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New York Giants 27, Indianapolis Colts 28

What you need to know

New York Giants - - The Giants passing game misses Beckham as explosive plays are somewhat rare without him. Shepard and Engram are really solid players but they really miss the superstar receiver in key situations.

- The running game took another hit as Barkley couldn't get going at all on the ground. The offensive line struggled to open gaps and the passing game didn't alleviate enough pressure.

- The Giants need a third receiving option other than Barkley to combine with Shepard/Engram. Manning was spreading the ball evenly outside of this trio but no player was able to fill the gap.

Indianapolis Colts - The Colts offense got off to a slow start but found their rhythm in the passing game. Luck and the Colts made big plays in the passing game to put up points. Luck was outstanding throwing downfield after a few early miscues with Eric Ebron. Luck took what the defense gave him and distributed his targets pretty evenly. TY Hilton had the biggest game of Luck's targets generating 3 explosive plays downfield for 90 yards all in the second half. Chester Rogers, Dontrelle Inman, Zach Pascal and Nyheim Hines all helped pick up the slack created by Eric Ebron's injury. Each target played well in their role. Inman could have easily had two touchdowns as he drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone. Marlon Mack found success rushing early but the Colts favored a pass heavy game plan trying to come from behind.

QB Eli Manning, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 33 - 309 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 1 - Eli Manning had an efficient day on Sunday and made some great plays but it wasn't a perfect performance. Manning relied on Sterling Shepard heavily with Beckham being out again and the connection was strong against the Colts. The pair connected for many first downs and kept the Giants driving in key moments. The ground game for the Giants was not effective so the bulk of the offense was put on the shoulders of Manning.

The pass protection was solid but still gave up pressure occasionally which forced several incomplete balls. Manning spread the ball well when he wasn't targeting Shepard but mostly kept his passes short. He found Shepard wide open on an out n up pattern deep down the field. Manning put everything he had into the throw but it was still slightly underthrown, which caused Shepard to wait for it and ultimately prevented the score on the play. His only touchdown pass came on a play action rollout to the right in the redzone where he hit Simonson on a quick out for the short strike. Manning later overthrew his intended target down the sideline and was fortuante it wasn't picked off by the Colt defender. He hit strikes over the middle on slants/posts to Engram/Shepard which really was the only consistent offensive play the Giants had but it was good enough to threaten the Colts. Manning scored his first rushing touchdown of the season a 1 yard QB sneak. The game ended unfortunately when he overthrew another receiver deep over the middle and it was easily picked off by the defensive back.

RB Saquon Barkley, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 43 - 1, Rec: 5 - 34 - 0 (7 targets) - Saquon Barkley couldn't get going again in this game as the Colts made a serious effort to limit his effectiveness on the ground. The Giants passing attack was solid but still not as deadly as it could be with Beckham out with an injury. This allowed the Colts to key on the run and keep the box loaded at times. Barkley was running into walls often when he hit the line of scrimmage. He also got several toss plays which he executed as well as could be expected but still struggled. The Colts were in the backfield often and didn't let Barkley break contain into the open field. Barkley was patient and didn't force anything without reading the play. On one screen pass, he took a brief moment to see the gaps and got a first down because of this. He was stuffed on the goal line up the middle but managed to score on the very next play as he bounced a carry to the outside where nobody was present.

Barkley did his best to shake defenders and get the most yards possible on every carry but the big play never happened.

WR Sterling Shepard, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 6 - 113 - 0 (7 targets) - Sterling Shepard got most of his yards on one play but still had a big impact on Sunday's game against the Colts. He got his hands on several plays over the middle with slants/posts which hurt the Colts throughout the game.

Shepard showed incredible leaping ability to grab his first post in the air and secure it. He broke free on an out n up pattern in the first half and the defense completely lost coverage on him. Shepard hauled in the pass deep down the field but unfortunately had to wait slightly as the pass was underthrown, this likely cost him the chance of scoring. He got his hands on a double reverse carry but this was blown up behind the line of scrimmage. Shepards quickness combined with excellent hands was clearly evident on Sunday and he took full advantage of Beckham's absence.

TE Evan Engram, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 26 - 0, Rec: 6 - 87 - 0 (6 targets) - Evan Engram was heavily involved on Sunday and even had two carries on the ground. He had seen an increase in targets recently due to Beckhams injury and he is taking full advantage of this. Engrams talent level is really high as his speed can burn linebackers in coverage. He had a nice reverse handoff early in the game that he was able to bounce to the sideline and overpowered a defender to take the Giants to the goal line, he was unlucky not to score on the play. Engram caught a lot of short passes in the form of out/in/slant plays which were effective at picking up first downs. He had a big catch on a post route deep down the field, leaping high and securing it well. Engram made several other big plays from catch and runs, using his athletic ability to gain space on nearby defenders. His route running was also very good as got big separation on a lot of his catches.

Engram fought hard on his catches to get the extra yards, got out of bounds when time was running out and really was a dangerous asset to his team. He can run routes like a receiver and is just as dangerous in the open field.

TE Scott Simonson, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 16 - 1 (3 targets) - Scott Simonson got his name mentioned a few times and even scored a touchdown in a surprising performance on Sunday. The Giants were on the goal line and he got a quick slant out from Manning after a rollout to his side was executed well. Simonson got his hands on a few other short passes but was targeted only 3 times in the entire game. Simonson cannot be relied upon in fantasy and should not be owned as Engram is clearly the Giants top target at tight end.

QB Andrew Luck, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 47 - 357 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 13 - 0 - Andrew Luck and the Colts got off to slow start but found their rhythm throwing the ball downfield after falling behind early. The Colts failed to pick up a first down on each on their first two possessions. The Colts moved into field goal range on their third possession but an ugly miscue between Luck and Eric Ebron led to an interception. Luck expected Ebron to continue downfield as he scrambled leading to an uncontested interception for Curtis Riley. Luck responded by moving his team downfield. Luck threw a perfect nearly indefensible strike to TY Hilton for 25 yards to set up a 1 yard touchdown run by Nyheim Hines. The Colts had a chance to set up a field goal before halftime but pressure on Luck forced consecutive incompletions forcing a punt. Luck set up another Colts touchdown with another big play to Hilton. Luck connected with Hilton 40 yards downfield running a deep post. Luck's bomb was nearly perfect and allowed Hilton to gain yards after the catch. Luck capped the drive with a 2 yard touchdown to Dontrelle Inman. Luck made two excellent back shoulder throws in the span of 3 plays. The first was a beauty up the seam to Inman for 29 yards and the second was well placed down the sideline to Hines for 29. Marlon Mack capped the drive with a 3 yard run.

RB Marlon Mack, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 34 - 1, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (3 targets) - Marlon Mack was minimally involved in the game plan despite finding rushing success early. Mack followed a nice block by Joe Haeg up the gut on his first carry for 11 yards. Mack caught a check down in the flat for 5 yards. Mack went untouched off left tackle for a 3 yard touchdown.

RB Nyheim Hines, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 2 - 1, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (5 targets) - Nyheim Hines continues to see looks downfield in the passing game and continues to be used in creative ways. Hines made his first catch running a curl for 8 yards. Hines caught a slant and was brought down at the 1 yard line after a gain of 7. Hines rushed off left tackle on the ensuing play for a 1 yard touchdown. Hines made a 28 yard back shoulder catch running a go route lined up at wide receiver. Hines was matched up on a linebacker on the play.

WR Chester Rogers, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 54 - 1 (7 targets) - Chester Rogers played his best game in recent weeks. Rogers was effective picking up yardage as an underneath receiver. Rogers picked up 6 yards on his first catch on a bubble screen. Rogers picked up 8 yards on 3rd and 3 running a quick out route. Rogers slipped a tackle on the edge running another bubble screen for 10 yards. Rogers made another man miss on an underneath catch and picked up 11 yards. Rogers ran an in breaking route between two defenders and made a 15 yard catch. Rogers ran a quick out route for a 1 yard touchdown. TY Hilton did well to pick Rogers' defender on the play.

WR T.Y. Hilton, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 138 - 0 (8 targets) - TY Hilton was extremely efficient generating big plays on a limited number of targets. Hilton could seemingly get open at will downfield. Hilton showed off his hands snatching a dart from Luck out of the air over the middle for 13 yards. Hilton beat Janoris Jenkins vertically running a double move and Hilton made an outstanding sideline catch for 25 yards. Hilton roasted a pair of defenders running a post from the slot and snagged a bomb from Luck with his finger tips on his way to a 55 yard gain. Hilton picked up 20 yards with a catch and run over the middle on 3rd and 5. Hilton picked up 7 yards on an underneath catch. Hilton showed excellent awareness going low to secure a catch and scooting up field to pick up 12 yards and a first down.

WR Zach Pascal, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 41 - 0 (7 targets) - Zach Pascal continues to play well and made physical plays over the middle. Pascal made his first catch running a slant for 7 yards. Pascal made a contested catch over the middle on 3rd and 10 for 15 yards. Pascal picked up 12 yards running a slant from the slot. Pascal caught a slant for 7 yards and was brought down at the 3 yard line.

WR Dontrelle Inman, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 46 - 1 (5 targets) - Dontrelle Inman played very well and shoed his red zone prowess. Inman made his first catch underneath for 6 yards. Inman ran a curl route lined up in tight and secured a 2 yard touchdown form Luck. Inman made an outstanding contested back shoulder catch running down the seam for 29 yards. Inman dropped a slant that would have gone for a modest gain. Inman slipped a tackle running a comeback route for 9 yards. Inman drew a 7 yard pass interference penalty in the end zone on what likely would have been a touchdown.

TE Eric Ebron, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Eric Ebron left the game in the first half and was placed in concussion protocol. Ebron found limited success while he was on the field. Ebron ran a comeback route lined up in tight for a gain of 14. Ebron did well to shield his defender with his body. Ebron had two early miscues on deep passes with Luck. The first was overthrown and fell incomplete. On the second Ebron stopped his route when Luck expected him to keep running downfield resulting in an interception. Ebron picked up 11 more running another comeback. Ebron was placed in concussion protocol and did not return.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20, Dallas Cowboys 27

What you need to know

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Ryan Fitzpatrick was a curious scratch for week 16, with Ryan Griffin serving as Jameis Winston's backup. Desean Jackson returned from a hand injury, but was hobbled by a new foot/Achilles injury midway through the game. His availability for week 17 is in question. Winston lost two fumbles, with one being returned for a touchdown and the other recovered inside Tampa Bay's 10 yard line.

The Bucs made it a one score game with a late Mike Evans touchdown, but Dallas recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt with just over 2 minutes in the game. Kicker Santos was 2/3 on FG attempts, missing a 52 yard attempt in the 3rd.

Dallas Cowboys - The Cowboys logged the much-needed home win over Tampa Bay, but their offensive output was muted as Tampa Bay controlled the ball with longer drives but turnovers and empty drives. Dallas also scored a defensive touchdown to limit the Cowboys offense to 50 combined passes and carries. Ezekiel Elliott limped off on one occasion but reentered the game shortly after and logged yet another game with more than 20 touches. In what projected as a bounce-back opportunity for Amari Cooper resulted in a lackluster 4-20-0 stat line as two highlight plays from Michael Gallup were the Dallas passing game notable plays this week.

QB Jameis Winston, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 34 - 48 - 336 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0 - Winston was backed up for the first time by Ryan Griffin, with Ryan Fitzpatrick a curious healthy scratch for week 16. Winston threw one touchdown whilst he committed a couple of back-breaking turnovers as well as contributing to a pile of offensive penalties. He looked sharp on the opening drive, hitting Humphries on two consecutive passes for a first down and then finding Evans down the left sideline with a beautiful over the shoulder throw that picked up 38 yards and set the Bucs up inside the Dallas red zone. The offense eventually settled for a field goal. Winston lost a fumble that was returned 69 yards for a touchdown at the end of the 1st quarter. He initially did a great job of avoiding pressure on the play by stepping up in the pocket, but as he rolled out to the right a defender punched the ball out from behind. Despite being knocked down on the play, Winston got up and nearly ran Jaylon Smith down on the fumble return touchdown. Winston led a scoring drive at the end of the 1st half, connecting with Humphries multiple times and nearly finding Evans in the back of the end zone. Winston scrambled down to the 2 yard line with less than a minute in the half and handed the ball off to Rodgers for a short touchdown on the next play. Winston fumbled again while attempting to hand the ball off to Bobo Wilson on a WR speed sweep in the 3rd quarter. Winston again showed good effort making the tackle, but Dallas recovered the ball inside Tampa Bay's 10 yard line. Winston's only touchdown was a late connection with Mike Evans. Winston scrambled right to extend the play while Evans worked his way open in the back of the end zone for a 7 yard touchdown, making it a one score game with just over two minutes left. Unfortunately, Dallas was able to recover the ensuing onside kick attempt.

Winston drew his fair share of penalties in week 16, including a blocking in the back penalty in the 2nd quarter and several delay of game penalties at the end of the 1st and 2nd half. Winston and the offense were called for delay of game TWICE on 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter. After being called for delay game on 4th and 1 from the Dallas 2, Winston made a heroic effort to scramble for the score on 4th and 6. Unfortunately, he was tackled about a foot short of the line of scrimmage, giving Dallas the ball back inside their own 5 yard line. Winston should have been intercepted on the next drive as he loaded up an underthrown deep ball for Jackson that bounced right off a receiver's hands.

RB Peyton Barber, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 43 - 0, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Barber posted one of his signature underwhelming stat lines, averaging 2.5 yards on 17 carries. He broke an impressive run of 33 yards right up the middle of the defense in the 3rd quarter, but backup TE Auclair was called for holding on the play. Jacquizz Rodgers vultured a short touchdown run with the 2 minute offense at the end of the first half.

Barber caught a short checkdown for 6 yards in the 1st quarter. Barber's second catch was screen pass that was well defended at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Barber caught one more checkdown early in the 4th quarter and got blasted by Leighton Vander Esch near the line of scrimmage.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 2 - 1, Rec: 7 - 55 - 0 (7 targets) - Rodgers had a productive fantasy day with limited touches. He only carried the ball twice behind Peyton Barber, but he punched in a 2 yard touchdown with one of them and also hauled in all seven targets in the passing game. Rodgers' entered the game during the Bucs' second offensive drive of the first quarter, hauling in his first target for a short gain on a checkdown pass. Rodgers caught another checkdown pass in the 2nd that picked up good yardage on 3rd and 18, but not quite enough for the first down. Rodgers notched the touchdown at the end of the 1st half as the Bucs were running the 2 minute offense. Winston scrambled down to the two yard line with less than a minute in the 2nd quarter, and Rodgers plowed up the middle for the score on the next play. Rodgers converted 4th and 2 with another checkdown pass from Winston in the 3rd quarter. Rodgers nearly scored a second touchdown in the 4th quarter, when he caught a short pass in the Dallas red zone and barreled down to the two yard line. Rodgers piled up garbage time stats with three consecutive checkdown passes underneath Dallas' prevent coverage as the Bucs trailed by 14 with less than 3 minutes in the game.

WR Adam Humphries, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 79 - 0 (12 targets) - Humphries led the team with 12 targets, hauling in 10 total for 79 yards. He went to work on the first snap of the game, hauling in a curl route underneath zone coverage. Humphries lined up in the left slot on the next play and caught a quick pass behind the line of scrimmage, darting forward for an 8 yard gain and a first down. Humphries lined up in the left slot and shook his defender after catching a 2nd quarter curl route, running up the sideline for a nice gain after the catch. Winston found him again on a slant route near the end of the 1st half. Humphries got blasted while hauling in a crossing route on the next play and looked as if his day could be done at the half, but he returned in the 3rd quarter. Winston found him for another nice catch and run up the right sideline late in the 3rd. Humphries picked up yet another 1st down with a catch and run on a crossing route in the 4th quarter.

Humphries has often been said to have more "real life" football value than fantasy football value, but he has quietly developed into a dependable PPR play in the second half of the season, showing a nice rapport with Winston. Desean Jackson could miss next week with a new Achilles injury, meaning more targets for Humphries, Evans, and Godwin.

WR Mike Evans, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 90 - 1 (10 targets) - Evans had a challenging matchup with Byron Jones following him around for a significant portion of the matchup. Evans kickstarted his day with a 38 yard reception down the left sideline. He lined up wide left with two receivers on the opposite side of the formation, and beat his defender to haul in an over the shoulder throw from Winston before being pushed out of bounds. Evans had to come back for a low throw on a curl route later in the 1st, but secured the pass before being touched down by contact. Evans missed some snaps at the end of the 1st quarter for an "illness" but was not gone long. Evans made a strong catch on a contested curl route at the end of the 1st half. Winston nearly found him in the end zone on the next play, but he played the ball a bit too high. Evans hauled in a deep post route for a solid gain on the Bucs' first offensive play of the 2nd half. Evans had a step on his defender on a fly route late in the 3rd, but Winston missed the throw. Evans converted 3rd and long early in the 4th quarter with a deep comeback route. Evans scored a short touchdown at the end of the 4th quarter, working his way open in the back of the end zone while Winston scrambled to extend the play.

WR Chris Godwin, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 39 - 0 (6 targets) - Godwin saw his opportunities dwindle as Desean Jackson returned from injury and Evans and Humphries drew 10 and 12 targets, respectively. Godwin caught a crossing route in the 1st quarter for first down yardage. He picked up 8 yards with a diving catch on the sideline later in the same drive. Godwin caught a deep curl route and broke a tackle for a nice run up the left sideline early in the 3rd quarter. Jackson could miss next week with a new foot injury.

WR DeSean Jackson, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 24 - 0 (4 targets) - Jackson returned after missing several weeks with a wrist/hand injury. He carried the ball for a short gain on a jet sweep in the 1st quarter. Winston looked for Jackson with a deep pass down the left sideline in the 2nd quarter, but Jackson's defender had him bracketed. Jackson had another deep crossing route broken up at the end of the quarter. Jackson and Winston finally connected up the seam for a 24 yard gain on the next play, but Jackson hobbled off holding his ankle after the catch. Jackson was able to return to the game, but was limited for the rest of the contest. He has not practiced yet this week.

TE Cameron Brate, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (3 targets) - Brate was not a factor in the passing game. He finally got on the board with a short gain on a crossing route that was hotly contested by linebacker Vander Esch in the 4th quarter. Winston found him for a short checkdown pass late in the 4th quarter. Brate did not get any looks in the end zone this week.

QB Dak Prescott, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 25 - 161 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 2 - 1 - While Prescott’s stat line looks like his efficient ball-controlling efforts of the past, he missed most of his best opportunities for a positive impact through the air. Prescott should have had an interception on an early-game throw, airmailed Michael Gallup on a wide open third down, and also missed Blake Jarwin on a wide open third down later in the game on the fringe of field goal range. Prescott did get back to being a running threat in the red zone, logging a keeper touchdown from short range, his first rushing score in a month. Prescott’s highlight throw was a deep sideline connection into a small window to Michael Gallup for more than 30 yards, a significant chuck of his otherwise muted passing performance.

RB Ezekiel Elliott, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 85 - 0, Rec: 5 - 24 - 0 (6 targets) - Elliott logged his eighth straight game of at least 20 touches as the Dallas offensive centerpiece. Elliott had an up-and-down game, however, with a fumble and drop among his low-light moments. Fortunately, Dallas recovered his fumble. Elliott’s best runs were a combination of getting skinny through small interior holes, finding cutback lanes for 10 or more yards, and getting to the corner on slower developing plays including a run to ice the game in the closing minutes of the win. Elliott also had a seven-yard rush called back by penalty and his best touchdown opportunity was nearly scoring on a red zone reception to the perimeter. Elliott impressively surpassed 2,000 total yards on the season and his 77 catches more than double his previous career high.

WR Cole Beasley, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 50 - 0 (5 targets) - Beasley had his second straight quality game for Dallas. Four of Beasley’s five receptions came on a single drive in the second half, including a highlight slant catch at full extension. Beasley also converted two third downs in the game and added yards-after-catch on another reception. Beasley’s touchdown-less streak continues as the slot maven has not scored since Week 6, his only scores of the season.

WR Amari Cooper, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 20 - 0 (5 targets) - Cooper had his second down game in a row after his Week 14 210-yard explosion. Tampa Bay projected as a rebound game, but Cooper had a quizzical lack of involvement for much of the game. Cooper produced half of his 20 yards on an after-the-catch opportunity and was held in check on two other short targets. One under-the-radar impact of Cooper’s arrival in Dallas has been opening opportunities for Michael Gallup on the other side with better matchups. Gallup exceled with two quality plays in the otherwise tepid passing game performance by Dallas against the Buccaneers.

WR Michael Gallup, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 53 - 1 (4 targets) - While Gallup was fourth on the team in targets against Tampa Bay, he led Dallas in receiving yards and made the two highlight receiving plays of the game for the Cowboys. Gallup hauled in Dak Prescott’s best throw of the game, a long connection into a small window down the sideline. Gallup also converted a goal line fade target for his first touchdown since Week 7 and only the second score of his rookie season.


Green Bay Packers 44, New York Jets 38

What you need to know

Green Bay Packers - The Green Bay Packers beat the New York Jets 44-38 in overtime, to improve their record to 6-8-1 on the season. Aaron Rodgers completed 37 of 55 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing five times for 32 yards and two more touchdowns. Running back Jamaal Williams rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, and caught six passes for 61 yards. Davante Adams caught 11 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, and Equanimeous St. Brown led the Packers with five catches for 94 yards. Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught five passes for 75 yards, while reserve receiver Jake Kumerow also caught three passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Jimmy Graham caught three passes for 34 yards.

New York Jets - Here at the end of all seasons, the Jets seem to have found a pair of decent fantasy producers. Sam Darnold looked awfully sharp against the Packers, while Robby Anderson scored his third touchdown in a row, as well as put up over 100 yards. It’s hard to trust this will be replicated against the Patriots in Week 17, given Bill Belichick’s propensity for baffling rookie quarterbacks, but it’s a good sign for next season.

QB Aaron Rodgers, 91 offensive snaps, Pass: 37 - 55 - 442 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 32 - 2 - Aaron Rodgers completed 37 of 55 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing five times for 32 yards and two touchdowns. This was Rodgers best fantasy performance of the season, as he tied his mark for most passing yards in a game, had his first four touchdown game of the year, and scored for the first time as a runner. This was also Rodgers first 300+ yard passing game since week 11, and only his fourth on the season. Rodgers was rusty early on this game, especially on the Packers first drive, as he missed a couple of throws that even Davante Adams could not reel in. Rodgers got back on track with his first touchdown pass to Jake Kumerow, which came with the Packers facing a third and four from the Jets 49 yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun, with Kumerow lined up out wide to the right. With a receiver coming in motion to the right side and running an out-route to the right flat, Kumerow was left wide open on a go-route up the right sideline. Rodgers hit him in stride, and Kumerow did a good job of making the catch and beating the final two Jets defenders for a 49 yard touchdown. Rodgers first of two rushing touchdowns came on a first and goal from the Jets one yard line. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and rolled right on a designed bootleg pass. The Jets defenders were slow to close the gap on Rodgers who recognized he had running room and ran it in for the easy touchdown. Rodgers again had his number called with the Packers facing a fourth and goal from the Jets one yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center, jumped over the pile and extended the ball across the goal line just enough for it to be called a touchdown, which put the Packers up 38-35 with 1:14 seconds left in the fourth quarter. After the Jets sent the game into overtime, Rodgers put the game away on the Packers first possession. Facing a first and goal from the Jets 16 yard line, Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and went through his progressions, as he waited for Adams to clear the second level of the Jets secondary on an elongated post-route. Rodgers made the perfect throw to Adams who had beat his defender easily, and the Packers capped off a wild fourth quarter comeback with the win in overtime.

RB Jamaal Williams, 86 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 95 - 1, Rec: 6 - 61 - 0 (9 targets) - Jamaal Williams rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, while also catching six of nine targets for 61 yards. This was Williams first game as the Packers bell cow back since week two, and he responded with his best game of the season, consistently gaining yards as a runner, and making plays in the passing game. Williams started off the game with a 19 yard run and didn’t let up for the rest of the first half, finishing with over 80 yards rushing. It looked as though Williams was going to punish the Jets on the ground, but the Packers fell behind which limited him to only five rushing attempts in the second half. Williams capped off the Packers second scoring drive with a seven yard touchdown. With the Packers facing a first and goal from the Jets seven yard line, Rodgers took the snap under center, faked right and then backhanded a pitch to Williams. Williams had a head of steam running left but met a pack of Jets defenders at the four yard line and was pushed towards the out of bounds line. Somehow, Williams managed to stay in bounds and steady himself by putting a hand on the ground, then lurch himself forward over the goal line. It was an impressive run on Williams part, and he has played very well over the last two weeks after taking a back seat to Aaron Jones for most of the season.

WR Davante Adams, 87 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 71 - 1 (18 targets) - Jamaal Williams rushed 15 times for 95 yards and a touchdown, while also catching six of nine targets for 61 yards. This was Williams first game as the Packers bell cow back since week two, and he responded with his best game of the season, consistently gaining yards as a runner, and making plays in the passing game. Williams started off the game with a 19 yard run and didn’t let up for the rest of the first half, finishing with over 80 yards rushing. It looked as though Williams was going to punish the Jets on the ground, but the Packers fell behind which limited him to only five rushing attempts in the second half. Williams capped off the Packers second scoring drive with a seven yard touchdown. With the Packers facing a first and goal from the Jets seven yard line, Rodgers took the snap under center, faked right and then backhanded a pitch to Williams. Williams had a head of steam running left but met a pack of Jets defenders at the four yard line and was pushed towards the out of bounds line. Somehow, Williams managed to stay in bounds and steady himself by putting a hand on the ground, then lurch himself forward over the goal line. It was an impressive run on Williams part, and he has played very well over the last two weeks after taking a back seat to Aaron Jones for most of the season.

WR Equanimeous St. Brown, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 94 - 0 (5 targets) - Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught one pass for 12 yards on two targets in Sunday’s loss to the Bears. Valdes-Scalding has become an afterthought in the Packers offense after putting together a nice string of games in the middle of the season. To Valdes-Scantling’s credit, he was wide open streaking down the field in the fourth quarter, and Rodgers just made a terrible throw that cost Valdes-Scantling a 76 yard touchdown. It was the type of play that the two had hooked up on several times this year, and it would have made both fantasy relevant players on a down Sunday. With the exception of that play though, Valdes-Scantling did not see another target besides his 12 yard catch, and has now started splitting the #3 job with St. Brown (three targets) and Jake Kumerow (two targets).

WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 75 - 0 (9 targets) - Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught one pass for 12 yards on two targets in Sunday’s loss to the Bears. Valdes-Scalding has become an afterthought in the Packers offense after putting together a nice string of games in the middle of the season. To Valdes-Scantling’s credit, he was wide open streaking down the field in the fourth quarter, and Rodgers just made a terrible throw that cost Valdes-Scantling a 76 yard touchdown. It was the type of play that the two had hooked up on several times this year, and it would have made both fantasy relevant players on a down Sunday. With the exception of that play though, Valdes-Scantling did not see another target besides his 12 yard catch, and has now started splitting the #3 job with St. Brown (three targets) and Jake Kumerow (two targets).

TE Jimmy Graham, 64 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (4 targets) - Jimmy Graham caught three passes for 34 yards on four targets against the Jets on Sunday. Graham was again an afterthought in the Packers offense, as the Packers pair of rookie wide receivers and Williams became the focal points of the passing game after Adams. Graham’s day could have been bigger as he was open in the end zone but the Jets secondary committed a pass interference penalty that helped set up a Packers touchdown. Graham has just two touchdown catches on the season, and has more than three catches just once in his last seven games.

QB Sam Darnold, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 35 - 341 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 4 - 0 - Since coming back from injury in Week 14, Sam Darnold has improved every week, culminating in Sunday’s performance against the Green Bay Packers. In about as flawless a performance as any rookie quarterback this season, Darnold completed 68.5 percent of his passes, and didn’t turn over the ball once, and in fact hasn’t turned the ball over since his interception in Week 14, with six touchdowns compared to one touchdown. Darnold also led the Jets down the field on a pair of drives to take the lead and extend it in the third quarter. Unfortunately, his final drive stalled and the Jets had to settle for a field goal, sending the game into overtime, where the Packers scored on the only possession of the half. Darnold’s first touchdown was an easy catch-and-run for Robby Anderson, who has become the rookie’s favorite target. The Packers bit hard on a fake screen pass to Elijah McGuire, and Darnold was quick to turn and hit a wide open Anderson, who took it the last ten yards for a score. Darnold hit fellow rookie Chris Herndon for another wide open touchdown, this time with a nice look-off of the coverage while Herndon slipped out into the flat, improving the lead to 28-20. His final touchdown was a dump off to running back Elijah McGuire for a 20-yard score, with the Packers bringing a little pressure. While none of these throws were incredible, the performance overall was very good, with Darnold showing patience on each drive regardless of situation, awareness of what that situation was, and the wisdom to avoid forcing throws which weren’t there.

RB Elijah McGuire, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 35 - 1, Rec: 3 - 50 - 1 (5 targets) - McGuire didn’t have a great game on the ground, as the Packers were often able to clog running lanes, but he made up for it in receiving yards. He did score a rushing touchdown late in the first quarter, when the Packers were confused by a misdirection by quarterback Sam Darnold, who then pitched the ball to McGuire. McGuire had a clear running lane and scored easily. McGuire showed nice speed on his 20-yard touchdown reception, which extended the Jets’ lead to 35-20 late in the third quarter. On the play, the running back was wide open in the flat on the left side of the line. McGuire showed good speed getting outside and outrunning the pursuit, before bulling his way over a couple of defenders and into the end zone.

RB Trenton Cannon, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Cannon is miles behind starter Elijah McGuire, and isn’t even getting a ton of reps on special teams either. He wasn’t any more effective than McGuire on his carries either as both backs had a rough day finding space behind a shaky offensive line.

WR Robby Anderson, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 140 - 1 (13 targets) - Anderson now has three straight games where he has scored a touchdown, and he has really developed a rapport with rookie Sam Darnold. Since the quarterback returned in Week 14, Anderson has been targeted 31 times, with the next two closest being tight end Chris Herndon and Elijah McGuire with 13 each. Sunday was his biggest yardage total all season, and whereas in many games this season he had looked disengaged, the last few weeks — and certainly against the Packers — Anderson was very much “present” on the field. He made several tough catches in traffic, consistently gained yards after a catch on shorter pass plays, and found his way wide open on multiple receptions, including his 33-yard touchdown in the second quarter. On that play, the Packers safeties played well off and deep, while the corners and linebackers bit up. Anderson was wide open and after the catch, knifed in towards the end zone, slipping one tackle as he crossed the goal line.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 55 - 0 (4 targets) - Kearse had one of his better games this season, catching all four of his targets on Sunday, three of them gaining enough yards for first downs. Unfortunately, he also injured his Achilles, and is likely done for the season.

WR Deontay Burnett, 22 offensive snaps (2 targets) - While there was some hope that Burnett and quarterback Sam Darnold – who were teammates at USC – might have some chemistry, that hasn’t happened. Burnett missed on both of his targets and if it wasn’t for the long list of injuries at the position, he might not be active on a consistent basis.

TE Chris Herndon, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 82 - 1 (7 targets) - More than anyone on the team, Herndon has been the best surprise for the Jets. A fourth-round rookie out of Miami, Herndon has shown far more athleticism and ability than most expected. That was on display Sunday, especially on his spectacular one-handed catch late in the second quarter. On that play, Herndon ran a simple tight end seam route, but quarterback Sam Darnold’s throw was a little bit off. Herndon extended his body and reached out to snag the ball with one hand, absorbing a hit as he did. Herndon didn’t need to work as hard on his touchdown catch, where he was wide open on a short route out into the flat.

TE Jordan Leggett, 16 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - Leggett’s one catch came late in the game as the Jets were trying to sap the clock. For the most part he continues to be primarily a blocker and even then, was not used much on offensive.


Buffalo Bills 12, New England Patriots 24

What you need to know

Buffalo Bills - The Buffalo Bills struggled offensively in a loss at New England. Josh Allen struggled against the frequent zone defenses that New England used which shut down his running lanes and forced him to make throws into coverage where he was largely unsuccessful. LeSean McCoy had a bad game after being benched on the first carry, while Zay Jones scored a touchdown in garbage time and Robert Foster continued to show promise.

New England Patriots - The New England Patriots dominated the Buffalo Bills with the running game in a home victory. The Patriots ran the ball early and often, rushing a total of 47 times compared to just 25 passing attempts. Sony Michel was the lead back and ran successfully throughout the game, breaking the century mark and scoring a touchdown, while James White also scored a touchdown on the ground. Tom Brady was limited by low volume and accuracy struggles, while Julian Edelman scored a touchdown after continuing through a tackling attempt. Rob Gronkowski was held without a catch, a disappointment in a critical week for fantasy football championships.

QB Josh Allen, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 41 - 217 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 5 - 30 - 0 - Josh Allen struggled against the New England Patriots defense in a loss in Foxboro. Allen was intercepted twice, the first a corner route that was jumped by a defensive back, and the second a terrible floating throw on an out into traffic. Allen salvaged his fantasy football game with a late touchdown throw to Zay Jones. Jones was wide open on a crossing route after two New England defenders ran into each other in the secondary. Allen struggled against New England, primarily because of a schematic approach where New England showed complicated fronts, but frequently brought just four rushers while playing zones in coverage. The approach forced Allen to make reads where he has not yet developed his game, while also choking off his running lanes. Allen could have had an 82-yard touchdown, on a deep throw to Robert Foster where Foster was open but lost the ball in the sun. Allen will look for a strong finish in week 17 against he Miami Dolphins.

RB LeSean McCoy, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 9 - 0, Rec: 3 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - LeSean McCoy did not start the game because of a disciplinary issue but received the second carry of game and maintained a lead role in the offense. McCoy was largely ineffective at the end of what has been a lost fantasy season. McCoy did not get any red zone opportunities and caught only three short passes. McCoy still has the ability make defenders miss but has struggled to run behind the Buffalo offensive line all season and is not a great fit for Josh Allen’s passing style. McCoy will look to rebound in the season finale against Miami next week.

RB Keith Ford, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (4 targets) - Keith Ford received the “start” against the New England Patriots after LeSean McCoy was disciplined and missed the first snap. Ford maintained a secondary role after McCoy returned to the game but finished tied with McCoy with 9 touches. Ford was elevated from the practice squad two weeks ago after injuries plagued Buffalo’s running back depth chart. Ford is a pedestrian athlete, but capable of running between the tackles and catching the ball out of the backfield. He will look to continue producing quality play on tape next week against Miami as he continues to make a case for a 2019 roster spot.

WR Zay Jones, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 67 - 1 (9 targets) - Zay Jones had a quiet first half before salvaging his game with multiple catches in garbage time. Jones has struggled to elevate his game after the trade of release of Kelvin Benjamin and the continued emergence of Robert Foster. Jones managed a deep touchdown when the game was all but over, on a busted coverage where two defenders ran into each other, which left Jones wide open in the end zone. Jones will face Miami next week.

WR Robert Foster, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 52 - 0 (7 targets) - Zay Jones had a quiet first half before salvaging his game with multiple catches in garbage time. Jones has struggled to elevate his game after the trade of release of Kelvin Benjamin and the continued emergence of Robert Foster. Jones managed a deep touchdown when the game was all but over, on a busted coverage where two defenders ran into each other, which left Jones wide open in the end zone. Jones will face Miami next week.

WR Isaiah McKenzie, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (8 targets) - Isaiah McKenzie struggled against the New England Patriots. McKenzie dropped multiple passes, including critical third down targets, and his only catch was a short check down for 8 yards. He will look to rebound next week against Miami.

QB Tom Brady, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 24 - 126 - 1 TD / 2 INT - Tom Brady had a quiet game against the Buffalo Bills in the fantasy football championship week. New England’s game plan was to run on Buffalo’s defense. The plan was successful and New England was able to establish an early lead and continue leaning on the run. The game plan left Brady with low passing volume. Brady struggled with his accuracy, missing multiple throws underneath to James White and took few chances with his throws. Brady was intercepted twice, once on an apparent miscommunication with Rex Burkhead that a Buffalo defender made a good interception on, and the second a throw to Rob Gronkowski that was tipped. Brady’s touchdown was a throw to Julian Edelman where it looked like Edelman was down by contact but never touched down and scored a touchdown. Brady will host the New York Jets in week 17 when they play for playoff seeding.

RB Sony Michel, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 116 - 1 - Sony Michel was the lead back for the New England Patriots against the Buffalo Bills. Michel was leaned on early as the Patriots game plan called on attacking the Bills on the ground. Michel benefitted from a strong performance from his offensive line, repeatedly reeling off successful interior runs. Michel scored a 4-yard touchdown on the second series of the game, a series when Michel had five successful runs. While Michel benefitted from interior running holes, he also showed the ability to make defenders miss, including a chunk gain where he strung together multiple cuts. James White scored a late red zone touchdown, but the carry was on a drive where he dominated, so it was not a threat to Michel’s red zone role.

RB Rex Burkhead, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (5 targets) - Rex Burkhead saw his first usage of the game on the third series where he had success on the ground before fumbling. Burkhead’s fumble was on a reception where he got upended and sideswiped after the catch, resulting in a nearly unpreventable fumble. He returned on the next series for a run and a catch and was not noticeable punished for the fumble. He was later targeted on a Tom Brady interception, where there was apparently a miscommunication between the two, which led to an easy interception. Burkhead also got the opportunity to kill the clock at the end of the game but had little success on the series as Buffalo was selling out to defend the run.

RB James White, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 41 - 1, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets) - James White scored a rushing touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in a game where his passing game usage was capped by a run heavy game plan. White’s touchdown was a run in the red zone on a drive where he was the primary back. White had 2 of New England’s 13 receptions, but was targeted two additional times, both errant throws by Tom Brady. White will face the New York Jets next week.

WR Julian Edelman, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 70 - 1 (10 targets) - Julian Edelman was the Patriots leading receiver against the Buffalo Bills. Edelman moved the chains from the slot and added a long touchdown. The touchdown was a bit of a fluke, as Edelman was tackled to the ground, but rolled over two Buffalo defenders without contacting the ground. Edelman was able to get back to his feet and run untouched into the endzone. Edelman was the clear focal point in the passing offense, after Josh Gordon was suspended indefinitely during the week. Edelman will face the Jets next week.

WR Cordarrelle Patterson, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 66 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (2 targets) - Cordarelle Patterson had a strong game on the ground against the Bills. Patterson was used on four end around sweep plays, that gashed Buffalo for big gains. Buffalo had no answers for New England’s running game, and Patterson was a key component. Patterson only managed one reception on a whip route. Patterson will face the New York Jets in week 17.

TE Rob Gronkowski, 59 offensive snaps (3 targets) - Rob Gronkowski had a forgettable game against the Buffalo Bills, as he went without a catch in the fantasy football championship week. Gronkowski struggled to separate on an out and up route and was later targeted on a short route that went through his hands for an interception. Gronkowski drew a defense pass interference on a slant route but was otherwise not a threat in the offense. Gronkowski will look to rebound next week against the Jets.


Minnesota Vikings 27, Detroit Lions 9

What you need to know

Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings are playing for their playoff lives right now. The Eagles ended up winning after blowing a 14-point lead in the 4th quarter. This meant the Vikings had to win and they will have to win again next week as well. Kirk Cousins got the offense going through the air and included Kyle Rudolph for the first time this season. Adam Thielen started to get going again this week but ended up giving way to Rudolph in the second half. The defense held the Lions to 3 field goals and racked up 3 sacks this week. It was a very slow start for the Vikings. They yielded 6 points to the Lions before answering with a Diggs touchdown in the second quarter. It looked like it was going to be a sloppy let down game through the first few drives, but they managed to turn things around and come out on top with an impressive win. The running game did not find the same success as last week, but Cook was still featured as the lead back. The Vikings will host the Bears in week 17 with a chance to secure a playoff berth with a win. It is a tough road, but they control their own playoff destiny.

Detroit Lions - The Detroit Lions struggled mightily against the Minnesota Vikings. Matthew Stafford continues to struggle with poor offensive schemes, personnel, and play calling hampering any fantasy football upside. LeGarrette Blount started over Zach Zenner but struggled and was outperformed by Zenner. Kenny Golladay was targeted frequently but caught less than 50% of his targets and struggled to create any separation from defenders.

QB Kirk Cousins, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 28 - 253 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - It was a much better showing for Cousins this week after his disastrous games against the Seahawks and Patriots. He finally got his big tight end involved in the offense and fed off of the run game. He eluded the pass rush for the most part and was only sacked twice. The most important stat this week was he did not turn the ball over. Cousins turned the entire game around when he threw touchdowns on back to back drives before half time. He found Diggs on an 8-yard score with 1:32 left on the clock before half. It was a simple out route where Diggs beat his man to a spot and Cousins made a good throw. It is a dangerous pass that the corner can jump, but the timing was perfect and went for a touchdown. After the defense forced a 3 and out, Cousins then found Rudolph on a 44-yard touchdown as time was expiring. It was a deep pass down the sideline to Rudolph who beat his man and rumbled into the end zone. There were 2 seconds left on the clock before the chuck and pray play resulted in a touchdown. Cousins found Rudolph again later in the game for a 4-yard score. It was a play action pass where Rudolph leaked out into the flat and beat the linebacker in coverage to the end zone for the easy score. It was Cousins' third touchdown pass and the second for Rudolph. This is the Cousins that the Vikings paid all of that money to in the off season, and what they are going to need to see if they want to clinch a playoff berth. Cousins will be looking for redemption against the Bears next week at home.

RB Dalvin Cook, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 73 - 0, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0 (3 targets) - It was almost like a re-breakout game for Cook last week and the Vikings tried to force that same game plan again this week early against the Lions. The offensive line did not do a great job blocking early and Cook struggled to even get past the line of scrimmage in the first quarter. Things loosened up a bit as Cousins found more success down the field, but it still was not a repeat of last week. Cook's longest rush was 18 yards and he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Cook also caught all 3 of his targets in the passing game and had a long play down the sideline of 20 yards. He also had a 30-yard touchdown called back due to an illegal block. Cook barely eclipsed 100 total yards this week, but his game would have been much better if that touchdown had not been called back. The new offensive coordinator for the Vikings is trying to get the running game going, but the offensive line is going to make that an issue. Cook is going to find it very difficult to rush against the Bears next week, but with the playoffs on the line, expect the Vikings to make it work. The training wheels are finally off and Cook is running at full speed

RB Latavius Murray, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 22 - 0, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - It was not a banner day for the Viking rushing offense this week. They combined for 28 carries and 100 total yards, with Murray accounting for about 1/5 of those yards. He had 9 carries to 16 for Cook and 11 of his 22 yards came on a single rush. Murray also caught both of his targets in the passing game but did not add much in regard to yards. There has been a bigger split between Murray and Cook in recent weeks and Murray has faded into a distant second on the team. He still seems to be the trusted back in short yardage situations, but even that role seems to be going to Cook in recent weeks. He has a tough draw against the Bears next week and would be highly touchdown dependent.

WR Adam Thielen, 57 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 5 - 80 - 0 (6 targets) - The breakout season in the first 8 weeks of the season seems to be a distant past for Thielen. He has not served the same role in the offense in recent weeks and has seen a lot of production go to Diggs and this week to Rudolph. Defenses have schemed to take him away and it has worked. Thielen caught 5 of his 6 targets and had half of his yards come on a single play. Thielen cut to the inside and was sprung by a Diggs block. He sprinted right down the middle of the field. Thielen still had 80 yards through the air and that would be above average for just about anyone else in the league. However, Thielen dominated so much at the beginning of the season that anything less than 100 yards and a touchdown is a disappointment. The Vikings are going to need Thielen to step up next week against the Bears if they want to clinch their playoff spot.

WR Stefon Diggs, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 1 (6 targets) - It has been a quiet but good season for Diggs. He has an outside chance at 100 receptions this season and has been very graceful playing behind Thielen. Diggs only had 10 total yards this week but added the all-important first touchdown for the offense. Diggs broke on an 8-yard out route and beat the corner to the pylon for the score. It is a route that can easily be jumped by the corner if they read the play, but Diggs did a great job hiding it and Cousins delivered a perfect ball. The Vikings have a tough draw against the Bears next week and Diggs will need a more productive game if they want to clinch their playoff spot.

TE Kyle Rudolph, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 122 - 2 (9 targets) - It has been an ugly season for Rudolph until this week. He had under 500 yards and only 2 touchdowns coming into the game. That all went out the window with his 9 receptions on 9 targets and 2 huge touchdowns. He surpassed 100 receiving yards for the first time this season and added his longest play of the year. Rudolph kicked off his scoring with a 44-yard touchdown with no time left headed into touchdown. Cousins found Rudolph deep down the right sideline for the score going into half time. There were only 2 seconds left on the clock before the play happened and it was a chuck and pray kind of play. The second touchdown was a little more traditional in regard to his skill set. The Vikings lined up in a power run formation and went play action from the 4-yard line. Cousins found Rudolph who had leaked into the flat. His linebacker in coverage got caught up in the run blitz and Rudolph was able to outrun him to the end zone for the score. This was the best game of the big tight end's career. They are going to see a lot more efforts like this from Rudolph if they want to clinch a playoff spot and make a deep run. He has the skills to be dangerous in the red zone and if the run game continues to take off he should see even more targets in play-action sets.

QB Matthew Stafford, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 32 - 116 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Matthew Stafford struggled against the Minnesota Vikings before getting removed from the game late in the fourth quarter. Stafford is simply without weapons and running a terrible scheme. Stafford has no vertical threat in the offense and the lone time a receiver was open on a vertical route, was when Kenny Golladay dropped a ball along the sideline. The offense featured heavy use of LeGarrette Blount in the receiving game and a healthy dose of Theo Riddick screens on third and 10 or more. This season has been lost for Stafford since Marvin Jones was injured and Golden Tate was traded. Stafford has been nursing injuries recently, so the removal was more related to his health than poor play. Stafford’s status is up in the air for next week’s game at Green Bay. Either way, he can hope for a change in offensive coordinator and additional personnel in the offseason.

RB LeGarrette Blount, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 29 - 0, Rec: 2 - -5 - 0 (4 targets) - LeGarrette Blount drew the start against Minnesota ahead of Zach Zenner and struggled against Minnesota’s defense. Blount struggled against interior penetration throughout the game and when his feet stopped, the play was over. Blount was also targeted in the passing game 4 times, for a net result of -5 yards, which is about the best description of Detroit’s offensive supporting cast and play calling. Blount will finish the season next week at Green Bay.

RB Zach Zenner, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 45 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (3 targets) - Zach Zenner was a highlight in the Detroit Lions offense that struggled against Minnesota on Sunday. Zenner showed well on multiple runs where he had to avoid penetration with lateral cutting ability and was able to get to the second level. Zenner runs with more athleticism than LeGarrette Blount but continues to maintain a timeshare with Blount. Zenner is the far superior runner and capable of avoiding defenders and creating on his own. Zenner added two catches out of the backfield. He will face Green Bay in week 17.

RB Theo Riddick, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - -2 - 0, Rec: 4 - 7 - 0 (5 targets) - Theo Riddick had a forgettable day in a loss to Minnesota. Riddick was used repeatedly on low probably third and long plays including screens and interior runs that were unsuccessful. Riddick can create mismatches against linebackers, but Detroit simply refuses to use him creatively, while throwing four targets to LeGarrette Blount. Riddick is a talented pass catcher who can make defenders miss, but rarely gets the opportunity to do so on screens that target him at the line of scrimmage. Riddick would benefit from a change in scheme in the offseason.

WR Kenny Golladay, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 58 - 0 (15 targets) - Kenny Golladay had more than twice the targets of any teammate on Sunday against Minnesota but struggled to produce meaningful plays. Golladay started well with a crossing route underneath for 21 yards but managed virtually no separation the rest of the game. The only time Golladay got open on a vertical route was a well throw pass from Matthew Stafford that he dropped. Otherwise, Golladay’s catches were short crossing route where he did little after the catch. Golladay has been forced into a WR1 roles, but simply is not a WR1. He cannot get open on his own, is inconsistent, and does not add value to his targets, a trend which was evident on Sunday. Golladay will face Green Bay on Sunday.


Pittsburgh Steelers 28, New Orleans Saints 31

What you need to know

Pittsburgh Steelers - Playing the afternoon game of the week, the Steelers knew what was on the line against the Saints. If the Steelers lost this game, then they would go from being in the playoffs to out of the playoffs looking in. Furthermore, they would no longer control their own destiny to get back into the playoffs. The entire scenario worked out worst case scenario for the Steelers. The Steelers most realistic path to the playoffs now is a win next week against the Cincinnati Bengals and for the Cleveland Browns to win against the Baltimore Ravens. As for the game, it was everything we could ask for and it ended in dramatic fashion. The Steelers were never down more than one score the entire game and the offense found it's footing late in the second quarter. Ben Roethlisberger was surgical in his approach and both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster were coming up big. With the Saints only down by four points, the Steelers went for a fake punt on fourth down. Even though Roosevelt Nix erroneously celebrated the big fourth down conversion, the Steelers failed to convert and the Saints took over. Unfortunately, the Saints scored too quickly and the Steelers had a chance to tie the game with a field goal and win with a touchdown. The Steelers began their march down the field. On first down at the Steelers 42-yard line Ben Roethlisberger threw the ball short to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster secured the reception, turned upfield, and FUMBLED the ball. With Smith-Schuster's fumble the Steelers lost their opportunity to tie or win the game in the final seconds.

New Orleans Saints - It was a hard-fought battle against the Steelers this week, but the Saints came out on top and locked up the top spot in the NFC and home field advantage through the playoffs. There were some very questionable pass interference calls that went in favor of the Saints, with Joe Haden of the Steelers getting picked on by the referees. The worst being a call in the end zone against Haden on a 4th down play that set up the first Saints touchdown of the night. Drew Brees finally broke out of his slump and threw for over 300 yards and a touchdown, and the rushing attack added the other 3 touchdowns. The Steelers defense limited the Saints rushing attack to 19 carries for 57 yards but could not keep them out of the end zone when it mattered. New Orleans finally let Taysom Hill let the ball loose through the air and it back fired with his first career interception. It was a back and forth affair with Brees making a big play at the end for a go-ahead touchdown and the defense creating a key turnover with the Steelers entering field goal range to potentially tie the game with 30 seconds left. It had the makings of a heavy weight battle and the Saints may have delivered the knockout blow that keeps the Steelers from the playoffs. New Orleans will play host to the Carolina Panthers minus Cam Newton in the regular season finale.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 50 - 380 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0 - During the season Ben Roethlisberger has experienced ups and downs, but his performance against the Saints was similar to his performance against the Panthers in Week 10. Later in the second quarter Roethlisberger had complete control of the offense and was recognizing quick what the Saints were doing with their coverage and pass rush. Before the half and backed up on their 3-yard line, Roethlisberger led the offense on a 15 play 97-yard drive for a touchdown. On Roethlisberger's first dive of the second half he led the offense 9 plays for 75-yards. Roethlisberger's first touchdown of the day may have been the lowest difficulty throw of the night. Jaylen Samuels was thrown to completely uncovered on a swing pass out of the backfield. Roethlisberger's second touchdown of the game was an increased level of difficulty. Roethlisberger threw a perfectly placed ball in the back corner of the end zone as he was seeing Antonio Brown come off of a wide receiver pick. Roethlisberger's third touchdown was one of his best throws of the game. Antonio Brown was streaking down the field between two defenders and Roethlisberger was able to hit Brown in stride as he was able to walk into the end zone. Roethlisberger finished the day strong, but it was obvious both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith Schuster were the focal point of the offense. Both receivers finished the day with 68% of Roethlisberger's targets and 79% of Roethlisberger's total passing yards.

RB Jaylen Samuels, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 53 - 0, Rec: 3 - 11 - 1 (3 targets) - Samuels is giving the Steelers offense just enough of a rushing presence to remain respectable. It isn't being done with high volume, but rather efficiency, timeliness, and Samuels' ability to be multiple in their formations. With Samuels on the field, the Steelers showed more five receiver sets and Roethlisberger would be able to manipulate the coverage better with Samuels' ability to play receiver. Samuels' reliable hands were also on display. In the second quarter, Samuels capped a 15 play 97-yard touchdown drive, with an uncovered reception out of the backfield for the Steelers' first touchdown of the game. In the fourth quarter the Saints offense was trying to slow down the Steelers passing offense and were bringing a blitz. Before the ball was snapped Roethlisberger recognized the blitz and called an audible to a run play. Samuels ran hard up the middle of the Saints defense.

WR Antonio Brown, 72 offensive snaps, Rec: 14 - 185 - 2 (19 targets) - This was vintage Antonio Brown who could not be covered and was displaying a symbiotic connection with Ben Roethlisberger. Early on, the connection took a couple of throws to get starter. On the second possession of the game Brown had a step on his defender streaking down the field. Roethlisberger underthrew Brown and missed an easy touchdown. Again, in the The fun for Brown really came on the two long drives for the Steelers. Brown totaled 8-93-1 on the Steeler's two longest drives of the game. Brown's best catch of the day came on a non-catch. In the corner of the end zone Ben Roethlisberger threw a perfect pass to allow Brown to make a play on the ball. Brown caught the ball with one hand but couldn't get his second foot inbounds and missed a touchdown by a couple of inches. In the end the coverage didn't matter. Roethlisberger came right back to Brown, who was streaking down the field, for a touchdown. Brown was being double covered with bracket coverage and not high low coverage. Brown was able to simply outrun the coverage. Even with Brown's impressive day, he could have ended the day with an even bigger stat line.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 115 - 0 (15 targets) - This was a workman like performance for JuJu Smith-Schuster and no one knew if he was even going to be able to play after injuring his groin in practice earlier in the week. Completing the day with over 100 yards and only two plays of over 20 yards and none longer than 25 yards. Going beyond the box score, Smith-Schuster had a defensive pass interference penalty called at the two-yard line with led to the Steelers first touchdown of the game. The stat line was pretty, but the end of the game wasn't kind to Smith-Schuster. Roethlisberger dropped back to pass and delivered the ball accurately and on time to Smith-Schuster. As he was being taken to the ground, Smith-Schuster lost control and fumbled the ball costing the Steelers an opportunity to at least tie the game. This would be a devastating way for the season to end after such a breakout performance. This loss cannot be fully placed on JuJu Smith-Schuster's shoulders.

TE Vance McDonald, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 49 - 0 (4 targets) - McDonald ended Week 16 with a rather undescriptive game. His lone reception came when the defender covering him fell in coverage and McDonald was able to take advantage for a long catch and run.

QB Drew Brees, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 39 - 326 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - It had been a very disappointing stretch of games for Brees in the past few weeks. He had thrown an interception in 4 straight games and failed to reach 300 yards in the previous 3. Brees got a big boost this week with the return of Ginn and it really showed in the offense. There was finally someone playing opposite of Thomas that Brees could rely on. The Saints rushing attack was bottled up by the Steelers and that allowed Brees to fire the ball down the field and pick up yardage in big chunks. He had completions of 23, 25, 28, and 42 yards this week and threw the all-important go-ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter to Thomas. Brees was flushed in the pocket and rolled to his right. He found Thomas on a comeback route right at the pylon. The play was originally ruled down at the 1-yard line before being reviewed and ruled a touchdown. It was a perfect throw and catch by one of the best duos in the league and proved to be the game winner. Brees also led a field goal drive to answer a Steelers touchdown right before half time. The Saints drove the ball 50 yards in 38 seconds to get Will Lutz in range. The drive was aided by a 42-yard reception by Kamara as he tip toed down the side line. Brees has put up an MVP type season and will have one more game to add to his stats next week against the Panthers.

QB Taysom Hill, 10 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 1 INT - The Saints have been using Hill in several different spots all season. He had completed 3 of 6 pass attempts for yards to this point with no touchdowns. They looked to change that with Hill taking a shot down the field to Ginn. Unfortunately, the route was well covered and the ball under thrown. The play resulted in an interception and showed that the defense does not automatically assume a running play with Hill under center.

RB Mark Ingram, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 1, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - The rushing attack was shut down for the most part this week outside of from the 1-yard line. Ingram got his number called twice from that spot and only cashed in once. Ingram scored the first touchdown of the game for the Saints after a very questionable pass interference call in the end zone. He powered the ball right up the middle for the score and lost his helmet in the scrum. He got his number called again in the second half from the 1, but could not punch it in. Kamara came in the next play and vulture the touchdown. Ingram had 4 more carries than Kamara this week but did not do nearly as much damage through the air. He caught 1 of his 2 targets for an 8-yard screen play. Ingram will get one more game against the Panthers next week and then a full bye week to be ready for the playoffs.

RB Alvin Kamara, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 23 - 2, Rec: 4 - 82 - 0 (6 targets) - There was not much room to run this week for Kamara. He only had 7 carries and rushed for less than 25 yards. However, he did get his number called twice at the goal line. His first score also came on his longest carry of the game. Kamara took the ball 8 yards off tackle and won the foot race to the corner of the end zone. His second score was a pure power run right up the middle. Ingram had done the work to get the Saints to the 1-yard line but failed to punch it in on the play prior. Kamara cleaned up the mess and punched it in for the score. It was also another productive day through the air. Kamara caught 4 of his 6 targets and was second on the team in receiving yards. He had an important 42-yard reception just before half time to setup a Lutz field goal. Kamara caught the ball across the middle and then cut down the sideline for extra yards before finally stepping out. It proved to be very important as the final difference in the game was a single field goal.

WR Michael Thomas, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 11 - 109 - 1 (13 targets) - It has been 4 games since Thomas found the end zone and 6 since he had more than 100 yards through the air. He managed to change both of this this week by catching 11 of his 13 targets and making a great adjustment on a broken play in the 4th quarter. Thomas' longest catch of the night was a 28-yard catch and run. His most important catch came on a 2-yard reception late in the 4th. The pocket collapses around Brees and he rolled to his right. Thomas saw his quarterback in trouble and worked his way back towards the line of scrimmage. Brees threw a dart to Thomas who was still standing in the end zone. He caught the ball and fell out of bounds at the 1. The play was originally ruled down at the 1, but upon review it was reversed to a touchdown when the replay showed the nose of the ball breaking the plane. Thomas has been the whole offense through the air this season, and now he gets Ginn back on the opposite side. This should open things up underneath even more for Thomas and will make the defense think twice about doubling him in the playoffs.

WR Ted Ginn, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 74 - 0 (8 targets) - The receiving core has struggled outside of Thomas this season, but it got a boost with Ginn back from injury. He went down in September with a knee injury and was reactivated this week and put right back into his old spot and workload. Ginn has always been the receiver to stretch the field and that is exactly how the Saints tried to use him. He was the target of the Taysom Hill interception deep down the field. Ginn ran a deep drag route and Hill simply under threw him and put too much air under the ball. His longest completion with Brees was a 25-yard catch and run play across the middle. The most important stat would be the 8 targets for Ginn this week. He was only behind Thomas in targets this week and caught 5 of 8. It was a welcomed addition to the Saints offense that seemed to be firing on all cylinders against the Steelers. Ginn has one more regular season game against the Panthers to get back in sync for the playoffs.

WR TreQuan Smith, 26 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - The return of Ginn may have all but spelled doom for Smith targets. He managed to catch his lone target for 11 yards, but he does not appear to be a big part of the game plan going forward now that Ginn is back from injury. Even rookie Keith Kirkwood outplayed him this week and 7 other receivers had more targets than him. The offense is still very thin at the receiver position, but if this game was any indication, Smith is going to be irrelevant in the coming weeks. The Saints are committed to Ginn barring any other sort of late injury.


Kansas City Chiefs 31, Seattle Seahawks 38

What you need to know

Kansas City Chiefs - The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Seattle Seahawks, 38-31, dropping their record to 11-4 on the season. Patrick Mahomes completed 23 of 40 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing three times for 33 yards. Damien Williams rushed 13 times for 103 yards and caught seven passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill led the chiefs with four receptions for 74 yards, and Chris Conley chipped in three catches for 54 yards. Travis Kelce had a quiet game, catching five passes for 54 yards.

Seattle Seahawks - The Seahawks made a huge statement against the Chiefs, proving that they can hang with the best: in the running game, passing game, and on defense. Chris Carson, the for-a-while-now lead back, turned in a stellar game and finished with a couple of hard earned scores. Russell Wilson somehow topped that performance, with three scores of his own through the air, and several highlight worthy plays, including a dazzling and miraculous rushing display as he seemed to escape numerous sacks, ending the day with 57 yards on the ground. His receivers, namely Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, were the main beneficiaries of his success, though both TEs also got in on the scoring.

QB Patrick Mahomes, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 40 - 273 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 33 - 0 - Patrick Mahomes 23 of 40 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns, while also rushing three times for 33 yards in the Chiefs loss to the Seahawks on Sunday night. The Seahawks did a very good job of limiting the Chiefs ability to break big plays, as Mahomes had only three passing plays of 20+ yards on the day, with Hill, Kelce and Charcandrick West all contributing one catch to that total. Mahomes first passing touchdown of the day came with the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the two yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center and dropped back as though he was going to hand off to Williams, who came through the right side of the line and took off to the right flat. Williams was wide open and Mahomes dumped off the pass to him for the easy two yard touchdown. Mahomes next touchdown pass came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Seattle 25 yard line. Mahomes lined up in the shotgun with West lined up in the backfield to his right. Mahomes took the snap and after looking to his right, was chased out of the pocket toward the left sideline. Mahomes looked to tuck the ball in and commit to running the ball, but just as he hit the line of scrimmage, Mahomes changed his mind and threw the ball against his body to West who was running up the center of the field. Despite the difficulty of the throw, Mahomes hit West perfectly in stride, and there was no Seahawk sight to stop West from scoring the 25 yard touchdown. Mahomes final touchdown pass of the day came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Seattle 11 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and after going through his progressions, was chased out of the pocket to his right. While on the run, Mahomes threw a highly accurate pass to DeMarcus Robinson who was coming back to his quarterback on the right side of the endzone. Mahomes threw the pass where only his receiver could make the catch, and Robinson made a nice snag while keeping his feet in bounds for the 11 yard touchdown.

RB Damien Williams, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 103 - 0, Rec: 7 - 37 - 1 (7 targets) - Damien Williams rushed 13 times for 103 yards, while also catching seven passes for 37 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. Mahomes stats in this game were pretty good, but the reality is that Williams was the Chiefs most important player, as without his ability to pick up yards in the run game, the offense would have continued to stall against a Seahawks defense that took away their ability to create plays down the field. A great example of this came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from their own 25 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and handed off to Williams came across the front of Mahomes and rushed to the left side of the line. Despite getting cut off in the backfield, Williams cut back to the center of the field and then bounced the ball back outside to the left sideline. He was chased to the sideline and looked to pick up a solid 10 yard gain, but Williams wasn’t done. He managed to tip-toe along the sideline and pick up another 15 yards before finally being pushed out of bounds. Williams had four runs of 15+ yards and was also active in the passing game, catching all seven of this targets. Williams receiving touchdown came with the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the two yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center and dropped back and Williams took off immediately to the right flat on an our-route. Williams was wide open and Mahomes dumped off the pass to him for the easy two yard touchdown

WR Tyreek Hill, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 17 - 0, Rec: 4 - 74 - 0 (9 targets) - Tyreek Hill caught four passes 74 yards on nine targets, while also rushing two times for 17 yards. The Seahawks defense stepped up to the challenge in this game, limiting the Chiefs offense to the short and intermediate passing game and swarming every time Kelce or Hill touched the ball, which was not often. In fact, Hill did not record his first catch until the middle of the third quarter and was met with the Seattle secondary shortly after making the catch. Hill’s biggest catch of the day came with the Chiefs facing a third and four from the Seattle 35 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and immediately looked left to Hill, who was running a straight go-route from the slot down the left sideline. Hill had his man beat to the outside from the jump, and Mahomes threw a nice ball down the sideline and dropped it in perfectly to Hill on the run. Mahomes might have waited a touch too long because Hill had his man beat and it could have been an easy touchdown, but the way the Seattle secondary played, it is hard to argue against his decision when it was one of their longest plays of the game.

WR Chris Conley, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (5 targets) - Chris Conley caught three passes for 54 yards on five targets in the Chiefs loss to the Seahawks on Sunday. Conley saw the fourth most targets on the team, which has been consistent since he took over Sammy Watkins in the starting lineup. Conley was able to find room in the Seattle secondary that the other Chiefs receivers were not, as all of his catches went for longer than 13 yards. Conley’s only blemish on the day came just before the half when he caught a 23 yard pass from Mahomes, but fumbled away the ball after trying to make a play. There was not much time on the clock, so the mistake was not as costly as it would have otherwise been, but Conley is competing for touches early in his career and any turnover is a troubling one for the young receiver, as he’s had problems with drops in the past.

TE Travis Kelce, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 54 - 0 (9 targets) - Travis Kelce caught five passes for 54 yards on nine targets in the Chiefs loss to the Seahawks on Sunday. Kelce came into the game having scored in five of his last seven games, and he should have had an early touchdown, but was overthrown by Mahomes on a play where he had the Seattle secondary beat. This was just the second time in the last 13 weeks that Kelce had failed to reach 60+ yards receiving, although he did extend his streak of five or more catches to 14 weeks. The Seahawks secondary paid extra attention to Kelce, who had been tearing up defenses all season, but in this game he found it tough to create any meaningful separation. Mahomes did target Kelce nine times, with two of those throws going for 40 of Kelce’s 54 yards, but his other three were quick strikes that were quickly snuffed out by the Seattle defense. Kelce had set career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns (98/1274/10) and will look to close out the regular season on a high note against a porous Oakland secondary.

QB Russell Wilson, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 29 - 271 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 57 - 0 - Where to begin with Russell Wilson? He had an incredible game, sending a message that he and the Seahawks are no ordinary Wild Card team (and perhaps a message to Patrick Mahomes, that said something like ‘As good as you are, you’ve got a lot to learn yet, Young Grasshopper”). Wilson was phenomenal in the pocket, with patience and accuracy aplenty, and a sixth sense for when the pass rush was anywhere near. He threw nearly identical – and absolutely perfect – deep completions down the sideline to both Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin (Baldwin’s for a TD), as each receiver was completely, or seemingly, wrapped up by their defender. Wilson evaded more than one sure sack with a miraculous move to get free, finishing with over 50 yards on the ground. And while his confidence in Doug Baldwin has never been greater – with nearly half of his targets going that way – he also found each TE for a score. On the first one, to Nick Vannett, he played it perfectly. Wilson held onto what looked like a simple read option play, but then seeing a defender in his face, very quickly found Vannett in the flat near the goal line. Later, he would find Ed Dickson for a key first down and a TD. Wilson’s heroics were exactly that against the Chiefs: Heroic. He rose to the occasion, and brought the rest of the offense with him.

RB Chris Carson, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 27 - 116 - 2 - Let’s be honest – stat line aside, game in and game out, you could say the same things about Carson: He runs hard; follows his blockers well; is tough to take down; runs a little better over the middle than to the outside; and is the clear lead runner for the Seahawks. For about the first eight weeks, he was the greater part of a timeshare. But at this point in the season, his role is clearly much more than that. Not quite workhorse back, but very, very close. And he continues to earn every touch. Sure, he’s a bit better when working with a lead blocker, but he sure proved he can handle things on his own as well. On the late touchdown, from one yard out, Carson was hit at the line of scrimmage on a left off tackle, but kept his momentum going – then, was hit by a second defender, and STILL won the battle, pushing both back and crossing the goal line defiantly, as if on a mission. He really does seem to be better with each week gone by.

RB Mike Davis, 36 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 31 - 0 (1 targets) - Davis actually looked like a formidable match for the Chiefs defense, as he was very hard to take down, but played too sparingly to make an impact on the score sheet. It’s worth noting that among his seven carries, two were in the red zone. Though he is getting fewer carries than he did earlier in the season, Davis is not exactly being used as a typical ‘change-of-pace’ back. More like a pour-on-the-power-a-little-bit-more running back, when Carson needs a breather.

WR Doug Baldwin, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 126 - 1 (12 targets) - Baldwin had the kind of game that could fill this page. He is once again Russell Wilson’s clear number one, as evidenced by being targeted on nearly half (44%) of Russell Wilson’s passes. As if there was any doubt, it would appear that the Baldwin of old, is indeed, back. On each reception, Baldwin beat his man, plain and simple. The Chiefs were covering him fairly well, but it wasn’t enough to stop him. This was never more apparent than on his deep sideline catch, in which he was quite covered yet still made it look easy, as he pulled in the ball and managed to dive to the goal line pylon for the score, while still in bounds. Oh, and also, he wasn’t done yet. Late in the game, he caught another highlight reel catch, reaching out with his fingertips and pulling the ball in as he was pulled down at the one-yard line.

WR Tyler Lockett, 69 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 99 - 0 (5 targets) - Lockett seemed to be forgotten until late in the first half; he most definitely had taken a back seat to Doug Baldwin, who commanded nearly half (!) of Russell Wilson’s targets. When called upon, however, Lockett proved as reliable as ever. He had a knack for finding a little pocket in the zone defense, and Wilson hit him a few times when he found similar openings. Unfortunately, Lockett never found much room to run after the catch, an area he usually excels in. He had one big play, a perfect catch down the sideline, while covered very tightly; and, as he seems to at least once per game, also drew a crucial pass interference call on a pass that could have been a TD. It’s safe to say his value has taken a slight hit – but, as defenses are reminded to key on the red-hot Baldwin, Lockett should have no trouble picking up the slack.

WR David Moore, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - As Lockett has slid down the depth chart with Baldwin’s return to prominence, David Moore has slid even further into obscurity. He was targeted on a medium button hook, but had no separation, and therefore no chance at the ball. He had (yet another!) catch in the end zone, but was unable to come down in bounds; this has been a recurring theme over the past few games. On his lone catch, late in the game, he won a hard fought battle for a first down.


Chicago Bears 14, San Francisco 49ers 9

What you need to know

Chicago Bears - The Bears offense continues to struggle to put up points, although it was very efficient in this game. Penalties, turnovers, and sacks were primarily the reason drives sputtered out instead of inefficiency. The passing game was once again an underneath passing game but was highly efficient completing 86% of their passes, however outside of Allen Robinson there was not a wide receiver who had over 28 yards in this game. The running game reverted back to how it performed earlier in the season which was a high volume, but low efficiency running attack as they averaged 3.2 yards per carry last week.

San Francisco 49ers - On both sides of the ball, San Francisco performed well above expectations. Relying on a number of backups, the defense stymied Tarik Cohen, the straw that stirs Chicago's offensive drink. That allowed the 49ers offense to remain in a normal game flow, which kept all of Kyle Shanahan's game plan in play. Unfortunately, although they were able to move the ball consistently, they got sloppy in the red zone, which has been a recurring theme this season. That said, San Francisco's offensive line, with help from running backs and tight ends, held Chicago's pass rush at bay for the most part, and so Nick Mullens was able to execute Shanahan's game plan. This, mind you, with two of his best offensive weapons -- Matt Breida and Dante Pettis -- missing the last three quarters of the game.

QB Mitchell Trubisky, 64 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 29 - 246 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 3 - 0 - Trubisky is starting to adapt his game to this offense, no longer is he throwing the deep balls, but instead taking what the defense gives him witch check downs and underneath routes. Trubisky threw only six passes longer than 10 yards in this game while completing three of them. Trubisky did complete a 43-yard pass to Allen Robinson, Robinson made a tremendous diving catch to prevent the ball from being overthrown. The one area we have not seen recently is the running game from Trubisky as he is staying within the pocket more since coming back from the injury that kept him out two games earlier this season. The best play Trubisky made was in the second quarter on a play that the pocket broke down, and he scrambled outside to find Taquon Mizzell on the sideline to stay in bounds on a perfect throw for 26-yards.

RB Jordan Howard, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 53 - 1, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (3 targets) - This was a very typical Jordan Howard game in that he didn't have a highlight play as his longest run was just 9 yards in this game, but he took what the 49ers gave him in that he consistently was moving the pile and gaining positive yardage for the Bears this week. Howard did find the end-zone for the second straight game on a play in which Howard ran straight up the middle for a two-yard score.

RB Tarik Cohen, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 12 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Cohen was largely a non-factor in this game as the 49ers did a nice job in game planning around the speedster. Cohen saw just one target in this game and was unable to get anything going on the ground as he saw six carries, but was not able to get out in space in this one as the defense was ready for his lateral runs in this game.

WR Allen Robinson, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 6 - 85 - 0 (8 targets) - Allen Robinson was a bright spot in this game as he made what likely was the highlight moment for the Bears. On a play in which Robinson simply outran safety Marcell Harris, Robinson should have had a 60-yard touchdown, but the ball was overthrown and Robinson adjusted to it and made a spectacular diving catch. What was interesting for Robinson is that Robinson was largely playing out of position in this game as he's typically a wide receiver who lines up on the right side of the field, but six of his eight targets were on the left side of the field in this game as the team tried to match him up away from Richard Sherman.

WR Taylor Gabriel, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (3 targets) - Gabriel is the type of player who is not going to beat defenses with his route running ability, but instead, it's his speed that allows him to be productive. In this game, this was evidenced by a 16-yard play over the middle in which was only thrown four yards downfield, but Gabriel was able to use his speed to cut it up the middle for an additional 12 yards. Gabriel continues to see short passes in which the Bears are sacrificing upside for high efficiency which has greatly limited the upside of Gabriel on a week-to-week basis.

TE Trey Burton, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 30 - 0 (5 targets) - Trey Burton has largely adapted to this offense in that he is a short underneath possession type tight end as the team has scaled back his deep routes to almost zero at this point in the season. In this game, Burton was effective in moving the chains on primarily five-yard hitch routes as while he caught five passes, his longest was for eight yards and his shortest was for four yards. He was a nice complimentary piece to this offense, but at this point the upside we saw earlier this season just is not there as the offense has shifted philosophy's to a short high percentage passing game.

QB Nick Mullens, 55 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 38 - 241 - 0 TD / 1 INT - Mullens fared better than expected against the Bears ferocious pass rush. Much of that, however, was due to Kyle Shanahan's decision to frequently use six- or sometimes even seven-man protections. But although Chicago didn't produce many sacks, they nevertheless disrupted Mullens and company via hits, hurries, and deflections at the line of scrimmage. Indeed, 6 of his 16 incompletions were because he was hit as he threw the ball, and another 4 were due to his pass being knocked off course by a defensive lineman. Otherwise, it was a lukewarm performance; not awful, but also not great. He read the field well and threw accurately for the most part. His lone interception was of the "receiver volleyball sets it to a defender" variety. Unfortunately, his only real glaring mistake cemented his team's loss. On 4th-and-4 at the Chicago 45-yard line with 1:14 left, Mullens evaded initial pressure and rolled out to his right. Despite having tons of wide open space in front of him, a clock-stopping first down certain if he chose to run, Mullens instead heaved an off-balance deep pass to a tightly covered Marquise Goodwin that landed five yards out of bounds.

RB Jeff Wilson, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 27 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Despite getting all the work after Matt Breida left the game, Wilson didn't have a single gain of double-digit yardage. And in fact, only 2 of his 13 touches went for more than 5 yards. Most of this was due to the proverbial lack of running room, especially on outside runs, but Wilson deserves credit for running hard through contact. The best example of this came on his longest run (8 yards), when he lowered his shoulder and completely ran over linebacker Roquan Smith at the point of attack.

RB Matt Breida, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 20 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets) - Like clockwork, Breida aggravated his lingering ankle injury early in the game, and did not return. Before he left, Breida was able to find the open cutback lane on an outside zone and gain 11 yards. This was San Francisco's longest rush of the game.

WR Kendrick Bourne, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 73 - 0 (5 targets) - Bourne gained over half of his yardage on two targets in the fourth quarter. On the first, a 22-yard gain, Kyle Shanahan's play design manipulated linebacker Roquan Smith and safety Deon Smith such that Bourne's perfectly executed corner-post route was wide open in the middle of the field. Then, inside the two-minute warning, Bourne caught a shallow cross 4 yards downfield and was able to run for 21 more because the combination of San Francisco's other routes and Chicago's man-to-man coverage cleared the side of the field that Bourne crossed into.

WR Dante Pettis, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - When Pettis left the game due to a knee injury early in the second quarter, he had been the target on a full 50 percent of Nick Mullens' passes. Unfortunately, they were either short targets that didn't have much promise or deep targets that were deflected at the line of scrimmage. His longest reception came on a quick slant against the off-man coverage of Kyle Fuller.

WR Marquise Goodwin, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 29 - 0 (8 targets) - After getting his old job back when Dante Pettis left the game due to injury, Goodwin proceeded to finish second in targets, behind only George Kittle. So how did he finish with only 3 catches for 29 yards? Well, two targets weren't really targets as Nick Mullens was hit as he threw the ball. Another was broken up by a linebacker in coverage. And another was an ill-advised, game-ending throw by Mullens. Which leaves Goodwin at fault for only one of his five incomplete targets. On that one, he didn't so much as drop a quick slant as he volleyball set it to linebacker Danny Trevathan for an interception.

TE George Kittle, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 74 - 0 (12 targets) - Of Kittle's 12 targets, 7 came with San Francisco losing in the fourth quarter. Ditto 52 of his 74 receiving yards. There are three reasons why he wasn't a factor earlier in the game. First, facing the Bears' formidable pass rush, the 49ers had Kittle help out in pass protection far more than he usually does. Second, almost every time Kittle lined up in a three-point stance to run a play-action route, a defender chipped him to throw off his route and its timing. (The most absurd iteration of this tactic actually happened in the fourth quarter, when outside linebacker Leonard Floyd flat-out tackled him as he came off the line of scrimmage.) Finally, the Bears simply covered Kittle better than any team has all season, typically devoting two defenders in coverage, not as a classic double-team per se, but as a means to make sure he wasn't open for long at any particular distance downfield.


Denver Broncos 14, Oakland Raiders 27

What you need to know

Denver Broncos - Matt LaCosse, Denver's third starting tight end of 2018, was the only inactive offensive player, with Brian Parker stepping in as the next man up at the position. Phillip Lindsay passed 1,000 yards rushing as an undrafted rookie. Lindsay exited the contest in the second half with a wrist injury that has been diagnosed as severe, with a possible fracture and ligament damage. Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker should split work at RB next week.

Oakland Raiders - -The Raiders rookie offensive tackles held up surprisingly well against the Broncos elite edge-rush tandem.

-Jordy Nelson was the clear top target, seeing 5 more targets than any other receiver.

-Doug Martin dominated the backfield touches and notched his first 100-yard game in more than three years.

-The Raiders jumped out to a three-score lead in the first half and were able to play conservatively, with a lot of runs and short throws off of play action.

QB Case Keenum, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 37 - 202 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0 - Keenum had a slow first half, then managed to muster up a couple of touchdowns after halftime before sealing the game with two interceptions late in the 4th quarter. Keenum threw up a couple of "hospital balls" in the 1st quarter, getting Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton laid out on a pair of poorly placed deep throws. Keenum got a break at the end of the 1st quarter when a defender tipped the ball while he was pitching an option to Lindsay on 4th and 1. The ball hit the ground but bounced right back into Lindsay's breadbasket. Keenum scrambled to buy time and made a nice 20 yard connection with Courtland Sutton with less than 10 seconds in the 1st half, setting up a long Brandon McManus field goal attempt just before halftime. Keenum found Tim Patrick down the right sideline for a 26 yard gain in the 3rd quarter. Keenum and Hamiltion hooked up for Denver's first touchdown of the day. Hamilton lined up in the slot on the left side of the formation and separated from his defender with a nice cut on a corner route. Keenum hit Hamilton with a perfect pass just as the receiver broke open in the back of the end zone. Keenum scrambled to buy time for his second touchdown pass, then found Courtland Sutton in the back of the end zone for a 19 yard score. The Raiders challenged that Keenum had crossed the line of scrimmage before throwing, but the touchdown stood after review.

Keenum's first interception was a terrible decision to throw to Tim Patrick in triple coverage late in the 4th quarter. HIs second interception wasn't much better as he desperately heaved the ball into more triple coverage on 4th and 19 near the end of the game. Keenum managed 19 yards on the ground. He broke a couple of tackles on a 17 yard highlight reel scramble that converted 3rd and long in the 3rd quarter.

RB Phillip Lindsay, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 46 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (2 targets) - Lindsay managed 10 carries before exiting in the 2nd half with a wrist injury. He passed the 1,000 yard mark on the season with an 11 yard carry in the 1st quarter. A defender tipped a pitch from Keenum on a 1st quarter option play and nearly resulted in a fumble, but the ball took a fortunate bounce into Lindsay's hands. Lindsay had a nice catch and run on a play action out route in the 3rd quarter that picked up 10 yards. His other reception was a short checkdown for a minimal gain.

RB Royce Freeman, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - Despite Lindsay leaving the game in the 3rd quarter, Freeman only managed 7 carries for minimal yardage. Devontae Booker worked into the running back rotation earlier, moving around the formation to different positions on passing downs. Freeman should see plenty of early-down work next week with Lindsay officially out. Freeman couldn't secure a poorly thrown screen pass from Keenum late in the 4th, his only target.

RB Devontae Booker, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 21 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - Booker saw action on the opening drive of the game, relieving starter Lindsay and hauling in a checkdown pass that didn't quite convert 3rd and long. He had another big gain called back for offensive pass interference in the 3rd quarter. Booker lined up in the slot and caught a curl route in the 4th quarter. Booker caught a halfback screen later in the 4th for another solid gain. He also managed 21 yards rushing on just three carries. Booker should see some extra snaps next week with Lindsay officially out.

RB Andy Janovich, 12 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (1 targets) - Janovich hauled in an out route from the fullback position and hurdled a defender for an impressive 11 yard gain in the 1st quarter.

WR Courtland Sutton, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 65 - 1 (10 targets) - Sutton led the Denver receiving core with 10 targets and 65 yards, and found the end zone in the 4th quarter. He got to work early, hauling in an out route on the opening drive of the game. Sutton took a hard shot on a poorly thrown deep ball from Keenum in the 1st quarter. He narrowly missed a diving connection on another deep ball at the end of the quarter. The play was initially ruled a catch, but Oakland successfully challenged the ruling. Sutton made a clutch catch on a deep crossing route with less than 10 seconds in the 1st half, setting up a long Brandon McManus field goal attempt. Sutton was quiet in the 2nd half until he hauled in a slant route midway through the 4th quarter. He capped the drive with a touchdown reception, working open in the back of the end zone as Keenum scrambled to buy time for the 19 yard connection.

WR DaeSean Hamilton, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 40 - 1 (9 targets) - Hamilton held down slot duties with Patrick and Sutton doing most of the work outside. Hamilton got rolling in the 2nd quarter with an out route for a minimal gain. He used a nifty double move to get open up the seam for a 15 yard gain in the 2nd quarter. Keenum loaded up a deep ball for Hamilton on a 3rd quarter post route, but overthrew it badly. Hamilton took a hard hit but held on for another reception on a curl route in the 3rd quarter. He capped the same drive off with a touchdown, breaking outside from the left slot on a well-timed corner route. Hamilton secured one more short crossing route to convert 3rd and 3 in the 4th quarter.

WR Tim Patrick, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (5 targets) - Patrick worked the outside receiver positions with Sutton, while Hamilton held down most of the slot duties. Patrick took a bit of a backseat to a healthier Sutton in this one. He took a hard hit from safety Karl Joseph on his first target, a deep post that was knocked to the turf in the 1st quarter. Keenum loaded up a deep ball down the right sideline in the 3rd quarter, and Patrick made a beautiful leaping grab over his defender. Patrick caught a back shoulder throw up the right sideline for a solid gain in the 4th quarter. Keenum found him again on an out route on the following play.

Patrick carried the ball once on a jet sweep that was snuffed out in the backfield for a loss in the 1st quarter.

TE Brian Parker, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (3 targets) - Parker got the nod as the 4th starting tight end for Denver this year, with Matt LaCosse inactive for week 16 and Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman already on IR. Despite a tantalizing matchup against the Oakland secondary, Parker only hauled in 2 of 3 targets for 10 yards total. His first catch lost a yard on a short out route in the 1st quarter. Parker had a solid catch and run up the left sidelines for an 11 yard gain at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.

QB Derek Carr, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 26 - 167 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -3 - 0 - Carr had a solid outing in the rare game where the Raiders were mostly able to control things with their defense, special teams, and running game. It looked like the Raiders ran a lot of read option plays with Carr reading the outside linebacker and throwing a quick pass to the tight end in the flat if the linebacker stayed to the middle of the field or handing off if the quick throw outside wasn’t there. They had some suc-cess with the play, throwing to both Jared Cook and Darren Waller. It also helped open up some room between the tackles for Doug Martin. Carr took an early sack but otherwise the pass protection held up surprisingly well. He did a good job navigating the pocket and made a couple plays after scrambling to extend the play, including an 11-yard pass to Seth Roberts to setup a field goal just before halftime. With Oakland controlling the game and playing with a big lead most of the way, there were even fewer deep shots than normal. Carr threw a lot of quick passes to the flats and checked down to short passes quite a bit even when he did have time to throw. The safe strategy made sense this week given the early lead and Carr extended his streak to 10 games without an interception.

RB Doug Martin, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 107 - 1, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Martin had his first 100-yard rushing game since November of 2015. Oakland was able to build an early lead on a special teams touchdown and was playing great de-fense, which allowed a run-heavy game plan. Martin dominated the backfield touches, handling 21 of the 26 carries by Raiders backs. He went untouched for a 24-yard touchdown off of right tackle. The Broncos defense crashed down inside and there was nobody left for outside contain. Martin did a nice job of quickly getting north-south and consistently picking up positive yardage to keep the offense in manageable downs and distances. There wasn’t anything fancy but Martin was efficient in getting what was blocked and finishing runs strong. Martin had decent success running out of the I-formation behind fullback Keith Smith. He followed Smith for a 14-yard gain in the red zone down to the 6-yard line. Martin missed out on a second rushing touch-down because he tapped his helmet to come out after three straight tough runs. His replacement ran in a short touchdown on the next play.

RB Jalen Richard, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 1, Rec: 4 - 40 - 0 (5 targets) - It was relatively positive to see Richard get eight touches despite a game script that worked against him. The Raiders jumped out to a three-score lead in the first half and mostly leaned on Doug Martin and the power-running game to bleed the clock. Richard showed solid power on a 4-yard touchdown run right up the middle to ice the game. He was probably only in there because Martin tapped out after three straight tough red zone carries.

WR Jordy Nelson, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 75 - 0 (10 targets) - Nelson was the clear go-to guy in the pass offense, seeing twice as many targets as any other Raiders pass catcher. On his first target, he was unable to make a one-handed grab on a go route down the sideline. Nelson started to get hot in the two-minute drill before halftime. He caught back-to-back deep slants for gains of 16 and 14 yards. Nelson also picked up 12 yards on another slant route to convert a 3rd-and-4 to keep the chains moving on the Raiders lone second-half touchdown drive.

WR Seth Roberts, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Roberts played less than half of the snaps, with the Raiders playing a lot of two-tight end sets and also utilizing a fullback at times. All three of Roberts’ targets came in the two-minute offense in the final minute before halftime. He had an 11-yard gain on a dump off over the middle after Carr scrambled, showing toughness to push for the first down.

WR Marcell Ateman, 47 offensive snaps - Ateman played 47 of 62 snaps, second-most amongst the receivers, but wasn’t targeted at all. He was flagged for a false start.

TE Jared Cook, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Cook caught a pair of short swing passes in the first quarter and then wasn’t able to come up with the ball on a slant route. He also drew a pass interference penalty early in the second quarter but was a complete afterthought the rest of the way.

TE Darren Waller, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Waller rotated in for Jared Cook and ran similar routes. He picked up a couple short gains on quick flat routes, one of which was off of the RPO play the Raiders used often.


Washington Redskins 16, Tennessee Titans 25

What you need to know

Washington Redskins - Josh Johnson hasn't been too bad for a third stringer. It seems the offense is just short on talent so it eventually catches up to them late in games. The running game was working which made the offense look much better as they held the ball for long stretches. The offense started out the game converting 3 of 5 first downs but it was all downhill from there. If the offense can keep the running game on track then that is their best chance to win. The passing game options are not reliable at this point and need to be avoided if possible.

Tennessee Titans - The Titans found their way to fourth consecutive win despite quarterback Marcus Mariota re-aggravating an injury to his throwing elbow just before halftime, ceding to Blaine Gabbert for the rest of the game. The ground game was again a focal point as Derrick Henry rushed 21 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. Corey Davis led the team with five targets, but it was Taywan Taylor who led in receiving yards (64) while tight end MyCole Pruitt hauled in the only receiving touchdown--the first of his career.

QB Josh Johnson, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 23 - 153 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 22 - 0 - Josh Johnson kept the offense afloat for the majority of the day. He led a run-heavy attack as the offense combined for thirty-four rush attempts. Josh only attempted twenty-three passes and most of them were short completions to emphasize ball control. He only completed thirteen passes but sprinkled in a seven yard touchdown in the first half. It was an effective gameplan as he led the offense on a couple of 80+ yard drives. However, with Washington trailing late in the fourth quarter they needed him to be more aggressive in the passing game and they collapsed. Josh missed his receiver that was open on a slant and that closed the door on a potential upset.

RB Adrian Peterson, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 26 - 119 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (2 targets) - Adrian Peterson had twenty-six carries in this game and became the centerpiece of the offense versus Tennessee. He found a rhythm within the rushing attack and went for one hundred and nineteen yards. The running game has been inconstant all year but when it clicks the Washington offense can present problems. Adrian helped dominate the time of possession battle. Their inability to convert third downs in the second half kept Adrian from having an even bigger day.

RB Chris Thompson, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 20 - 0, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Chris Thompson had six total touches in this game but was held in check. Washington featured Adrian in the run game and their ball control gameplan fazed Chris out of being a factor. He doesn't look like the same explosive running back which might be another reason why Gruden isn't dialing up plays for him. Since returning from injury Chris has struggled to make his usual big plays.

WR Jamison Crowder, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 78 - 0 (7 targets) - Jamison Crowder was the most productive receiver for Washington as he caught five of his seven targets. They were without Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis so there were opportunities for Jamison to make plays in the middle of the field. Josh often found him for short passes to keep the chains moving. Three of Jamison's passes were converted for first downs.

WR Josh Doctson, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (6 targets) - Josh Doctson caught three of his six targets for thirty yards. All of Josh's catches came in the first half and struggled to contribute thereafter. Josh threw a couple of errant passes that if accurate would have gone for big plays in the second half. As an outside receiver Josh has struggled to remain a factor as the offense tends to utilize passes over the middle.

WR Michael Floyd, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 1 (3 targets) - Michael Floyd made his one reception count as he scored the only touchdown for Washington's offense. There was an extremely low volume of passing for this game so there weren't many opportunities for a third option.

TE Jeremy Sprinkle, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (3 targets) - Jeremy Sprinkle caught two of his three targets for twenty-two yards. Jamison Crowder proved to be the more effective option in the short passing game which put a damper on Jeremy's production. There were only thirteen completions in this game plus a heavy dose of run plays. Jeremy's numbers weren't going to be big with this gameplan.

QB Marcus Mariota, 27 offensive snaps, Pass: 10 - 13 - 110 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Marcus Mariota re-injured his throwing elbow just before halftime and was unable to return to the game. Before exiting, Mariota made a number of accurate throws to start the game as he led a 69-yard touchdown drive. He showed great mobility throughout the first half to extend plays and evade a strong pass-rush while making accurate throws to cap off those scrambles. His mobility was best put on display during the second drive as he spun away from pressure on a third-and-six before sprinting towards the sideline to convert it. From a passing perspective, Mariota would still lead the team in passing yards despite playing less than one full half.

QB Blaine Gabbert, 29 offensive snaps, Pass: 7 - 11 - 101 - 1 TD / 0 INT - Blaine Gabbert was forced into action just before halftime in relief of the injured Marcus Mariota. Gabbert ended up playing his best half of football this season as he did enough to keep the Titans in the game while leading the 75-yard touchdown drive that would inevitably win the game. To start that drive, Gabbert threw a strike to Taywan Taylor for 35 yards, the longest play of the day for the Titans offense. Gabbert followed this up by almost throwing a touchdown pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt, but it was about a foot too far for Pruitt to haul in despite being behind the secondary. Gabbert would find Pruitt just a few plays later though, wide open in the end zone from two yards out on what would be his easiest completion of the day due to blown coverage.

RB Derrick Henry, 35 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 21 - 84 - 1, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets) - Derrick Henry carried the Titans offense again as he was leaned upon heavily. Henry out-touched Dion Lewis 22-6 as he was the unquestioned lead runner this week. He started off with a great first drive, amassing 19 rushing yards with a number of chunk running plays along with a sweep pass in front of Mariota that he took for eight yards to the right. Henry would cap the drive off with a touchdown from the goal line as he bounced to the right from a crowded line of scrimmage, was tripped up, but barely extended the ball over the goal line before falling down. Henry was quiet in the second and third quarters, but he did nearly pass for a touchdown late in the third quarter had he not overthrown an open Luke Stocker. Henry would be integral to the game-winning touchdown drive as he rushed for 33 yards on four carries, including a 14-yard run straight up the middle that displayed his power and quickness.

RB Dion Lewis, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (4 targets) - Dion Lewis finished with a season-low three rushing attempts as he simply was not a factor in the offensive gameplan despite playing just over a third of the snaps. Lewis did make a nice play through the air just before halftime, picking up 18 yards on a cross screen pattern to convert a third down. That was his only play of greater than four yards on the day.

WR Corey Davis, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (5 targets) - His best play of the day came on the first drive as Davis took advantage of soft coverage with an easy 16-yard reception over the middle. He would catch one more pass from Marcus Mariota before halftime, then managed to haul in just one reception in tight coverage to start off the second half. This outing marks the third game in a row, and fourth in five weeks, that Davis has failed to exceed 45 receiving yards.

WR Taywan Taylor, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 64 - 0 (3 targets) - Taylor was targeted just three times, but he hauled in all three of them to lead the team in receiving yards with 64. He was the recipient of the first target of the game as Mariota found him on a short route over the middle for 15 yards. Taylor’s next reception would come on a similar route for 14 yards from Mariota late in the first quarter. His final reception was a long ball from Blaine Gabbert midway through the fourth quarter for 35 yards. The route took a while to develop, but Taylor used his speed to find his way open for a big gain that would be critical to setting up the Titans for the go-ahead touchdown.


Jacksonville Jaguars 17, Miami Dolphins 7

What you need to know

Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars keep are cycling between two awful quarterbacks. There seems to be no plan right now other than sending a message that you can be benched for poor performance. The Jaguars were able to run the ball, albeit inefficiently overall. The passing game remains a wreck. The defense bailed the team out for a defensive score for a win that served no purpose and will ultimately hurt the team.

Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins still had a very outside chance of winning the division or making the playoffs. In every scenario, they needed to win this week and get help all around the league otherwise. Unfortunately, they played one of their worst offensive games of the season and could not make that happen. The game started well with each team exchanging touchdowns on their first drives, but then the wheels fell off and Miami was never able to get going again. They punted 6 times, missed a field goal, lost a fumble, and threw an interception returned for a touchdown to close out the game and did not score any points. Tannehill was sacked 3 times for a loss of 25 yards and looked scared in the back field. The Dolphins have lived and died by the big play on offense and could not come up with any this week. The defense played well against a very poor Jacksonville offense, but they were not able to overcome the offensive woes. The Dolphins will travel to Buffalo to take on the Bills in week 17. They still have a chance to finish the season 8-8, but they are done in regard to the playoff picture.

QB Cody Kessler, 44 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 17 - 106 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 - Cody Kessler started the game for the Jaguars. The Jaguars did score a touchdown on their opening drive (a short Fournette run), which was bailed out by a roughing the passer penalty. After some extremely poor play, he existed the game in the second quarter and replaced by Bortles. Kessler was cleared to come back in, but remained on the bench for performance reasons.

QB Blake Bortles, 23 offensive snaps, Pass: 5 - 6 - 39 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 25 - 0 - Bortles came in to relieve an injured Kessler and proceeded to play the entire game. He will apparently start in Week 17 as well, despite leading the offense to a total of three points over three quarters against Miami. The coaching staff has said he will start the season finale against Houston.

RB Leonard Fournette, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 18 - 43 - 1, Rec: 3 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Fournette salvaged his day with a short touchdown on the first drive, but was otherwise extremely ineffective. 3 catches for 28 yards looks decent on the statline, but he had one horrible drop. The team has also begun recently leaking that Fournette is ten pounds heavier than he was to begin the season. Fournette's second season has been an incredible disappointment - battles with injuries, a suspension for fighting, weight gain, and being vastly outplayed this year by TJ Yeldon. At this point, it wouldn't be the worst idea for the team to explore trade options. Yeldon will depart via free agency and Carlos Hyde will likely be a salary cap casualty, so the team will likely bring him back due to a lack of other veteran options on the roster. He should definitely be challenged by adding another young back in the spring. Fournette cannot be counted on going forward, both from an injury and performance standpoint.

RB Carlos Hyde, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 47 - 0 - Hyde was a more efficient player than Fournette in this game. He's noticeably smaller and less powerful, but does more with less and doesn't need the clear run-throughs that Fournette does. As is stands, he will likely be a salary cap casualty this offseason.

WR Dede Westbrook, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 7 - 45 - 0 (8 targets) - Westbrook has been the one semi-reliable receiving option this season. As it stands, he is the best player in a terrible wide receiving group. The team cannot get him the ball reliably even in the short passing game. He's arguably already a better, more explosive version of what they get from Marqise Lee, so it will be interesting to see how the team distributes playing time between the two going forward. There's a redundancy issue in play. Westbrook more than any player would benefit from better quarterback play. Long term, however, he cannot be relied on to be the best wide receiver in a passing game.

WR Donte Moncrief, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 43 - 0 (4 targets) - Moncrief had his usual game for the Jaguars - a few drags and crosser for YAC. Since he is on a one-year contract he will likely not figure into the Jaguars' long term plans.

QB Ryan Tannehill, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 22 - 146 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 22 - 0 - It was not a great game for Tannehill this week. After stepping up against the Patriots, Tannehill fell flat against the Vikings and Jaguars. He managed to throw a touchdown this week after getting shut out last week but was largely ineffective after that. It was a 4-yard shovel pass to Bolden up the middle for the teams only touchdown this week. It was really a glorified handoff for the touchdown, but it counts as a passing attempt. His interception was a poor decision on his part. After the play-action, he was hit in the back field and did not have a chance to go through his progression. Tannehill rushed the ball in the direction of Ballage in the flat and the route was jumped by the defender and returned for an easy touchdown. He would have been better off just throwing the ball away after the play broke down. He was slightly more effective in the running game with 22 yards and a long 12-yard run for a first down. His longest passes came on a 31-yard screen to Ballage and a 20-yard deep throw down the sideline to Amendola. It was not a great offensive showing for Tannehill or the Dolphins this week. He will have one more shot next week to try and prove that he is the quarterback of the future for this team.

RB Kenyan Drake, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 23 - 0, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (5 targets) - The strength of the Jacksonville defense continues to be the rush defense, and that hurt any chance of Drake having a big game. He received only 6 carries and broke a single run for 9 yards as his longest play on the ground. The rushing attack only managed 18 total carries and 62 yards combined. It was not a great showing for a team that clearly missed Gore out of the back field. Drake had more carries than any other back and barely edged out his quarterback for total rushing yards. He also caught 4 of his 5 targets. He led the team in targets and receptions this week and trailed Amendola by only 9 yards for the lead through the air. 54 total yards is not a great game, but that is how it has gone for Drake. Even with Gore out due to injury, Drake has not fully taken over out of the back field. He has one more chance to show that he can be the lead back next week against Buffalo.

RB Kalen Ballage, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (4 targets) - Like Bolden, Ballage only really had a single play that made a huge difference on offense. He had 4 carries and racked up 6 of his 10 yards on a single play. His big play came on a 31-yard screen play down the sideline. Ballage was targeted 4 times in the passaging game and caught half of those. He is trying to establish himself in a suddenly crowded Miami back field. After losing Gore, everyone else is fighting to pick up those carries and establish themselves in the offense. Ballage looks to be behind Drake and Bolden on the depth chart but may move up after his big reception and the fumble by Bolden. The winner could serve as the backup to Drake next season if the Dolphins do not bring back Gore.

RB Brandon Bolden, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 1 (1 targets) - It was not a great all-around game for Bolden, but he did account for the only meaningful play on offense for the Dolphins. He had 4 carries and 7 of his 9 yards came on a single rush. He was not very effective on the ground, but neither was anyone else. His important play came on a 4-yard shovel pass that he took into the end zone for a touchdown. Bolden took the pass a ran down the back side of the offensive line before finding a hole to dart through for the score. He did not have another target in the passing game and had about the same success on the ground as everyone else for the Dolphins. Bolden also lost a fumble this week and then was not trusted with the ball after that. It has been a rough stretch for Bolden since his break out against the Patriots.

WR Danny Amendola, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (3 targets) - It has been a rough season for Amendola with Tannehill under center and it continued again this week. He caught all 3 of his targets and led the team in receiving. His biggest play came on a 20-yard deep route down the sideline. It accounted for half of his yards and was one of the few shots they took down the field. Amendola played much better with Osweiler under center, even with several other healthy receivers as competition. The signing of Amendola has not paid off for the Dolphins this season and they are going to have to rework what they are doing offensively to get him more involved.

WR DeVante Parker, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Similar to Stills, Parker only has 2 games this season where he has played well. There should have been a lot of extra targets to go around with the injuries all around the receiving core, but Parker has not stepped up and taken any of them. He caught 2 of his 3 targets this week and did not top 15 total yards. Parker is a former first round talent that has not lived up to his potential in Miami. The trade rumors swirl every year around the deadline and there is a good chance he is not in a Miami uniform next season.

WR Kenny Stills, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Another disappointing game for Stills as the season winds down. He caught 1 of his 2 targets for 5 yards and has not played a big role in the offense for quite some time. Despite losing 2 of their wide receivers to injury for the season, Stills has not stepped up and filled the void. HE has 2 good games this season and the rest have been duds. If they revamp the offense in the off season, Stills may be the odd man out with the way that he has played.


Houston Texans 30, Philadelphia Eagles 32

What you need to know

Houston Texans - WR Demaryius Thomas was lost for the season after tearing his achilles trying to block on a screen. Thomas was carted off the field, his season is over and future with the Texans is up in the air.

WR Vyncint Smith filled in for Thomas and only had one catch but it was a 35-yard touchdown. It was a sliding catch before going out of the end zone on a perfectly placed ball from Watson.

RB Lamar Miller did not make the trip to Philadelphia, he has an injured ankle and his status moving forward to week 17 is in question.

Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles are rising at the right time following a sluggish opening three months of the season. Nick Foles led a pass-heavy attack for more than 450 yards as the run game provided little balance. The spread-it-around passing game produced four players with at least 75 yards including Nelson Agholor’s first 100-yard game of the season. Darren Sproles has been growing in role and impact by the week, producing more than 100 total yards as the do-it-all offensive weapon.

QB Deshaun Watson, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 40 - 339 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 8 - 49 - 2 - Efficient. That was Deshaun Watson’s day against the Philadelphia Eagles throwing for 339 yards and two touchdowns. Watson continues to play at a high level and did a better job of getting the ball out of his hands but still took four sacks during the game. Watson was able to keep the Texans in the game and put up four total touchdowns, two in the air and two on the ground. His two rushing touchdowns were designed runs that saw him on both opportunities get to the outside around the left end. Watson had rushing touchdowns of 5 and 6 yards. AS for throwing, Watson was accurate and precise with his throws and when he needed to move the sticks he went to DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins caught 9 passes for 104 yards and just kept going to the well to move the sticks. Watson’s two touchdown passes came to unlikely targets in RB D’Onta Foreman and WR Vyncint Smith. On a broken play rolling to the right, Watson was able to find Foreman all by himself in the middle of the field for a 20-yard touchdown reception. His best ball came late 4th quarter on a deep ball to Smith for a 35-yard touchdown reception where he dropped it right over the defensive back in coverage. Watson hit 8 different targets on the day through the air.

RB DOnta Foreman, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - -1 - 0, Rec: 2 - 28 - 1 (2 targets) - -1 yards rushing for Foreman, it was a tough and ugly day for him on the ground. Foreman’s best work came in the passing game catching two passes for 28 yards. His longest reception came on a 20-yard touchdown where he slipped out of the backfield down the middle of the field where Deshaun Watson found him by himself.

RB Alfred Blue, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 14 - 0, Rec: 4 - 26 - 0 (5 targets) - Blue ended up starting the game and rushed for only 14 yards. The rushing game has been terrible for the Texans and Blue was passed over for Foreman in the offense. Blue caught four passes for 26 yards with his longest being only 9 yards. Blue needs room to work as a running back and he is not getting any of that of late with a struggling offensive line.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 104 - 0 (12 targets) - The veteran target continues to make plays when it counts. Hopkins caught 9 passes for 104 yards and at one point he was a one man wrecking crew catching three consecutive passes for first downs, with a 6, 14 and 18 yard receptions. Held out of the end zone, his impact was felt working the under neath routes the entire game. The Eagles did not have an answer for him and had to roll coverage to his side and then that is when Watson went to his other options.

WR DeAndre Carter, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 61 - 0 (7 targets) - When Demaryius Thomas went down, the Texans left DeAndre Carter on the field and he was able to provide some key plays down the stretch. Carter caught a key 13 yard pass to extend a key scoring drive late in the game. He also caught a 24 yard pass from Watson showing that he can provide some big plays when needed in the passing game. Carter was able to do work underneath and catch four more passes.

WR Demaryius Thomas, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (5 targets) - Thomas continued to be a reliable target when needed, his longest reception was 15 yards. He continued to work within the system but It ended up being the game no one wanted for Thomas after tearing his achilles trying to block on a smoke screen.

QB Nick Foles, 81 offensive snaps, Pass: 35 - 49 - 471 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Without much of a run game, Foles put the Eagles offensive on his shoulders with 49 passes and more than 450 yards in the critical home win over Houston. Foles had two turnovers, including an ugly interception and losing a fumble near his own end zone. However, Foles was at his best in the closing minutes with a perfect deep throw to Nelson Agholor for a long touchdown in a tie game and on-point to Alshon Jeffery down the seam, absorbing a huge hit in the process. Foles missed time from the hit but returned to complete the comeback drive and game-winning drive.

RB Darren Sproles, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 32 - 0, Rec: 3 - 76 - 1 (6 targets) - Sproles surged forward in his offensive role for the Eagles against the Texans with a season-high 12 touches and more than 100 total yards. Sproles broke a tackle on a fourth-down swing pass for a long touchdown. Sproles corralled another sideline reception for a chunk gain. Sproles was held relatively in check as a runner but had his best run on the game-winning drive for 15 yards on a draw play into field goal range.

RB Josh Adams, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 21 - 0 (1 targets) - Adams struggled on the ground for the second straight game, also ceding snaps and production to the recently-returned Darren Sproles as the more dynamic element in the Eagles backfield. Adams was slippery through contact, gaining additional yards on two notable, but short gains amidst his 21-yard effort. Adams was stuffed on third-and-short in the red zone and had a goal line touchdown called back on his lone scoring opportunity. Adams kept the door open for Houston in the close game with a critical lost fumble in the closing minutes.

WR Nelson Agholor, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 116 - 1 (7 targets) - Agholor posted his best performance of the season and his first touchdown since Week 2. Agholor was on the receiving end of one of Nick Foles’ best throws of the game, a perfect deep pass as Agholor scored the long touchdown in a tie game. In addition to Agholor’s 116 yards, he also had a reception called back, which would have pushed Agholor’s stat line beyond 150 yards.

WR Alshon Jeffery, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 82 - 0 (5 targets) - Despite five targets, his second-fewest of the season, Jeffery made three impressive plays including a yards-after-catch explosion for more than 50 yards on a post route. Jeffery also made a critical seam reception on the game-winning drive and a high-point slant earlier in the game. Jeffery’s volume was tempered considering the Eagles logged 50 passes in the game, but his efficiency and big-play rate was at a high level.

WR Golden Tate, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Tate’s production continued to go silent in Week 16 despite the Eagles’ huge passing performance against Houston. Tate dropped a pass on third down and was short of the sticks on another third down opportunity. A quick out route completed Tate’s passing game involvement as he has a dismal 8-63-0 stat line over the past three games.

TE Zach Ertz, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 12 - 110 - 2 (16 targets) - After back-to-back quiet games, Ertz surged past the all-time tight end reception record for a season in the passing game explosion against the Texans. Ertz found the end zone not once, but twice, for the first time in a month and his 16 targets marked a season high. Ertz’s highlights included a diving third down reception, a fourth-and-goal touchdown catch, and yards-after-catch while eluding a defender in the open field for a chunk touchdown later in the game. Ertz did fumble following one of his 12 receptions, but Philadelphia fortunately recovered. Ertz will look to extend his NFL record to close the season against division rival Washington next week.

TE Dallas Goedert, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (3 targets) - Goedert quietly logged his sixth game of at least 30 yards of the season in the Eagles’ passing game explosion against the Texans. Goedert had a touchdown opportunity on one of his receptions, but slipped as he looked to turn the corner on a fourth-down red zone catch. Goedert has been one of the impressive rookie tight end performers despite being behind record-setting Zach Ertz all season on the Eagles depth chart.


Baltimore Ravens 22, Los Angeles Chargers 10

What you need to know

Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens continue to play their brand of football and remain competitive against some of the best teams in their conference. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens rushing attack once again led them to victory. Jackson continues to struggle with his consistency as a passer but the plays he does make in the passing game combined with his rushing have been enough. Jackson made an outstanding throw on his 68 yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews but missed numerous open targets throughout the game. Andrews and Jackson finally connected on a deep touchdown after several near misses in previous weeks. Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon continue to play outstanding in their complimentary roles. John Brown was Jackson's favorite target at wide receiver but Jackson missed some easy throws to Brown.

Los Angeles Chargers - Melvin Gordon didn't put up eye-popping stats (nobody on the Chargers did), but he looked healthy while running the ball in his first game action since injuring his knee against Arizona. He saw fifteen offensive touches to just eight for Justin Jackson.

Philip Rivers picked a bad time to put up by far his worst game of the season, and one of the worst of his career. He turned the ball over on his first and last pass attempts of the game, and in-between he was unable to find the end zone and was sacked four times. It was definitely a game to forget for a player who came into the game as a potential MVP candidate.

Keenan Allen didn't look like his hip was bothering him at all. He failed to gain much separation, but that was more due to the stout Baltimore defense than anything. Allen had a team-high 58 yards and looked like his usual self health-wise.

QB Lamar Jackson, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 22 - 204 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 13 - 39 - 0 - Lamar Jackson had an up and down game but played well enough to win. Jackson continues to struggle to find consistency as a passer. Jackson shows flashes of outstanding arm talent, awareness in the pocket, and play making ability but also misses what should be routine throws. Jackson delivered what should have been a touchdown to Michael Crabtree on a back shoulder throw but Crabtree could not make the catch. The Ravens were forced to settle for a field goal following the incompletion. Another miscue on a read option play between Jackson and Gus Edwards set the Ravens back and forced a long field goal attempt on their second possession. Jackson ran a quarterback draw on 3rd and short and burst into the open field for a 27 yard showing his quickness and speed. Another drive that should have produced points came up empty after a failed play on 4th and goal from the 2 yard line. The Ravens elected to throw on the play and Jackson could not find an open receiver. Jackson's best throw of the first half was a dime to Michael Crabtree through a tiny hole over the middle for 20 yards. After falling behind for the first time in the game Jackson responded with a huge score. Jackson threw a perfect strike to Mark Andrews who took the pass to the house for a 68 yard touchdown. Jackson hit Andrews perfectly in stride 30 yard downfield.

RB Gus Edwards, 23 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 92 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets) - Gus Edwards split work with Kenneth Dixon and played very well. Edwards continues to implement his no nonsense style with great success. Edwards should continue to dominate the early down and short yardage work. Edwards making a catch is promising and is hopefully a sign of how he will be used in the future. Edwards ran through a huge hole up the middle of the Chargers defense on the Ravens first offensive play for 44 yards. Edwards showed off his speed on his longest run of the season. Edwards caught a check down from Jackson and got up field for 13 yards.

RB Kenneth Dixon, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 28 - 0, Rec: 2 - 20 - 0 (3 targets) - Kenneth Dixon played very well in a complimentary role outside of losing a fumble. Dixon caught a check down in the flat for 8 yards. Dixon slipped two tackles along the sideline after catching a check down and picked up 11 yards and a first down. On 3rd and 12 Dixon followed outstanding blocking at the second level and exploded up field for 19 yards. Dixon was stripped on the first play of the second half and the Chargers recovered. Dixon was wrapped up and was fighting for additional yardage when he fumbled.

WR John Brown, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (6 targets) - John Brown made his first catch running a slant for 10 yards. Brown gained 17 yards running a crossing route over the middle. Jackson missed Brown when he was open on multiple occasions.

WR Michael Crabtree, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (4 targets) - Michael Crabtree played one of his worst games of the season against the Chargers. Crabtree had a potential 6 yard touchdown knocked out of his hands on a back shoulder throw from Lamar Jackson. Crabtree made a nice catch running a deep in breaking route for 20 yards. Crabtree had a potential 12 yard catch knocked out of his hands by Casey Hayward. Crabtree drew a 9 yard pass interference penalty running a slant.

TE Mark Andrews, 20 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 83 - 1 (2 targets) - Mark Andrews continues to be the target Lamar Jackson looks to with the most confidence. Andrews made his first catch over the middle for 15 yards on 3rd and 9. Andrews was practically uncovered on the play. Andrews ran a deep over route and out ran the entire Chargers secondary on his way to a 68 yard touchdown. Andrews had a nice stiff arm on the play as well.

TE Hayden Hurst, 17 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 18 - 0 (2 targets) - Hayden Hurst made a nice adjustment to catch a pass thrown at his knees on the run for an 18 yard gain.

QB Philip Rivers, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 37 - 181 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 0 - Rivers entered the game with an NFL-best 27 straight games with a passing touchdown, and had thrown at least TWO touchdowns in all but one game this season. He wouldn't come close to finding the end zone in this one, as he turned in his worst fantasy performance of the year at a very inopportune time for his owners. His afternoon started off as badly as possible when he was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game. He was looking deep down the sideline to Mike Williams in blanket coverage. It ended up as a jump ball, but the defender simply made a great play on it. On a later possession, Rivers had 28- and 27-yard pass plays negated, both by penalties on Keenan Allen. The second pass play, to Mike Williams, was simply a perfect touch pass but it was all for naught. After getting almost nothing done the entire first half, they actually moved the ball fairly well just before the half (helped along by two Baltimore penalties, so it's not like the offense was really crushing it). The Ravens turned it over to open the second half, but the Chargers ran it three straight times to get into the end zone, so again there was no opportunity for Rivers to get a score. And after that score, the Baltimore defense really put the clamps on. They began sacking Rivers almost at will, getting to him four times in total. He couldn't even look downfield to his receivers because he had no time, which resulted in a ton of dumpoff passes to the running backs and tight ends (who accounted for 15 of his 23 completions). At one point late in the third quarter, they were getting out-gained in total yardage 329-104. Despite everything, the Chargers had the ball on the Baltimore 39-yard line with three minutes left to play and down by just six points. But Antonio Gates fumbled the ball away on a short reception over the middle, and it was run back the other way for a Baltimore touchdown. Following that, the Chargers had to go into desperation mode a little bit. And due to that, Rivers forced a pass into the end zone to Travis Benjamin with just over a minute remaining. The defender made a nice play on the ball, intercepting it and sealing the victory for the Ravens.

RB Melvin Gordon, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 41 - 1, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (3 targets) - Considering the nature of his injury, Gordon looked extremly healthy if not totally effective. The stifling Baltimore defense really made him work for every yard, but he actually turned in a fairly decent performance considering the layoff he had and the quality of the opponent. He showed a nice stiff-arm and cut back moves against several defenders (on a bad playing surface) on a first half screen pass, and never really showed any ill effects from the knee injury suffered several weeks ago. He remained on the sideline late in the first half while the Chargers ran the two minute offense with Justin Jackson getting most of the work. But Gordon came back in with just under a minute remaining, so he was fine. Early in the second half following a Baltimore turnover, Gordon got three straight handoffs to punch the ball into the end zone. A strong run from the 17-yard line to the 4 set them up in goal to go offense. Another strong run falling forward put the ball just inside the 1-yard line. And finally, he took it in for the score from a yard out, going over the goal line with relative ease after some good blocking up front paved the way. The announcers mentioned at one point that Gordon was on the sideline with his helmet off and didn't appear to be 100%. He did ask out of the game on occasion, but whenever he was on the field he looked like his usual self. His first nine carries went for 43 yards, so the 3.4 YPC at the end is a little bit misleading as the Ravens tightened up even more late in the game.

RB Justin Jackson, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0, Rec: 7 - 47 - 0 (10 targets) - Despite Melvin Gordon's questionable status all week, he saw all but one of the running back carries in this game. Jackson lost a yard on his lone handoff. But despite the lack of activity in the running game, he saw a game high seven receptions out of the backfield. He mostly came in on third down packages, although Gordon remained out of the game for a long period of time at one point and Jackson saw extensive action. He displayed some nice open field moves on a couple of receptions, shaking defenders loose with terrific elusiveness. Jackson benefitted from the extra pressure Baltimore was able to put on Philip Rivers, because he had to constantly check it down quickly when defenders were bearing down on him. And despite catching the ball in front of the defense all game long and never catching anything longer than ten yards, he still managed nearly seven yards per grab which shows how good he was at beating defenders in tight spaces.

WR Keenan Allen, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (8 targets) - Considering the quality of the opponent, Allen hitting his usual floor can be seen as something of a positive. On a day when almost nothing went right for the Chargers offensively, Allen at least turned in a respectable effort. And perhaps most importantly, he looked completely healthy after missing most of last week's game with a hip injury. Allen and Rivers miscommunicated on his first target of the game, as Allen wasn't looking when the ball was thrown his way (it would have been stopped well short of the first down). Soon after, he hauled in a 27-yard reception deep down the sideline but it was negated by a dubious offensive pass interference penalty against Allen. Replays showed that he did put a hand on the defender, but the player slipped largely due to field conditions. Allen was still arguing the call and failed to get set prior to the next play, so he was flagged for an illegal motion penalty to negate a 28-yard pickup by Mike Williams. Allen also lost a first down catch on a third and 5 that was negated by a holding penalty. Allen wasn't able to get much done down the field for the majority of the game, hauling in some short crossing routes and slants that didn't really move the ball down the field much. Late in the game, he jumped for a key 17-yard catch in traffic to keep the drive alive which was by far his (and the Chargers') longest play of the game.

WR Mike Williams, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (3 targets) - One week after a career game, Williams came crashing back to earth against the stout Ravens defense. Williams' day started off with an unfortunate result, as he was the target of a deep ball down the sideline on the first offensive play of the game. The pass was thrown into tight coverage and ended up getting intercepted. Later on, Williams hauled in what appeared to be a 28-yard gain over the middle on a perfect touch pass from Rivers. But an illegal motion penalty on Keenan Allen negated that grab. Later on, Williams had his defender beaten down the sideline but Rivers couldn't quite get it to him in stride. It may have been pass interference, but no call was made. Finally, Williams made a play that counted when he took a handoff up the right side for a 4-yard gain and got absolutely drilled at the end of it. Soon after, he finally made a catch that counted but it went for very minimal yardage.

WR Travis Benjamin, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (3 targets) - Benjamin was arguably the second-most involved receiver in the Los Angeles passing game, despite getting just two touches. He took a swing pass along the right sideline in the first half, catching the ball in stride out of motion from the backfield, then burst past the defender to win the angle to the side. He had a surprisingly strong run up the right side in the second half for a 6-yard gain, but that was his last touch of the game. Late in the fourth quarter, he had a step on his defender down the seam, but he was running to the inside while the ball was thrown to the outside. And on the last gasp desperation drive by the Chargers, he was targeted on a deep ball in the end zone. He had one on one coverage, but the defender made a fantastic play on the ball to snag the interception.

WR Tyrell Williams, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Williams caught just one pass, a shallow cross over the middle. He turned on the jets on his way up the field for a 12-yard gain, but otherwise was a complete non-factor on a day when the Baltimore defense really clamped down.

TE Antonio Gates, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets) - Gates had a couple of missed opportunities, and his miscue late in the fourth quarter was the death knell for the Chargers. He was targeted over the middle on a first half pass that would have put the ball just inside the 10-yard line. But despite being open, the throw was rushed a bit and the pass sailed high over his head. In the second half, he added two grabs - he was tripped up right away on one catch, and then picked up a first down on the very next play but was again taken down right away before he could get anything after the catch. Late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers driving for the potential game-winning score, Gates caught a pass and was fighting for extra yardage. Just before his knee touched down, a defender punched the ball loose and it was run back the other way for a Ravens touchdown to essentially end the game.

TE Virgil Green, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets) - Green caught just two passes for short gains. His second catch, coming early in the second quarter, was the first first down of the game for the Chargers. He was otherwise not featured in the offense, which is pretty standard for him.


Cincinnati Bengals 18, Cleveland Browns 26

What you need to know

Cincinnati Bengals - -What little offense the Bengals generated came mostly in garbage time. It was a 26-3 game with five minutes left before a pair of late touchdowns.

-Joe Mixon was excellent but couldn’t make much headway against stacked boxes.

-C.J. Uzomah is the Bengals best healthy pass catcher and had a productive game, highlighted by a 14-yard touchdown grab.

Cleveland Browns - The Browns completed a season sweep over the Bengals with a 26-18 win that wasn't as close as the final score indicates. Cincinnati scored with 4:56 left and then blocked a Cleveland punt after a three-and-out. A second touchdown pass to John Ross followed, giving the Bengals 15 points in a two-minute span. Baker Mayfield got off to a bit of a slow start in the game, misfiring on a few makeable passes, but overall his accuracy with the football showed through. Jarvis Landry got in on the fun, firing a 63-yard strike to Breshad Perriman on a gadget play.

QB Jeff Driskel, 47 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 19 - 133 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 21 - 0 - The Bengals knew the Browns were going to mostly play with a single high safety and blitz on nearly every down but they still failed miserably to execute against the scheme. The first half was an unmitigated disaster for Driskel and the passing offense. He completed just two passes for a total of three yards while losing 18 yards on a pair of sacks. The passing offense netted -15 passing yards in the first half, though it was hard to fault Driskel. He had pressure in his face on nearly every drop back. He picked up positive yardage on a couple of early designed runs, as the Bengals finally took advantage of his speed. Driskel’s worst throw of the day was an awful decision and the only reason it wasn’t intercepted is that two Browns nearly collided as the ball hit one in the chest. Driskel was able to end the game on a positive note as he led a pair of touchdown drives late to bring the Bengals to within one score. He threw the ball with velocity and accuracy in the fourth quarter, fitting it in to some tight windows to C.J. Uzomah and Alex Erickson. Driskel hit Uzomah in the back corner of the end zone on a perfectly placed high throw that the big tight end went up and grabbed for a 14-yard touchdown. Driskel also bought time and rolled left before hitting John Ross for a 3-yard touchdown.

RB Joe Mixon, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 68 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Mixon was again the centerpiece of the offense. His workload (19 touches) is much more impressive when considering the Bengals only managed 46 offensive plays and played most of the game trailing by multiple scores. It was often an all-or-nothing proposition for Mixon, which made it hard to string together first downs. He had six carries for no gain or negative yards and was often hit in the backfield. The Browns were stacking the box and bringing blitzes more often than not. On the other hand, he also broke off long runs of 15, 16 and 20 yards, showing the quick feet, loose hips, and easy acceleration that has made him so dangerous down the stretch. He also looked smooth on an 11-yard catch and run on a swing pass. Mixon’s talent shone through in flashes but the Bengals were too often dominated in the trenches for the running game to really shine.

RB Giovani Bernard, 14 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 0 - 0 (2 targets) - Bernard didn’t get a single carry and didn’t net any yards on his two catches (one for 4 yards and the other for -4). The Bengals clearly want Joe Mixon to be the center-piece of the offense and in games like this one where they struggled to get Mixon 20 touches, there isn’t going to be anything left over for Bernard.

WR Alex Erickson, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 35 - 0 (2 targets) - Erickson got the start but wasn’t targeted until late in the game. He did make the most of his opportunities, diving to make an impressive 28-yard catch down the side-line and also hauling in a 7-yard catch on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

WR John Ross, 45 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 3 - 1 (5 targets) - Ross showed a little bit of toughness on an end around. He was met a few yards past the line of scrimmage but was able to twist and push his way for a gain of seven yards. His first target was uncatchable, thrown too high along the sideline. He had a bad drop on a ball straight through his hands on what would have been a short gain. Ross wasn’t able to make the tough catch on a quick wide receiver screen that was thrown too high. In what has been a theme of late, Ross’ only catch came on a short touchdown. He ran a slant route and then cut it back to the outside as Driskel rolled left and hit him for the 3-yard score. Despite another touchdown catch, it was telling that Ross wasn’t a big factor even with the Bengals top three pass catchers all side-lined. A couple of the throws weren’t great but the lack of efficiency — pulling in just one of five targets — was on Ross as well.

WR Cody Core, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (3 targets) - With the Bengals top two wide receivers sidelined, Core got the start outside across from John Ross. He converted a third-and-17 with a 27-yard grab on a deep post. It was a better performance from Core but he is just a role player at best in the longer term

TE C.J. Uzomah, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 1 (5 targets) - Uzomah is the best healthy pass catcher the Bengals have. He did well to haul in a 9-yard grab in traffic over the middle. Uzomah ran over cornerback Denzel Ward on his way to a 12-yard gain, knocking the rookie out of the game after he took the worst of it on his attempted tackle. The very next play, Uzomah went high over safety Jabrill Peppers in the back corner of the end zone for a 14-yard touchdown. Uzomah has been productive despite playing through a shoulder injury and should be in position to cash in with a nice contract as a free agent this March.

QB Baker Mayfield, 69 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 37 - 284 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 16 - 0 - Mayfield turned in another fine performance, showing accuracy with the football and also outmaneuvering the Bengals defense with some timely audibles at the line. He got off to a bit of a slow start, missing an open David Njoku too high on his first pass attempt of the game and almost throwing an interception when he led Jarvis Landry too much on the second drive. He again struggled to connect with Landry on the ensuing drive, overthrowing the wide receiver down the left sideline. At the end of that drive, it appeared the Browns were going to try a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1, but Mayfield didn't like something the defense was showing, so he audibled to a pass play, resulting in a six-yard completion to Landry for a first down. Mayfield's first touchdown pass was a perfectly placed three-yard end zone fade to David Njoku. Mayfield put the ball high out of the defender's reach, allowing his athletic tight end to go up and high-point the ball for a score. His second touchdown came on the following drive. On Cincinnati's one-yard line, Mayfield took the snap and rolled right. He eventually hit tight end Darren Fells for the one-yard score, fitting the pass into a tight window. In the third quarter, Mayfield took a deep, end zone shot to Breshad Perriman. The defense made a good play on the ball to break up the pass. Mayfield threw his third and final touchdown pass on the first drive of the third quarter, although Rashard Higgins did most of the heavy lifting. He found the receiver with a short pass in the middle of the field and Higgins did the rest, extending the ball to touch the pylon while diving for a 17-yard touchdown. Mayfield made a few impressive throws in the fourth quarter, including a back-shoulder dime to Duke Johnson for a 16-yard gain and a 13-yard completion across his body while on the run to Landry. Mayfield now has 24 touchdown passes, two shy of the NFL rookie record held by Russell Wilson and Peyton Manning.

RB Nick Chubb, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 112 - 0, Rec: 2 - 3 - 0 (3 targets) - While he didn't finish with a huge game, Chubb did solid work for the Browns, running hard and keeping the chains moving. While he didn't score in the game, Chubb saw several red zone chances and got close to scoring a few times. His first run went for a five-yard gain where he employed an excellent cutback from left-to-right to find a hole. At the end of the first drive, it appeared Chubb had rushed for a first down on 4th-and-1 but the play was nullified by an illegal shift penalty. Chubb ripped off a 22-yard gain on the third drive of the first quarter, his longest gain of the day. He looked explosive, breaking a Nick Vigil arm tackle on the run. A few of Chubb's red zone carries came at the end of that drive. He gained four yards on a 1st-and-goal from the Cincinnati nine-yard line. He stumbled at the end of that run or he might have found the end zone. Cleveland went right back to Chubb on the next play, which saw him gain two yards down to the Cincinnati three-yard line. The Browns wound up throwing for a touchdown at the end of that drive. At the beginning of the second quarter, Chubb came close to scoring again. He was pushed out of bounds at the Cincinnati one-yard line after a seven-yard gain. Both of Chubb's receptions came on the first drive of the fourth quarter, a one-yard gain and a two-yarder. The team has rediscovered Duke Johnson over the past two weeks, which has cut into Chubb's passing game production.

RB Duke Johnson, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 12 - 0, Rec: 6 - 54 - 0 (6 targets) - Johnson has seen more work of late, pulling in 11 receptions over the past two games. His first touch was a 21-yard reception on a short toss from Baker Mayfield. He broke several tackles on the play. He also added a four-yard reception on that same drive. In the fourth quarter, Johnson was the recipient of one of Mayfield's best throws, a 16-yard back-shoulder completion down the right sideline. Johnson's usage in the Cleveland offense has been hard to predict on a weekly basis but it appears they are trying to get him more involved in the game plan over the past two games.

WR Rashard Higgins, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 60 - 1 (7 targets) - Higgins turned in one of his best games of the season and made one of the plays of the game on his 17-yard touchdown reception. On the scoring play, he caught a short pass from Baker Mayfield and took care of the rest on his own. As he raced toward the right pylon, he went airborne and was able to extend the ball out to knock over the pylon before tumbling out of bounds. He could have had a much bigger game but he had a 55-yard reception overturned after a questionable offensive pass interference call. It looked like he slightly pushed off against the defender but it didn't appear to merit a flag.

WR Jarvis Landry, 58 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 63 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 4 - 47 - 0 (8 targets) - Landry turned in another slow day as he just isn't seeing the target volume that he was earlier in the season. He and Mayfield had trouble connecting at the beginning of the game, with Mayfield overthrowing him on his first target and leading him too much on the ensuing target. Landry's arm led to his biggest play of the game. The Browns ran a gadget play where Antonio Callaway took a handoff and pitched it to Landry, who fired a 63-yard strike downfield to Breshad Perriman. It was a perfect throw to the open Perriman. On the first drive of the third quarter, Landry made a great over the shoulder catch down the right sideline, going for 19 yards. He was closely covered on the play. His final catch was a 14-yard gain on 3rd-and-19 which gave the Browns better field goal position. While Landry isn't feasting on high volume, he retains some upside as the No. 1 option in an up-and-coming Cleveland passing attack.

WR Breshad Perriman, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 76 - 0 (4 targets) - Perriman had a big day, thanks to being on the receiving end of a 63-yard bomb thrown by Jarvis Landry on a gadget play. He followed that up with a 13-yard diving catch on the right side. In the third quarter, he drew an end zone target but he was closely covered and the pass was broken up by a defender. He came close to making another splash play in the fourth quarter but he couldn't get both of his feet down inbounds after a deep completion. Perriman appears to have found a home in Cleveland as their situational deep threat.

TE David Njoku, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 73 - 1 (4 targets) - Njoku saw the first target of the game but it was thrown too high for him as the pass glanced off of his fingertips on a leaping attempt. He found the end zone on a three-yard reception where he high-pointed a pass from Baker Mayfield. After the catch, the Cincinnati defender wanted a flag on Njoku for pushing off but he didn't get one. In the fourth quarter he drew another end zone target but the play was nullified by an offensive holding penalty. Even if there was no penalty, the pass was too high for him to catch. Njoku helped ice the game for the Browns with a 66-yard catch-and-run at the end of the fourth quarter. He caught a short pass and took off down the field, ultimately getting tackled at the Cincinnati three-yard line. He broke an initial tackle at the catch point, which helped lead to the long gain.


Los Angeles Rams 31, Arizona Cardinals 9

What you need to know

Los Angeles Rams - Even without Todd Gurley, the Rams committed to go back to basics in Week 16. After a sack/fumble ended their first drive, the Rams ended the game with 41 carries. The Rams held the ball for an incredible 37 minutes in this game, leaving the Cardinals with just 49 offensive plays (56 plays per game is the Cardinals average - 29th in the NFL). The Rams mostly leaned on newly signed vet CJ Anderson, but rookie John Kelly did get some work and had a very impressive redzone carry where he turned a loss into a five yard gain. The Rams didn't show a lot in this game, but their runningback pass game was completely non-existent this week which could be a concern going forward.

Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals were no match even for the Todd Gurley-less Rams. On the positive side Josh Rosen avoided turnovers for only the second time this season and rushed for a career-high 49 yards. However, their struggle to score with even modest opposing offenses and a lack of a run game was again the theme by the Cardinals. Arizona looks ahead to 2019 with their needs for more play-makers on offense and improving their offensive line.

QB Jared Goff, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 24 - 216 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 6 - 1 - Things were looking good on the first drive. Rhythm and timing there, standing in the pocket and being patient even with the Cardinals sending blitzed. The drive suddenly ended on a sack/fumble where Goif had to hold the ball for a beat and step up in the pocket, and Chandler Jones just destroyed the Rams' right tackle around the edge. On the next drive, the Rams started really dialing up their rushing attempts. Goff almost did throw a deep touchdown to Robert Woods on the drive, but just underthrew him. After matriculating the ball downfield with the run, the Rams capped the drive off with a Read Option from the one yard line, where Goff kept the ball and scored a rushing touchdown. He played very conservatively for the rest of the game, but he did uncork an absolutely beautiful deep ball to (wide open) Robert Woods for a fourth quarter touchdown.

RB C.J. Anderson, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 167 - 1, Rec: 1 - -5 - 0 (3 targets) - With both Todd Gurley and Malcolm Brown out, the Rams turned the load over to recently-signed CJ Anderson. Rookie John Kelly did get plenty of work, Anderson didn't do anything fancy, just running the Rams' staple outside zone concept. He was decisive with his cuts and was very physical through contact. He clearly lacks a top gear, but he's still very capable of sifting through traffic then squaring up and running behind his pads when a defender tries to make a tackle. His comfort with these run concepts is very apparent after all the time he spent in Denver. The Rams did try to go to the Outside Zone/Screen a few times, but the Cardinals swarmed all over it and the Rams had no success with it. That's probably the most concerning issue to take from this game.

RB John Kelly, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 40 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets) - His first carry came from the 6 yard line on the Rams' second drive. He ran Outside Zone. A defender almost blew it up off the edge for a multiple yard loss, but Kelly hurdled him then avoided to other defenders once he landed on his feet. It turned a sure-fire loss into a gain of 5, putting the ball at the one yard line and setting up Goff's easy Read Option keep touchdown on the next play. It was a very impressive and important run that won't show up on the stat sheet. Neither Kelly nor Anderson was particularly effective in the run game, but Kelly was able to bring in one of his checkdown targets (he did somewhat bobble it, but was wide open underneath which allowed him to secure the ball). Again, the RB passing game is the most concerning aspect going forward for the Rams if they cannot count on a completely healthy Gurley.

WR Robert Woods, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 15 - 1, Rec: 6 - 89 - 1 (7 targets) - Woods got a trio of targets in a row on the Rams' second drive. The first was almost a deep touchdown reception that was just slightly underthrown. The route was fairly well covered, the ball just would have been needed to be placed in an absolutely perfect spot over Woods' outside shoulder. He did beat his man and got deep in the 4th quarter on a Deep Corner route. He completely dusted the corner in man coverage at the top of his route and got wide open, beating the single high safety who was in pursuit to the endzone.

WR Brandin Cooks, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 27 - 0, Rec: 3 - 35 - 0 (3 targets) - The Rams didn't really take Cooks out the garage. He did have a big 3rd down reception for 18 yards on a Deep Curl, where he settled in a deep zone between Patrick Peterson and the safety to that side.

WR Josh Reynolds, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 44 - 0 (2 targets) - Reynolds was hardly targeted in this game, but both of his receptions were for good gains. His route beating safety from slot on a deep out for 1st catch was very impressive.

TE Gerald Everett, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0, Rec: 5 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - The Rams actually gave him some of their Jet Sweep carries in this game and he did fairly well with them, taking one for a gain of 12.

QB Josh Rosen, 44 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 23 - 87 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 49 - 0 - Rosen did not finish the game against the Rams, being pulled in the mid-fourth quarter of the blowout for Mike Glennon. Rosen struggled mightily despite posting a career-high 49 yards on the ground and avoiding turning the ball over for the only the second time all season. Rosen did nearly throw a couple of interceptions with questionable decision-making on deep passes into heavy traffic. Rosen’s productive moments were short passes in-rhythm, an area of the field the Rams defense did not protect often. Rosen has overt needs for additional weapons on the outside as the return of Chad Williams, a former Day 2 draft pick, was of little import this season and the midseason loss of Christian Kirk magnified Arizona’s deficiency.

RB David Johnson, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 35 - 0, Rec: 1 - 32 - 1 (5 targets) - Johnson posted his seventh game of less than 50 rushing yards on the season and his third straight thus performance. Johnson was held firmly in the check on the ground until a later-game well-blocked hole results in more than 15 yards. While Johnson saw a healthy five targets, most were off-target throws and another was tipped away as Johnson worked down the seam. The highlight play for Arizona’s offense against the Rams was a Larry Fitzgerald trick-play pass to an open David Johnson downfield for a long touchdown for Johnson’s lone catch of the game.

WR Larry Fitzgerald, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 32 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 6 - 53 - 0 (9 targets) - Fitzgerald led Arizona with nine targets, but his highlight came on a touchdown pass he threw to David Johnson for Arizona’s lone end zone trip against the Rams. It was Fitzgerald’s second completion and first touchdown of his long NFL career as a passer. Fitzgerald was peppered with short targets early in the game, logging four of his six catches in the first 20 minutes. In the second half, Fitzgerald had a rare after-the-catch opportunity producing more than 10 additional yards in the otherwise middling Arizona offensive performance.

WR Trent Sherfield, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 62 - 0 (6 targets) - Even with Chad Williams back in the lineup, Sherfield was the unquestioned secondary receiver to Larry Fitzgerald against the Rams. Sherfield caught all six of his targets with two highlight plays among them. First, Sherfield made a nice move after-the-catch turning a hitch route into more than 10 yards. Also, Sherfield made a highlight toe-tap on a sideline route, the best catch by Arizona in the game and one of the better plays by receivers around the NFL of the week.

TE Ricky Seals-Jones, 5 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets) - Seals-Jones’ struggles continued in Week 16 with a single target, his lowest total of the season. Seals-Jones corralled a short crossing route but was passed by a myriad of other Cardinals pass-catchers in the pecking order against the Rams. Seals-Jones’ touchdown-less streak continued to 12 games and the converted wide receiver is barely averaging 10 yards-per-catch on the season.


Atlanta Falcons 24, Carolina Panthers 10

What you need to know

Atlanta Falcons - Julio Jones was on a pitch count today but had a pivotal third-down conversion to get Atlanta to the Carolina three during the first drive. He also finished the drive with a crossing route along the end line to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Calvin Ridley dropped a pivotal throw in the first half inside the Carolina five but rebounded with a 75-yard score against a busted coverage up the left sideline to begin the second half. Mohamed Sanu paced the receivers with third-down conversions as a runner and receiver. He also scored on a 44-yard pass in the third quarter. Brian Hill, subbing for Ito Smith, earned three fourth quarter runs for over 50 yards but fumbled the ball on one of them attempting to hurdle a defender. Hill earned 60 yards on a run to end the game over the century mark and to seal the contest. Atlanta’s defense made three key red zone plays in this game to preserve a lead, including a great interception by defensive end Jack Crawford at the Atlanta goal line at the end of the half. Brian Poole recovered a fumble in the first half and intercepted a third-quarter pass at the Atlanta 16, and Desmond Trufant made two key fourth-quarter pass defenses in the red zone to prevent scores.

Carolina Panthers - With Cam Newton out of commission, the Panthers turned to backup Taylor Heinicke. The former Old Dominion quarterback was consistently under duress, Atlanta's pressure packages giving him headaches on his first professional start. Red zone turnovers crippled the offense's chances, with Heinicke committing some rookie-style errors. Christian McCaffrey set a landmark for receptions for running backs in the losing effort, contributing with bullish running between the tackles and bamboozling moves in space after the catch. Curtis Samuel stood out with a brave performance, showing good toughness at the catch point, strong hands on 50-50 balls and tenacity. Ian Thomas caught the lone touchdown pass of the game, leaping high above the defender in coverage to pull down an intentionally tall Heinicke pass.

QB Matt Ryan, 48 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 26 - 239 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - -1 - 0 - The quarterback leaned on Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu during the first drive, finding them over the middle and in the flats to drive the field, converting a pair of third downs on the way to a touchdown pass in the right corner at the end line to Jones. Ryan had a golden opportunity to earn the lead after Carolina fumbled the ball away at its 10 yard-line to begin its third series, but Ben Garland got beat on the next pay which resulted in a sack fumble of Ryan as he was bringing the ball back to throw. Carolina regained possession and Atlanta missed the opportunity. Ryan found Austin Hooper on a 32-yard sail route that set up a game-tying field goal after Calvin Ridley dropped a pass targeted inside the Carolina 5. Ryan got some help from the ground game and Ridley in the third quarter, including a 75-yard touchdown for the lead when Ridley ran past a busted Cover 2. Later in the third quarter, Mohamed Sanu took an over route for a 44-yard score to pad the lead to 14 points.

RB Tevin Coleman, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 51 - 0 (1 targets) - He earned seven yards on a toss to left end from a heavy set. He ran into his own man and was limited to two yards to begin the next series. He followed up with six yards into a nice crease off left guard. Coleman earned 20 yards on a nice cut downhill of the center in the middle of the third quarter. Brian Hill earned more carries as Atlanta preserved a fourth-quarter lead despite a numbe of Falcons three-and-outs.

RB Brian Hill, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 115 - 0 (1 targets) - He earned a short gain up the middle for two yards in the red zone against no openings in the Carolina defense during the first drive. Once again, Hill got hemmed in up the middle during the drive and had to slowly find a bounce-out for a short gain from the Carolina three to set up a third and goal. He didn’t earn more than a yard on a second-down run later in the third quarter while Coleman earned a breather. Hill made a nice bounce to right guard and then cut back against the grain to the left flat and up the sideline for a strong gain but then punched Kareem Jackson with a stiff-arm to the head as he left the boundary. He then had to strong runs up the left side of the line, including a play into the flat where he hurdled a defender. However, he fumbled the ball during the hurdle and Carolina recovered. Atlanta continued using Hill during the following series.

WR Mohamed Sanu, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 29 - 0, Rec: 5 - 81 - 1 (8 targets) - He converted a third down on the opening drive from a stack formation running a sharp over route and earning another six yards after the catch. Sanu earned 24 yards on a Wildcat keeper that he took up the middle and then bounced ot the sideline around the cornerback to the Carolina 16 later in the drive. On first and goal from the three, he was targeted wide on a fade route. He earned a shallow cross during the second quarter for 5-6 yards to set up a third and two. Sanu earned a target on a hook route early in the third quarter on third down but the defensive back cut off the route to force a punt. He scored on an over route where he slowed down just enough to avoid the coverage on the other side of the field and turned the reception up field for a 44-yard score. Sanu earned seven yards early in the fourth quarter on another crossing route against tight coverage

WR Julio Jones, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 1 (5 targets) - Jones earned 11 yards to begin the game on a short pass to the right flat and then was out of the game for the next two plays after facing physical play on the tackle. He was in and out of the lineup for the rest of the drive. He caught a second target during that drive for nine yards as the slot receiver on a settle route under the zone. He earned 12 yards on third down on a crossing route and turned up field on Luke Kuechly to the Carolina three. He scored on a route crossing the end line to the right corner of the end zone on third down to culminate Atlanta’s first drive. Jones earned a deep post in the middle of the third quarter but Ryan led Jones too far.

WR Calvin Ridley, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 90 - 1 (5 targets) - Ryan targeted Ridley while under pressure on an in-breaking route and Ridley took a late hit by Eric Reid and Ridley jammed his leg into the defender while sliding to the ground. Ridley dropped a tough third-and-two pass between a pair of defenders inside the Carolina five. The ball went through his hands, bounced off his chest, and then he took the hit in the back. Calvin Ridley made his first catch streaking up the left sideline for a 75-yard score against a busted Cover 2 zone on the first play of the second half. He gained a few yards on a shallow route on the next drive. He earned a first down on a short hook and dove for the first down on the drive after that.

WR Russell Gage, 8 offensive snaps (2 targets) - On the third play of the game, he ran the corner post against tight coverage that knocked the play-action target away.

WR Marvin Hall, 11 offensive snaps (1 targets) - He earned a slant on a third and four early in the fourth quarter but James Bradberry broke up the pass from trail coverage and forced a punt.

TE Austin Hooper, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 36 - 0 (2 targets) - Ryan found Hooper on a sail route for 32 yards against the zone in the second quarter, earning 7 of those yards after the catch. It was most of his production for the day.

QB Taylor Heinicke, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 53 - 274 - 1 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 3 - 33 - 0 - Making his first NFL start, Taylor Heinicke showed incredible toughness throughout in a performance filled with moxie. After a fumble on the opening quarterback-center exchange, he calmed down and leaned on Christian McCaffrey to move the chains. A well-orchestrated opening drive ended in a touchdown pass to Ian Thomas. Heinicke, feeling the pressure, rolled to his left and held the ball for as long as he could before throwing a high pass to the back line of the end zone. Thomas went high into the air for the pass and came down with it beautifully. Heinicke sustained a nasty elbow injury in the second quarter, forcing him out of the game for a few plays. He came back into the game, but mistakes plagued him from that point. His first of three interceptions came on a roll right in the red zone, with the ball being tipped on a pass before landing in the arms of an Atlanta player. Heinicke scrambled when the opportunity presented itself, but often inviting pressure by backing up from the pocket rather than stepping up into it. A rookie mistake on his second pick was costly as Heinicke fell victim to staring down his intended receiver, allowing the defensive back to jump the pass. The final nail in the coffin for the day came on a deep heave down the left sideline. The Atlanta defensive back tracked the receiver all the way and made a fantastic play on a ball coming over his shoulder.

RB Christian McCaffrey, 82 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 101 - 0, Rec: 12 - 77 - 0 (13 targets) - Christian McCaffrey provided the bulk of the production for the Panthers offense, with inexperienced quarterback Taylor Heinicke leaning on him often. McCaffrey set the record for most receptions by a running back in a single season, but the landmark day was business as usual for the tough runner. McCaffrey produced some outstanding moves in the open field as a receiver, including a spin move that left an Atlanta player grasping at air. As a runner, he bulled his way between the tackles, seeming to surprise the Falcons at times with his leg drive. He had ample opportunity in the red zone, but the offense was unable to punch it in. McCaffrey was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter by the coaching staff with the game out of hand.

WR Jarius Wright, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 69 - 0 (8 targets) - Jarius Wright was more involved than usual in the offense in this game, partly due to the high volume of pass attempts. A fumble on his second catch ñ the ball jarred loose as he tried to make a move up the field ñ ended a Carolina drive and set Atlanta up in excellent field position. Wright linked up later with third-string quarterback Kyle Allen on a seam route, exploiting a breakdown in the Atlanta secondary. Wright was mostly limited, however, to short catches for minimal yardage.

WR Curtis Samuel, 78 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 41 - 0 (13 targets) - Curtis Samuel distinguished himself in a less-than-ideal offensive environment, showing excellent toughness and will throughout. He was often targeted deep by Taylor Heinicke, with the first shot falling short of a streaking Samuel, who overran the play. Samuel made impressive catches on several off-target throws, running crisp routes and rarely letting his quarterback down. A red zone target on a shallow crossing pattern was borderline catchable, but the Atlanta defensive back was able to pop the ball loose from a despairing Samuel's grasp. Another deep target late in the game - a shot to the right corner of the end zone - was broken up by an Atlanta defensive back.

WR Devin Funchess, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (4 targets) - The forgotten man of the passing offense, Devin Funchess was not targeted until the second half, with his only catch coming on a deep out pattern to the left sideline. A subsequent target over the middle was too low for him to gather, with pressure affecting Taylor Heinicke's throw.

WR D.J. Moore, 86 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (7 targets) - D.J. Moore found little joy with backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke at the helm. An early deep target down the right sideline saw the pass thrown behind him on what appeared to be a miscommunication. When he got the ball in his hands on a shallow cross, he turned up the field instantly and looked dangerous, but those opportunities were few. A deep target down the left sideline late in the game fell agonisingly incomplete after Moore dove at full stretch to haul it in.