a 1-yard touchdown plunge on a direct snap to open up the scoring on a key 4th down play in the game. Miller also had 5 reception for 19 yards, with his longest reception for 5 yards.
RB Alfred Blue
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 21 - 1 (1 targets) - The Texans had a tad more success with Alfred Blue
running the football and his longest rush was ll-yards. Blue started the second half and provided some solid runs when needed, he was targets once in the passing game but it was short hopped to him. Blue started off the scoring on the day with a 3-yard run that was initially stopped but then was helped in by an offensive line for the touchdown.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 36 - 1 (10 targets) - The Colts threw every coverage at DeAndre Hopkins
but he was only able to come up with four receptions on the day. He had a 7-yard touchdown reception after he found a soft spit in the back of the end zone and Watson was able to find him. The big miss was when Hopkins got behind double coverage and Watson rushed the throw and over threw him not giving him a chance to make a play. Hopkins did his normal work on the outside but he just wasn’t given the chance to make a big play with the types of coverages the Colts used on him.
WR Demaryius Thomas
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 0 (6 targets) - Demaryius Thomas
continues to find his way in this offense and his biggest play was on a nice deep in on a play action pass that Deshaun Watson
hit him for 20-yards. Thomas continues to be used in smoke screen looks and on a 2nd and 19, Watson hit Thomas for a 19-yard catch and run that helped set up a touchdown. The Texans set up a good look for Thomas and was able to beat coverage on a corner route but Watson just put it just out of his reach. That would have been a big play and would have been a touchdown if he put it in the right spot.
TE Ryan Griffin
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 80 - 0 (5 targets) - The Texans tight end group is waking up and Ryan Griffin
was the primary target today for Deshaun Watson
. Griffin had key catches picked up some drive extending plays. He did majority of his work under the 9 yard range but his big play came on a 47 yard reception that saw Griffin hit the seam with Watson hitting him in stride for a long catch and run.
TE Jordan Thomas
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - The Texans are doing everything to make sure Jordan Thomas
is on the field and he is becoming a reliable option for Deshaun Watson
over the middle. Thomas had two receptions for 14 and 10 yards and he had a key one-handed snag on a 6-yard catch on a 4th down play. Thomas and Griffin remain the Texans top two tight ends getting the bulk of the work with the offense.
TE Jordan Akins
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 40 - 0 (2 targets) - Jordan Akins
is getting snaps on the field and he had the first big play of the game after coverage for the Colts broke down. It was a 27-yard gain down the right sideline where he jumped knowing he was going to get hit coming down. Also, Akins had a nice play action route that saw him catch and run for 13-yards.
Carolina Panthers 20, Cleveland Browns 26
What you need to know
- There is a real lack of spirit and, for lack of a better term, mojo for the Carolina offense. During this five-game losing streak, fluency has been a rare occurrence - and Cam Newton
's declining level of play has coincided with the skid. Newton played within himself against Cleveland, relying mostly on shorter passes perhaps to protect his ailing shoulder injury. When Newton tried to hit outside-breaking routes or downfield throws, they died in the air and lacked velocity. Christian McCaffrey
provided a safe pair of hands on just the types of passes Newton could make - checkdowns. Cashing in with two rushing touchdowns, McCaffrey was a constant threat. Devin Funchess
produced another anonymous performance, with miscommunication between he and Newton ending drives. D.J. Moore
looked fantastic ń apart from an egregious red zone drop that would have been a touchdown ń and produced some stunning runs after the catch. Ian Thomas
stepped into the Greg Olsen
role and looked undaunted by the additional responsibility, giving the Panthers a run-after-catch weapon at tight end that the elder statesman Olsen simply cannot provide.
- The Browns continued their strong play under interim head coach Gregg Williams, knocking off the Carolina Panthers in Week 14. While he didn't post eye-popping stats, Baker Mayfield
played nearly perfectly, throwing just four incompletions on 22 pass attempts. Of those four misfires, three can legitimately be called drops by his receivers. Jarvis Landry
stepped up in a big way, accounting for a rushing and a receiving touchdown. He came close to scoring a third time, getting dragged down at the Carolina four-yard line after a 51-yard run. The Cleveland defense came to play, as well, holding the Panthers scoreless in the fourth quarter to allow the offense to secure the comeback win. They forced a turnover on downs at the Cleveland three-yard line with 2:39 left in the game and then intercepted Cam Newton
on the following possession to lock up their fifth win on the season.
QB Cam Newton
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 42 - 265 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 23 - 0 - Cam Newton
did a reasonable job dealing with a Browns pass rush that caused the Panthers offensive line some problems, without being overwhelming. Newton started off well, hitting Curtis Samuel
on a deep crossing route that showed excellent anticipation. A red zone dart to D.J. Moore
looked to be a touchdown, but the receiver dropped it. Newton rarely used his legs in this game but did it effectively when called upon. As the game wore on, Newton struggled hitting outside-breaking routes, the ball at times dying in mid-air. He had similar problems with deep passes, including a toss to Samuel down the left sideline that the receiver had to come back for. Newton and Devin Funchess
had a couple of key miscommunications that were indicative of the offense's inconsistencies. Late in the game, Newton became more erratic with his mechanics, two simple passes flying over the heads of his intended receivers. A final red zone opportunity to take the lead went abegging, with Newton missing Samuel on a quick out and Jarius Wright
on a crossing pattern. When the offense got one final opportunity, Newton tossed an interception as it appeared he and Funchess were once again seeing different things.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 74 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 63 - 2, Rec: 6 - 38 - 0 (7 targets) - Carolina's do-it-all back looked to be off to a auspicious start, breaking off some nice gains in the early stages to put the Browns on notice. McCaffrey would cap that first drive success with a touchdown run out of the shotgun, running behind an outstanding block to squirt into the end zone. It wasn't long before the Panthers were set up with a short field after a Browns turnover, with McCaffrey cashing in for a second rushing touchdown, this time a one-yard dive that epitomised his toughness. The offense stagnated after that, and McCaffrey was not utilised as much until the fourth quarter, when things started to click again. He had a third rushing touchdown called back by a holding penalty but managed to produce a couple of nice runs after the catch in the dying moments.
WR D.J. Moore
, 67 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 5 - 67 - 0 (8 targets) - D.J. Moore
started the game off in poor fashion, dropping a straightforward pass from Cam Newton
with the offense set up close to the Cleveland goal line. Moore ran an excellent pivot route on the play, got separation from the defender, but showed poor technique with his hands at the crucial moment. To his credit he bounced back with an incredible catch on a slant route, the ball initially stuck between his legs as he quickly adjusted for it. He showed off his outstanding run-after-catch prowess later, catching a slant on the right side before banging off a tackler, spinning, juking and scooting all the way up the left sideline for a big gain. Moore was mostly used as a short option for the remainder of the game, catching swing passes and quick-hitting routes. An option pitch to him in the red zone came just yards shy of the goal line in the latter stages.
WR Jarius Wright
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (5 targets) - Jarius Wright
was utilised mostly as a checkdown option as the Browns often played man-free coverage and sent extra rushers. Wright provided a much-needed outlet against that pressure, with his biggest play coming on a deep shot down the right sideline late in the game. Wright showed excellent focus and managed to come back for the ball as it hung up in the air.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 80 - 0 (8 targets) - Pocket dynamo Curtis Samuel
had a mixed bag against Cleveland, at times producing standout plays, at others letting his team down in crucial situations. Samuel's first catch, a contested grab on a deep crossing pattern, augured well for the offense. A subsequent target on a sideline toss hit the ground as he went down to scoop it. At the end of the first half Samuel secured a couple of catches as the Browns played a shell coverage to take away the deep ball. It wasn't until the second half that Samuel had his most crucial error, a drop on a deep target down the left sideline. He had to adjust and check his route to make a play on the ball, which he did. However, as he came down to the turf the ball jarred loose, erasing a potentially huge play. A late red zone target on a quick out was out of his reach.
WR Devin Funchess
, 29 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Devin Funchess
endured another ignominious afternoon against the Browns, continuing his run as the odd man out in the Carolina passing attack. His first target didn't come until the second half, and the play illustrated a discord in the relationship between he and Cam Newton
. Funchess ran a seam pattern on third down and Newton, expecting his receiver to expect a quick pass against pressure, released the ball quickly. Funchess didn't adjust, however, and never looked back for the ball. A deep target late in the game sailed over Funchess' head, while a final target ń what proved to be the last pass of the game for Carolina - was intercepted after it appeared he and Newton were on different wavelengths once again.
TE Ian Thomas
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 77 - 0 (11 targets) - With veteran tight end Greg Olsen
out for the year, Ian Thomas
stepped into the breach against Cleveland and performed very well. Looking comfortable throughout, Thomas showed excellent hands on one catch, plucking the ball away from his frame on a low, errant Cam Newton
pass. The two appeared to build chemistry as the game continued, with Newton trusting Thomas to deliver on key third downs. Thomas showed fluid movement in the open field and surprised a couple of Browns tacklers with his change of direction. He was unfortunate not to bag a touchdown, a catch and run in the red zone coming inches shy of the goal line.
QB Baker Mayfield
, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 22 - 238 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 2 - 0 - Mayfield played nearly perfectly, missing on just four of his 22 pass attempts. Three of those incompletions were drops by his receivers. Mayfield was excellent in the pocket in this game, moving expertly to avoid pressure and firing passes with laser precision while on the run. His very first pass of the game was a 66-yard strike off of play action which hit Breshad Perriman
perfectly in stride. Perriman stumbled toward the end of the catch or it would have gone for a touchdown. Mayfield's touchdown pass came at the beginning of the second quarter on a ridiculously good pass. He did a great job avoiding pressure before running left and then firing a 51-yard strike to Jarvis Landry
in the end zone, splitting a Carolina double team in the process. He should have had another touchdown later in the second quarter but a wide open Rashard Higgins
dropped a perfect pass down the middle of the field. The Panthers played much better defense in the second half, which forced Mayfield to play more conservatively. Despite the improved competition, Mayfield still kept the chains moving. On the second drive of the fourth quarter, Mayfield made perhaps the pass of the game, though it might go overlooked. Backed up to his own goal line, Mayfield rolled right in his own end zone and hit Perriman with a 15-yard pass on 2nd-and-11. It gave the offense some breathing room and kept the Panthers out of an advantageous spot. The Browns' strong running game and Mayfield's efficiency are keeping him from posting huge fantasy games but he is a solid QB2 for the rest of the way.
RB Nick Chubb
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 66 - 1, Rec: 4 - 17 - 0 (6 targets) - Chubb managed to find the end zone again in Week 14. That makes six touchdowns in seven games since he was installed as the starter. Not only is he finding the end zone with regularity but his skill in the passing game has marginalized Duke Johnson
. Following Breshad Perriman
's big 66-yard reception, Chubb saw a red zone carry from the Carolina six-yard line. He went up the middle for three yards on the play. He showed his power on the first drive of the second quarter, dragging defenders for a first down on a 3rd-and-1 carry and then later dragging Luke Kuechly on a seven-yard gain. He did drop a pass in the second quarter on a play where he took a big hit right after the ball made contact with his hands. Chubb's touchdown came on a four-yard run in the third quarter. Initially it looked as though he would get stopped at the one-yard line but he was able to power his way over the goal line for the score. Chubb's longest play of the afternoon came on a 29-yard run in the fourth quarter. Chubb's ability in the passing game and high touchdown upside makes him an every week fantasy starter.
RB Duke Johnson
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -6 - 0 - Johnson saw just two carries and surprisingly wasn't targeted in the passing game. Meanwhile, upstart rookie Nick Chubb
saw a team-leading six targets. It is safe to say that Chubb's skill in the passing game has marginalized Johnson to the point where he isn't even being used much as a pass-catcher. Johnson was in the backfield on Jarvis Landry
's three-yard touchdown run in the first quarter but operated as a decoy. His first run went for no gain and he lost six yards on his only other carry.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 42 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 54 - 1, Rec: 3 - 57 - 1 (4 targets) - While he wasn't heavily targeted, Landry found a way to make an impact on the game. The veteran receiver wound up scoring twice, once on a 51-yard reception and once on a three-yard run on an inside handoff. Landry also ripped off a 51-yard run which saw him get dragged down at the Carolina four-yard line. Both of Landry's rushes came on the same play, an inside run where he started on the left side of the formation. He could have had a bigger game but he had two catches called back due to offensive penalties. Landry had an 18-yard catch called back after an ineligible player downfield penalty and a 16-yarder come back thanks to a holding penalty. Landry drew an end zone target in the first quarter but the pass was too high and the play was nullified by a defensive offsides penalty. Landry's 51-yard touchdown reception came at the beginning of the second quarter. With Landry double covered by Carolina, Baker Mayfield
made a perfect throw, hitting Landry a few steps inside the end zone. Landry did lose a fumble at the beginning of the third quarter after Luke Kuechly ripped the ball away from him after a short pass. He bounced back with his 51-yard run where he showed his elusiveness in the open field on a winding, zigzagging run. He came close to scoring but was run down by Kuechly at the Carolina four-yard line. Thanks to Mayfield's tendency to spread the ball around, Landry isn't getting the volume but creative play-calling helped him to turn in a big game.
WR Breshad Perriman
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 81 - 0 (2 targets) - Perriman got the Browns off to a fast start, hauling in a 66-yard pass from Baker Mayfield
on the offense's first play of the game. He got at least two steps on his defender and Mayfield found him on a play action pass. Perriman might have scored a touchdown on the play but stumbled at the Carolina nine-yard line. He was quiet for most of the rest of the game, tacking on a 15-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Signed off the scrap heap after the Ravens gave up on him, the Browns have found a use for his deep speed in their offense. While that isn't likely to make a fantasy impact, Perriman is helping open up the field for his teammates.
WR Rashard Higgins
, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (3 targets) - Higgins had an up-and-down afternoon. He caught a short screen in the first quarter but Carolina forced a fumble. He bounced back to make a great 16-yard catch in the second quarter. He did a great job at high-pointing the pass for the completion. Later on that drive, Higgins committed a bad drop on a pass that could have gone for a touchdown. He was wide open down the middle inside the Carolina 10-yard line but simply dropped an easy catch. There was a good chance he would have been able to run for the touchdown had he made the grab.
WR Antonio Callaway
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - Callaway was hardly heard from in this game, catching his lone target for no gain. Baker Mayfield
continues to spread the ball around, as he completed passes to eight different receivers, so there are going to be slow games like this for Cleveland's No. 2 receiver.
TE David Njoku
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0 (4 targets) - Njoku had a 28-yard reception on a good catch in the second quarter but he was mostly quiet other than that. His first catch of the game went for no gain and his only other catch was a seven-yarder in the fourth quarter. He did get open on the right side of the field in the third quarter but dropped a pass. The pass was a little high but it was a catchable ball that Njoku should have been able to convert. The spread-the-wealth offense being run by the Browns has cut into Njoku's workload of late but he remains a high upside player due to his athleticism and run-after-the-catch abilities.
Pittsburgh Steelers 21, Oakland Raiders 24
What you need to know
- If this Week 14 match-up were a television show it would be titled ‘Bad Footing’. There was no solid footing for any part of the Steelers against the Raiders. Ryan Switzer
lost his footing on two returns and an easy touchdown reception in the end zone. Chris Boswell
was on bad footing when he slipped and missed the game winning field goal. Finally, the Steelers coaching staff was on bad footing for thinking they could not only try to win a game against the Raiders with Joshua Dobbs
, but also trying to bring Ben Roethlisberger
back in at the end of the game would be enough to stop a three-game losing streak.
- -Despite nothing to play for, this Raiders team has not quit and has played surprisingly tough against great competition the last two weeks.
-Oakland used a two-man committee at running back with Doug Martin
handling 64% of the running back touches and Jalen Richard
taking the other 36%.
-It was another big week for Jared Cook
, who is the clear top target in the passing attack.
-The Raiders offensive line was again problematic, allowing four sacks and drawing a number of flags.
QB Ben Roethlisberger
, 41 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 29 - 282 - 2 TD / 0 INT - Roethlisberger was very sharp throughout the entire same. He was distributing the ball well and keeping everyone engaged early. In fact, the superlatives on Roethlisberger's are lengthy and far outweigh the negatives. The connection between Roethlisberger and both his top wide receivers (Antonio Brown
and JuJu Smith-Schuster
) was on full display tonight, especially when Roethlisberger was out of the game. Roethlisberger highlight throw of the night came on the Steelers second possession of the game. Roethlisberger had good protection and showed good feel when he escaped the pocket to his right. Roethlisberger delivered a well-placed ball to Jesse James
. Near the end of the second quarter Roethlisberger took a big hit from a rushing defensive lineman up the middle. Roethlisberger stayed on the field and completed the first half of the game but was held out until there were three minutes left in the game and Josh Dobbs had proven ineffective. Roethlisberger re-entered the game and led the offense quickly down the field and threw a touchdown to JuJu Smith-Schuster
. The pass was dangerous but was perfectly placed by Roethlisberger.
QB Joshua Dobbs
, 19 offensive snaps, Pass: 4 - 9 - 24 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 15 - 0 - Called on to start the third quarter for an injured Roethlisberger, Dobbs was inaccurate and did not give his pass-catchers an opportunity to win after the catch. The best example was on a pass to James Washington
. Washington was thrown the ball high and it was easily broken up by the Oakland defender. If Dobbs would have thrown the ball into the body, then the defender would not have been able to make a play on the football without committing a penalty.
RB Jaylen Samuels
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 28 - 0, Rec: 7 - 64 - 0 (7 targets) - With the loss of James Conner
, Samuels was named the starting running back and received most of the running back touches in the game. Samuels attacked the Raiders defense differently depending on how he touched the ball. As a rusher, Samuels showed a smooth-running style and lacked vision between the tackles. As a receiver, Samuels was navigating traffic well and displayed better explosion through arm-tackles.
RB Stevan Ridley
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 4 - 1 - Ridley was inserted into the lineup when the Steelers were at the goal line. Ridley displayed nifty feet avoiding defenders in traffic for his touchdown.
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 130 - 2 (12 targets) - Smith-Schuster led the Steelers in targets and yardage, providing valuable as a threat in the slot in crucial situations. The chemistry Smith-Schuster is developing with Roethlisberger is like that of Antonio Brown
. Smith-Schuster's had two highlight catches on the day. His first came on a back-shoulder timing reception from Ben Roethlisberger
displaying exceptional timing. JuJu's second highlight catch was for a touchdown in the back of the end zone. Smith-Schuster was relatively open and the ball was placed well above his head. Fortunately, Smith-Schuster tipped the ball to himself and was able to secure the catch. The ruling on the field was originally called incomplete, but was overturned for a touchdown.In the closing seconds, Smith-Schuster took a toss from James Washington
and had big yards after the catch to bring the Steelers within field goal range. Smith-Schuster does most of his damage in the slot and by being physical with his defenders after the catch.
WR Antonio Brown
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 35 - 0 (7 targets) - After last week's explosion against the Chargers, Brown was quiet against the Raiders. Even with a tepid box score, Brown's speed was being respected when Browns defender was playing almost 10-yards off coverage. The defender began to backpedal, but Brown ran a simple hitch route for a first down. Brown also had a crucial catch on the final drive for the Steelers which led to a touchdown.
TE Vance McDonald
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (4 targets) - McDonald continues to be as efficient a target as you'll find, securing 4 of his 4 targets today, and securing 73% of his targets over the season. McDonald did not find the end zone this week, but his impact by taking additional coverage off the top two wide receivers and exploiting the extra coverage those two wide receivers draw. During the second quarter the Raiders had a miscommunication and left McDonald uncovered in the middle of the field.
QB Derek Carr
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 34 - 322 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - Carr had a strong day, showing off both his touch and ability to throw fastballs when needed. He was able to loft it in over trail coverage and in front of the safety on long completions to Marcell Ateman
and Jared Cook
. Carr had to use his big arm to squeeze it into tight spots a few times, including a key third-down completion to Jordy Nelson
fired into a tiny opening. Carr had to work behind a poor offensive line, which drew a number of penalties that put the offense behind the chains. He also took four sacks, a couple of which were unavoidable. Carr did deserve the blame for one sack when he held the ball far too long. Aside from taking the sack, he really only made one big mistake in the game. Carr had the ball slip out of his hand as he was attempting a pass and it was ruled a fumble. The ball came out as he wound up to throw despite no defender being near him. It cost the Raiders three points. Carr led a pair of long touchdown drives in the fourth quarter to lead a come-from-behind victory. He capped one off with a 3-yard touchdown to backup tight end Lee Smith
. Smith came wide open off of play action. The game-winning, 6-yard touchdown pass was to the other backup tight end, Derek Carr
ier. It came on 4th-and-goal in the final thirty seconds of the game. Carrier ran a great route and was wide open for an easy throw and catch.
RB Doug Martin
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 32 - 1 - Martin was listed as questionable with a knee injury but was able to play, wearing a brace on his left knee. His longest gain came on the first snap of the game, a physical run right up the middle for nine yards. With the Raiders facing 1st-and-goal from the three-yard line on the opening drive, Martin got three straight carries. He dodged a defender in the hole on first down and picked up a yard and a half. He dove low and tried to stretch for the end zone but came up inches short on second down. On third down, he leaped over the top of the pile for the 1-yard touchdown. He opened the second drive with another powerful 9-yard run up the gut. After picking up 26 yards and a touchdown in the opening minutes, Martin did next to nothing the rest of the way. He gained just six total yards over the final 50 minutes. Martin had a fourth goal-line carry late in the game but was dropped for a short loss.
RB Jalen Richard
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 24 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - Unlike most recent weeks, the running backs were an afterthought in the passing game. Richard was the only back targeted and he had just one. He did see his second-most carries of the season with eight, though. Most came on the final two drives of the game with the Raiders playing catch up. On his first touch, he made a nice cut in the hole and bounced it for an eight-yard pickup. Richard picked up a key 4th-and-1 late. He darted through the line for a 3-yard gain and was nearly able to stay on his feet and take it in for an 18-yard touchdown. It was ruled his knee touched and the Raiders didn’t have any more challenges available.
WR Jordy Nelson
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 48 - 0 (7 targets) - Nelson made a key 3rd down grab on a slant route despite having Joe Haden draped all over him. He slid low to make the catch just shy of the goal line. While Nelson hasn’t been able to generate much separation, he still shows excellent hands and has been a reliable target on short passes.
WR Seth Roberts
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 76 - 0 (7 targets) - Roberts tied for most targets amongst the wide receivers with seven. He took a wide receiver screen for a 9-yard gain on the opening drive, getting knocked out of bounds three yards shy of the end zone.
WR Marcell Ateman
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (4 targets) - Ateman wasn’t targeted at all the first three quarters. He wasn’t on the same page with Carr on a third-down incompletion early in the fourth quarter and Carr let him know about it on the sideline. Carr went right back to the rookie early on the next drive, though. Ateman was matched up on a linebacker and was able to haul in an over the shoulder grab for 28 yards. He made a diving grab across the middle with a defender hanging on him for an 8-yard gain. All three of Ateman’s catches came on the Raiders two late touchdown drives.
TE Jared Cook
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 116 - 0 (10 targets) - offense. Cook’s longest gain of the day came on the second offensive snap. He ran a go route down the sideline and made a nice over the shoulder grab, holding on despite a hit from the safety for a 30-yard gain. The very next play, Cook hauled in a 19-yard gain on a slant route to get Oakland into the red zone. The Raiders were often able to get Cook lined one-on-one with Steelers safety Morgan Burnett and Cook was able to dominate the matchup. He was able to get huge separation on some of his slant and out routes.
TE Derek Carrier
, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 1 (2 targets) - Carrier made a pair of key catches. He went low to make a diving 23-yard catch down the seam to get the Raiders into the red zone. Carrier scored the game-winning, 6-yard touchdown in the final seconds. He lined up out wide left, staggered behind Jordy Nelson
. Nelson cut inside and drew two defenders. Carrier faked the out route and then pivoted back to the inside and generated huge separation making for an easy pitch and catch from Carr.
TE Lee Smith
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (1 targets) - The big blocking tight end hauled in a 3-yard touchdown catch off of play action. He faked like he was blocking and was able to slip through traffic to lose his defender.
Detroit Lions 17, Arizona Cardinals 3
What you need to know
- Detroit’s offense struggled in a win at Arizona. While Detroit scored two touchdowns, one was an interception returned for a score, which gave Detroit a lead against a Cardinals offense that struggled mightily. Detroit scored a 4th quarter rushing touchdown that finished a Zach Zenner
led scoring drive, but otherwise struggled to move the ball with any regularity. Without Golden Tate
, Marvin Jones
, and Kerryon Johnson
, Detroit has limited weapons to move the ball.
- The Cardinals mired to another loss and this week to fellow low-level offense in the Lions. Larry Fitzgerald
was hounded by bracket coverage until garbage time but did pass Jerry Rice
for the all-time receptions record in NFL history. Trent Sherfield
emerged as the secondary option with Christian Kirk
to injured reserve. David Johnson
saw a hearty 23 touches but managed a rarified air of inefficiency as a receiver with 8-12-0 on a team-high 10 targets. Arizona struggles to keep up with any opponent and gets the Falcons and Rams the next two weeks.
QB Matthew Stafford
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 23 - 101 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Matthew Stafford
struggled to create any passing threat in a win against the Arizona Cardinals. Stafford has struggled without Marvin Jones
, Kerryon Johnson
, and Golden Tate
, and Sunday was no different. His threats are limited to short targets to Theo Riddick
, Bruce Ellington
, and occasional schemed up targets to Kenny Golladay
. There is little vertical eliminate in the passing game, with the only deep target a tightly covered throw to Golladay which drew a pass interference. Stafford was only sacked once on interior pressure from a coverage sack. Stafford has struggled with accuracy at times this season, but his recent struggles and Sunday can be attributed to a lack of offensive weapons. Stafford will look to improve next week in a tough matchup at Buffalo.
RB LeGarrette Blount
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (3 targets) - LeGarrette Blount
started against the Arizona Cardinals with Kerryon Johnson
missing another game with an injury. Blount performed well early, getting to the edge for a chunk gain and running with interior power. Blount also caught a pass which he then fumbled and was recovered by Arizona. He did not lose time immediately afterwards, as he continued to run as the lead back into the second half, before ceding time to Zach Zenner
who closed the game out, including a goal line touchdown. Blount faces a threat to his usage from the return of Kerryon Johnson
and the emergence of Zach Zenner
. Both will be a key to monitor before Blount takes on Buffalo next week.
RB Zach Zenner
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 54 - 1 - Zach Zenner
opened the game spelling LeGarrette Blount
with success on the second series of the game. Zenner had success early but saw an expanded role in the fourth quarter as Detroit was killing the clock. Zenner carried the ball on 7 of the 8 snaps on the final scoring drives while Detroit was attempting to salt away the game and ultimately scored a goal line touchdown. The increased usage is notable as Blount was the primary running back with Kerryon Johnson
out of the lineup. The injury status of Johnson and Blount’s role are keys to monitor during the week.
RB Theo Riddick
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 28 - 0, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (4 targets) - Theo Riddick
had a good game against Arizona. The good news was Riddick led the team in receiving. The bad news was he only had 4 catches for 30 yards. Riddick’s passing game work came out of the backfield more this week than in prior weeks when he lined up in the slot. He was also effective in the running game out of the shotgun where he had good runways on his 6 carries. Riddick will face Buffalo next week.
WR Bruce Ellington
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - Bruce Ellington
continued to see a volume role in Detroit’s passing game against Arizona. Ellington was a favorite of Matthew Stafford
on third down early in the game including a conversion, but his targets are all close to the line of scrimmage. Like the rest of the offense, Ellington had no down the field threat. Ellington will look to improve next week against Buffalo.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - Kenny Golladay
had a bad game against the Arizona Cardinals. Golladay had two early catches, a quick route into the flat and a short route but disappeared after that. Golladay’s only involvement afterwards was a deep target where he drew a defensive pass interference. He was matched up at times with Patrick Peterson but did not get full shadow coverage. Golladay has struggled to separate all season when not schemed open and Sunday was no different. He will face a tough matchup next week against Buffalo.
QB Josh Rosen
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 41 - 240 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0 - Rosen has little with which to work in the passing game and Detroit took away Larry Fitzgerald
for much of this week’s game with double coverage. Rosen struggled mightily on obvious passing situations, especially third down, with two critical sacks and being late on a deep out route resulting in a pick-six interception. Rosen dealt with small windows overall as his receivers struggle to separate overall and Arizona’s offensive line is average on their best days. Atlanta offers a better matchup for Rosen next week but Arizona has a mere 10 passing touchdowns over Rosen’s 10 starts during his rookie season.
RB David Johnson
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 49 - 0, Rec: 8 - 12 - 0 (10 targets) - Volume was not an issue for Johnson against Detroit as the workhorse running back saw 23 touches. However, yards were fleeting as Arizona’s passing game did little to threaten Detroit deep and keep defenders out of the box. Johnson gained 29 rushing yards (of his 49 overall) on his three best runs, including a give-up carry to close the first half. Johnson exhibited quality power, balance after contact, and the ability to get skinny through a line-of-scrimmage hole. Johnson had an even more difficult time as a receiver. Outside of a slant reception as a split-out receiver, Johnson was stuffed on screen opportunities and dropped a routine pass. Johnson’s lone scoring opportunity was a swing route reception in the red zone but was stopped before the goal line. With Arizona’s offense providing few scoring drives, Johnson has one rushing touchdown over the past seven games.
RB Chase Edmonds
, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0 - Edmonds saw three carries against Detroit but fumbled on two of them. Fortunately, Arizona recovered both of them including one in the red zone. Edmonds has been used a fair amount in the red zone despite David Johnson
being the clear starter. Edmonds would be a high-volume option if Johnson were to miss time but has yet to see more than eight touches in a game this season otherwise.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 67 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 55 - 0 (9 targets) - Fitzgerald broke Jerry Rice
’s NFL record for most receptions. However, Fitzgerald was hounded by Detroit’s bracket coverage to an invisible first half before setting the record in the mid-third quarter. Fitzgerald collected much of his production in clear garbage time with the Lions’ win clearly in hand late in the game. Fitzgerald had a nice catch on a throw behind him and his notable scoring opportunity was a back shoulder end zone target which was incomplete. Fitzgerald was already the focal point of defenses’ coverage before Christian Kirk
’s injury but was even more so this week against the Lions. Fitzgerald’s 55 yards was his highest totals since Week 8 and third-highest of the season for what has been a lost year for Arizona.
WR Trent Sherfield
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 77 - 0 (7 targets) - With Christian Kirk
to injured reserve, Sherfield filled the void as the secondary receiver to Larry Fitzgerald
against the Lions. Sherfield was the highlight player for Arizona in the loss with a collection of strong plays from a sliding reception to a highly-contested grab, and drawing a deep pass interference penalty. It was a career day for the undrafted receiver out of Vanderbilt, seeing more targets and receptions this week than the rest of the season combined.
Denver Broncos 14, San Francisco 49ers 20
What you need to know
- Denver lost receiver Emmanuel Sanders
to an Achilles injury in practice Wednesday of last week. He may miss a portion of next season. Tim Patrick
and Daesean Hamilton stepped up with solid receiving efforts as Courtland Sutton
did not exactly shine as the #1 receiving option. Denver's run game couldn't get anything going as San Francisco's front seven dominated in the run and passing game. Case Keenum
was pressured heavily all day, and turned in a poor outing without Sanders. One bright spot is that Denver did not commit any turnovers. Darian Stewart intercepted Nick Mullens
in the 4th quarter.
San Francisco 49ers
- The passing game's dominance, which was almost entirely a first-half phenomenon, was more a triumph of play design than anything else, as George Kittle
's three big plays were due to him being as wide open as a receiver can get. Once Denver adjusted their coverage and dialed up their pass rush, Nick Mullens
and company were far less effective. That said, one player who stood out for his individual -- rather than scheme-related -- success was Dante Pettis
. He (surprisingly) started ahead of a healthy Marquise Goodwin
and constantly demonstrated why said decision was made. Although he dropped two passes, the All-22 video clearly showed a polished route runner who can beat any type of coverage a defense throws at him. When a San Francisco wide receiver can win easily on a fade route at the goal line, you know something's different this time.
QB Case Keenum
, 74 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 42 - 186 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 24 - 0 - Keenum lost his favorite receiving option when Emmanuel Sanders
blew his Achilles out in practice on Wednesday, and it showed in Sunday's contest. Keenum struggled mightily in the 1st half, and entered halftime with less than 50 yards passing. Keenum pieced together some decent drives in the 2nd half as he established a bit of rapport with young receivers Patrick and Hamilton. Keenum converted 4th and 2 with a 20 yard corner route to Tim Patrick
in the 3rd quarter, setting Denver up on San Francisco's 2 yard line. Keenum led another scoring drive late in the 4th quarter, converting 4th and 7 with a toe-tapping sideline connection to Tim Patrick
. Keenum capped the drive with a short touchdown pass to Daesean Hamilton, who ran an out route from the slot while Sutton crossed his defenders face.
Keenum had a couple of nice scrambles as he totaled 24 yards on the ground. He rolled out to the right and scrambled for a 16 yard gain to convert 3rd and long in the 2nd quarter.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 48 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 30 - 1, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (7 targets) - The Denver run game was nowhere to be found in week 14. Lindsay couldn't muster a run longer than 5 yards, but he did punch in a short touchdown in the 3rd quarter. Denver gave Lindsay the ball on three different 4th down conversion attempts. He got the carry on 4th and 3 in the 3rd quarter, but couldn't quite turn the corner to convert the play. He was targeted with a short pass on 4th and 3 again in the 4th, but was tackled behind the line of scrimmage. Lindsay did convert a 4th and short carry later in the 4th quarter.
Lindsay drew 7 targets in the passing game. He made a smooth one handed grab on his first target of the day, a short swing route in the 1st quarter. He lined up in the slot and caught a quick pass in the 2nd quarter for a short gain. Lindsay picked up 11 yards with a swing route out of the backfield in the 4th quarter. Lindsay out-touched Freeman 18-6.
RB Royce Freeman
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 36 - 0 (1 targets) - Freeman logged 6 carries behind Lindsay's 14. He picked up most of his yards on a 23 yard carry that he broke off of right tackle in the 4th quarter, finishing the run with a mean stiff arm. Freeman could not secure his only target of the day.
RB Devontae Booker
, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Booker was featured during the 2 minute offense at the end of the first half. He caught a short checkdown pass out of the backfield for a short gain. Booker picked up a few more yards with one last checkdown pass at the end of the 4th quarter.
RB Andy Janovich
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - Fullback Janovich held down his usual blocking duties and logged one carry for a few yards.
WR Tim Patrick
, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0, Rec: 7 - 85 - 0 (10 targets) - It was Patrick, not Sutton, who picked up the slack after the Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders
to an Achilles injury last week. Patrick led the team in targets and yards. He hauled in an out route for a nice gain in the 2nd quarter. Keenum found him again on a deep comeback route down the left sideline for a first down in the 3rd quarter. The highlight of Patrick's day was a 20 yard corner route that converted 4th and 2 in the 3rd quarter. Patrick was pushed out of bounds just shy of the 2 yard line on the play. Patrick made a beautiful toe-tapping reception on the right sideline to convert 4th and long at the end of the 4th quarter.
Patrick carried the ball once on an end-around in the 2nd quarter that picked up a first down and some extra yardage after a defender hit him late on the play.
WR DaeSean Hamilton
, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 47 - 1 (9 targets) - Hamilton worked a lot out of the slot behind Sutton and Patrick on the outside, drawing 9 targets. He got his day started with a short curl route late in the 1st quarter. Keenum hit him with a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage in the 2nd quarter, but a savvy defender stopped the play for no gain. Hamilton made a diving catch on a quick slant in the 3rd quarter. A scrambling Keenum found Hamilton on a crossing route at the end of the 3rd quarter. Hamilton made a falling catch on a short slant route in the 4th quarter. Hamilton took a huge shot to the back as he secured an 18 yard gain on a post route late in the 4th, but he bounced back up immediately and finished the drive with a touchdown. Hamilton was wide open on an out route for the short touchdown after losing his defender to a rub route by Sutton.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (6 targets) - Sutton turned in a dud in his first outing as Denver's #1 receiver. Keenum loaded up a deep ball for Sutton down the left sideline on Denver's first offensive play of the game, but a defender was in Sutton's hip pocket. Sutton recorded his first catch on a short curl route late in the 2nd quarter. Keenum hit him on a crossing route early in the 3rd quarter for a 10 yard gain. Sutton ran an end-around toss play later in the same drive, and cut upfield too early on the run as a defender took him down for a loss. Sutton got his hands on a pass from Keenum in the end zone late in the 4th, but he couldn't secure the comeback route with a defender hanging off his back. Keenum looked for him again in the end zone on the next play, but overthrew the corner route.
TE Matt LaCosse
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - LaCosse continues to disappoint as Denver's top tight end option. He caught his only target for a 3 yard gain. Fellow tight end Brian Parker
didn't do much better, but did get a target in the end zone in the 4th quarter.
TE Brian Parker
, 15 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Parker worked as the second tight end behind LaCosse. He had one reception on a short out route late in the 3rd quarter. He was targeted in the end zone on a short out route at the end of the game, but Keenum missed him.
RB Jeff Wilson
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 90 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Only 1 of Wilson's 23 carries gained double-digit yardage, so his 90-yard total required a constant struggle. The problem was two-fold. First, San Francisco's toss sweeps and outside zones couldn't outflank Denver's talent and speed at outside linebacker (i.e., Von Miller and Bradley Chubb). Second, when the 49ers aborted that mission and attempted to attack up the middle, their interior lineman failed over and over again to create a push off the line of scrimmage. This showed up in Wilson's advanced stats, as Pro Football Focus indicates that he encountered contact an average of only 1.78 yards downfield. In short, there simply wasn't much running room for Wilson, and so he did well to end up with as many yards as he did.
WR Dante Pettis
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 49 - 1 (7 targets) - In what may be a harbinger of things to come, Pettis started and played Marquise Goodwin
's role in the offense despite Goodwin being available (and actually playing). His first two targets fell incomplete, one dropped and one batted down at the line of scrimmage, but his next two produced San Francisco's second touchdown of the day, extending their lead to 20-0 going into halftime. Working at the goal line against cornerback Isaac Yiadom on both, Pettis drew a pass interference penalty on Yiadom, and then easily beat him on a fade route to score. There was another drop among his next few targets, but he atoned for that by producing a big play to get the 49ers out of bad field position just as they were doing their best to "achieve" another come-from-ahead loss. On the play, he adroitly found a hole in Denver's zone, caught the ball 13 yards downfield, and ran for 18 additional yards.
WR Marquise Goodwin
, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (2 targets) - Goodwin came off the bench and played sparingly in his first game since Week 10. And most of said playing time was actually in Pierre Garcon
's old spot, not his own. He didn't play on San Francisco's first drive and didn't see his first target until their third drive. It was a 13-yard square in against off man coverage from cornerback Isaac Yiadom. After that, Goodwin proceeded to fumble on both of his other targets, but lost neither. The first, which Denver recovered, got nullified by a Broncos penalty. The second went out of bounds.
WR Kendrick Bourne
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (4 targets) - Bourne started in place of Pierre Garcon
, but split time at the position with Marquise Goodwin
. He was targeted on the second play of the game, stumbling off the line of scrimmage, but recovering to gain 10 yards on a quick out. After dropping his second target, Bourne gained 13 yards on a square in against the off man coverage of cornerback Isaac Yiadom. After his next catch was nullified by a defensive penalty, Bourne's final target came on the first play of the 49ers' first drive of the second half. It was another square in, but this time he slipped and fell making his break inside, so the pass fell incomplete (and almost intercepted). In short, Bourne's cleats played defense against him as well as Denver did.
TE George Kittle
, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 210 - 1 (9 targets) - Kittle produced 5 of San Francisco's 10 longest plays, 3 of which gained over 30 yards. So how does a tight end eclipse 200 yards receiving in the first half? In short, Kyle Shanahan's game plan and Kittle's execution completely overwhelmed both the man-to-man and zone coverage of linebacker Todd Davis and safety Darian Stewart. On all three of his 30-plus yard first half receptions (totaling 168 yards), Kittle was wide open against one, the other, or both; and with wide open space to run after the catch. So what happened in the second half to make Kittle disappear? First, the 49ers went into a shell offensively, running the ball far more often. Second, before San Francisco's game-sealing drive, Denver had held the ball for twice as long (17:23 to 8:56). Third, Kittle's routes went towards the left side of the field, i.e., away from the aforementioned duo that he'd torched in the first half. Fourth, Denver started double-covering him. And finally, Denver dialed up their pass rush to the point that Nick Mullens
didn't have enough time to find Kittle downfield anymore.
Jacksonville Jaguars 9, Tennessee Titans 30
What you need to know
- The Jaguars offense looks overmatched with Cody Kessler
at quarterback and backups in at multiple offensive line positions, but at least they only face the low wattage Washington and Miami offenses the next two weeks. The defense seemed to be broken by Derrick Henry
after shutting out Andrew Luck
last week. Kessler is a competitor and does enough to sustain desperation play value from his wide receivers. Keelan Cole
made a tough deep catch to remind us that better days may still be ahead. Leonard Fournette
was ineffective and rendered irrelevant when the Jaguars fell behind.
- Derrick Henry
was the focus of this offense with a record-breaking performance as he amassed over 200 rushing yards and four touchdowns. The win came at a price for the Titans though, as both tight end Jonnu Smith
and right tackle Jack Conklin suffered season-ending injuries. Tajae Sharpe
was also injured and did not return to the game.
QB Cody Kessler
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 43 - 240 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 17 - 0 - Kessler made some good throws on the move, placed the deep ball well, and wasn't the reason the Jaguars got blown out, but he can't keep them in games like this one. Donte Moncrief
failed to get two deep balls he had a good chance to bring in, but Dede Westbrook
made a top skill toe tap to account for the only touchdown. Kessler showed some running ability but was also overwhelmed by blitzes more than once, and fumbled on one sack. He also missed Tommy Bohanon
for a touchdown at the goal line in a turning point early in the game and wasn't able to keep momentum going in the passing game. In short, he looked like a competent backup quarterback, but nothing more. He'll only be a desperation play in Weeks 15 and 16.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 55 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 36 - 0, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (3 targets) - Fournette was contained on early runs, fell down on his first reception, was stuffed on three goal line carries, and a good portion of his meager production came when the game was out of hand. He's not longer a fantasy RB1 or automatic start.
RB T.J. Yeldon
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - Yeldon had a reception on third and long that ended up short of the sticks. Otherwise he was barely heard from in this loss.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 3 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - -3 - 0 (1 targets) - Hyde was irrelevant with the Jaguars unable to establish the run or build a lead in this game.
RB Tommy Bohanon
, 7 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Bohanon had a chance to score on third and goal on a play action pass, but Cody Kessler
WR Dede Westbrook
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 88 - 1 (10 targets) - Westbrook was the star for the Jaguars in Week 14 if you can say there was one. He absorbed a huge hit to make a catch to get the team into the red zone, laid out to make other catches, and executed a perfect and high difficulty toe tap to account for the Jaguars only touchdown. He'll at least cause us to pause in deeper leagues when setting lineups going forward.
WR Donte Moncrief
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 47 - 0 (10 targets) - Moncrief was getting open on intermediate routes and bringing in the ball. He got the team to the doorstep of the red zone on one first half reception, then committed a questionable blocking in the back penalty to move them back. Twice he had chances to get deep balls from Cody Kessler
, but one was barely out of reach and could have been played with more effort and the second he adjusted to well on an underthrow but couldn't secure. All in all it was another performance that reminded us of Moncrief's considerable gifts but inconsistent ability to turn them into production.
WR Keelan Cole
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 55 - 0 (7 targets) - Cole had one of the best plays of the night on a deep ball that he reeled in despite good coverage from Malcolm Butler and revived some hope of future fantasy value during an immensely disappointing season.
TE James OShaughnessy
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - O'Shaughnessy couldn't secure a downfield catch early that would have gotten the Jaguars into Titans territory. He added a few harmless short gains, but that was his most significant play of the night.
TE Blake Bell
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 16 - 0 (2 targets) - Bell pulled in a few catches, including one that gained a first down off of a Cody Kessler
rollout, but didn't have an appreciable effect on the game.
QB Marcus Mariota
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 24 - 162 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0 - Marcus Mariota
did not do much in this game due to the success of Derrick Henry
on the ground. In his limited attempts though, his accuracy was suspect. He started the game with an early misstep on the second drive, overthrowing Tajae Sharpe
while on the run with the ball easily landing in the hands of a Jaguars defender. He took a deep shot to kick off their first drive after halftime, but the ball was slightly underthrown to Taywan Taylor
while Taylor allowed the ball to bounce off his hands. On that same drive, we did see his running ability on display as Mariota would tuck it and run on a long third-down down to convert for 11 yards and keep the drive alive. On fourth down as the Titans were trying to get Henry his fifth touchdown, they instead tried to find Corey Davis
coming off play action with Mariota's throw on target, but Davis allowed it to sail through his hands.
RB Derrick Henry
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 238 - 4 - Derrick Henry
had one of the best games in NFL history for a running back. He saw his first carry on the first drive after a long reception from Dion Lewis
. He found a nice hole to blast through for 14 yards on that first touch, then just two plays later, Henry would hammer it home from three yards out for yet another touchdown from within the five-yard line. This would be his sixth rushing touchdown from within the five this season. One of the highlights of Henry’s career would come just a couple series later as he took it to the house for a powerful 99-yard touchdown run. Showing shades of Marshawn Lynch
, Henry took advantage of a simple seam and should have been stopped by cornerback A.J. Bouye, but Henry gave him a hard stiff-arm and kept pumping downfield. He then shed a couple more defenders near the sideline, showing great balance to keep himself inbounds as he powered his way all the way into the end zone to stamp his name on the list in a tie for the longest touchdown run in history. Henry continued to run through tacklers in the second half, taking a few snaps out of the wildcat for chunks of yards on their first drive after halftime before running straight through the middle of some inept tackling of the Jaguars defense for his third touchdown of the night from 16 yards out. If it couldn’t get any better, the Titans would force a turnover and on the very next offensive play, Henry took it to the house for a a fourth touchdown as it appeared the Jaguars defenders mailed it in with very poor tackling on the 54-yard touchdown run.
RB Dion Lewis
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 13 - 0, Rec: 5 - 39 - 0 (5 targets) - Dion Lewis
was firmly in the back seat to Derrick Henry
in this one. He made a few nice plays in the first half, including nearly finding the end zone from a nicely blocked screen on the first drive that he managed to take for 21 yards. As a rusher, however, Lewis was ineffective with only a few marginal gains. He tried to punch it in three times from the goal line as Henry wanted Lewis to get an opportunity, but Lewis and the offensive line could not make it happen.
WR Taywan Taylor
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 59 - 0 (7 targets) - Taywan Taylor
led the Titans in receiving as on a day where opportunities through the air were limited. He was not heavily involved before halftime, but was peppered with targets to start the second half due in part to the injury to Tajae Sharpe
. He was the target of a slightly underthrown deep ball thrown but was unable to bring in the reception despite it bouncing off his hands. Taylor would get a reception two plays later on a screen that he managed to take 10 yards for the first down. Taylor stayed busy on this same drive as he hauled in another reception for 13-yards against tough coverage from Jalen Ramsey.
WR Corey Davis
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - With a dominant ground game, Corey Davis
and the passing offense did not have a chance to make many plays this week.
Davis only managed to bring in two receptions, one of which was a wide open look on 3rd-and-5 for 13 yards. Davis drew a long pass interference penalty just before halftime that could have otherwise been a long touchdown as Davis was on track to be wide open. He also had an end zone look in the fourth quarter when the Titans went for it on fourth and goal, but the ball sailed right through his hands. It was a pass that should have been caught.
WR Tajae Sharpe
, 20 offensive snaps (4 targets) - Tajae Sharpe
had a close catch just before halftime called back that would have otherwise netted him 21 yards if not called back for the ball just barely touching the ground. That would be his only opportunity. before leaving the game with an injury.
TE Jonnu Smith
, 17 offensive snaps - Jonnu Smith
suffered a season-ending knee injury early in this week’s game.
New England Patriots 33, Miami Dolphins 34
What you need to know
New England Patriots
- -Gronk looks healthy, but it's still been a down season for him in terms of production and on-field receiving play.
-The defense once again forced the Pats to keep up, even with 2 blocked punts to their name. All phases of the game had blemishes, but the defense must be more consistent.
- The Dolphins were not expected to hang with the Patriots this week, but they went punch for punch and pulled off the miracle at the end. A new running back emerged in the back field with Brandon Bolden
scoring 2 touchdowns and the trio accounting for over 100 total yards. Kenny Stills
finally emerged from his hibernation and broke out with his first 100-yard game and a touchdown since week 1. It was big play after big play for the Dolphins this week and in the end, they had a chance. It took a 2-lateral play with no time left on the clock and needing a touchdown to win. It was a highly improbable last play where the Patriots lapse in coverage cost them the game. Rather than play with dual deep safeties, they played it straight up and got burned in the end. With a Broncos loss, the Dolphins still have a chance to go to the playoffs. They have a tough game next week against the Vikings in Minnesota and then close the year with Jacksonville and Buffalo. They could easily finish the season 9-7 and be in the conversation for the final playoff spot.
QB Tom Brady
, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 43 - 358 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0 - Tom Brady
played very well against the Dolphins, something that doesn't usually happen when in Miami. He was finding Gronk, Josh Gordon
, and Edelman at will, firing throws up and down the field. Granted, there were misses, but he looked better than he has during some weeks. His first touchdown was a short one to Edelman, who pirouetted on the route to get open, reminiscent of a similar route in the Super Bowl win over Atlanta. His second was an absolute laser shot to Cordarrelle Patterson
on a 40 yard deep ball in what had to be one of his best touchdown throws of the year. The third was (finally) a red zone touchdown to Gronk, where Brady stepped up to avoid pressure and threaded the needle to his tight end up high. Pressure was up and down, though the run game was stymied, meaning the Pats were fairly one dimensional in terms of success. Brady did have one huge blemish on the day, however. With seconds to go on the clock to end the first half, Brady took a sack with no timeouts left rather than throw the ball away, and he had plenty of opportunity to throw the ball away. It meant the Patriots missed out on a chip shot field goal try, and they ultimately went on to lose the game by 1. Not that the loss was Brady's fault, but a QB of his caliber needs to do better in that situation. He also missed a wide open Chris Hogan
for a touchdown because he threw off his back foot on the same drive. Still, his actual play was a promising sign, as was Gronk's involvement.
RB Sony Michel
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 57 - 0 - Michel found absolutely no room to run against the Dolphins, who simply didn't allow many holes to open up for him. Smart back 7 play sealed off the second level routinely, meaning that despite 20 attempts, Michel's long run was 9 yards. James Develin
did steal a touchdown again for a second week in a row, but the performance was the Dolphins simply beating the Pats when it came to the run game.
RB James White
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 13 - 0, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (4 targets) - White wasn't involved like he normally is simply because Tom Brady
was finding open receivers in more intermediate parts of the field, and the short field connection was working with Julian Edelman
. As a result, his screen and short game wasn't needed as much.
WR Julian Edelman
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 86 - 1 (12 targets) - Julian Edelman
was a big part of the reason the Pats had as many points as they did, working the short field particularly well against the Dolphins. He was targeted a whopping 12 times, and caught most of those targets, though many were single digit gainers to set up better situations. His touchdown was a spinning move mid-route that saw him get open on the side of the end zone against single coverage. Business as usual for one of Tom Brady
's top targets.
WR Josh Gordon
, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 96 - 0 (8 targets) - Tom Brady
zeroed in on 3 receivers all day, and Josh Gordon
was one of those 3. He picked up plenty of yards after catch on his receptions, at one point gaining 10 more yards after a hit on his first catch. In particular, Brady targeted Gordon 5 times when a Dolphins rookie CB was matched up against him. There were no true deep shots or superhuman plays, but it's clear Gordon is an integral part of the offense.
WR Cordarrelle Patterson
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 51 - 1 (3 targets) - C-Patt's play of note was a deep touchdown by Tom Brady
. Patterson outran his defender, and Brady fired an absolute laser with pinpoint accuracy. Patterson also missed another deep shot from Brady. As it stood, he was a bit player, but his role changes week by week.
TE Rob Gronkowski
, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 107 - 1 (8 targets) - The healthiest he's looked this season, Gronk had a good day at the office, catching a red zone score and taking a shot to the back by a defender looking no worse for wear. His red zone score was nice placement up high by Tom Brady
, and Gronk was beating his defenders on more than just that play. His health is a critical part of the Pats' success, and eyes will continue to look towards the playoffs for Gronk.
QB Ryan Tannehill
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 19 - 265 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 13 - 0 - After putting up a big goose egg in their first meeting, Tannehill played much better against the Patriots this week. He had almost 100 more yards through the air, added 3 touchdowns, and most importantly did not throw an interception. This was one of his best games of the season and it all had to do with the success of the big plays. The game started with Tannehill trading touchdowns will Brady on their opening drives. He found Kenny Stills
for an easy 7-yard touchdown to open the scoring. From there, things went a little south with a blocked punt and the Patriots scoring 21 points in the second quarter. Tannehill relied heavily on Brandon Bolden
and the run game for 2 touchdowns to keep the game close. After a crucial Patriots missed field goal, Tannehill found Brice Butler
for a 23-yard score down the sideline. He simply beat his man and sprinted for the end zone. Where things really went crazy was on the last play of the game. There were 16 seconds left on the clock before the snap and they would need every last second of it. Tannehill found Stills down the field for 14 yards, Stills lateraled to Parker who only made it another 3 yards before pitching it back to Drake, and Drake took it the final 52 yards down the field for the game winning touchdown. The replay officials reviewed the play to ensure all the laterals were backwards and that Drake did not step out before the end zone. The play was upheld, and the Dolphins took down their division rival. Tannehill lived by the big play this week and it worked out. He is going to have a tougher time against the Vikings next week in Minnesota, but with an outside chance of making the playoffs they will rely on him heavily.
RB Frank Gore
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 92 - 0, Rec: 1 - 24 - 0 (1 targets) - There was a clear pecking order in the back field today and Gore led the way. He saw twice as many carries as any other back and was the go to in almost every situation. Bolden may have broke the big run and scored the touchdown, but Gore got the hard yards between the tackles for first downs. His longest run of the day was 36 yards and that was 12 more than Drake had on all 6 of his carries. He also added a long 24-yard reception on his only target of the game. It was a game of big plays for the Dolphins and Gore had 2 of them. He was unable to find the end zone but helped set up the touchdowns by Stills and Bolden later in the game. Gore still has an outside shot at 1,000 yards for the season, but he will need 3 big games to close the year. He will have a tough matchup next week against the Vikings and then the following week against the Jaguars.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 24 - 0, Rec: 1 - 55 - 1 (1 targets) - It was a very slow game for Drake, until the final play of the game. He had only rushed for 24 yards and had not caught a pass until that final miracle play. His longest rush was 11 yards and he saw only 6 carries to Goreís 12. Bolden even had a better game and surpassed his yardage with a single run. None of that mattered after the final play when he sprinted 55 yards to the end zone. Tannehill found Stills across the middle, he lateraled to Parker, who then pitched it to Drake. He went down the sideline before cutting back inside and then back to the corner where he outran the defender for the final score. The play was reviewed and upheld as the game winning touchdown with no time left on the clock. Drake was an afterthought this week until that final big play.
RB Brandon Bolden
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 60 - 2, Rec: 1 - 0 - 0 (1 targets) - It must be nice going up against your former team and having your best game of the season. Bolden carved up the Patriots for 60 yards and 2 touchdowns. He had a 54-yard scamper off tackle for a touchdown and then a 6-yard power run up the middle. He does not figure to cut into the crowded back field too much but should see more carries down the stretch. He currently has 3 carries for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns on the season. The split between Gore and Drake has been tough to predict and this is only going to make things more difficult.
WR Kenny Stills
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 135 - 1 (9 targets) - It has been a dreadful season for Still outside of week one and now this week against the Patriots. He surpassed 100 yards and had a touchdown for only the second time this season and has not come close any other week. His longest play of the game was a 43-yard reception down the sideline where he got pushed out of bounds before he could get into the end zone. He added a 7-yard reception for a touchdown after a 36-yard Frank Gore
run. Stills ran a quick out and a rolling Tannehill led him far enough to bet his man to the pylon for the score. Stills was the initial receiver on the final play that went for the game winning touchdown. He caught a 14-yard comeback route and lateraled to Parker as he was being tackled. It would have been easy to let the game end there, but he alertly got the ball to a teammate who had some room to run and it was the difference in the game.
WR DeVante Parker
, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - There was not much to write home about with Parker and the Dolphins win today. He caught 1 of his 4 targets for 18 yards and did not seem to be in sync with Tannehill at all. His biggest play of the game was catching the lateral from Stills and then getting the ball to Drake who did the rest of the work. Things continue to trend downwards for Parker in Miami and he may benefit from a fresh start somewhere else next season.
WR Danny Amendola
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - It was a rough game for Amendola who caught his lone target for 10 yards and put the ball on the ground after getting hit. The fumble was not recovered by the Patriots, but it was the last ball he saw his way for the rest of the game. Amendola saw a huge jump with Brock Osweiler
under center but his since fallen back to earth with Tannehill. The two have not clicked this season and that does not look to change in the last 3 games.
Philadelphia Eagles 23, Dallas Cowboys 29
What you need to know
- The Eagles lost a gut-wrenching divisional showdown against the Cowboys. Carson Wentz
played his best late in the game but a sluggish start and too many missed opportunities (and Dallas pocket pressure) led to the loss. Philadelphia abandoned the run game, siphoning opportunities from power back Josh Adams
, and the running backs totaled a mere 10 attempts for the game. While Golden Tate
was invisible, Dallas Goedert
returned to a prominent role.
- The Cowboys emerged with a home win over the Eagles, a much-needed step to a potential divisional title. Dallas controlled the ball, posting more than 90 plays. Amari Cooper
showed his worth yet against since his trade acquisition with three touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime. Dak Prescott
was solid, but turnovers marred his overall game. While the Dallas tight ends totaled a promising 10 receptions for 93 yards, without Geoff Swaim
they are running a full committee approach and are ancillary targets who benefitted from Dallas throwing an uncharacteristic 54 passes.
QB Carson Wentz
, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 32 - 228 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0 - Wentz’s stat line looks better than he played against the Cowboys defense. Late in the game, Wentz posted multiple impressive throws including a long completion to Nelson Agholor
and a laser touchdown to Dallas Goedert
. However, the Eagles offense totaled 70 yards in the first half and Wentz had a strip fumble. Also contributing to the sluggish start were overthrows of wide open receivers like Dallas Goedert
and Golden Tate
downfield. Wentz also took a sack on the fringe of field goal range and was stuffed on a third-and-short option run. It was a forgettable first half which Philadelphia dug themselves out of over the final 30 minutes to force overtime. While Wentz did not throw an interception, he was notably not on the same page with Zach Ertz
on two occasions, both on third down and one of them was nearly a turnover. With the Eagles on the outside looking in for a playoff spot, the Rams up next is a critical matchup.
RB Josh Adams
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 36 - 0 - Adams was a minimal component of the Eagles’ road overtime loss to Dallas. The Eagles fell behind early and had just 10 running back carries in the game with Adams collecting seven of them. Adams showed nice agility on the first offensive play for Philadelphia, but was overtly stuffed on four of this remaining six touches. Adams had a solid stiff arm and good wide receiver blocking paved the way for his best run of the game, more than 20 yards to the perimeter. Without much receiving work, Adams is a game script dependent back relying on red zone opportunities or strong volume, which neither was present this week.
RB Darren Sproles
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 34 - 1 (3 targets) - Sproles saw four touches for the second week in a row since his return from injury. Sproles saw the most snaps of Eagles running backs and Corey Clement
’s in-game knee injury only fueled Sproles’ opportunity as Philadelphia trailed much of the game. Sproles was stuffed on two of his touches, but flashed balance, burst, and agility on his two highlight contributions. Sproles converted a fourth down swing route reception into field goal range, beating the stingy linebacker Leighton Vander Esch. Later, Sproles ran through a tackle attempt on a goal line receiving touchdown. Sproles already has two touchdowns on eight touchdowns since his return from injury and a poised to be a critical piece to the Eagles offense if they are to earn a playoff spot in the coming weeks.
WR Alshon Jeffery
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 50 - 1 (9 targets) - After a host of middling games since the addition of Golden Tate
, Jeffery led the Eagles in targets against the Cowboys and found the end zone for the first time since Week 7, a drought of five games. The field is shrinking on Jeffery as deep opportunities are fleeting for the contested catch maven. Jeffery converted his touchdown opportunities on a in-cut at the goal line, schemed to create separation by the inside receiver blocking for Jeffery. His solid game could have been more impactful but three drops left production on the field with one being on third down and another deeper down the field.
WR Nelson Agholor
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 49 - 0 (3 targets) - Agholor saw a mere three targets against Dallas but added one of the critical plays for the Eagles offense late in the game. Arguably Carson Wentz
’s best throw came on a deep sideline route to Agholor, who burst past the defensive back. Agholor nearly scored and was down to the goal line on the play. Agholor also dropped a screen pass and added a short reception. Agholor’s touchdown drought, nearly ended this week, has now grown to 11 games and nearly 40 receptions.
WR Golden Tate
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - Tate mired to his worst game since the trade to the Eagles this week against Dallas. Tate was blanketed by tight coverage and the lone opportunity he had with separation was an overthrow by Carson Wentz
down the seam. Tate was notably frustrated and did not log a catch until the fourth quarter, a short slant route. With a host of passing game weapons, Tate was left out this week.
TE Zach Ertz
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 38 - 0 (8 targets) - Despite a hearty 25% of the team targets, Ertz was held in check by Dallas in the road loss to the Cowboys. After a third-down slant in the opening minutes, Ertz did not see a target until the late second quarter as the Eagles mired their way through 70 offensive yards in the first half. Ertz’s after-the-catch opportunities were minimal and a high-point reception in the second half was his only notable individual play of the game. Ertz passed 1,000 receiving yards on the season this week and is a strong bet to set the NFL record for tight end receptions in a season (currently Jason Witten
) over the final three games.
TE Dallas Goedert
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 1 (5 targets) - Despite a hearty 25% of the team targets, Ertz was held in check by Dallas in the road loss to the Cowboys. After a third-down slant in the opening minutes, Ertz did not see a target until the late second quarter as the Eagles mired their way through 70 offensive yards in the first half. Ertz’s after-the-catch opportunities were minimal and a high-point reception in the second half was his only notable individual play of the game. Ertz passed 1,000 receiving yards on the season this week and is a strong bet to set the NFL record for tight end receptions in a season (currently Jason Witten
) over the final three games.
QB Dak Prescott
, 99 offensive snaps, Pass: 42 - 54 - 455 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 2 - 0 - Prescott threw 54 passes in the overtime win over Philadelphia, by far his most of the season where he threw 36 passes in Week 10 against the Eagles, his previous high. Prescott was a mixed bag of good and bad from the pocket where ball security continues to be an issue and questionable accuracy and decision-making creeps into his game regularly as a passer. Even with two interceptions to his record, two more were possible in the game with a floating deep ball into coverage and a tipped pass at the goal line, which was fortunately missed by the defensive back and corralled by Amari Cooper
for the overtime-winning touchdown. Prescott lost a fumble on the fringe of field goal range on third down and overthrew and open Michael Gallup
on two deep passes, one to potentially ice the game on a critical third down. Prescott had a 10-yard scramble called back by penalty and was stuffed on a third-and-goal keeper. Prescott’s three passing touchdowns are a season high, as well as his 454 yards, but the performance maintained the questions about Prescott as a passer despite the much-needed home win.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 86 offensive snaps, Rush: 28 - 113 - 0, Rec: 12 - 79 - 0 (13 targets) - Elliott amassed 40 touches in the home win over the Eagles. Elliott missed a small portion of the game after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit on the sideline and being checked for a concussion on the sideline. He ultimately returned and posted a solid run and a fourth-and-one conversion on Dallas’ game-winning overtime drive. Elliott had six touches of at least 10 yards in the game but generally had tough sledding inside against the Eagles. Elliott’s best runs were a combination of power finishes and strong vision to cut to the outside once through the line of scrimmage. Elliott is on pace to eclipse 2,000 total yards on the season.
WR Amari Cooper
, 90 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 217 - 3 (13 targets) - Cooper posted his biggest game since arriving to Dallas, a massive three-touchdown effort in the overtime win over the Eagles. Most of his 217 yards came in the second half and overtime with strong route running, separation, and after-the-catch ability being the centerpiece of Cooper’s impressive performance. Cooper excelled on in-breaking routes but also showed full extension on a corner route reception. Cooper had late separation down the sideline on his first touchdown and in overtime Cooper collected a tipped pass at the goal line by a defensive back, a questionable throw by Dak Prescott
, for the game-winning score. Cooper has seen at least eight targets in five-of-six games with Dallas and despite a handful of lost games with Oakland to start the season is a good bet to hit 1,100 receiving yards this season.
WR Michael Gallup
, 77 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (9 targets) - While Dallas threw for 455 yards against Eagles, Gallup was largely left out of the passing explosion despite nine targets. Gallup was notably frustrated as the rookie receiver gained separation on two deep routes and both were wild overthrows by Dak Prescott
. Gallup was stuffed on two screen receptions and made a contested slant of his short-range targets but a bigger performance was possible as Gallup has excelled against ancillary coverage since Amari Cooper
’s midseason arrival.
WR Cole Beasley
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Despite 54 passes by Dallas in the overtime win over Philadelphia, Beasley was close to invisible with a mere four targets and 18 yards. Beasley did convert third downs with both of his receptions, but his lone touchdown opportunity was an end zone slant where he barely got a single hand on the full extension target. Beasley has been a clear ancillary target since Amari Cooper
’s addition and only scored a touchdown in one game (Week 6) this season, averaging less than 10 yards per catch.
New Orleans Saints 28, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14
What you need to know
New Orleans Saints
- The Saints looked like the same team who struggled against the Cowboys last week in the first half. They looked out of sorts and it all started with Drew Brees
. He was not finding the same success underneath that he has had this season. Brees still had his luck with Michael Thomas
but could not find the end zone. There were only 2 plays of 20 yards or longer for the Saints and they just did not look like the same explosive offense. The rushing attack combined for exactly 100 yards, even with 2 guys netting negative yards. Alvin Kamara
and Mark Ingram
split their carries, but it was Ingram who was able to break free and find the end zone. The defense did not start well but stepped up in the second half and kept the Buccaneers off the board. This is now back to back underwhelming performances for the Saints, only this time they came away with the win. New Orleans has a tough close to the season with a Monday Night game against the Panthers next week and then the Steelers and the Panthers again to close the season. It will be a good test going into the playoffs for a team that is struggling a little.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tampa Bay went into halftime with a 14-3 lead, but the 2nd half was all New Orleans as Drew Brees
and the offense put up 25 unanswered points. Receiver Desean Jackson sat out again with a thumb injury. Adarius Taylor intercepted Drew Brees
on a screen pass in the 2nd quarter. Jason Pierre-Paul recovered a Drew Brees
fumble at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. New kicker Cairo Santos
missed 40 and 46 yard field goal attempts. Jameis Winston
threw two touchdowns in the first half and led the Bucs in rushing again as the run game stalled out.
QB Drew Brees
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 31 - 201 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -1 - 1 - Things have not clicked for the past 2 weeks for Brees. He has thrown an interception in back to back games for the first time this season and barely surpassed 200 yards through the air. Brees also lost a fumble on a strip sack. He has played behind the best offensive line in the NFL this season and has not had to deal with defenders in his face that often. Brees connected with Zach Line
for a 1-yard touchdown on a play action pass. Everything looked like the Saints were going to run the ball and power it in from the 1, but Line leaked out into the flat for an easy touchdown. Brees also threw an interception where he faked the ball to the left and then lofted a screen pass towards Ingram that was intercepted. He threw the ball into traffic and just did not see the defender in the way. The Saints were on the Buccaneers side of the field and it killed the drive. Brees also added a 1-yard rushing touchdown to cap off his day. Usually when the passing game struggles the run game picks up the slack, but that has not been the case. Brees will need to get back on track in the last 3 weeks before going into the playoffs.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 51 - 0, Rec: 5 - 36 - 0 (6 targets) - Since Mark Ingram
returned, Kamara has not been the same back. The Saints continue to split their carries and will not commit one way or the other. The split today was 12 for Kamara and 13 for Ingram. The biggest difference was in the passing game where Kamara had 6 targets to Ingram's 3. There has been a changing dynamic all season. Some weeks Kamara will get the goal line carries and Ingram the passing situations and visa versa. It has been a tough season to predict for the Saints backfield. Kamara's longest run today was 12 yards off tackle and his longest reception was 15 yards. Kamara had not found the end zone on the ground since week 10 where he had back to back games with 2 touchdowns. Kamara did chip in with a 2-point conversion today but did not get the same usage in the red zone as earlier in the season.
RB Mark Ingram
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 52 - 1, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (3 targets) - It has been a tough season for running backs since the Saints got Ingram back from suspension. They have been very good about splitting carries but that has made it hard for any one back to find sustained success. Ingram surpassed 50 yards on the ground and added a touchdown. He did not look great in the passing game and only caught 1 of his 3 targets. One of his targets was on the screen play where Brees threw his third interception of the season. His touchdown run was a brutal 17-yard run where he dragged defenders into the end zone with him. Ingram powered his way right up the middle and stormed his way into the end zone. It has been a tough season for running backs as neither gets a starters workload. The traditional roles from last season have not been utilized this year and the numbers for Ingram have shown that. The rushing game is going to matter in the playoffs and all of the splitting should give their backs fresh legs.
RB Zach Line
, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (1 targets) - Line is not normally mentioned in many circles, but he added an important touchdown this week. He caught the play action 1-yard touchdown pass from Brees to start the comeback for the Saints. It was the same play they have run all season long where after the play action he leaks out into the flat and continues to be uncovered. The Saints have established a run game to the point that they bite almost every time on this play. Line does not get many carries or looks in the passing game but has been good for a couple touchdowns each season.
WR Michael Thomas
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 98 - 0 (13 targets) - Thomas failed to surpass 100 yards again this week and did not find the end zone. Teams have been looking to take him away in the passing game and have found mild success in recent weeks. He saw the type of volume that we have come to expect this season but was never able to break free. His longest catch of the day went for 20 yards and he caught 11 of his 13 targets. His normal crossing routes were tackled right away and Brees was not as accurate in the red zone on their usual out route for a touchdown. Thomas is the same player he has been all season but does not have a receiver opposite of him to take some of the pressure off. Thomas could operate underneath when Ginn was taking the top off the defense or when the linebackers were biting on the play action. Thomas is still the number one option in the offense, but he will need some help on the other side so that he isn't constantly double covered.
WR TreQuan Smith
, 41 offensive snaps (1 targets) - The offense has just not been the same in the last 2 weeks and Smith has not contributed at all. He had a single target this week and did not catch it. The emergence of Keith Kirkwood
has really cut into the playing time for Smith and that looks to be a trend that is going to continue. Smith has surprised a lot of people this season since filling in for Ted Ginn
but that has changed in recent weeks. Any value in Smith may be lost with 3 tough matchups to close the season.
TE Ben Watson
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (3 targets) - Watson caught all 3 of his targets this week but did not play a major factor in the game. Despite the lack of receiving depth, Watson has not emerged in the Saints offense. His longest catch today was 11 yards and he was a non-factor in the red zone. It has been a disappointing season for the big tight end with Brees utilizing other tight ends in the offense. The skill set does not seem to matchup with what the Saints are trying to do right now. With Taysom Hill
and Josh Hill
bidding for time, Watson may be the odd man out at the end of the season.
QB Jameis Winston
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 38 - 213 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 47 - 0 - Winston led the Bucs to a score on their first offensive drive, hitting Mike Evans
for a 36 yard gain down the right sideline and capping the drive with a precision pass to Cameron Brate
between two defenders. Winston led another scoring drive with the two minute offense at the end of the 2nd quarter. Winston finished the drive with a short, play action pass to Cameron Brate
after Adam Humphries
was tackled inside the 1 yard line on the previous play. Winston struggled to push the ball downfield after the early hookup with Evans. Winston and Godwin were particularly out of sync as they only connected on 1 of 10 targets, including several deep balls. Winston didn’t do much in the second half and was intercepted on the last play of the game as he he heaved a desperate long ball into the end zone. The Bucs were down by two touchdowns and time was expiring, so we won't hold that one against him.
Winston led the Bucs in rushing for the 2nd week in a row. He converted 3rd and 9 with a 17 yard scramble in the 2nd quarter. He picked up another first down on 3rd and 4 in the 3rd quarter.
RB Peyton Barber
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets) - Barber watched Winston lead the team in rushing for the second week in a row. Barber burst up the middle of the defense for a 13 yard gain early in the 1st quarter. He had a bad drop on an open pass that would have picked up good yardage in the 1st quarter. He secured his second target for a minimal gain at the end of the 2nd quarter.
RB Jacquizz Rodgers
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 16 - 0, Rec: 4 - 38 - 0 (5 targets) - Rodgers took his first carry up the middle for 10 yards in the 2nd quarter. He logged a couple more carries on the same drive. Rodgers caught a checkdown pass from Winston for 5 yards during the last of minutes of the 1st half. Rodgers pulled in several checkdown passes at the end of the 4th quarter that went for big gains as the Saints sat back in prevent defense with a two touchdown lead.
WR Adam Humphries
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 42 - 0 (8 targets) - Humphries was second on the team with 8 targets, but had a bit of a down week. He nearly scored at the end of the first half, instead setting up a short touchdown for Brate. Humpries got destroyed on his first reception, a skinny post route that picked up 15 yards. He lost his helmet on the play, but bounced back up and didn't seem affected by the shot. Humphries caught a deep comeback route on the next drive for a nice gain. Winston hit Humphries with a quick slant at the end of the 1st half. Humphries worked his way open on the next play as Winston improvised and bought time with his feet. He eventually found Humphries open in the middle of the field, and Humphries carried the ball down inside the 1 yard line.
WR Mike Evans
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 86 - 0 (6 targets) - Evans started his day out with a deep ball down the right sideline that picked up 36 yards on Tampa Bay's first offensive drive of the day. Evans was quiet until late in the 3rd quarter when he took a big shot while making a leaping catch up the left seam. He was slow to get up, but didn't miss any time after the big hit. Winston hit him for a big gain on a deep comeback route later in the 4th quarter. The two connected one more time on a deep out route with less than a minute in the game as the Saints sat back in prevent defense with a two touchdown lead. Evans was the target on Winston's interception, but it was just a desperate heave into the end zone as time expired, with the Bucs down two touchdowns to the Saints.
WR Chris Godwin
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (10 targets) - Godwin drew team-high 10 targets but was horribly inefficient, converting them to just one reception for 13 yards. Corner Eli Apple followed him for much of the day with great success. Winston targeted him in the end zone on Tampa Bay's first offensive drive, but Godwin couldn't get his hands on the pass. Winston overthrew him on a deep route later in the 1st. Godwin was targeted with a deep ball in the end zone in the 2nd quarter, but got tripped up by incidental contact with his defender. Godwin actually fumbled his reception in the 2nd quarter, but Cameron Brate
was able to recover the 13 yard gain. Winston overthrew him again on a 3rd quarter deep ball as the two struggled to get on the same page.
TE Cameron Brate
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 2 (4 targets) - Brate only managed 12 yards but scored twice in the first half of the game. He lined up tight and worked his way to the front pylon of the end zone where he scored his first touchdown early in the 1st quarter. Brate made a strong catch between two defenders just behind the pylon. Brate got open on a play action pass from inside the New Orleans 1 yard line for his second touchdown at the end of the 1st half of play. Brate did not record any stats after halftime.
TE Antony Auclair
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets) - Auclair made a nice catch up the seam for a 12 yard gain at the beginning of the 2nd quarter.
Baltimore Ravens 24, Kansas City Chiefs 27
What you need to know
- Lamar Jackson
and the Ravens offense were inconsistent against the Chiefs. Jackson continues to struggle to execute simple plays in the passing game but his creativity and play making ability allow the Ravens to put up points. The offense struggled when faced with unfavorable down and distances because of penalties, sacks, or unsuccessful early down plays. The Ravens offensive inconsistency was due in part to the pressure the Chiefs got with and without blitzing. Justin Houston and Dee Ford caused problems on the edge for the Ravens tackles. Willie Snead
was the Ravens leading receiver and he made a number of nice plays on 3rd down. Kenneth Dixon
and Gus Edwards
split work with Dixon looking healthy and explosive. John Brown
and Jackson connected for a touchdown but still seem to be struggling to develop chemistry.
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens 27-24 in overtime on Sunday, improving their record to 12-2. Patrick Mahomes
completed 35 of 53 passes for 377 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. Running back Spencer Ware
rushed 15 times for 75 yards, while also catching five passes for 54 yards. Fellow back Damien Williams
rushed eight times for 14 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 16 yards and added another touchdown through the air. Tyreek Hill
caught eight passes for 139 yards, and Chris Conley
caught two passes for 13 yards. Tight end Travis Kelce
caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.
QB Lamar Jackson
, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 24 - 147 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 13 - 71 - 0 - Lamar Jackson
struggled with his consistency as a passer and his ball security for the second consecutive week. Jackson made some nice throws and plays on third down but there have not been enough positive plays in the passing game. This is part of the reason the Ravens are employing such a run heavy approach. However, the Ravens rushing attack was outstanding for the 4th consecutive week. The Ravens first touchdown drive consisted of 8 running plays and no passes. From the first possession to the last, the Ravens offensive line struggled to pass protect in obvious passing situations. Ronnie Stanley and James Hurst struggled while Justin Houston and Dee Ford both had strong games. Jackson kept the ball running an option play and followed nice blocks downfield on a 21 yard run. The run set up a 3 yard touchdown by Kenneth Dixon
. A long methodical drive consisting of run plays and underneath passes culminated in Jackson found Maxx Williams
in the flat off of play action for a 10 yard touchdown. Starting in excellent field position following a punt return Jackson connected with John Brown
running a crossing route for a 9 yard touchdown. With the game tied and less than a minute remaining Jackson had the chance to set up a game winning field goal. Jackson was sacked and fumbled as Justin Houston came through the line unblocked. In overtime Jackson moved the offense to within 10 yards of Justin Tucker
's field goal range to tie the game but a holding penalty followed by another sack essentially sealed the Ravens fate. Jackson was injured on the sack but after the game said he was good to go.
RB Gus Edwards
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 67 - 0 - Gus Edwards
led the Ravens backfield in touches but Edwards was out played by Kenneth Dixon
. Expect Edwards to continue to shoulder the majority of the early down work but Dixon could become the more valuable fantasy asset. Edwards played well and ran hard. Edwards consistently gained positive yardage and won collisions at the second level. Edwards followed a nice block from a pulling James Hurst and burst up the middle for 10.
RB Kenneth Dixon
, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 59 - 1, Rec: 1 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - Kenneth Dixon
stood out for the second consecutive week and should continue to earn more work going forward. Dixon seems to have surpassed Ty Montgomery
on the depth chart with his strong play. Dixon got to the second level untouched running behind Marshal Yanda for 14 yards. Dixon beat an unblocked defender to the edge on his 3 yard touchdown run. Dixon appeared to have his momentum stopped at the line of scrimmage but shrugged off a tackler and ran over another for 15 yards. Dixon worked to get open as Jackson scrambled and Jackson found him wide open for 21 yards. Dixon pinballed his way through the middle of the Chiefs defense on consecutive plays for gains of 8 and 9.
WR Willie Snead
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 61 - 0 (7 targets) - Willie Snead
was Jackson's favorite target against the Chiefs. Snead made a catch over the middle running a slant for 10 yards on 3rd and 3. Snead made a 16 yard catch running a deep slant. Snead made a contested 5 yard catch on 3rd and 4 to help keep a scoring drive alive. Snead picked up 16 yards running a corner route from the slot. Snead made a tough 14 yard catch with a defender closing in to convert a 3rd and 7.
WR Michael Crabtree
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 31 - 0 (4 targets) - Michael Crabtree
made the most of his limited opportunities. All of the Ravens receivers are touchdown dependent to score fantasy points because of the limited volume in the passing game. made a nice sideline catch running a comeback for 12 yards. Crabtree made a nice move along the sideline for 8 yards on an underneath catch. Crabtree made a 10 yard catch that was negated by a weak offensive pass interference call. Crabtree made an 11 yard catch running a slant.
WR John Brown
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 1 (6 targets) - John Brown
continues to struggle to connect with Lamar Jackson
. Jackson seems a little hesitant and off when throwing in Brown's direction even when Brown is open. Brown made his first catch on 3rd and 8 running a deep crossing route for 14 yards. Even on this 14 yard gain the ball was thrown behind Brown who had to stop and make an adjustment to secure the catch. Brown caught a 9 yard touchdown running a crossing route.
QB Patrick Mahomes
, 86 offensive snaps, Pass: 35 - 53 - 377 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - -3 - 0 - Patrick Mahomes
completed 35 of 53 passes for 377 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while also rushing two times for negative three yards. This was not the most efficient day for the Chiefs offense as the Ravens put constant pressure on Mahomes and held the offense to only four scoring drives in 10 possessions before overtime. Mahomes made some incredible plays, scrambling out of pressure and finding his receivers downfield. His biggest play of the day came on a fourth and nine with time running out in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs needing a touchdown. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and faded back into the pocket. The Ravens got a great pass rush and quickly forced Mahomes out of the pocket to his right. Mahomes darted to the right sideline keeping his eyes downfield and right as he reached the line of scrimmage, with three Ravens surrounding him, he threw the ball across his body to the middle of the field where Tyreek Hill
was running across the field. Mahomes hit Hill with a perfect pass, but the play still took Hill stepping up to beat a Raven to the ball, and then turned the ball upfield for a 48 yard gain. Mahomes also made a ridiculous no look pass where he was running to his right and threw across his body without look at his receiver. Mahomes first touchdown pass came with the Chiefs at the Ravens 15 yard line, facing a third and six. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and look to his right before throwing a beautiful lob pass with a lot of touch, to Travis Kelce
who ran a fade route to the left side of the end zone. Mahomes final touchdown pass came with 53 seconds left in the game, and the Chiefs facing a crucial fourth and three from the Ravens five yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and faded to his right, finding Damien Williams
, who was running a quick out-route, and Williams was able to find the endzone for the game tying touchdown. This allowed the Chiefs to win the game outright on their first possession in overtime.
RB Spencer Ware
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 75 - 0, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (5 targets) - Spencer Ware
rushed 15 times for 75 yards and caught five passes on five targets for 54 yards. Ware was much more efficient in this game than he was last week, and the Chiefs really needed it with the offense struggling to move the ball through the air in the second half. With the Ravens blitzing Mahomes, Ware played a key role in the passing game, not only catching passes but also in pass protection. Unfortunately for Ware, Williams was the preferred option in the red zone, punching in one touchdown, and making the game tying touchdown reception. Ware has shown in the past that he is a solid goal line back so his opportunities should come, but bigger issue is that the Chiefs rolled with Williams nearly exclusively in the fourth quarter. Ware gained five or more yards on seven of his 15 rushes, and was gashing the Ravens in the third quarter, rushing for 12 and 13 yards on back to back runs. It remains to be seen how much volume Williams will see, but for now, it is safe to roll out Ware as a #2 RB, as the Chiefs offense is too good not to give him scoring opportunities.
RB Damien Williams
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 14 - 1, Rec: 4 - 16 - 1 (5 targets) - Damien Williams
rushed eight times for 14 yards and a touchdown, and caught four of five targets for 16 yards and a touchdown. Williams was not very effective with his touches, but he managed to vulture a short touchdown run from Ware, and then completely take him off the field in the fourth quarter. The fact that the Chiefs felt comfortable going to Williams on fourth down, late in the fourth quarter, needing a touchdown, says something about what his role is going to be moving forward. Ware is still the preferred option in terms of volume, but Williams has carved out a nice role for himself as a red zone and third down option for one of the best offenses in football. There is certainly value to be had here, the question is will he continue to take advantage of the limited opportunities.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 8 - 139 - 0 (14 targets) - Tyreek Hill
caught eight passes for 139 yards on 14 targets, and rushed one time for six yards. This was a rough game for Hill, as he injured his wrist in the first quarter and came out of the game, and then came back only to injure his ankle in the second quarter, which forced him to the locker room early. It looked as though he was going to forced out because he was seen limping badly on the sidelines, yet he managed to somehow come back in the game. Hill made the play of the game on the aforementioned fourth and nine, and then caught three passes for 40 yards in overtime. Hill also hurt his foot on the play of the game, and it looks as though that is going to be the issue for him this week. Prior to the fourth and nine play, Hill had only four catches for 52 yards and it looked like another off day for Hill. He gutted through the pain though and turned in a great day for fantasy managers in the playoffs. The Chiefs play on Thursday night, and it looks like it’s going to be hard for Hill to be ready to go for that game.
WR Chris Conley
, 85 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Chris Conley
caught two passes for 13 yards on three targets in Sunday’s win over the Ravens. Conley was not a big part of the game plan, but it was also tough for the Chiefs to get anything going in the passing game in the second half. DeMarcus Robinson
saw seven targets, but that was most due to the matchups that the Chiefs saw at that position. Conley is running as the #2 receiver behind Hill, and if Hill cannot go on Thursday, Conley will step in as the #1 receiver and have immediate value.
TE Travis Kelce
, 85 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 77 - 1 (9 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown on 14 targets in the Chiefs win over the Ravens on Sunday. Despite the Chiefs passing game struggling, Kelce was able to dominate the talented Ravens linebackers. He has proven time and time again that he is nearly impossible to cover, and the Ravens did not have a scheme to stop him. Kelce had 63 yards and a touchdown by the end of the second quarter, and the only thing that held him up from having a much bigger day was Mahomes struggles in the second half. Kelce’s touchdown pass came with the Chiefs at the Ravens 15 yard line, facing a third and six. Mahomes took the snap out of shotgun and look to his right before throwing a perfect pass to Kelce who was running full out into the left corner of the end zone. Kelce dusted his defender with a simple fake and then just outran the Ravens coverage to his spot before Mahomes literally put the ball on his hands for the touchdown.
Cincinnati Bengals 21, Los Angeles Chargers 26
What you need to know
- -The Bengals exceeded expectations in a tough road matchup against the Chargers.
is nothing special but at least looks competent and capable of moving the offense.
-The Bengals finally leaned heavily on Joe Mixon
, sticking with the run despite falling into an early hole. It led to success and we should see more run-heavy game plans moving forward.
-Mixon handled a career-high 31 touches, handling nearly every carry and also leading the team with 5 receptions.
-Cincinnati hasn’t had a successful 2-point conversion in over three years. Two failed attempts were the difference
Los Angeles Chargers
- Philip Rivers
was efficient, but he had to deal with a lot of pressure from the Cincinnati front after the opening possession. It was the first time this season that Rivers failed to throw at least two touchdown passes, which was a bit shocking considering how poorly the Bengals had played defense so far this year (though he did manage to find the end zone once and came close on a couple of other occasions).
The running back tandem of Austin Ekeler
and Justin Jackson
was effective, although Ekeler did nearly all of the damage. Jackson looked much better in last week's game and some felt that that momentum would carry over to this week, but it wasn't the case as Ekeler dominated the touches by a 2-1 margin and got all of the key work. Ekeler, however, was injured on the onside kick attempt late in the fourth quarter and it looks like he may miss this week's game against the Chiefs. If he can't go and Melvin Gordon
remains out, Jackson would likely stand to gain a lot more work.
continues to wreak havoc on opposing defenses. The stat line doesn't jump out at you, but the Bengals had no answers for him (as has been the case with most teams the past month or so). Allen snagged the lone receiving touchdown for the Chargers in this one on the opening possession, and enjoyed game highs in both receptions and receiving yardage in a game largely played on the ground.
QB Jeff Driskel
, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 27 - 170 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0 - Driskel was again solid in relief of Dalton. Most importantly, he played mistake-free football. The Bengals didn’t turn the ball over at all despite facing a fierce pass rush. The one real negative aspect of Driskel’s performance was accuracy on short throws. He sailed a pass over the head of John Ross
on what should have been an easily completed out route. On the other hand, Driskel showed his arm strength and solid accuracy on the more difficult downfield throws. He zipped one in to Tyler Boyd
for a 19-yard gain. He put a lot of steam on a later 20-yard completion to Boyd as well. Driskel scrambled for nine yards on an early 3rd-and-4, showing excellent speed to get the edge and turn it up along the sideline. He was robbed of a short rushing touchdown. He dove head-first into the end zone and the play was initially ruled a touchdown. However, on review it was ruled that quarterbacks give themselves up when they dive and he was thus marked down just shy of the end zone and the Bengals were instead forced to settle for a field goal. Driskel led a 79-yard touchdown drive just before halftime, capped off with a 6-yard touchdown pass to John Ross
. Driskel showed good pocket awareness to step up and buy time for Ross to come wide open on the crossing route. Driskel led a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to brings
RB Joe Mixon
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 111 - 1, Rec: 5 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - After facing criticism in recent weeks for not getting Mixon enough touches, the Bengals coaching staff fully committed to a Mixon-centric game plan. He set career highs in carries (26) and touches (31). From the opening drive, it was all Mixon. He burst through the middle for an 18-yard gain on his first carry of the day. A couple plays later, he took a swing pass for an 11-yard gain. The Bengals again fell behind early, trailing 14-3 early. Unlike past weeks, they didn’t abandon the run and kept feeding Mixon. The second drive again featured Mixon almost exclusively and he touched the ball 10 times on the Bengals first 12 plays. He showed elite patience and burst taking back-to-back carries for nine yards. Mixon also showed well as a receiver. Aside from a pass that was batted down at the line, he caught all of his targets and led the team in receptions. Mixon had a goal line carry on an early 2nd-and-goal and dove forward just shy of the goal line. The Bengals relied heavily on Mixon to the end. He touched the ball eight times on a late 79-yard touchdown drive. Mixon capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run up the middle.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 7 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - With the Bengals intent on riding Mixon, Bernard’s playing time was more limited than in recent weeks. He did come in to start the third drive of the game, as he typically does and picked up a tough five yards on a run up the middle. On the drive, he got a carry on 1st-and-goal from the three-yard line but was stuffed. Mixon came in for the next play. The Bengals threw a swing pass to Bernard on a two-point conversion attempt but he wasn’t able to make Derwin James miss and was dropped for a loss.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 52 - 0 (6 targets) - Boyd had a solid game but wasn’t as heavily targeted as expected. He caught a post for a 19-yard gain to get the Bengals into the red zone. Boyd made a diving catch on an out route for a 13-yard gain. He also caught a 20-yard past on a post route. Boyd drew a holding penalty in the end one in the final minutes of the game to set up a touchdown.
WR John Ross
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 11 - 1 (4 targets) - Ross grabbed a 6-yard touchdown on a crossing route. The Bengals lined up with three receivers to the right and had two of them run crossing routes against the Chargers zone. This flooded the middle and caused the linebacker to let Ross run free for the easy catch. Crossers to Ross near the goal line have been the Bengals go-to red zone passing play since A.J. Green
went out. This is the third touchdown in five weeks he has caught on a crossing route. Ross drew a pair of pass interference penalties, including on a key 3rd-down late that setup the Bengals final touchdown and two-point attempt to tie.
TE C.J. Uzomah
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (3 targets) - Uzomah ran a seam route and was able to bring the ball in and hold on despite taking a big hit to the midsection from the safety. It went for a 24-yard gain. Uzomah remains one of the go-to passing game weapons but will have a hard time making a fantasy impact in games like this where the Bengals throw fewer than 30 times.
QB Philip Rivers
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 29 - 220 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0 - For the first time this season, Rivers failed to throw multiple touchdown passes. On the opening drive, it looked there was going to be no way to stop the Chargers. Rivers scrambled for five yards on the first play which is odd in and of itself, but then he fired a couple of easy looks down the field with ease to get the team into the end zone. He found Mike Williams
for 19 yards on a pass play that featured one of the cleanest pockets you'll ever see, and capped the drive with a perfect floater to Keenan Allen
along the end zone sideline. But just as quickly as the Chargers began dominating, the offense kind of stalled. The Bengals started getting a lot of pressure on Rivers, and he was forced to hurry throws and was sacked multiple times. On one play, Rivers had Austin Ekeler
wide open down the sideline for a potentially long score, but since he was rushed, the pass ended up getting overthrown out of bounds. Rivers also had a couple of passes tipped at the line that nearly went for interceptions. In the second half it was more of the same, as the Charger offense stalled multiple times. Rivers was nearly intercepted again on what appeared to be a back shoulder pass to Allen, but the problem is that Rivers threw it out in front of him and it was nearly intercepted. Basically everything that went right on that opening drive, went wrong the rest of the way. And yet Rivers still completed over 2/3 of his pass attempts and didn't turn it over. It just seemed like the Chargers almost couldn't wait for the clock to finally expire and sneak out of the stadium with a win. Fortunately they were able to bleed enough clock late in the contest to give Cincinnati no chance to come back. And unlike the mental mistake in the Denver game a few weeks ago, this time Rivers didn't throw an incompletion on the last drive to save the Bengals any time on the clock. He actually ran to the outside on the third down play and made sure he was tackled inbounds to keep the clock moving.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 66 - 1, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Ekeler had a very solid game, but a late game injury has suddenly put his weekly availability into some doubt. Coming into the game, it was a bit up in the air as to how the Chargers would approach the decision on how to split up the running back workload. It was assumed all season long that Ekeler was the go-to handcuff to Melvin Gordon
, but when Gordon missed last week's game, it was Justin Jackson
who looked significantly more impressive running the ball. Any questions about Ekeler, however, were answered early on in this one. He got the first carry of the game and was in the backfield to start, and rarely left the field especially in the early going. He ran very well, displaying his trademark strength and agility, and picked up chunks of yardage behind some excellent blocking up front against the outmanned Cincinnati defense. He found creases between the tacklers, and whenever he was met by a tackler he just ran through the mostly weak attempts to bring him down. Ekeler picked up nice yardage on a well-designed screen pass down to the 5-yard line to close out the first quarter. The rest between quarters enabled him enough of a breather that he stayed in the backfield to pick up the touchdown from 5 yards out. He took it right up the middle almost untouched on his way to the end zone. Later in the first half, he was wide open down the sideline on a deep ball attempt that could have gone for another score. But Rivers was rushed a bit on the throw, and the pass sailed too far over Ekeler's head and out of bounds. Ekeler received three straight carries on the first possession of the second half following a Cincinnati turnover on downs, and even converted a 4th and 1 rush up the middle. The rest of the half, he simply dragged defenders around the field and ended up out-touching Jackson by a final count of 17-9. Unfortunately for Ekeler, he was injured on the onside kick late in the fourth quarter and it was reported afterwards that he had aggravated a stinger injury. His availability for Thursday's game against Kansas City is very much in question at this early point, and with Melvin Gordon
expected out once again, this may be Jackson's turn to man the backfield for the Chargers.
RB Justin Jackson
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 12 - 0, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (2 targets) - After looking so impressive late in last week's game against Pittsburgh, many observers expected that it would be Jackson and not Ekeler who may earn the lion's share of the carries in this game. But Ekeler started hot and never really let up, while Jackson found very little room to run and became an afterthought by halftime. He had a nice reception that he took up the sideline on a swing pass, and ran away from a weak tackle attempt for a decent gain. And later in the second half, he converted a third and 1 handoff to keep a drive alive. But he simply wasn't getting the opportunities Ekeler did (Ekeler out-touched him by a 17-9 margin). On a negative note for the Chargers but a possible positive note for Jackson owners, Ekeler appeared to injure himself on the onside kick attempt at the end of the fourth quarter, and is questionable to play against the Chiefs on a short week this week. If Ekeler cannot go against Kansas City on Thursday, it would stand to reason that Jackson would likely get the lion's share of the rushing workload since Melvin Gordon
is not expected to return yet.
WR Keenan Allen
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0, Rec: 5 - 78 - 1 (9 targets) - Allen's first target came at the conclusion of the team's opening drive, culminating in a touchdown to him along the sideline of the end zone. He beat his man off of a double move, and Philip Rivers
lofted a perfect floater along the back sideline. Allen actually didn't get both feet inbounds since he was hit as he caught it, but he did manage to drag his knee across the turn to make it count. The remainder of the first half, he was consistently able to get open against the suspect defense of Cincinnati. It didn't help that the Chargers often started off with very poor field position, so they didn't have very many sustained drives. But he did a nice job nonetheless. He was again targeted near the goal line later in the half and looked like he had a step on the defender, but the ball was tipped at the line for an incompletion. Allen was much quieter in the second half as both teams attacked one another on the ground, but he did make an outstanding fingertip grab on a ball thrown right over his head. He had gotten open deep down the seam, and stretched out to pluck it out of mid-air while also picking up some yardage after the catch for a 37-yard pickup.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Williams caught all of the passes intended for him, but none of them really broke the bank. He actually almost didn't catch one of the passes headed his way because he wasn't looking. Rivers began to roll out and Williams, assuming he was going to run it, turned upfield to block a defender. Just as Rivers released the ball, however, Williams managed to get his head turned around to find the ball just as it arrived to convert a 3rd and 6 pass play. It was an impressive piece of concentration on what was a key play at the time. Later in the game, he may have been the intended target of an end zone pass that Mike Williams
actually jumped in front of and got his hands on, but a defender knocked the pass away. Tyrell Williams
was lurking behind him and the pass actually appeared to be headed his way.
WR Mike Williams
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (6 targets) - Williams continues to get oh so close to fantasy relevance with each performance, but tends to always come up just short of being useful. In this game, he had three nice grabs that went for first downs. One of them was a terrific play where he used his length to go high over the middle to snatch a third and 10 pass from over the outstretched arm of a defender to pick up a key conversion at a big moment. But he just missed out on a 17-yard highlight-worthy sideline catch in the first half when he juggled the ball as he went to the ground. And later in the game, he had his hands on a pass in the end zone but some nice defense knocked the ball away at the last second before he could secure it (the ball may have actually been intended for Tyrell Williams
, who was behind him).
WR Travis Benjamin
, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Benjamin turned his lone target into an 11-yard gain on a crossing route late in the first half to try and set up a Hail Mary bomb. Instead, the Chargers got a little bit closer than anticipated and ended up kicking a 59-yard field goal before the half ended.
TE Antonio Gates
, 23 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (2 targets) - Gates had two short receptions, both coming in the first half. The first was on a crossing route where Rivers had loads of time to wait for him to break open, and the second was a 9-yard gain over the middle from the shadow of their own end zone to give the team a bit of breathing room. After playing a somewhat prominent red zone role in recent weeks, he didn't see any looks near the end zone this time out.
Los Angeles Rams 6, Chicago Bears 15
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- With Christian Kirk
to injured reserve, Sherfield filled the void as the secondary receiver to Larry Fitzgerald
against the Lions. Sherfield was the highlight player for Arizona in the loss with a collection of strong plays from a sliding reception to a highly-contested grab, and drawing a deep pass interference penalty. It was a career day for the undrafted receiver out of Vanderbilt, seeing more targets and receptions this week than the rest of the season combined.
- The Bears passing offense struggled in what was a largely sloppy game between both teams in a cold environment that caused neither team to throw the ball effectively. Mitchell Trubisky
threw three interceptions in this game and looked extremely out of sync in this speed-based offense. The good news for the Bears is that they got their running game going again as Jordan Howard
had the best game of his season with the offensive line which was able to get to the second level against the Rams defense in this game. The defense played a big reason for this win as they were able to give the offense short fields and twice were able to immediately get an interception after Trubisky threw an interception.
QB Jared Goff
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 44 - 180 - 0 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0 - Pressure and bad decision-making was the theme of Jared Goff
’s dismal showing in Chicago. The Rams froze in the frigid conditions with Goff rarely looking comfortable in the pocket and the Rams struggling to get any easy yards through their scheme, concepts, or after the catch. Goff had more poor throws than quality ones, logging a should-have-been interception and a fumble (which the Rams recovered) beyond his four-turnover box score. Goff was generally late and indecisive on his drop backs and was rarely aided by his receivers (at least six drops). Goff added a safety and a critical fourth down sack to his list of demerits.
RB Todd Gurley
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 28 - 0, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (7 targets) - Gurley struggled to his worst game of the season in Chicago, mirroring the Rams’ overall futility on offense. Gurley was largely ignored in the game plan in lieu of a pass-centric approach despite the close score for much of the game. Gurley had his best opportunities in the receiving game, but dropped a late target and Jared Goff
overthrew Gurley on a screen with blockers in front, a staple play for the high-powered Rams this season. Gurley’s lone moment of success on the ground came on back-to-back carries in the fourth quarter, totaling 16 yards, before the offense shifted away from Gurley yet again. Gurley will have a good chance to get back on track against the Eagles back in Los Angeles next week.
WR Robert Woods
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 61 - 0 (13 targets) - Woods’ 13 targets nearly doubled any other Rams player in the offensive dud performance against the Bears. Woods had two of the highlight passing games for the Rams in a game where few moments could be found. Woods ripped off a huge gain after-the-catch into scoring range after a crossing route and earlier in the game made a nice low grab on a deep comeback route. Woods was also stuffed on a screen pass and added a drop. Despite the season-high 13 targets, Woods’ 61 yards was his lowest total since Week 1. Woods surpassed 1,000 yards on the season, by far a career high, and faces an ideal bounce-back opponent in the Eagles next week.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (7 targets) - Cooks had seven targets but felt like than afterthought in the Rams’ offensive letdown in Chicago. Cooks had two short receptions in the first half, but was invisible over the final 30 frustrating minutes for the Rams offense outside of an ugly drop in the closing minutes. Cooks has gone four games without a touchdown and his 13 total targets over the past two games mark the second-fewest over a multiple game span of the season. The Eagles’ suspect secondary offers a bounce-back opportunity in Week 15.
WR Josh Reynolds
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 36 - 0 (7 targets) - Reynolds saw a hearty seven targets, second-most for the Rams, in the loss against Chicago. Reynolds did not log a catch until nearly halftime and late in the game dropped a deep out target by bobbled the ball as he neared the sideline. Reynolds has struggled back-to-back weeks and gets a rebound opportunity against the struggling Eagles secondary next week.
TE Gerald Everett
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 29 - 0 (7 targets) - Everett’s snaps surged to a season-high 57% against the Bears. However, Everett struggled along with the rest of the Rams’ usually hyper-productive offense. Everett was second on the team in targets, but added two drops to his box score. On the positive side, Everett converted a fake punt reception, diving for the sticks in the long-yardage situation. Everett also corralled a contested slant target on third down as a split-out receiver, a high-level play from the athletic move tight end. Everett also had a reception called back by penalty.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 30 - 110 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 6 - 23 - 0 - Mitchell struggled in this game as he never looked comfortable. Trubisky completed just 53% of his passes and threw three interceptions in which two of the passes sailed on him over his receivers hands and the other interception was a play in which he starred down Taylor Gabriel
and Nickell Robey-Coleman jumped the route. The deep ball issues for Trubisky continued this week as he completed just one of ten passes this week longer than 10 yards and his two longest passes were intercepted. This is the second time that Trubisky has had more interceptions than completions longer than 10 yards on the season.
RB Jordan Howard
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 101 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Howard looked great this week and it was largely due to the Rams struggling linebackers which allowed Howard to get to the second level in this one. The biggest benefit for Howard is that the Bears have now committed to him for two consecutive weeks as Howard is a volume based runner and it has paid off significantly as he was able to wear down this Rams defense and break a 21-yard run in the fourth-quarter off-tackle.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 69 - 0, Rec: 4 - 20 - 0 (4 targets) - The Bears plan was simple in this game after the early struggles of Trubisky and that was to win the game on the ground and Cohen played a big role in this. Cohen had the second most carries of his 2018 season and made the most of it as he was able to burst a 32 yard run off tackle on a read-option play that took the Bears into the red zone that ultimately led to a field goal. Cohen saw volume in the passing game but was not a primary target that he was with Chase Daniel
at quarterback as Cohen saw just four targets that were largely check-down passes for Trubisky.
WR Allen Robinson
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (8 targets) - Robinson like most of the receivers in this game was primarily targeted on under routes as two of his five receptions were behind the line of scrimmage and all of his receptions were less than ten yards downfield. He was targeted three times on deep throws but was unable to connect with Trubisky in this game. This was a bit of a change in role for Robinson as he has not been a receiver in which they have previously used him primarily as a deep threat.
WR Taylor Gabriel
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 22 - 0 (7 targets) - Gabriel was largely a non-factor in this game as while he saw seven targets in this game was largely unable to connect with Trubisky. The issue for Gabriel continues to be that he is not getting the deep targets that he was getting earlier this season now that Allen Robinson
has returned from injury. He is primarily being used as a non-primary underneath receiver.
TE Trey Burton
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (5 targets) - Burton’s struggles continue as he just not found a consistent role in this offense. Trubisky did throw a deep pass to Burton but overthrew him in what would have been a deep gain of 20 yards or more. Burton was open but was overthrown by about 5 yards by Trubisky.
Atlanta Falcons 20, Green Bay Packers 34
What you need to know
- Matt Ryan
and Julio Jones
connected repeatedly for big plays during the first half, including a deep fade and a touchdown during the first drive. Ryan also found Mohamed Sanu
for multiple third-down conversions. However, However Austin Hooper
didn’t break off his hot route soon enough and it led to a pick-six by Breshad Breeland, extending Green Bay’s lead to 10 points in the second quarter. A Jake Matthews penalty later nullified a deep fade to Jones that would have put Atlanta to the Packers’ 13, but the foul influenced a punt two plays later. By the middle of the third quarter, Green Bay jumped on Atlanta’s defense and foiled Atlanta’s offense with pressure, earning a 34-7 lead. When Atlanta made substitutions to its offense in the fourth quarter, the team drove the field but a snap hit Sanu’s leg in the red zone and Green Bay recovered, maintaining a 20-point lead. A Justin Hardy
touchdown with 14 seconds left made the final score look better.
Green Bay Packers
- The Green Bay Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-20, to improve their record to 5-7-1. Aaron Rodgers
completed 21 of 32 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing three times for 44 yards. Running back Aaron Jones
rushed 17 times for 78 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 28 yards. Davante Adams
led the Packers receivers with seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown. Randal Cobb had his best game since week 1, catching five passes for 43 yards and a touchdown. Marquez Valdes-Scantling
caught only two passes for 19 yards. Jimmy Graham
also had a down game, catching only passes for 13 yards.
QB Matt Ryan
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 42 - 262 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - The quarterback found Julio Jones
on 63 yards worth of passing yards on 3 catches to begin the game, including a fade route up the right sideline, an out route at the left boundary, and a crossing route for a 16-yard touchdown. Round found Mohamed Sanu
twice in two drives for third-down conversions in the shallow zone of the Packers defense to keep drives a live. On a third and eight near the red zone, Ryan tried to bring the ball down and fumbled it, forcing a loss when Tevin Coleman
recovered it. This led to a 53-yard field goal attempt that bounced off the right goal post. Ryan threw a pick-six with six minutes in the second quarter when Breshad Breeland undercut Austin Hooper
on an out that as behind Hooper. It was likely that Hooper did not break the route fast enough on this hot versus the blitz. Ryan found Julio Jones
on a deep fade but a Jake Matthews penalty nullified the play and two plays later, Atlanta punted with 2:45 left in the half. Clay Matthews sacked Ryan on third and short to begin the second half on a looping blitz inside from a twist to confuse the left guard, ending Atlanta’s first drive of the third quarter. Ryan overshot Jones, who beat Jaire Alexander on a deep post, late in the third quarter on 3rd and 10 and it resulted in another punt. The Packers’ relentless pressure foiled Ryan throughout the game despite Ryan not getting sacked as often as we’ve seen in recent weeks.
RB Ito Smith
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 60 - 0, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (4 targets) - He pushed forward at left guard for 3-4 yards on his first carry during Atlanta’s second drive of the day. Smith made the first man miss at the entrance of the crease and earned 4-5 on the next play. He bounced off two glancing blows for 17 yards on one of two runs netting 20 yards late in the half, getting Atlanta across midfield. Smith got stuffed on a third and short in the fourth quarter, forcing Atlanta to go for it and find the runner in the right flat for a first down on a short pass.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 45 - 0, Rec: 1 - -4 - 0 (1 targets) - He bounced a play to the left side on a cutback for seven yards, earning more in his first two carries than he did last week. Coleman earned the first down with a four-yard run off right guard. The Packers’ best lineman Kenny Clark got rolled up on the play and helped off the field, leading to a 13-yard gain run through Clark’s spot where Coleman didn’t touch anyone until he reached the second level of the defense. Coleman earned eight yards up the middle with a nice cut to the right flat midway through during Atlanta’s first drive of the second half.
RB Brian Hill
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0 - He earned a first down on a short run in the fourth quarter—his first playing time of the season in the middle of the fourth quarter.
WR Julio Jones
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 106 - 2 (11 targets) - He was awarded a reception on a fade route up the right sideline that he juggled on the way down and the ball came loose as he hit the ground despite a Packers challenge that took Atlanta across midfield. He was also involved in a close call on the next target—an out where his second foot dragged partially in and then out of bounds—that was called complete. The Packers challenged this play again and the officials upheld the ruling again. Jones scored later in the drive on a crossing route from the 16 and earned 14 yards on his own after the catch for the opening drive touchdown. Jones’ fourth catch was a settle route up the seam for six yards. Jones beat Jaire Alexander on the fade to reach the Packers’ 13 but Jake Matthews nullified the play with a penalty. Atlanta punted two plays later. Ryan overshot Jones, who beat Jaire Alexander on a deep post, late in the third quarter on 3rd and 10 and it resulted in another punt. Jones scored on a 12-yard hitch in the early fourth quarter after Alexander played too much cushion in the red zone early in the fourth quarter, closing the Packers’ lead to 20 points.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 54 - 0 (8 targets) - Ryan found Sanu while climbing the pocket under pressure on third and eight. He hit Sanu settling over the middle for the first down. Ryan found Sanu once again for a third-down conversion in a heavily-trafficked area with Julio Jones
supplying a pick on third down in Packers territory during its second drive. Sanu earned a 12-ayrd gain in the left flat on a hook route setting up a short hitch to Jones for a short touchdown to get the game within 20 early in the foruth quarter. The snap bounces off Sanu's leg as he motioned across the formation in the red zone with Atlanta trying to get within two scores in mid-fourth quarter and the Packers recover.
WR Justin Hardy
, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 1 (4 targets) - Earned garbage time in the middle of the fourth quarter and caught a short pass to the flat for Atlanta to reach the Packers red zone. He earned a slant for a touchdown with 14 seconds left for a garbage-time touchdown.
WR Marvin Hall
, 5 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0 (1 targets) - He took a jet sweep to left end and Kyle Fackrell stuffed it for a three-yard loss during the first drive.
WR Calvin Ridley
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (4 targets) - Ryan found Sanu while climbing the pocket under pressure on third and eight. He hit Sanu settling over the middle for the first down. Ryan found Sanu once again for a third-down conversion in a heavily-trafficked area with Julio Jones
supplying a pick on third down in Packers territory during its second drive. Sanu earned a 12-ayrd gain in the left flat on a hook route setting up a short hitch to Jones for a short touchdown to get the game within 20 early in the foruth quarter. The snap bounces off Sanu's leg as he motioned across the formation in the red zone with Atlanta trying to get within two scores in mid-fourth quarter and the Packers recover.
TE Austin Hooper
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (6 targets) - He caught a pass in the right flat and exited the boundary with a first down early in the Falcons’ second drive near midfield. He earned some short targets during the second half but limped off the field with about 90 seconds remaining.
TE Eric Saubert
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 15 - 0 (3 targets) - He earned playing time down 34-7 late in the third quarter, catching a short pass in the flat for seven yards and slipping to the ground. He followed up at the right sideline for a first down.
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 32 - 196 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 44 - 0 - Aaron Rodgers
completed 21 of 32 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing three times for 44 yards. This has not been Rodgers most prolific year, and this week was another example of that. The Packers have not been running the ball more frequently, they’ve just been more efficient, thanks to Aaron Jones
’ breakout season. This has kept Rodgers in less desperate passing situations as he navigates a season where his head coach has been fired and he’s played most of the season with two rookie wide receivers as his #2 and #3 pass catchers. Rodgers got off to a great start in this game, completing his first six passes, including a touchdown pass to Davante Adams
on the Packers first drive. On that play Rodgers was lined up in the shotgun with the Packers driving on the Falcons seven yard lined. With Adams lined up out wide to the left, Rodgers took the snap and immediately looked left for Adams who ran an out-route that he rounded off at the apex which created enough space for Rodgers to throw a dart into Adams hands at the goal line. Rodgers next touchdown pass came on third and ten from the Falcons 24 yard line, with the Packers up 20-7 and driving to the start the third quarter. Rodgers lined up in the shotgun with Randall Cobb
lined up out wide to his left. Rodgers took the snap, dropped back in the pocket, then stepped up in the pocket and fired a line drive to Cobb, who was running a straight go-route. It looked like a designed back shoulder throw initially, but Rodgers put the ball on the money right out in front of Cobb and dead on the run. Cobb secured the catch for a touchdown, which put the game away for the Packers.
RB Aaron Jones
, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 78 - 1, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (3 targets) - Aaron Jones
rushed 17 times for 78 yards and one touchdown, while also catching all three of his targets for 28 yards. The Packers opened up the game by attacking a weak Atlanta secondary, and they were quite successful, jumping out to a 20-7 lead by halftime. Jones was sparsely used in the first half, finishing with only seven yards rushing. However that changed in the third quarter, as Jones racked up 23 yards on the Packers first drive, and then came back on the next drive and sliced up the Falcons defense for 55 yards and a touchdown. Jones touchdown run came on second and three with the Packers driving at the Falcons 29 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and handed off to Jones, who ran inside the right tackle and then cut smoothly to the middle of the line and up the field. The Packers offensive line did a great job of opening up a big hole in the center of the line, and Jones used his explosiveness to quickly get to the second level of the Falcons defense. Jones bolted through the line and then smoothly cut back to the right side of the field where a Falcons defender made an attempt to tackle him at the 10 yard line. Jones shook off the defender with a stiff arm and avoided a leg tackle with a back foot high step before running through untouched into the end zone. Going back and looking at this run on tape, the play happens so quickly because Jones is getting to the second level of the defense in a flash, and his ability to change direction is smooth that it makes it really difficult for defenders to get the right angle to tackle him. Jones has the skillset to be a top running back, and the fact that he added value as a pass catcher this year will only raises his stock even further going into next season.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0 (1 targets) - Jamaal Williams
rushed four times for 17 yards and was unable to secure his only target in the passing game. This was a much better showing for Williams than last week, where he had trouble even getting past the line of scrimmage. Williams was able to throw in two gains of five yards and one gain of nine yards. Williams is much better suited for spot work here and there, and to give Jones a breather every now and again. It will be interesting to see how Williams fares with a new coaching staff next season, as Jones is sure to be the centerpiece of the Packers running game moving forward.
WR Davante Adams
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 81 - 1 (11 targets) - Davante Adams
caught seven passes for 81 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets in Sunday’s win over the Falcons. It was Adams 12th touchdown catch of the season, matching his career high that was set in 2016. Adams has had a ridiculously consistent season as a fantasy receiver. He’s scored in 10 of 13 games, and in the games he did not, he’s averaged 7.5 receptions for 126 yards. Adams has had eight games of 80+ receiving yards including four games of 130+ receiving yards. Some of this can be attributed to being Rodgers #1 receiver, but Adams has shown that he can be counted on as an elite #1 receiver. The Falcons were down for much of this game, and despite Adams having 60+ yards and a touchdown by halftime, the Packers chose to run the ball down the Falcons throat in the second half which limited Adams potential for a monster day. He also had a long catch called back for a penalty, which would have given him his fifth 100+ yard game of the season. On the Packers first drive, Adams was lined up in the right slot, and put a stutter step in-out-in fake on his defender before taking off up-field on a go-route. Adams had separation but Rodgers underthrew the ball and forced Adams to make an incredible catch where he reached behind his defender and plucked the ball over his shoulder and secured the catch. That 21 yard gain set up Adams touchdown catch. On that play Rodgers was lined up in the shotgun with the Packers driving on the Falcons seven yard lined. With Adams lined up out wide to the left, Rodgers took the snap and immediately looked left for Adams who ran an out-route that he rounded off at the top which kept his defender from committing to a specific direction.
WR Randall Cobb
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 43 - 1 (6 targets) - Randall Cobb
caught five passes for 43 yards and a touchdown on six targets in the Packers win over the Falcons on Sunday. This was Cobb’s best performance since his week 1, as Cobb had the most receptions, yards and touchdowns since his monster 9/142/1 line in the Packers first game of the season. Cobb got the start, and it with this performance looks to have reclaimed the #2 spot for the Packers moving forward. Cobb’s touchdown catch came with the Packers driving at the Rodgers next touchdown pass came on third and ten from the Falcons 24 yard line, with the Packers up 20-7 and driving to the start the third quarter. Rodgers lined up in the shotgun with Randall Cobb
lined up out wide to his left. Rodgers took the snap, dropped back in the pocket, then stepped up in the pocket and fired a line drive to Cobb, who was running a straight go-route. It was a phenomenal throw from Rodgers, as Cobb caught the ball exactly in-stride a yard deep in the end zone. Cobb made a nice catch on the ball, and it was the type of play that the Packers have been missing with team’s keying on Adams and in desperate need of a consistent #2 receiver who clicks with Rodgers.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (2 targets) - Marquez Valdes-Scantling
caught two passes on two targets for 19 yards in the Packers win over the Falcons on Sunday. This marked the fourth straight game that Valdes-Scantling has failed to reach 20 yards receiving, and he has only six catches over that span after averaging four catches and 72 receiving yards in the five games preceding this stretch. Randall Cobb
got the start in place of Valdes-Scantling and turned in his best game since week 1, so it is safe to assume that Cobb will be the Packers #2 receiver for as long as he is healthy going forward. The Packers offense is not capable of sustaining more than two receivers per week, and with Aaron Jones
and Jimmy Graham
in the mix as well, it looks as though Valdes-Scantling will be seeing limited targets for the rest of the season.
TE Jimmy Graham
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (5 targets) - Jimmy Graham
caught two passes for 13 yards on five targets in the Packers win over the Falcons on Sunday. While the five targets were third on the team, Graham did not make an impact in this game and never threatened to do so. With Cobb back in the mix, and Jones being more involved in the passing game, Graham will certainly have weeks like this and consistency is not something you can count on with him moving forward.