New York Giants 41, Washington Redskins 35
What you need to know
New York Giants
- 1. Jones had excellent pass protection and the Giants offensive line dominated up front. This allowed Barkley to excel on the ground too.
2. It took a long time for Barkley finally looks like the 2018 version. Perhaps it was the ankle finally healing, perhaps it was the Redskins porous defense but fantasy owners were delighted.
3. The Redskins defense blew many assignments and this gave the Giants many big plays down the field.
- Dwayne has showed some positive progression the last few weeks of the season. Although against mediocre competition it is still a pleasure to see the quarterback take some steps forward and show he has potential. Hopefully he isn't injured badly because a healthy offseason is much needed. Once they get Derrius Guice
healthy it will be interesting to see how the offense looks with Dwayne Haskins
, Terry McLaurin
, and Derrius Guice
. Everything for Washington will ride on how the organization decides to develop and prioritize the progression of their franchise quarterback.
QB Daniel Jones
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 42 - 352 - 5 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0 - Daniel Jones
was completing passes all over the field against the Redskins who were powerless at times to stop him. Jones had good pass protection on many of his throws and he was patient in the pocket, allowing his receivers to uncover and give them extra time. The dominant rushing attack on the ground also aided Jones who kept the defense guessing as he spread the ball very well. He found Shepard wide open on a go route for a score down the sideline, simply heaving a pass towards the pylon which was slightly under thrown but it did not matter. Jones didn't scramble that much and mostly moved around the pocket to set up throws down the field on the run. The defense did not cover Barkley on a long developing seam route and Jones hit him for a long touchdown. He did miss Slayton on a deep out pattern but this did not bother him. Jones was able to pick receivers over the middle and keep the Giants moving throughout the game. His next touchdown was on a short out route by Latimer who was then able to turn it up-field and score in the redzone. Jones scored shortly afterwards again, finding Smith who the Redskins clearly had missed an assignment on as he was wide open. He showed excellent accuracy and touch hitting Tate just before he ran out of bounds on a deep out to keep the Giants going downfield late. Jones scored the final touchdown in overtime which was a simple slant pattern over the middle to his tight end. The Redskins defense was poor and left many receivers uncovered but Jones was able to make them pay, which is a great sign for the rookie.
RB Saquon Barkley
, 68 offensive snaps, Rush: 22 - 189 - 1, Rec: 4 - 90 - 1 (4 targets) - Saquon Barkley
was spectacular on Sunday and completely dominated the Redskins as he ran all over them. Barkley got big play after big play and helped completely transform field position for the Giants after just one play
at times. He was spinning away from contact and slipping out of the grasp of the first defender all game long. Barkley exploded down the sideline early in this game as the Redskins defenders did not cover the edge well, allowing the Giants to easily seal it and this opened up a massive running lane. Barkley found another massive sealed edge on the right side, which he was able to exploit down the field and jump over the goal line for the score. The Redskins defense blew coverage on him on a seam route and he was wide open for a deep seam route touchdown play. Barkley could have had a second rushing touchdown in overtime on a speedy run outside but was tackled out of bounds one yard shy of the endzone. He is very dangerous in the open field and really punishes defensive lapses, of which there was plenty on Sunday.
WR Golden Tate
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 96 - 0 (11 targets) - Golden Tate
had an uncharacteristic drop on the sideline early in this game but shook this off to be the Giants leading receiver. Tate is a tough football player and didn't go down easy. He fought hard after the catch and routinely made the extra effort to secure the first down. He then got wide open on a deep post route and secured the pass for a big first down. Tate made a terrific catch along the sideline, timing his break perfectly and doing well to
keep his feet in bounds on a broken play. Tate almost hauled in the Hail Mary attempt from Jones as time was expiring late in the game, though he would likely been tackled in the field of play before scoring. He has shown he still has plenty left in the tank throughout his season with the Giants. Tate always shows he has the speed to get downfield and the toughness to fight for catches in traffic over the middle, a really dependable receiver who can be a threat all over the field.
WR Sterling Shepard
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 76 - 1 (6 targets) - Sterling Shepard
started off the game with a bang and a touchdown but somewhat got forgotten afterwards. He was wide open on a go route down the sideline early on. The pass was far from perfect but Shepard had so much room to work with that he easily scored. Shepard got some more work over the middle and kept involved here and there. He has excellent chemistry with Jones and his hands are incredible reliable. Shepard typically doesn't break big plays down the field for touchdowns. He is more of a possession receiver with agility and hands to cause problems over the middle. Shepard secured several first downs in this role as the game progressed on curl/drag routes. Jones spread the ball so much that Shepard had to share the targets with his teammate.
WR Cody Latimer
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 44 - 1 (7 targets) - Cody Latimer
didn't register too many catches but he made them count and even managed to get into the endzone. Latimer almost scored on a deep out pattern but the pass was batted down at the last second as the defender was just able to get to it. It didn't matter as he scored shortly afterwards. Latimer secured a slant pattern outside in the redzone before turning up-field and squeezing between several defenders for the touchdown. Latimer had several more catches, mostly on slant plays to take advantage of soft coverage and he did what was asked of him well. Latimer has too many receivers to compete with to be a reliable fantasy starter but will have the odd touchdown here and there.
WR Darius Slayton
, 20 offensive snaps (2 targets) - Darius Slayton
did not register a single catch as Daniel Jones
looked elsewhere against Washington. He was wide open on an out route but his quarterback missed him with a bad ball. Slayton could do little else as Barkley and company
destroyed the Redskins defense. It was his teammates day to shine and Slayton will have to wait his turn, fantasy production at receiver is difficult to predict in this giants offense. Slayton has been typically boom or bust, clearly bust on a day like this.
TE Kaden Smith
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 35 - 2 (8 targets) - Kaden Smith
really contributed well on Sunday and came up with two crucial touchdowns. He started off with a short screen pass that went for few yards, speed and agility isn't his best asset as a player. Smith was wide open
in the endzone and settled in a soft spot to provide an easy throwing lane for Jones for the score. Smith scored again on a simple slant pattern over the goal line and secured it while he boxed out the defender for a second touchdown.
He showed very dependable hands, catching a lot of balls in traffic and over the middle. Smith also has good chemistry with Jones and can read the soft spot in zone coverage when given time. Somewhat unreliable as a every week fantasy starter, he's worth a flyer due to the touchdown potential.
QB Case Keenum
, 35 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 22 - 158 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 1 - 1 - Case Keenum
had to fill in for Dwayne Haskins
as he was knocked from the game due to injury. His day got off to a shaky start punting quickly on his first possession. On his following possession he led the team on a touchdown drive. It was capped off by touchdown in the back of the endzone to Steven Sims
. He saved his most impressive drive for last as he marched the offense ninety-nine yards for a game tying touchdown. His twenty-yard pass to get Washington out of the endzone got the drive started. He converted two third downs as well. On first and goal, Case punched it in himself after everyone was covered on the play. It was a gutsy play as he almost fumbled trying to squeeze in between two defenders for the score. Case made some clutch throws and helped Washington make a comeback.
QB Dwayne Haskins
, 35 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 15 - 133 - 2 TD / 0 INT - Dwayne Haskins
had his best game of the year against the Giants. He appeared to be playing with the utmost confidence and a level of command that hasnÕt always been there. Dwayne completed his first eight passes of the game. He kept plays alive and made throws from various platforms to keep convert first downs. It was also notable that Dwayne orchestrated an opening drive touchdown for the first time this year. Both of his touchdown drives it seemed as if he is starting to understand the value in his mobility. He constantly made plays on the move and showed a willingness to make a play when things break down. DwayneÕs fantastic day was derailed by an ankle injury at the beginning of the second half.
RB Adrian Peterson
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 36 - 1, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (2 targets) - Adrian had a difficult time getting going in this game although he did get a healthy dose of work. He averaged less than three yards per carry as the run game was stagnant most of the afternoon. However, Adrian scored a touchdown in this game on a goal line carry for Washington. He also chipped in two catches but didnÕt make much of an impact in the passing game. Seventeen yards was AdrianÕs longest carry but he was otherwise held in check.
RB Chris Thompson
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 34 - 0, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Chris Thompson
had a combined twelve touches but wasnÕt able to make much of an impact. He calling card is in the passing game, but his four targets resulted in four catches for less than twenty yards. He did receive a goal line carry but wasnÕt able to convert the touchdown.
WR Steven Sims
, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0, Rec: 6 - 64 - 2 (10 targets) - Steven Sims
had his most productive day of the year against the Giants. He caught six of his ten targets and scored two touchdowns. Both touchdowns were in the redzone and it seems that he is becoming a key threat for them when in scoring position. His second touchdown came on a beautifully executed double move that got him open in the back of the endzone. His speed has become a real factor down the stretch and WashingtonÕs offense has looked much better with him involved opposite Terry McLaurin
WR Terry McLaurin
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 86 - 0 (9 targets) - Terry McLaurin
caught seven of his nine targets and led the team in catches. Terry had a chance to have an even bigger day, but Dwayne overthrew him in the first quarter. TerryÕs biggest catch of the day came late in the fourth quarter as they were driving to tie the game. He caught a contested out route pass that kept the WashingtonÕs offense on the field. Terry had no problem getting open throughout this game. He didnÕt score but maintained involvement throughout this game.
WR Kelvin Harmon
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 11 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (6 targets) - Kelvin Harmon
found a way to get involved today as he recorded five catches. Washington was in comeback mode majority of the second half which led to a pass heavy attack. Therefore, this allowed Kelvin to be more involved that usual. He is usually third or fourth option in the passing game which leads to inconsistent productivity. KelvinÕs size and catch radius is evident and it was utilized today on some of his catches down the middle of the field. When Washington has a positive game script it will be difficult for Kelvin to get involved.
TE Jeremy Sprinkle
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Jeremy Sprinkle
had two catches on three targets but did not make an impact in this game. Even during a pass heavy game script, Jeremy still could not find a way to get in the action and produce.
TE Hale Hentges
, 28 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 1 (2 targets) - Hale Hentges
made an appearance for the Redskins today and didnÕt disappoint. He only had two catches in this game, but both were extremely important receptions. One of them was a huge third down conversion on the final drive then he followed it up with the game tying touchdown. Hale didnÕt play much as the backup tight end but he made an impact with limited snaps.
Pittsburgh Steelers 10, New York Jets 16
What you need to know
- Coming into Week 16 against the New York Jets, the Steelers have a lot of story lines to pay attention to. The Steelers are still firmly in the playoff hunt and control their own destiny if they win the rest of their games. The Steelers were facing off against Le’Veon Bell for the first time since time and Hines Ward
was coaching against his former team.
In a game where the Steelers only allowed one offensive touchdown you would think they had a good opportunity to win. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a point during this game where the Steelers felt in control offensively. The offensive line was getting a good push in the passing game, but both Devlin Hodges
and Mason Rudolph
were not able to do their parts to help sustain the passing game.
Late in the fourth quarter the Steelers were given one last possession to win the game with under two minutes left and the burden on Devlin Hodges
’ shoulder. Unfortunately, with two missed conversions at the end of their drive, the Steelers offense stalled out and they could not pull off a comeback victory.
New York Jets
- The Jets appear to be really good on opening drives, and then really inconsistent beyond them. Yes, the Steelers defense can be effective – and they can stop the run – but for some reason once the Jets get through that first script, they don’t seem to be able to move the ball. Anderson seems to be your best bet for production, but it’s hard to feel confident with him, especially when his value can hinge on scoring. Jamison Crowder
is dropping the ball, and not as involved as you’d like. And LeVeon Bell
is not himself, especially behind a bad offensive line.
QB Mason Rudolph
, 33 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 20 - 129 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0 - Rudolph came in to replace Devlin Hodges
who was benched after throwing his second interception of the first half. The difference between Rudolph and Hodges was evident immediately. Hodges delivered an accurate pass without much zip and Rudolph could deliver an accurate ball, but his was more scatter show and had more zip on it. Rudolph’s first pass attempt was thrown behind Diontae Johnson
. Johnson’s momentum was take him across the field and he wasn’t able to make the adjustment to the ball for a reception. On two almost devastating back to back plays, a fumble was saved by a false start penalty and Rudolph’s following pass was nearly intercepted when the pass was behind McDonald and fell through the fingers of a Jets defender. Rudolph was starting to get into a rhythm and was getting the ball out quickly with the Steelers offensive line not providing much protection. In the third quarter, Rudolph went back to the bench after taking a big hit and injuring himself.
QB Devlin Hodges
, 34 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 17 - 84 - 0 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0 - It is either feast or famine for the Steelers passing game and unfortunately in Week Intercepted on the first d it was famine. Hodges through an interception on the first drive of the game. As he stepped up in the pocket, Hodges delivered a pass of the middle of the field while targeting Vance McDonald
. The linebacker who intercepted the ball make an incredible play on the ball in the air. Hodges’ second interception was just as good as the first. Hodges was trying to hit his receiver in the back of the end zone and didn’t have enough loft on the ball. Marcus Maye was able to make a great play on the ball in the air for Hodges’ second pick of the first half. Hodges was benched after his second interception and then reentered the game after Mason Rudolph
was injured. Hodges drew a sack when rolling to his right. The defender came through the line untouched and put the Steelers out of field goal range in the fourth quarter. Showing to be their own worst enemy, Hodges takes another sack. Hodges was sacked on three consecutive drop backs. On the last sack Hodges held the ball too long and is showing signs of being reluctant to pull the trigger on a pass. On Hodges’ final two pass attempts of the game he gave his guys an opportunity to make a play for the team. The next to last pass attempt of the game Hodges delivered a catchable ball close to the endzone for James Washington
. Washington had his hands on the ball, but the reception was broken up at the last minute. The last pass of the game Hodges got the ball off and gave Juju Smith-Schuster a shot to make a play to keep the game alive. The ball was a little high, but Smith-Schuster had a chance to make the play. The ball went right through his hands.
RB James Conner
, 9 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 32 - 0 - Even after being stuffed for a loss of yards on the first rush attempt of the game, early on Conner was the most explosive part of the Steelers offense. Conner found good space up the middle on his second carry and the Steelers’ offensive line was getting a great push against the Jets defensive line. Conner was showing fresh legs with three runs of more than 10 yards. Conner ended up leaving the game early. Again.
WR Diontae Johnson
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 81 - 1 (9 targets) - The development of Diontae Johnson
over the last several weeks has been impressive. Johnson has went from a rookie who committed frequent penalties and drops to a go to member of the receiving group. In fact, Johnson has been the most targeted wide receiver for the Steelers over the last two weeks. In Week 16, Johnson’s first reception was a slant and showed excellent acceleration after the reception and was able to follow up with a great concentration after a reception to keep ahold of the pass. Johnson’s best reception came on an over the shoulder grab for a touchdown. Showing nuance in his route, Johnson faked going inside and was able to not only get a step on the defender, but also pull away from the coverage. Johnson’s final reception of the game came on off coverage. Johnson received the ball in open space and was able to make a play to make the defender miss.
WR James Washington
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 41 - 0 (8 targets) - The splash plays were almost there for James Washington
which would have taken a good night to a great night. After starting the game being take down on a gruesome looking horse collar tackle where Washington’s knees buckled and he was checked out on the sideline, Washington came back in quickly. Washington was quickly targeted and made a great high point catch in traffic. Washington’s first missed catch came deep down the sideline. He has made this type of tricky adjustment on the ball before in previous games, but was not able to come up with the catch here. On the next to last play of the game, Washington was targeted on one on one coverage deep down the middle of the field. The ball was delivered in a place where Washington could get both hands on the ball. Unfortunately, Washington could not bring in the pass and the drive ultimately stalled out.
QB Sam Darnold
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 26 - 183 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 3 - 0 - Darnold didn’t have a great game, but he wasn’t terrible. For a second year quarterback, it’s not really the result you want, but it’s an improvement over where he was earlier in the season. He turned the ball over once, when he was strip sacked at the end of the first half. Darnold had about three seconds to avoid the sack which came from behind when the right tackle was completely ineffective. Darnold was in the midst of throwing the ball but it was knocked away. His best throw came at the end of the very first drive of the game, as he hit Robby Anderson
with a 23-yard touchdown pass. The play, on a 3rd and 9 saw Darnold take the snap from out of a shotgun formation, while Anderson headed downfield into th end zone. Darnold didn’t have much time to throw, and got the ball off just before the defense go to him. Anderson was double covered, but Darnold put the ball high and over the head of both defenders, while Anderson jumped up to high point the pass for a score. After that the Jets were relentlessly conservative, and most of Darnold’s long gains came because his receivers did an exceptional job gaining yards after the catch.
RB LeVeon Bell
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 25 - 72 - 0, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (4 targets) - For the second week in a row, Bell got a ton of carries, but is still seeing only a handful of targets, though he caught everything thrown his way. The Steelers run defense was a stout one, and Bell is behind a poor offensive line. His yards per carry came down again and while he looked good early — three of his first four carries were for seven yards, and five of his first seven carries were five yards or more — the longer the game went, the more he struggled, with him running for -2 yards on three carries in the final drive, handing the ball back to Pittsburgh for a final shot to win. The blame for some of that still falls on the offensive line, and some of it is because the Steelers defense was both determined to stop their former teammate and able to focus on him due to poor play on the part of the Jets passing game. Still, Bell has not looked right all season, and continues to struggle with finding and getting through the hole, breaking free of tacklers and creating more yards in space.
RB Ty Montgomery
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - Montgomery may be the number two back here, but that still doesn’t amount to anything. He is mostly relegated to special teams, and wasn’t even a factor there on Sunday.
RB Bilal Powell
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Powell is battling an ankle injury, so it’s not shocking he did very little and was on the field for just four snaps.
WR Jamison Crowder
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 60 - 0 (8 targets) - Crowder led the team in yardage, but he and Sam Darnold
are struggling to be on the same page. He also had a massive drop which stalled out a drive in the second quarter, one he should have reeled in. He did have two longer plays — a 17-yard catch on a nice out route and a 15-yard play where he got wide open across the middle and was able to turn upfield for a big gain — and recovered a Sam Darnold
fumble on the opening drive.
WR Vyncint Smith
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Smith had a really nice grab in the fourth quarter, a 14-yard completion that came about because Smith had great inside position on the defender, who appeared to be mostly focused on keeping the receiver short of the first down marker. Smith caught the ball in stride and got outside of the defender, who took a bad angle and allowed Smith to gain the first down.
WR Robby Anderson
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 32 - 1 (4 targets) - Anderson’s best catch was his first catch, albeit on his second target. It was at the end of the first drive of the game, 23-yard touchdown reception where Anderson was double-covered in the end zone, but had a step on both defenders. Quarterback Sam Darnold
fired the ball high to get it over the defenders and Anderson did a tremendous job going up and snagging the ball for a score. Anderson’s first target resulted in a defensive pass interference penalty as well.
TE Trevon Wesco
, 18 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 32 - 0 (1 targets) - Wesco’s only catch was a big one, a 32-yard catch and run in the third quarter. Wesco was the outlet for Sam Darnold
on a dump pass in the flat. There were no defenders anywhere near the receiver, who turned upfield and scampered for an easy big gain.
Arizona Cardinals 27, Seattle Seahawks 13
What you need to know
- Arizona played spoiler with the impressive road win over playoff-bound Seattle despite Kyler Murray
missing a chunk of the game with a hamstring injury. Brett Hundley
showed well in relief as Arizona maintained a lead as Hundley’s mobility mirrored that of Murray within the structure of the offense as he converted situational throws to complement his rushing impact. Kenyan Drake
’s hot streak continued with an 80-yard touchdown run and more than 180 total yards as the driving force of an Arizona offense which generally struggled through the air.
- The Seahawks looked great in the early going, especially their ground game, which featured a heavy dose of Chris Carson
. But then Carson got injured, along with backfield mate C.J. Prosise
, and the wheels fell off. With a relentless pass rush that resulted in a 4-sack day for LB Chandler Jones, Russell Wilson
was hard pressed to make up for it. He made some good passes into coverage that were dropped or tipped, and tried to force the ball to Tyler Lockett
late in the game, but it was not enough to turn the tide.
QB Kyler Murray
, 37 offensive snaps, Pass: 11 - 18 - 118 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 40 - 0 - Murray played the first half before a hamstring injury put him to the sideline for the rest of the game. Murray was impactful as a runner with a throwback from Pharoh Cooper
for a rush of more than 15 yards and a scramble for a chunk gain and later a flip to Larry Fitzgerald
for a red zone touchdown among his highlight moments. The downfield passing game eluded the Cardinals (and Murray) overall and Murray nearly had a second score with a highlight back-shoulder goal line touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald
, but the play was questionably overturned by booth review.
QB Brett Hundley
, 32 offensive snaps, Pass: 4 - 9 - 49 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 35 - 0 - Hundley played the second half in Arizona’s road win over Seattle as Kyler Murray
injured his hamstring. Hundley’s mobility was on display with several impact plays as a runner, including breaking a tackle for a chunk red zone run and converting two other first downs with his legs. Hundley extended a play and hit Maxx Williams
down the sideline for his biggest impact as a passer with a downfield connection to Christian Kirk
overturned by replay.
RB Kenyan Drake
, 56 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 166 - 2, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Drake hit a high note early in the road win over Seattle with a cut to the perimeter and showing his speed in the open field for an 80-yard touchdown run. Drake sustained the offense throughout with 27 touches and a wide variety of gains from quality cuts to speed to power running. Drake broke multiple tackles to run out the clock in the closing minutes and converted a goal line touchdown on another occasion. Drake has ceded none of his workload to David Johnson
since Johnson has returned from injury to Arizona’s backfield.
RB David Johnson
, 15 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 4 - 0 (1 targets) - Johnson sparsely played against Seattle as Kenyan Drake
continued to produce well as the team’s unquestioned starter. Johnson broke a tackle on a red zone reception of note but was otherwise held in check on his limited touches. Johnson has a massive (and uncuttable by dead cap) contract for next season despite his slide to the secondary role down the stretch.
WR Larry Fitzgerald
, 60 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 1 (7 targets) - Fitzgerald led Arizona in targets and receiving yards against Seattle, finding the end zone for the first time since Week 1. Fitzgerald corralled a flip from Kyler Murray
on a broken play in the red zone before navigating to the end zone after the catch. Fitzgerald hauled in an impressive goal line back shoulder touchdown as well, before a review questionably reversed the call.
WR Christian Kirk
, 65 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 9 - 0 (5 targets) - Kirk played without restriction after being a game-time decision entering Sunday. Kirk had two near-impressive plays with a close sideline reception and later a 25+ yard reception of impressive nature challenged and overturned with replay. Kirk had an ugly third-down drop before getting in the box score with a positive play of a reverse rush for nearly 10 yards.
QB Russell Wilson
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 31 - 169 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0 - On the day that Wilson became the Seahawks all-time leading passer, the team stumbled as a whole, and Wilson himself couldn’t catch a break. On the second drive of the game, he marched the team 89 yards for the score. This included a big play to TE Jacob Hollister
and WR Malik Turner
, and finishing it off with a rare short toss to FB Nick Bell
ore for the score. He also suffered the first of five sacks on the day (four to Chandler Jones), which set the stage for what was about to come. It was truly a combination of injuries, dropped passes, pass rush, and good coverage in the secondary, that all converged to make this a slow, painful ride for Wilson. In quick succession, both starting running backs were out of the game, and the Cardinals defense began to focus on shutting down the wide receiver duo of Lockett and Metcalf. This left Wilson struggling to find secondary targets like Malik Turner
and David Moore
, with occasional success, but not consistently enough to move the chains. He didn’t target Metcalf until the second half, and when he did it was dropped. Late in the game, Wilson did his best to go vertical, targeting Lockett a number of times on deep routes. Wilson threw accurately but the magic was just not there this time, as the receiver could just not shake his coverage completely. Wilson had some success targeting the tight end, Hollister, but did not call his number nearly often enough to make a difference.
RB Travis Homer
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 16 - 0, Rec: 6 - 26 - 0 (8 targets) - Homer was the last man standing after Carson and Prosise went down, and is currently the only RB on the Seahawks active roster. When Homer entered the game, he brought some energy and a first down run right out of the gates. But after that, he was far from efficient on the ground. His saving grace was that he caught 6-of-8 targets, so despite the fact the Seahawks will likely be bringing in reinforcements, Homer may be in line for a meaningful role in week 17, and perhaps even into the playoffs.
RB Chris Carson
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 40 - 0, Rec: 1 - 20 - 0 (1 targets) - Carson was a beast in the opening quarter, but he then went down with a fractured hip, which unfortunately ends his season.
WR Tyler Lockett
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (8 targets) - Lockett was simply shut down. He caught only 1-of-8 targets thrown his way. His route running was strong, and Russell Wilson
basically force fed him on deep routes in the fourth quarter, but nothing was going right for them. On one in particular, Wilson threw a bomb to him in double coverage near the goal line – really, as perfect a throw as you’ll get in that situation, and Lockett was in perfect position – but the defense was right there, too. The rapport is still there, so it’s hard to see Lockett not finding his groove again, after putting this dud behind him.
WR DK Metcalf
, 56 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Metcalf put up a goose egg, and dropped his only target, a well thrown pass that would otherwise have been a first down.
TE Jacob Hollister
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 64 - 0 (6 targets) - Hollister may arguably have been the best receiving option against the Cardinals, and if so, was grossly under-used. He made a big play on the early scoring drive, catching a high pass for a first down. He then recovered his own fumble at the end of the play. His overall line was efficient, but with the woes the wide receivers were having, it’s surprising that he wasn’t targeted even more. With both Chris Carson
and C.J. Prosise
out for the season, this could go one of two ways for Hollister. He could end up being utilized more in the short passing game as a result, which would likely boost his production; or he could end up being called on to block more often for their replacements, which would hurt his production.
Oakland Raiders 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17
What you need to know
- -Derek Carr
was efficient, focusing on underneath throws. Most of the passing yardage came from receivers making plays after the catch.
was a workhorse, especially in the second half, filling in for Josh Jacobs
. If Jacobs is out Week 17, Washington should be a top fantasy option.
returned from a rib injury and went right back to his role as the go-to option for Carr on third downs. His 9 targets were more than double those of any other Raiders pass catcher.
Los Angeles Chargers
- Melvin Gordon
had a pretty tough game from a yardage standpoint, but caught a few breaks when other players made plays that put the ball on the doorstep of the end zone. With two 1-yard rushes, Gordon rewarded fantasy owners who started him with a pair of touchdowns, despite an underwhelming performance overall.
didn't turn the ball over, nor did he manage to throw a touchdown. He had a very efficient afternoon with the short passing game, but didn't take very many shots down the field. Part of that can perhaps be attributed to a thumb injury suffered early on. He didn't miss any snaps in this one, but it conceivably could have affected him.
had a mostly quiet afternoon, doing much of his work in the passing game. He once again looked explosive and elusive, often making the first and second defenders miss. But it was Melvin Gordon
who benefitted with the short yardage work, scoring a pair of 1-yard touchdowns and rendering Ekeler to a fantasy afterthought.
QB Derek Carr
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 30 - 291 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 1 - Carr did an excellent job of managing the game. Almost all of his passes were within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage but he was able to hit his guys in stride to allow for yard after the catch opportunities. On the Raider first possession, he hit Hunter Renfrow
on a short slant and Renfrow was able to bounce off of a tackle and get past the safety who flew down at a bad angle to get loose for a 46-yard touchdown. The Raiders next couple drives were plagued by penalties and Carr checked it down on 3rd-and-longs to play the field position game. He was masterful in the two-minute drill before halftime, driving the team 75 yards in under two minutes to take the lead into halftime. He picked apart the Chargers soft coverage with underneath throws to get deep into the red zone. From there, he took it himself. After a play-action fake he rolled right and could have tried to throw it up to Darren Waller
sprinting along the back of the end zone but instead tucked it and ran, beating the chasing linebacker to the pylon for a 3-yard rushing touchdown. With the lead, the Raiders went extremely run heavy in the second half. Carr was able to come up with some short 3rd-down completions, mostly to Hunter Renfrow
, to keep the chains moving.
RB DeAndre Washington
, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 85 - 1, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - With Josh Jacobs
sidelined, Washington again stepped into the lead role. He actually played slightly more snaps (63%) than Jacobs typically plays because the Raiders only had two backs to split touches instead of the usual three. He played exactly 63% in the last game Jacobs missed as well. Washington got off to a slow start, managing just six yards in the first quarter and 11 yards in the second quarter. It wasn’t for lack of effectiveness because over half of his first-half runs went for five or more yards, the Raiders just didn’t make much effort to get the running game going. The second half was a different story. The Raiders got the ball first out of halftime and it was all Washington. He carried it seven times on the drive and finished it off with a 5-yard touchdown run. He ran left and cut back into a big hole, going untouched until a defender glanced off of him just inches short of the goal line. The next drive Washington received six carries, as the Raiders continued to bleed the clock on long, run-heavy drives. Oakland had nine plays on their finals two drives and eight of those plays were Washington runs. He burst up the middle for a 13-yard gain and a first down with just under a minute left that put the game away. The Raiders offense hasn’t missed a beat in the two games without Jacobs due to Washington’s strong play.
RB Jalen Richard
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 11 - 0, Rec: 4 - 18 - 0 (4 targets) - Despite Josh Jacobs
being out, Richard remained in basically his same role as the third-down back and occasional change of pace runner. He played 38% of the snaps and had nine touches. The game script and the return of Hunter Renfrow
combined to limit Richard to just four targets. He had one 10-yard catch but all of his other touches went for five yards or less.
WR Hunter Renfrow
, 29 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 107 - 1 (9 targets) - Renfrow only played 46% of the snaps but made a major impact in his return from injury. He was easily the top target in the Raiders offense, seeing over twice as many targets (9) as any other pass catcher. All but three of those targets came on third downs. The Raiders first third down of the game, Carr looked to Renfrow on a quick slant. Renfrow bounced off of an attempted tackle and right past a pair of safeties to get loose for a 56-yard touchdown. He had two more third down receptions in the first quarter, both coming on underneath passes on third and long where the Chargers were able to rally and make the tackle short of the sticks. Renfrow’s only receptions that weren’t on third downs came in the two-minute drill in the final minute before halftime. He caught a 13 yard pass to get the Raiders into the red zone and had a 9-yard reception on the next play to get the ball down to the 3-yard line. The Raiders went run heavy in the second half, which led to only a few looks for Renfrow. He was able to convert both third down targets into first downs to get the Raiders into position for a field goal that put them up two scores on a key fourth-down drive late in the game. Renfrow’s clutch third-down play was the key to the Raiders offensive success and he should only see his role grow moving forward.
WR Tyrell Williams
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 82 - 0 (4 targets) - Williams has continued to play through a painful foot injury that has limited his explosion but he looked fast on Sunday. He caught a short slant on the run early in the first quarter and got loose into the secondary for a gain of 46 yards. He showed the 4.4 speed that hasn’t always been there this season due to the plantar fasciitis. He ran the same route for a 13-yard gain later in the game. He also caught a deep post for 20 yards in the two-minute drill before halftime. He was held without a catch in the second half as the Raiders went to a run-heavy offense to protect their lead.
TE Darren Waller
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 37 - 0 (4 targets) - In the second half of the season, Waller’s targets have taken a big hit when Renfrow plays. Carr seems to lock onto one guy on the majority of third down passing attempts and that guy has been Renfrow instead of Waller when both are available. Waller had an 11-yard reception running across the formation off of play action. The play has become a staple of the Raiders offense and is almost unstoppable because it requires a linebacker to sift through traffic while trying to keep up with Waller’s 4.5 speed. Waller caught a 20-yard pass over the middle. He was barely touched as he went to the ground. Thinking he wasn’t touched down, Waller got up and sprinted 40 more yards for what he hoped would be a long touchdown but the defender did get a hand on him as he was falling.
QB Philip Rivers
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 39 - 279 - 0 TD / 0 INT - Based on his erratic play this season, it was perhaps fitting that Philip Rivers
neither threw a touchdown pass or turned the ball over in what may be the final home start of his Chargers career. In what may be a microcosm of his Charger career, Rivers had to burn a timeout late in the third quarter because he couldn't hear the play call over the roar of the crowd noise, despite being at home. The Los Angeles offense just couldn't get on track in this one right from the outset. In fact, it was the first time in Rivers' entire career that he started a game by failing to register a single first down on each of the first three possessions of the contest. And he entered the game with a streak of having thrown at least one touchdown in 24 consecutive games, another mark that fell by the wayside in this one. He came close a couple of times. The first was a corner target to Mike Williams
that didn't go for a score but DID result in defensive pass interference in the end zone (Melvin Gordon
scored one play later). Another pass to Williams late in the game went right through the receiver's hands, though there was also tight defensive coverage on the play. Perhaps Rivers' best opportunity for a score came on a floater to Keenan Allen
. The pass was completed and Allen appeared headed for the goal line, but the receiver stumbled at the 3-yard line and ended up touched down just shy of the end zone. If he hadn't fallen down, it certainly would have been a touchdown. A late pass to Allen in the end zone got to the receiver's hands, but again a terrific defensive effort knocked the ball away before he could haul it in. Despite connecting for five receptions, Rivers and Allen couldn't quite get on the same page in this game. It's the continuation of a distressing trend this season, considering the incredible chemistry the two have shown throughout the years. Rivers was nearly intercepted on an early pass attempt to Allen where the receiver didn't even know the ball was heading his way (and quite frankly didn't appear to realize that it was even a passing play). The ball hit the defender's hands and Allen actually nearly caught it off the deflection, but clearly the two players weren't in sync. That followed an earlier pass play over the middle that was supposed to be in one spot, but Allen was further across the field and the timing was off. Rivers also had to deal with a thumb injury suffered early on during a weak block attempt. Austin Ekeler
was running to the right side with Rivers out in front of him. Instead of throwing a real block, he kind of stuck his arm out at the defender and appeared to jam his thumb. He got it taped at halftime, and perhaps coincidentally nearly all of the pass attempts in the second half were of the short yardage and dumpoff variety for the most part. Despite all the negatives, one silver lining is that the offensive line held up relatively well in terms of pass protection. He wasn't running for his life as we've seen in some recent games, and he did have two very nice pass plays to Allen and Williams in the second half where he showed some pinpoint accuracy.
QB Tyrod Taylor
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - -2 - 0 - Taylor came in for a third down keeper option run play in the middle of the second quarter that got blown up and went nowhere.
RB Melvin Gordon
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 15 - 2, Rec: 6 - 32 - 0 (7 targets) - Gordon was busy in the passing game, with a team high six receptions. But he really couldn't get much space on the ground in the running game. In fact, the only times it seemed like he really had any space were on each of his 1-yard touchdown runs. His first seven carries of the game went for a total of just four yards, so he was having a lot of trouble getting going. He finally broke through for a 10-yard gain, but that was by far his longest run of the game. The Chargers as a team had just 19 yards on the ground, so it was kind of incredible that the only two touchdowns they got were both by way of the run. His first run was set up by a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone that put the ball at the 1-yard line. He went in essentially untouched off the left side. Keenan Allen
helped set up Gordon's second score by stumbling down at the 3-yard line and finally being touched down at the 1. Gordon again went in up the left side, this time met at the goal line by the defense but still managing to bang in for the score. Late in the game, Gordon had the ball placed right in his hands for what looked to be a solid gain, but he dropped the ball. Announcer Trent Green
speculated that the play could have gone for 15 yards or more since it was a third down and 20 situation and most of the defenders were pretty far back.
RB Austin Ekeler
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 11 - 0, Rec: 5 - 58 - 0 (6 targets) - Despite playing second fiddle to Melvin Gordon
in terms of touches (15-9), Ekeler out-gained him 69-47 from scrimmage. Neither player did much in terms of the running game, as the Chargers totaled just 19 yards on the ground. But Ekeler did do some damage in the passing game. He picked up 17 early on a 3rd and 21 play with the Raiders playing soft coverage. Ekeler was also responsible for the first Charger first down of the game, picking it up on a sweep late in the first quarter. He looked good on a short reception in the flat late in the first half. He ran through an arm tackle on the first defender, then spun out of the next would-be tackler to pick up more yardage after the catch. In the second half, his biggest play came on a crossing route when the Raiders zone somehow lost track of the underneath receiver. Unfortunately for Ekeler, despite struggling mightily it was Gordon who got the call both times the Chargers were at the goal line. He converted both opportunities for touchdowns, relegating Ekeler to do his damage "between the 20s".
WR Keenan Allen
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -5 - 0, Rec: 5 - 71 - 0 (10 targets) - Allen's stat line looks solid, as has been the case much of the year. It just wasn't terribly explosive. He's become a very high floor, low ceiling type of fantasy player over the last 3/4 of the season. He had an opportunity to add a touchdown to his moderate stat line, but he stumbled after making the catch and ended up just shy. Rivers flipped him a floater to the right side, and Allen darted to the corner of the end zone. Unfortunately, he slipped at the 3-yard line and ended up down inside the 1-yard line. Melvin Gordon
scored on the next play. Allen was later targeted along the back line of the end zone on a jump ball, but the defender made a great play to knock it away. Curiously, Allen and Rivers seemed to be out of sync on a couple of occasions. Normally, the two veterans are totally in sync. But on one pass play, Allen appeared to not even realize the ball had been thrown to him. It hit the defender's hands, Allen nearly caught it, and eventually it fell incomplete. But he didn't even turn his head or finish his route. There was also some mis-timing on a pass play over the middle later on where Allen went to one spot and Rivers threw to another. The two did connect on a nice 20-yard gain late where Rivers put it right on Allen's hands and perfectly in stride, but those plays have been few and far between.
WR Mike Williams
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 51 - 0 (4 targets) - Williams' first reception came at the middle of the second quarter, converting a third down play for nice yardage along the sideline. Later, he drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone when the defender dragged him down in the corner. It was a curious decision by the defender, who actually appeared to have good position and could have played it straight. Regardless, the flag led to a Melvin Gordon
touchdown on the next play. Williams' name wasn't called again until late in the fourth quarter when he got wide open over the middle for another big gain and then backed it up with a first down reception two plays late. Williams was targeted on a high pass in the corner of the end zone late in the contest; the ball was in his hands, but the defender did a nice job of getting in his face to perhaps distract him and cause the incompletion.
TE Hunter Henry
, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (7 targets) - Much like Keenan Allen
, Henry had a solid albeit unspectacular stat line. His first two attempts could have gone for big yardage, but he couldn't quite hang onto what would have been a couple of tough catches. The first one was a leaping attempt along the sideline that he actually did manage to come down with, but his legs were out of bounds by the time he hauled it in. Other than that, he mostly had short gains while attacking the middle of the field. Henry gained 17 on an in and out move late in the first half, turning upfield for some yardage after the catch. But his other four receptions went for a total of just 28 yards, illustrating the type of targets he tended to see in this game.
Jacksonville Jaguars 12, Atlanta Falcons 24
What you need to know
- The Jaguar offense sputtered for three quarters before somewhat coming to life late in the game (again). The offense cannot get Fournette involved at all because the team cedes big leads early in the game. They also are not good enough at passing the football to have any drive-to-drive or play-to-play consistency when playing from behind.
- Atlanta earned four offensive series and 14 points during the first quarter of this game, which essentially were all the Falcons needed to win the contest and put them at 5-2 during the final half of the season. The story of this game was Atlanta picking on linebacker Donald Payne up the left flat with Devonta Freeman
as the receiver and the Falcons special teams making big plays. Atlanta drove the length of the field on its opening series with a mix of effective passes and runs. Freeman accounted for 33 of the 82 yards on the drive as a receiver and a runner, capping the series with a 17-yard score on a misdirection toss to the left. Atlanta’s fullback Keith Smith
forced a fumble on the subsequent kickoff and Brian Hill
recovered the ball inside the Jacksonville 25. Freeman put Atlanta up by 14 within the first five minutes of the game on a spot route under the Jaguars zone for an eight-yard. Ryan began the first quarter eight-for-eight on a mix of short and intermediate passes and had the most success on short routes in the middle of the field and intermediate routes to the perimeter. He did a good job flushing from the pocket or throwing off platform on the move on some of these targets He got too aggressive and hung a ball on a deep route for Julio Jones
that Tre Herndon cut off while working across the field for an interception early in the second quarter. Atlanta’s defensive line was effective at earning pressure during the first half with tackle-end twists, including a Vic Beasley sack of Gardner Minshew
inside the Jaguars’ five yard-line. Julio Jones
earned 100 yards during Atlanta’s first drive of the third quarter. Atlanta’s punt team pinned Jacksonville inside the two yard-line at the end of the first half and midway through the third quarter and enhanced the defense’s opportunities for pressure and led to a pair of three-and-outs.
QB Gardner Minshew
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 31 - 181 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 36 - 0 - Minshew and the offense continue to play poorly and fail to move the ball until late in the game. He was able to avoid a sack on the second drive by flipping the ball to Leonard Fournette
for an incomplete while in the grasp of a defender. He almost threw an interception (that likely would have been returned for a touchdown) on a throw to the sticks on 3rd down. The defender was playing Chris Conley
in man coverage and jumped the route right at the 1st down marker, but dropped the pass. He finally had an impressive play on a 3rd down during the opening drive of the 3rd quarter, where he subtly reset in the pocket to find Chris Conley
over the middle. However, the play was negated by a holding penalty. He had two nice back-to-back scrambles later in the 3rd, but was sacked on the next play. His one major positive passing play (42 yard Go route to Chris Conley
) was slightly underthrown and Conley had to wait a beat for the ball to arrive.
RB Leonard Fournette
, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 71 - 0, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (6 targets) - Fournette continues to be plagued by game-flow issues, as the Jaguars were down 14-0 before they even had their first possession of the day. He gets positive yards on his touches and runs hard, but the team is unable to feed him the ball and make him the foundation of the offense. He had an impressive 23-yard run early in the 2nd quarter, where he broke two tackles for additional yardage.
WR Dede Westbrook
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 5 - 0 (4 targets) - Westbrook received the first two targets of the game (both short). The second was a drop on 3rd and 4 that killed the JaguarsÕ first drive of the game. After his drop, he was not targeted again until the 4th quarter (a well-covered Go route).
WR Chris Conley
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 56 - 1 (5 targets) - Conley drew the most targets of the pass catchers, but had an overall inefficient day. He drew a Defensive Holding penalty late in the 3rd quarter that kept the drive alive and helped put the Jaguars into field goal range. He scored a touchdown on one of the few positive plays of the game for the Jaguars Š a 42 yard Go route. He beat the defender in man coverage and tracked the ball nicely (slightly underthrown). His only other reception was a big conversion on 4th and 10 late in the game, a Deep Out.
WR D.J. Chark
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 18 - 0 (7 targets) - Chark did not receive a target until the end of the first half. It was a poorly thrown slant, thrown behind him where he could not make the catch. He received the opening target of the second half, picking up around 15 yards on a Deep Out route where he found a void in the defenseÕs zone coverage. He caught a screen pass for one yard later in the drive, then did not record a catch for the remainder of the game. He drew a Pass Interference penalty late in the 3rd quarter on an in-cutting route.
WR Keelan Cole
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 1 - 23 - 0 (2 targets) - He gained around 7 yards on a Los Angeles Rams-style Jet Sweep. His only other touch came late in the 4th quarter, a 23-yard Corner route.
TE Seth DeValve
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (6 targets) - Devalve recorded all three of his catches in the 4th quarter in garbage time. He broke a 20 yard catch-and-run on his second reception when the defender fell down trying to attempt a tackle.
QB Matt Ryan
, 75 offensive snaps, Pass: 32 - 45 - 384 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 6 - 0 - Atlanta took an early lead with a good mix of pass and run during its first drive. Ryan found three different receivers for first downs during the first drive, including a slant from an empty set to Julio Jones
, a flare-out to Devonta Freeman
for 17, and play-action throw-back to Austin Hooper
on a corner route to the Jacksonville 17 that set up a 17-yard score on a toss play to Freeman. Ryan found Freeman again five minutes later with an eight-yard spot-route under the Jaguars’ zone to put the Falcons up by 14. Ryan threaded the needle to Julio Jones
on a corner route against A.J. Bouye on third-and-two during the third series for a 24-yard gain to get to midfield. Ryan found Jones on a curl route in the right flat for a first down later in the drive. Ryan converted another third-down play with a check-down to Freeman during Atlanta’s third drive, doing a good job of sliding from edge pressure to find the back. This set up a missed field goal attempt from 42 yards to end the drive. Ryan began the second quarter with a flush to his right and throw on the move to Hooper over the middle in traffic for a first down. Ryan got too confident on the next play, rolling right and going deep to Jones up the right flat and hanging the pass into the air for Tre Herndon to work across the field and pick off the pass. Ryan found Jones breaking inside for 12 yards with less than a minute in the half for a first down with an off-platform throw under pressure to get Atlanta into field goal range. Ryan opened the second half with a third-down conversion on a rail route to Freeman who made a back-shoulder catch near midfield. He followed up with a slant for 25 yards to Jones. Jarrad Wilson cut off Ryan’s target of Julio Jones
on a crossing route midway through the third quarter, intercepting the pass and ending a drive that was approaching the Jacksonville red zone.
RB Devonta Freeman
, 58 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 53 - 1, Rec: 9 - 74 - 1 (11 targets) - Ryan found Freeman in the left flat with a line drive that the back caught with a defender glued to him and the defender dropped Freeman for a loss of a yard on the third play of the game. Freeman ran a flare out to the left flat on the next play and broke through the wrap of the linebacker for a gain of 17 and a first down. Freeman took a misdirection toss to the left flat for a 17-yard score to cap off the drive, running untouched through the Jacksonville defense. Freeman ran a spot route to the left flat to cap off the second drive and turned through the safety at the two for his second score within the first five minutes of the game. Atlanta tried another misdirection toss to Freeman late in the first quarter but Jacksonville stuffed it for a three-yard loss. On the next play, Yannick Ngakoue knocked down a target intended for Freeman on a throw-out to the left flat. Ryan found Freeman over the middle on third-down with a check-down for a first down. Freeman split a pair of linebackers for the yardage. Center Alex Mack held on a second-quarter Freeman run for at least 15 yards that the officials nullified. Freeman earned the ball again for a short gain on the next play. Freeman made multiple men miss when penetration forced Freeman wide on a run off right tackle, but the Jaguars had the numbers advantage in the backfield and dropped Freeman for a seven-yard loss. Wes Schweitzer’s hold on the next play, nullified a 12-yard gain on a draw play to Freeman. Ryan found Freeman on another flare out for a short gain up the left flat with less than two minutes in the half. Later in the drive, Freeman caught a Texas Route with a nice extension towards the middle of the field coverage to get inside the Jacksonville 15 to set up a first down with 38 seconds left at the Atlanta 13. Freeman earned six yards on his first two carries of the second half and then earned the ball a third-consecutive time for a 14-yard gain and a first-down on a leaping back-shoulder rail route up the left sideline against the same linebacker he beat routinely in the first half—Donald Payne. Freeman had a 24-yard gain up the middle called back when Jaeden Graham
committed a holding foul with 4:23 left.
RB Brian Hill
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 66 - 0 - He recovered a fumble on Atlanta’s first kickoff of the game inside the Jaguars’ 25. Hill made one more cut than he should have on his first carry for a short gain up the middle during the third drive for Atlanta. Hill bounced the next run to the right edge thanks to good blocks by Austin Hooper
and Justin Gage
for a first down and a gain across midfield later in the drive. He pushed his way for two more off left guard on the next carry. Gage converted a slant for a 13-yard gain against tight coverage from a bunch set on a third-down midway through the second quarter to get Atlanta across midfield once again. Hill’s standout play on special teams continued in the second quarter when he worked into position to down a punt at the Jacksonville one with about five minutes left. Hill then downed another punt inside the Jacksonville two, midway through the third quarter. Hill earned 12 yards with a nice cutback behind the left side of the line and finished strong at the end of the run with good pad level late in the third quarter. Hill earned 18 yards up the middle on a cutback inside rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary at end the third quarter, nearly breaking into open field if not for cornerback A.J. Boye’s tackle. Hill worked the cutback inside Lindstrom on the next play for another 18 and set it up with another nice press to the line of scrimmage. He followed up with a twisting run through contact up the middle to get inside the Jaguars’ three for at least seven yards.
RB Qadree Ollison
, 1 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 1 - The rookie bulled his way through contact from three yards out on an I-formation run between the two tight ends opening the crease to put Atlanta up 16 before the extra point.
WR Julio Jones
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 166 - 0 (15 targets) - Ryan found Jones on a slant from the slot in an empty set on the second play of the game. Jones picked up the first down with a sliding catch for a short gain. Ryan threaded the needle to Julio Jones
on a corner route against A.J. Bouye on third-and-two during the third series for a 24-yard gain to get to midfield. Ryan found Jones again and with good placement to Jones’s back shoulder on a target over the middle to avoid leading him into contact but Jones dropped the ball. Jones earned a first down on a curl route in the flat underneath a cushion and made the play with Bouye wrapping him at the back. Ryan tried to squeeze a dig route into tight coverage at the end of the first quarter during its fourth possession but Jones dropped the ball after contact. Ryan got too confident on the next play, rolling right and going deep to Jones up the right flat and hanging the pass into the air for Tre Herndon to work across the field and pick off the pass. Jones earned a quick slant to begin the next series against an open cushion for 17 yards. Ryan found Jones breaking inside for 12 yards with less than a minute in the half for a first down with an off-platform throw under pressure to get Atlanta into field goal range. Jones earned a few yards on a crossing route to reach the Jaguars’ 10 with about 20 seconds left. Jones earned 25 yards on a slant during Atlanta’s first drive of the third quarter to get into field goal range. Jones dropped an arrow route in the left flat when trying turn up field before he secured it. Jarrad Wilson cut off Ryan’s target of Julio Jones
on a crossing route midway through the third quarter, intercepting the pass and ending a drive that was approaching the Jacksonville red zone. Jones earned 33 yards on an out route on a play-action throw-back to the left sideline with less than two minutes left in the third quarter. Jones bailed out Atlanta on an over route against Bouye on a third-and-long in the fourth quarter to dig Atlanta out of a possession deep in its own territory. Jones earned over 20 yards and dug Atlanta out of its territory again late in the fourth quarter on an out route on a well-anticipated throw into tight coverage.
WR Russell Gage
, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 5 - 49 - 0 (6 targets) - He earned four on the first play of the game with a Jet Sweep to left end. Gage earned four yards near the hash to get Atlanta inside the Jaguars’ eight on the second drive of the game. He found Gage on a crossing route for seven yards to end the first quarter. Ryan found Gage in the middle of the second quarter with a slant over the middle for a 17-yard gain on second-and-long. Ryan overthrew Gage on an over route on the next play, forcing a punt. Gage earned three yards on an end-around late in the third quarter and followed up with a stop route up the left flat on third down for a seven-yard gain and a first down.
TE Austin Hooper
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 82 - 0 (9 targets) - Ryan found Hooper on a play-action throw-back to Hooper on a corner route, who got wide open thanks to Olamidea Zaccheaus’ deeper route running off the zone. The pay got Atlanta to the 17 and set up a toss play to Freeman for a 17-yard touchdown. Hooper caught a stop route at the hash for six yards between defenders to begin the third drive. Ryan began the second quarter with a flush to his right and throw on the move to Hooper over the middle in traffic for a first down. Hooper earned another stop route against man coverage underneath for a four-yard gain with a little over a minute left and then Ryan tried to squeeze the ball into Hooper on the next play but the coverage knocked the ball away to set up a third and six. Hooper earned a pass working back to the quarterback along the right sideline but didn’t get out of bounds on the short gain and forced Atlanta to take a timeout late in the half. Hooper backed his way inside the five on a third-down throw to the sideline with less than 15 seconds in the half to set up a 23-yard field goal to effectively end the half and put Atlanta up by 14 once again. Ryan delivered a third-down top route to Hooper while under pressure. Hooper got his hands on the accurate throw but failed to secure it while going to the ground, forcing a punt. Hooper earned long catch on a deep corner route late in the game to put Atlanta at midfield late.
TE Jaeden Graham
, 9 offensive snaps - His most impactful play was a holding call with 4:23 left that negated a 24-yard run from Freeman.
New Orleans Saints 38, Tennessee Titans 28
What you need to know
New Orleans Saints
- A week after Drew Brees
set records, it was Michael Thomas
this week setting his own. Thomas set the single season record for receptions this week and has another game to go to extend his lead. It was a back and forth affair between the Saints and Titans this week. Brees had trouble connecting with his receivers in the early going and the Saints dug themselves into a 14-0 hole before the offense woke up. The Saints offense exploded in the 3rd quarter, scoring 21 points and taking control of the game. Alvin Kamara
finally got going with 2 touchdowns and leading the team in rushing this week. The Saints are currently sitting in the second seed position in the NFC playoffs and close the regular season against the Panthers. A win in week 17 and a loss by San Francisco would give the Saints the top seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. There is still a lot for the Saints to play for in the final week of the regular season.
- The Titans came up short against the Saints as Ryan Tannehill
put up three touchdowns and 274 passing yards while Dion Lewis
led the backfield with Derrick Henry
sidelined. Tajae Sharpe
led the team in targets and caught two touchdowns on the day, while Jonnu Smith
hauled in the other receiving touchdown and finished with 63 yards. A.J. Brown
was minimally involved through the air, but he had a 49-yard rushing touchdown. Dion Lewis
was relatively effective leading the backfield, but he was nothing close to Derrick Henry
QB Drew Brees
, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 38 - 279 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0 - It was a less than spectacular start for Brees this week. The offense just could not move the ball in the 1st half and punted on 4 of their first 5 drives. They went 3 and out on 2 of those drives and there just looked to be no spark in the offense. It looked to be a let down game after everyone was chasing records last week. Then Brees connected with Jared Cook
on a crossing pattern and the big tight end rumbled 61 yards down the sideline for a touchdown. It was the longest play of the game for the Saints and helped jump start an offense that woke up in the second half. Brees helped move the chains and manage the game while Kamara scored 2 touchdowns in the second half and then he struck again. Brees completed a long 23-yard play deep down the left sideline to Taysom Hill
and then found Cook in the right side of the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown on the very next play. It was a play action pass with Brees attacking the seam and fitting a ball perfectly between 3 defenders to Cook for the score. Brees would strike 1 more time in the game but it took 2 attempts to Thomas to get this touchdown. Originally it looked like a 14-yard touchdown to Thomas, but the play was reviewed and eventually overturned the with ball being spotted at the 1-yard line. A failed Latavius Murray
run gave Brees and Thomas another chance on the next play. It was a short and sweat slant pattern for a 2-yard touchdown that gave Brees his 3rd touchdown pass of the game and the Saints a 10-point cushion. There looked to be a little bit of celebration hang over from setting records the week before but Brees settled into form and kept the Saints firmly entrenched in the second seed for the NFC.
QB Taysom Hill
, 25 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 2 - 20 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (2 targets) - The man continues to do it all for the Saints. He threw a 20-yard pass, ran for 11 yards, and caught a 23-yard pass this week. He can line up all over the field and make plays for the Saints. He caught both of his targets, including a 23-yard deep ball down the sideline from Brees. His only other catch was a screen that got blown up for a loss of 2 yards. The Saints had him throw 2 passes this week in an effort to show teams that they are not afraid to use him as a quarterback. He is a threat to break a long run every time he touches the ball and continues to be a valuable weapon for this offense.
RB Alvin Kamara
, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 80 - 2, Rec: 6 - 30 - 0 (7 targets) - It seemed like a long time coming, but Kamara finally broke through this week. He did not rush for 100 yards or catch 10 passes this week, but he did finally find the end zone for the first time since week 3 against Seattle. His first score gave the Saints their first lead of the game and came on the opening drive of the second half. After a great kick off return and a defensive pass interference call, the Saints found themselves on the Titans 40-yard line. Kamara slipped through a hole off the left guard and sprinted down the side line and into the end zone for a touchdown. This is the type of big play we are accustomed to seeing from Kamara and have been missing in recent weeks. After the defense forced a punt on the next drive, Kamara punched in a 1-yard score off the left tackle to add to his impressive day. He saw a goal line carry go to Murray later in the game, but that is normal for the Saints to spread the ball around. Kamara also caught 6 of his 7 targets this week with the longest pass going for 14 yards. The Saints needed him to get going down the stretch and hopefully this will jump start him heading into the playoffs.
RB Latavius Murray
, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 14 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (3 targets) - It was an all-around quiet day for Murray this week. The only real noise he made was on a goal line carry in the 4th quarter that he was stuffed for a loss of a yard. The touchdown went to Thomas on the very next play and Murray did not have any other great chances. He rushed the ball 7 times and averaged 2 yards per carry. He also caught 2 of his 3 targets with the longest going for 7 yards. The Saints have used Murray extensively this season to try and keep Kamara healthy, but we are going to see them lean on Kamara down the stretch and into the playoffs.
WR Michael Thomas
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 12 - 136 - 1 (17 targets) - After the Saints game plan revolved around Brees setting the touchdown pass record a week ago, this week was all about Thomas setting the single season reception record. Brees threw 17 passes his way this week and Thomas was able to make the catch 12 times. He broke the record by 1 and will have another week to extend his lead when the Saints take on the Panthers. Thomas caught short slants, easy comeback routes, and a couple deep outs to set the record this week. The Saints were clearly favoring him to try and set the record this week. He also caught a 2-yard touchdown on a quick slant late in the 4th to give the Saints a 10-point lead. It originally looked like he had caught a 14-yard touchdown on the drive, but the play was overturned, and the ball placed on the 1-yard line. His longest play of the game went for 26 yards and Thomas was the only player to break 100 yards receiving for either team. This week was all about sheer volume for Thomas and it came at the expense of Ginn and Smith. The offense will most likely be more balanced next week and heading into the playoffs now that Thomas already has the record.
WR TreQuan Smith
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - This week was all about getting the ball to Thomas and setting another record for the Saints. Smith only saw 2 targets the entire game and caught 1 of them for 13 yards. He has carved out a bigger role in recent weeks at the expense of Ted Ginn
, but he is still not a primary weapon in this offense. The big 3 of Thomas, Cook, and Kamara are the main driving forces for this offense and Smith is going to have to fight for every catch the rest of the way.
WR Ted Ginn
, 25 offensive snaps (1 targets) - The disappointing second half of the season continued for Ginn after he was targeted a single time and failed to make the catch this week. Ginn has seen his target shares be spread out to a thriving Cook and Tre’Quan Smith who is trying to carve out a bigger role. Ginn is still the Saints best deep threat but they have not been looking for that long home run play in recent weeks. Ginn is a great weapon when playing from behind and that is just not something that Saints have done a lot this season.
TE Jared Cook
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 84 - 2 (4 targets) - Scoring 2 touchdowns while only having 3 catches is a very good day for anyone. Cook continues to excel in this offense now that he is healthy and has had more time with Brees. His first touchdown went for 61 yards after he caught a short crossing pattern and turned up the sideline. It looked like he was just going to take the first down and step out of bounds, but he was able to sneak past a defender and turn on the jets down the sideline for the score. It was the big play the Saints needed to get the offense going after they had dug a 14-3 hole in the first half. This was by far the longest play of the game for the Saints and the longest of the season for Cook. His second touchdown was a 16-yard strike up the seam to Cook. The play action fake got the defense to bite and Brees laid the ball perfectly over Cook’s shoulder and between 2 defenders for the touchdown. Cook now has 8 touchdowns for the season and looks every bit the part of the TE1 they hoped they were getting when he signed in the off season.
QB Ryan Tannehill
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 17 - 27 - 272 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 8 - 0 - Ryan Tannehill
played a solid game despite the losing effort against the Saints this week. He had pressure in his face for most of the day with a familiar struggling offensive line that contributed to Tannehill going down for five sacks--four of which came before halftime. Tannehill’s second drive of the game ended in a touchdown though, as he found Jonnu Smith
wide open in the middle of the field for a 41-yard touchdown. Tannehill made a nice throw midway through the third quarter to connect with Corey Davis
for a 22-yard gain. Just three plays later, Tannehill did a great job buying time until throwing cross-field to Tajae Sharpe
for what would end up being a 36-yard touchdown. The completion came just five yards from the line of scrimmage, but Tannehill had scrambled probably 20 yards back before pulling the trigger on the throw and allowing Sharpe to do the rest. Tannehill would connect with Sharpe again a couple drives later as he threw what may have been his best ball of the day, finding Sharpe in the back of the end zone from seven yards out. Tannehill had nobody open, but Sharpe stayed with the play and Tannehill put the throw where nobody but Sharpe could elevate to grab it in the back of the end zone. The Titans and Tannehill caught a bad break on the next drive as Tannehill completed a nice deep ball to Kalif Raymond
, but Raymond took a hard hit and fumbled it right back to the Saints. On the final drive of the game, Tannehill connected with A.J. Brown
for the first time on a well-thrown 34 yard deep ball on the left side of the field. Tannehill lofted the ball just enough to hit Brown in stride down the sideline, but that would be his last completion of the day as the Titans fell short.
RB Dion Lewis
, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 68 - 0, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (2 targets) - Dion Lewis
got the start in place of an injured Derrick Henry
and was reasonably productive in the backfield, averaging 4.5 yards per carry for 68 rushing yards while adding on a catch for 19 yards. That one reception came in the first quarter on nicely executed screen where Lewis did a great job following his blockers for the 19-yard gain--his biggest play of the day. Lewis fought hard for a 12-yard run just before halftime as he hit the hole hard and got a great push from his offensive line to grind out the 12 yards. Lewis had another big run on the first drive of the second half as he appeared to run into a wall about three-yards downfield, but instead made a nice cut to the right and accelerated towards the right sideline to complete a 17-yard run.
WR Tajae Sharpe
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 69 - 2 (6 targets) - Tajae Sharpe
had a big day as he led the Titans in targets and found the end zone for his third and fourth touchdowns of the season. His first touchdown came on a play where Sharpe did a nice job finding open space in the defense just in time for Tannehill to find him about __-yards downfield. Sharpe then turned up towards the end zone and made it in for the 36 yard touchdown reception. He would grab a couple short passes on third downs during the following possession. Sharpe then scored his second touchdown of the game midway through the fourth quarter as he was the recipient of a bullet from Tannehill, elevating in the back of the end zone to snare the catch from seven yards out.
WR Corey Davis
, 44 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 40 - 0 (4 targets) - Corey Davis
had another quiet day as he caught three of his four targets. Of his two top plays, the first included a 12-yard catch on the second drive of the game where he fought for a Titans first down. His longest catch of the game came midway through the third quarter as Davis was was wide open near the left sideline and elevated to make the catch and complete a 22-yard gain. Davis would get evaluated for a concussion late in the game as well.
WR A.J. Brown
, 62 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 49 - 1, Rec: 1 - 34 - 0 (2 targets) - A.J. Brown
saw just two targets with one reception in this game as he had a minimal impact through the air. What vaulted Brown into the end zone was actually a running play midway through the first quarter. Brown was lined up on the right side and swung left through the backfield, taking a pitch from Tannehill and immediately cut back to the middle of the field as he read the blocks downfield. Brown made it through one tackle attempt and outran the entire defense on his way to the 49-yard touchdown run to put the Titans up by two scores. Brown did haul in a 15-yard reception on the next drive, but it was called back due to an offensive holding penalty. His only actual reception of the game came late in the fourth quarter on a deep ball from Tannehill down the left sideline. Brown hauled it in over his shoulder as Tannehill hit him perfectly in stride.
TE Jonnu Smith
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 63 - 1 (4 targets) - Jonnu Smith
’s day got started with a bang as his first touch of the game was a 41-yard touchdown, the second-longest play of the game for this Titans offense. The defense bit on play action while Smith ran a great route down the seam to find himself wide open in the middle of the field. Smith then showed that spectacular acceleration, even outrunning cornerback Marshon Lattimore on his way to the end zone. Smith would lead off the following drive with another nice play as he caught a short pass just about a yard from the line of scrimmage, but got the advantage of a terrible angle taken by the Saints defender as Smith accelerated down the left sideline for a 17-yard gain.
Houston Texans 23, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20
What you need to know
- Will Fuller
left the game early, and this time it was a groin injury. He did not return, and it forced DeAndre Carter
With Fuller down, expect Keke Coutee
to be part of the offense heading into week 17 and the playoffs until they figure out the situation with Fuller.
Fuller down also means Kenny Stills
will move into a starting role and get significant snaps with the offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Tampa's once illustrious wide receiver core were without Evans, Godwin, or Miller, leaving Watson and Perriman manning two wide sets. QB Winston threw another pick on his first attempt of the game, a pick-six no less, and followed it up with three more interceptions, bringing his season total to 28. Winston managed to find Watson for one touchdown at the end of the first half. The offensive line racked up penalties galore and Tampa Bay had a field goal attempt blocked on their first drive of the game as they struggled in almost all phases. Halfback Ronald Jones
managed a solid fantasy day with a short touchdown run, seeing increased volume after Peyton Barber
was benched for an ugly fumble in the 2nd quarter.
QB Deshaun Watson
, 66 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 32 - 184 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 7 - 37 - 0 - One of Deshaun Watson
's worst performances of the season was only throwing for 184 yards and an interception. His interception was thrown on a deep ball intended for Kenny Stills
, but he left it too close to the defender to intercept the pass. Watson's longest completion of the day went to DeAndre Carter
for 39 yards, which set up the Texans for the game-winning field goal. Watson did have a touchdown to Darren Fells
reversed by replay after being down at the six-inch line. Outside of those two deep opportunities, Watson was conservative with his throws and kept to what the Buccaneers gave him.
RB Carlos Hyde
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 27 - 1, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets) - There was not much on the ground for the Texans, and Hyde's longest run of the game was six yards. With only 27 yards rushing, Hyde faced stacked boxes the majority of the game, and the Texans could not beat the Buccaneers front seven. Hyde did score the only touchdown of the game on a one-yard run.
RB Duke Johnson
, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (4 targets) - Just like Carlos Hyde
, Johnson did not have much success on the ground or catching passes. Johnson had a costly fumble deep in Texans territory. Only 16 total yards the entire game, Johnson had one of his worst performances of the season.
WR DeAndre Hopkins
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 23 - 0 (9 targets) - Much like most of the Texans offense, it was even an off day for DeAndre Hopkins
. Held to 23 yards receiving, Hopkins was played physically by Bucs defensive backs the entire game. The Texans attempted to line up Hopkins in the slot and in the backfield to get him in favorable matchups. Things were not going well for Hopkins on Saturday, which is an uncommon sight this season.
WR Kenny Stills
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 57 - 0 (9 targets) - Leading the Texans in receiving against the Bucs, Stills was able to at least give Deshaun Watson
some looks in the passing game. Watson did miss Stills after beating his defender to the middle of the field, but the ball was left behind him and picked off. Stills did most of his work on intermediate routes on the outside with his longest reception for 21 yards.
TE Darren Fells
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (3 targets) - Darren Fells
had an eleven-yard touchdown reception reversed after the replay booth ruled him down at the six-inch line. It would have been a bigger day for Fells, but he did have 17-yard reception on a bootleg that Watson hit him on the run. He continues to be the Texans' primary tight end in the offense and one of Watson's reliable targets when he throws him the football.
QB Jameis Winston
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 48 - 335 - 1 TD / 4 INT, Rush: 2 - 16 - 0 - Would you believe it, this week Winston threw another pick on his first pass attempt of the game. Cornerback Bradley Roby jumped an underthrown out route to Justin Watson
and housed it for an easy score on the second play of the game. Winston decided to double down this week, tossing ANOTHER pick-six on the next drive. The score was fortunately called back for an illegal blind side block on the return, and the Bucs defense was able to hold the Texans to just a field goal. Winston's accuracy was off on a later 1st quarter drive that saw him miss an open Justin Watson
and Breshad Perriman
in the end zone on consecutive plays, eventually settling for a field goal. Winston tossed yet another interception while looking for Perriman on a comeback route in the 2nd quarter. Tampa Bay got the ball back on on Houston's side of the field with a little under a minute left in the 1st half, and Winston managed to overthrow an open Perriman and an open Watson on the same play. Winston threw one touchdown to Justin Watson
at the end of the first half of play, buying time with his feet while Watson worked his way open on a crossing route. Winston tossed one more interception in the general direction of Ogunbowale late in the 4th quarter, cementing his status as the NFL leader in interceptions heading into week 17. Winston picked up 16 yards on the ground. He had a nifty 14 yard scramble that included a pump fake and a toss fake in the 3rd quarter.
RB Ronald Jones
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 77 - 1, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Jones benefited this week from Peyton Barber
's benching after a 2nd quarter fumble. Jones picked up the majority of his yardage on a beautiful 1st quarter run off left tackle that showcased some great open-field cuts and a nice stiff arm from Jones, who crossed the field and turned up the right sideline before being pushed out of bounds for a 49 yard gain. Jones scored on a nice cutback behind the left guard from 4 yards out in the 2nd quarter. Jones secured three of his four targets in the passing game, with one drop on a screen pass. He had a short gain on a checkdown pass in the 3rd quarter, then picked up a few more yards on crossing route late in the 4th. He leaked out of the backfield and picked up 23 yards against a prevent defense late in the 4th quarter.
RB Peyton Barber
, 8 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0 - Barber had a magnificent hurdle in the 1st quarter in which he leaped over two defenders, kept his feet, and picked up a first down and more, but the play was called back for a holding penalty on the offensive line. Barber coughed up a fumble at the end of a nice 2nd quarter run and was benched for the remainder of the game.
RB Dare Ogunbowale
, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 34 - 0 (5 targets) - Ogunbowale did not register a carry this week, but he did secure three of his five targets in the passing game. He caught a short out route on 3rd and 2 and turned it up the sideline for a 16 yard gain in the 1st quarter. He picked up another short gain on an out route in the 3rd quarter. Ogunbowale also returned kicks, and may have been a tad too enthusiastic to bring the ball out on a few returns that should have stayed in the end zone.
WR Breshad Perriman
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 102 - 0 (12 targets) - Perriman continues to make the most of his opportunities while Evans and Godwin are out, securing seven of twelve targets this week for over 100 yards. Perriman made an awesome effort on a leaping catch over a defender that picked up 27 yards up the right sideline in the 1st quarter. Perriman had a step on his defender in the end zone but was overthrown by Winston on a deep post route in the 1st quarter. Winston nearly found Perriman for another 32 yard gain up the sideline in the 2nd, but the receiver stepped slightly out of bounds with one foot as he completed the catch. He hauled in a 13 yard gain later in the same drive. Perriman secured another 16 yard gain later in the 4th quarter on a quick slant.
WR Justin Watson
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 43 - 1 (10 targets) - Watson worked as the number two option opposite Breshad Perriman
, drawing ten targets total. He was the target on Winston's first interception, an out route that was underthrown by the quarterback and jumped by cornerback Bradley Roby for a pick six. Watson had a step on his defender on a deep corner route in the end zone later in the 1st, but stumbled out of his break and couldn't haul in a surefire touchdown from Winston. Watson finally got on the board later in the 2nd quarter with a comeback route for a short gain. Watson worked his way open as Winston scrambled to the right for a short touchdown at the end of the 1st half of play. Watson picked up 9 more yards on a quick slant in the 3rd quarter then had a clutch conversion on 3rd and 4 during the last drive of the 4th quarter. Watson is strong in the middle of the field, playing a lot like Mike Evans
does in that regard, but he hasn't shown much as a downfield/deep ball threat thus far.
WR Ishmael Hyman
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 31 - 0 (3 targets) - Hyman saw his second week of limited action in the receiver rotation, securing one of three targets. He worked his way open on a deep crossing route while Winston scrambled to buy time for a 31 yard completion at the end of the 1st half, setting up a short touchdown pass to Watson just before halftime.
TE O.J. Howard
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 46 - 0 (7 targets) - Howard drew plenty of targets with seven, but secured only three of them. His first reception was a 13 yard out route late in the 1st quarter. Howard made an impressive diving catch for an 18 yard gain on a 2nd quarter crossing route. Winston found him across the middle for an 15 yard gain on the next drive.
TE Cameron Brate
, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (5 targets) - Brate was targeted in the end zone at the end of the 1st half, but had the ball batted away in tight coverage. Brate got open for a 12 yard gain up the left seam in the 3rd quarter. He had a brutal drop on a slant route that would have converted 4th down on the potential game winning/tying drive at the end of the 4th quarter.
Green Bay Packers 23, Minnesota Vikings 10
What you need to know
Green Bay Packers
- The Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-10 to improve their record to 12-3 and clinch the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers
completed 26 of 40 passes for 216 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. Aaron Jones
was the star of the night for the Packers, gaining 154 yards with two touchdowns on 23 carries. Jones also caught two passes for six yards. Jamaal Williams
rushed six times for 33 yards and caught two passes for 19 yards before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. Davante Adams
caught 13 passes for 116 yards and Alan Lazard totaled 45 yards on five receptions. Jimmy Graham
caught one pass on one target for 16 yards.
- The Vikings had everything in front of them to play for in week 16 and the offense ended up laying a big egg on Monday Night Football. The struggles by Kirk Cousins
on Monday Night Football and prime time games continued after he finished with less than 200 yards passing and an ugly interception. The rushing attack sorely missed Dalvin Cook
and Alexander Mattison
with the combination of Boone and Abdullah falling flat. The rushing offense totaled just 57 yards and Cousins was sacked 5 times for a loss of 40 yards. The defense played great in the 1st half and forced 3 turnovers of the Packers while holding a slim lead. Then the wheels fell off with Aaron Jones
breaking free for 2 touchdowns, including a 50+ yard run off the edge. The defense simply got tired and broke down because the offense could not stay on the field. It was an ugly game that does not instill much confidence heading into the playoffs for the Vikings. The plan is to rest Cook for the playoffs, but they may lose all momentum in doing so. The Vikings take on the Bears in week 17 to close out the regular season and they have several things to get right before heading into wild card weekend.
QB Aaron Rodgers
, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 40 - 216 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - -3 - 0 - Aaron Rodgers
completed 26 of 40 passes for 216 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing three times for negative three yards. This was the third game of the season where Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass, but it was also only the third time that Rodgers has thrown an interception, and his first since week six. Since week’s seven and eight, where Rodgers combined for 734 yards passing and eight touchdowns, he has failed to throw for more than 243 yards in any one game and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in only one of those seven games (a four touchdown outing against the lowly Giants). If you take away Adams 13 catches and 116 yards receiving, Rodgers completed only 13 passes for 100 yards. Rodgers lack of the prolific stats we have become accustomed to seeing from him is due to a combination of the Packers riding Aaron Jones
, as well as the Green Bay offense just having no consistent secondary target behind Adams. It is hard to underestimate a team that has won 12 games, but assuming the Eagles make the playoffs, the Packers have a grand total of three wins against playoff teams, with two of them coming against the Vikings and one against the Patrick Mahomes
-less Chiefs. They were blown out by the 49ers and it feels as though they lack the firepower on offense to keep up with teams like the Saints, Seahawks or 49ers. Specifically, Rodgers is being dared to complete passes to other receivers not named Adams in the red zone, and that becomes increasing difficult when the field is short. While the Packers came away with a clutch victory against the Vikings, this wasn’t the type of game that elicits confidence in Green Bay making a deep playoff run, especially when Rodgers looks as mortal as we have ever seen him throughout his NFL career.
RB Aaron Jones
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 154 - 2, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (3 targets) - Aaron Jones
rushed 23 times for 154 yards and two touchdowns in the Packers win over the Vikings on Monday. The Packers have Jones to thank for this win, as outside of him, the offense could get nothing going against a Vikings secondary that kept them in check. Interestingly enough, what really helped the Packers put this game away was Jamaal Williams
leaving the game with an injury, as that forced Green Bay to put the ball into Jones’ hands. It is maddening to see Jones carve up opposing defenses when given a large workload, only to see the Packers coaches get away from him in following games. Jones first touchdown run of the night came with the Packers facing a first and 10 from the Vikings 12 yard line. Rodgers took the snap under center and handed the ball off to Jones, who was running off-tackle to the left side of the field. Jones got good blocking up front which enabled him to get to the edge of the line and then cut back once to the middle of the field. From there Jones just outran the Vikings defense on his way to a untouched 12 yard touchdown run. With the Packers clinging to a 17-10 lead in the 4th quarter, Jones came up big once again, breaking the game wide open with a 56 yard touchdown run. The Packers had the ball at their own 44 yard line, facing a first and ten. Rodgers took the snap out of the shotgun and handed the ball off to Jones who was lined up to his right. Jones patiently waited for a hole to open up as he reached the line, cutting the ball outside to his left. He then stutter stepped as his blockers moved their way downfield, which gave him just enough room to cut the ball again to the outside and turn the corner. From there, Jones took off down the sideline and there wasn’t a Vikings defender within 10 yards of him on his way to the endzone. This play was made possible by the Packers receivers, who sealed the edge and allowed Jones to get to the sideline and outrun the rest of the Vikings secondary.
RB Jamaal Williams
, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 6 - 33 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 0 (2 targets) - Jamaal Williams
rushed six times for 33 yards and caught two passes on three targets for 19 yards in the Packers win over the Vikings on Monday. Williams was effective when given the ball in the first half, although he was unable to score on his two touches inside the 10 yard line. Williams ended up leaving the game with a shoulder injury in the second half, paving the way for a monster game by Jones. This unfortunate injury for Williams was the catalyst for the Packers win, as Jones is by far the most explosive player on the Green Bay offense, and it is only a matter of time before he breaks a big play when he is given a full compliment of touches. Williams status for the Packers week 17 game against the Lions is uncertain, but given the lack of depth behind him and the fact that the Packers are playing for seeding purposes, expect to see him if he is at full strength. On the flipside, Williams has carved out a role in the Packers offense, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the Packers choose to rest him if the shoulder injury persists.
WR Davante Adams
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 13 - 116 - 0 (16 targets) - Davante Adams
caught 13 passes for 116 yards on 16 targets in the Packers win over the Vikings on Monday night. Adams and Jones were the entirety of the Packers offense against the Vikings, and if not for Adams, Minnesota would have stacked the box completely and forced Rodgers to beat them through the air. This was the seventh time in the last eight games where Adams has seen double digit targets, and he has amassed a whopping 93 targets over that span. Adams had a marquee matchup against Pro-Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes, but it was as one sided as it could have been, with Adams routinely getting open in the short and intermediate passing game. It was not a perfect game for Adams though, as he was the intended target on Rodgers only interception, and he lost a fumble for the first time this season. Adams was used as almost a part of the running game, as the Packers chose to go to him on first and second down on 11 of his 13 catches. He played a big part in the Packers moving the ball and putting Jones in advantageous running situations on second and third down, which effectively kept the Packers offense moving the chains throughout this game. With the Packers playing for seeding next week against the Lions, expect another monster game from Adams, who has hit his stride over the second half of the season and looks to be in peak form.
WR Allen Lazard
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 45 - 0 (9 targets) - Allen Lazard
caught five passes for 45 yards on nine targets in the Packers win over the Vikings on Monday. Lazard and Adams saw 25 of Rodgers 40 targets, and it was even more lopsided than it seems as they combined for 161 of Rodgers 216 passing yards. No other player saw more than three targets. Lazard has earned the trust of Rodgers, which was never more apparent than when Rodgers looked his way on three critical third downs when the Vikings chose to double team Adams. While his stats are not out of this world, Lazard has carved out an important role on the Packers offense and should only see his targets continue to increase as teams choose to try and take Adams out of the Packers game plan.
WR Jake Kumerow
, 28 offensive snaps (1 targets) - Jake Kumerow
failed to catch a pass on his only target of the game against the Vikings. After the Packers coaches remarked that Kumerow would see an increased role moving forward, he became an afterthought just like Marquez Valdes-Scalding (one catch on one target) and Geronimo Allison
(zero catches on two targets, albeit with a two point conversion).
TE Jimmy Graham
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (1 targets) - Jimmy Graham
caught one pass 16 yards on one target in the Packers win over the Vikings on Monday. Graham saw the same number of targets as Marcedes Lewis
, and was one of six Packers pass catchers to see a singular target. Simply put, Graham has fallen out of favor in the Packers pecking order, which could not have come at a worse time with Green Bay needing more production out of their receiving core. Graham cannot create the separation he needs in the short and intermediate passing game, and despite Rodgers being one of the most accurate passers in the game, Graham has not been able to use his veteran moxy to open up passing lanes for his quarterback. The only thing keeping Graham on the field these days is his blocking, a statement that would have seemed ludicrous five years ago considering his once-incredible athleticism, and what used to be looked at as a lack of blocking ability.
QB Kirk Cousins
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 31 - 122 - 1 TD / 1 INT (1 targets) - The Monday Night Football curse for Cousins continued with another loss to the Packers. This was more of a team effort than Cousins blowing the entire game, but he certainly did not help things. He threw for under 200 yards this week, a single touchdown, and a bad interception. The offensive line afforded him no time to throw the ball and he was sacked 5 times for a loss of 40 yards. The entire offense struggled and had just 7 first downs the entire game. Cousins lone touchdown was a beautiful 21-yard throw to Diggs in the end zone. It was one of the few deeps shots that worked this week and was a perfect storm of Diggs creating separation and Cousins having enough time to throw. The ball floated just over his outside shoulder for a contested catch and a touchdown. The duo teamed up for a trick play in the second half when they attempted a reverse wide receiver pass. Diggs put plenty of air on the ball and gave Cousins a chance to run under it, but he over estimated how fast Cousins was and the quarterback made a lame diving attempt that was nowhere near the ball. The interception Cousins threw was a deep shot down the field on play action. This is a play that has worked all season with Diggs slanting deep across the middle, but Cousins did not see the other safety break off his coverage and under cut the route. Diggs got up hoping for pass interference on the play, but the Packers had already returned the ball to mid field and took all of the air out of the Vikings sails. Cousins has struggled against teams with winning records this season and has had almost no success on prime-time games outside of a win against Dallas. The Vikings and Cousins are playing poorly at the worst possible time and that could make for a very short playoff run.
RB Mike Boone
, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 28 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (1 targets) - This was Boone’s chance to show that he can handle a bigger role in the Vikings offense and that he should be considered a key piece for the future. Unfortunately, the Packers defense was up for the task this week and shut down almost every aspect of the Vikings offensive game plan. Boone was swarm tackled and often met in the back field before he even had a chance to make a move down field. Boone had 11 carries to just 4 for Abdullah but he was unable to do anything with them and averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. His longest run went for 7 yards and his involvement in the passing game was a single reception for 5 yards. The Vikings sorely need better blocking out of the offensive line and for any combination of Cook or Mattison to come back.
RB Ameer Abdullah
, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 27 - 0, Rec: 6 - 31 - 0 (7 targets) - It was supposed to be the Mike Boone
show this week, but Abdullah was the only back that seemed to make any sort of dent in the Packers defense. He led the team in targets and receptions and was the only back to average more than 5 yards per carry. HE caught 6 of his 7 targets with the longest going for 10 yards. Despite the immense pressure, the Vikings did not try and employ more screens and quick passes to running backs out of the back field until it was too late. If Mattison does not make it back next week, expect Abdullah to play a much bigger role in the offense against a stout Bears defense. His longest run went for 14 yards this week and accounted for what would have been half of Boone’s total yards on a single carry
RB Alexander Mattison
- Ankle sprains are very tricky, especially a high ankle sprain. The Vikings waited until late in the week before ruling out Mattison and they could have really used him. Mattison has now missed 2 straight games and his status for next week is still up in the air as well. Thankfully the Vikings have already clinched a playoff spot, but they will most likely have to come out of the 6th seed to make some sort of run.
RB Dalvin Cook
- Cook was ruled out early in the week with the same shoulder injury that forced him out of last week’s game. He was seen on the side line in plain clothes and had no chance of playing this week. The Vikings plan to hold him out again next week and bring him back in time for the play offs. The rushing attack struggled with both Cook and Mattison out this week.
WR Stefon Diggs
, 46 offensive snaps, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 3 - 57 - 1 (5 targets) - The only person that seemed to make any sort of impact this week was Diggs. He led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns this week and was the only one to make any sort of plays down the field. He had the team’s longest play with a 28-yard catch down the sideline and the only touchdown with a 21-yard back shoulder catch in the end zone. These 2 plays made up the majority of his yards this week and the only 2 other plays of note were negative. The Vikings attempted a trick play with a wide receiver reverse pass. Diggs took the reverse pitch and tried to find Cousins leaking out of the back field down the sideline. It looks like Diggs could have easily tucked the ball and run for the 1st down on the 3rd and 4 play, but he led Cousins too far and the pass fell incomplete. Cousins made a very poor diving attempt at the ball and then the Vikings went for it on 4th down with a deep shot to Thielen that also fell incomplete. Diggs was also targeted on the interception thrown by Cousins. It was the same deep drag route on a play action play that has worked all season. Cousins did not see the other safety break off coverage and come underneath for the leaping interception. Diggs was looking for a pass interference flag but there was none to be found. The touchdown saved his day, but it was a mostly bad day for Diggs like the rest of the Vikings offense.
WR Adam Thielen
, 50 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0 (4 targets) - It has now been 2 weeks with Thielen back in the lineup and something seems to just not be right. Thielen was held without a single catch this week and was given a single carry that went for 2 yards on an end around. It does not make a lot of sense why the Vikings would use him in back to back weeks on rushing attempts after he is coming back from a hamstring injury. Thielen tied for 3rd on the team with 4 targets but did not make a single catch. His best chance was borderline pass interference with the defender getting tangled and taking him to the ground. Thielen still almost made the catch on the ground and the Vikings elected not to challenge the no pass interference call. It has been a tough comeback for Thielen thus far and the Vikings will really need him to get going in the playoffs if they want to make any sort of run.
TE Kyle Rudolph
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (2 targets) - The turn around this season for Rudolph came to a screeching halt against the Packers. The big tight end was mic’d up for Monday Night Football and did his best to get his teammates pumped up and ready for this game. Unfortunately, his play on the field was hampered by an ineffective Cousins. Rudolph was targeted twice and only made a single catch for 7 yards. The other pass was a poor throw by Cousins to Rudolph who had not even broken out of his route yet. It was a poor game for the entire Viking offense and Rudolph was no exception.
Buffalo Bills 17, New England Patriots 24
What you need to know
- Buffalo fell just short of beating the Patriots on the road on Sunday night. Josh Allen
threw two touchdown passes, one to Tackle Dion Dawkins and another on a deep ball to John Brown
. Allen missed two other critical scoring opportunities by overthrowing Dawson Knox
. Buffalo’s offense was held to low volume as their defense struggled to get New England’s offense off the field. Devin Singletary
was held in check and Brown was held in check outside of his long touchdown. Cole Beasley
was the leading receiver and drew 12 of Buffalo’s 26 pass attempts.
New England Patriots
- Simple - can the Patriots continue the good offensive momentum?
QB Josh Allen
, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 26 - 208 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 7 - 43 - 0 - Josh Allen
threw two touchdowns against the Patriots but missed key opportunities in a road loss on Saturday. Allen’s first touchdown was a gadget play throwback to Tackle-eligible Dion Dawkins late in the first half. He then hooked up with John Brown
on a double move for a 53-yard touchdown in the second half to take the lead. Allen was held to low volume because the Bills could not get the New England offense off the field but missed two critical opportunities to Dawson Knox
in the end zone for a touchdown. Both targets were in the end zone and the last one would have given the Bills the opportunity to tie the game. Allen has played better this season, and made tough throws on the run and in windows, but continues to miss big opportunities in the air because of his inaccuracy. Allen will get the Jets in week 17 at home, but the Bills have nothing to play for with a 5 seed locked in, so his playing time is important to monitor this week.
RB Devin Singletary
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 46 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Devin Singletary
was held in check by a strong defensive effort from New England on the road on Sunday night. He ran tough, including multiple powerful interior runs, but was held to only 15 carries as the Buffalo offense could not get New England’s offense off the field. Singletary caught his only target but was held to only two receiving yards. Buffalo has nothing to play for in week 17 with a 5 seed locked up, so news about Singletary’s workload during the week is important to watch if you have a week 17 championship.
WR Cole Beasley
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 108 - 0 (12 targets) - Cole Beasley
had a strong game against the Patriots as New England focused on John Brown
. The defensive focus created a funnel in Beasley’s direction as he was targeted on 12 of Josh Allen
’s 26 attempts. Beasley had a long catch and run for 28 yards on a slant on an RPO, and made multiple perimeter catches, including two big catches on the final drive of the game. With Buffalo locked into a 5 seed, Beasley’s status is important to monitor during the week as Buffalo has nothing to play for in week 17 and could look to preserve Beasley for the playoffs.
WR John Brown
, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 53 - 1 (4 targets) - John Brown
was a focal point of New England’s defense and was held to only one catch on four targets. Brown made the catch count, with a good double move for a 53-yard touchdown in the second half. He was later overthrown in double coverage and should have had a catch on a short target in tight coverage, but the ball went off his hands. Brown did have a short end around rush for three yards. With Buffalo locked into a 5 seed, Brown’s status for week 17 is important to monitor during the week.
TE Dawson Knox
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 33 - 0 (4 targets) - Dawson Knox
had a highlight 33-yard catch that was held just short of the end zone after initially being ruled a touchdown. Knox had two other opportunities for touchdowns but was overthrown on both targets in the end zone. He also dropped a ball in the flat. Knox has shown flashes this season and could benefit from another year of development and improved accuracy from Josh Allen
QB Tom Brady
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 26 - 33 - 271 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0 - It took til Week 16 for the Pats to have a good offensive performance in all phases. Surprisingly, it was against the Bills, who let up their worst defensive day from an efficiency standpoint against the Pats. This was easily one of Tom Brady
’s best games this year, as he was on target with smart decisions. Protection was so-so, but he managed to make it work. His lone touchdown was a play action pass to Matt LaCosee in 1 on 1 coverage with a nice catch by the tight end. Perhaps Brady’s best play was a slick pocket move to set up Julian Edelman
’s two point conversion. The main downside of the day for the offense was not converting touchdowns, instead settling for field goals. It’s just one game, but it was a step in the right direction against a playoff team.
RB Sony Michel
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 96 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets) - Another solid day for Sony Michel
, who once again ran hard and made a couple good moves that displayed good vision more than anything else. His long run was a 25 yarder with a nice move slithering between offensive linemen. Other than that, it seems like he’ll never be a big play guy, but he’s definitely more reliable than earlier in the year.
RB Rex Burkhead
, 19 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 20 - 1, Rec: 4 - 77 - 0 (4 targets) - Burkhead’s game went from bad to good in a hurry. He fumbled early in the game on a careless play, but ran with authority thereafter. This included a very nice effort on a third down run to get a first down, and his touchdown saw him bounce off a couple hard tackles in one of the better 1 yard touchdowns you’ll see of late.
RB James White
, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (5 targets) - James White
wasn’t used much in this game, as his usage has been fairly sporadic depending on flow and effectiveness of other players. Here, with over 30 rushes and efficiency from Tom Brady
, his number just wasn’t needed as often.
WR Julian Edelman
, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 72 - 0 (6 targets) - Though he was more involved than last week, Edelman is still clearly playing hurt. He did commit a drop and left the game in the 3rd quarter for a while with an injury, but as usual, he played it tough. A potential bye in the playoffs will really help.
WR NKeal Harry
, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 18 - 0, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - It doesn’t look like it in the box score, but Harry actually had a decent game. He had an 18 yard end around thanks to a crushing block by Tom Brady
of all people, and narrowly missed an amazing third down catch due to DPI. If anyone has the potential to really get this offense going, it’s him, and he’s definitely better than most of the receivers on this team.
WR Mohamed Sanu
, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (5 targets) - If Sanu isn’t one of the worst receivers in the NFL, he’s sure playing his way into the conversation. Mental errors, bad routes, lack of separation, and more are just some of the things we’re seeing from him on a weekly basis. Once again, as with the Chiefs game, he ran a critical third down route short of the sticks and couldn’t convert. He then completely missed his blocking assignment on the 4th down play which would have resulted in a first down. Another one of his lapses included a near fumble on a punt return. At this point, he needs to start seeing reduced snaps.
Carolina Panthers 6, Indianapolis Colts 38
What you need to know
- Will Grier
’s first NFL start mixed glimpses of veteran savvy with confounding moments. He was poised and confident at times, but his inaccuracy and deep ball woes – many were overthrown or underthrown – put the offense in a bind. He showed good movement skills in and around the pocket and had an aggressive streak, but the interceptions were emblematic of a rookie making his first appearance. Christian McCaffrey
was Grier’s best outlet in the game, with check down passes becoming a staple of the offense as the scoreline got out of hand. McCaffrey looked quick, strong, sudden and dangerous on every touch – and gave the Colts all they could handle despite an inept passing attack. D.J. Moore
left the game early with a concussion and no other receiver stepped up in his absence, with Curtis Samuel
and Jarius Wright
doing their best but failing to make up for Grier’s shortcomings. Greg Olsen
connected well with his young quarterback but was unable to hook up on a pair of end zone targets. Defensively, the Panthers are a shell of what they used to be, while special teams were a major issue (two punt return touchdowns allowed).
- The Colts posted the score of a dominant offensive team but did not play like it. Two of the Colts touchdowns were punt returns, their first touchdown was set up by another long punt return, many of their drives were aided by penalties, and Jacoby Brissett
had one of his worst games of the season throwing the ball. Brissett was inaccurate all game long missing open receivers all over the field. His most impactful contributions were a pair of scrambles. Marlon Mack
produced mixed results. Mack was stuffed on 4th down inside the Panthers 5 yard line but otherwise played well. TY Hilton, Zach Pascal
, and Jack Doyle
each fell victim to Brissett making terrible throws. Nyheim Hines
had a historic game returning punts with 2 long punt return touchdowns and another long return to set up a touchdown. Jordan WIlkins had a very impressive drive to ice the game for the Colts racking up 71 yards and a touchdown on a single possession.
QB Will Grier
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 44 - 224 - 0 TD / 3 INT, Rush: 4 - 17 - 0 - In his first career start, Will Grier
appeared to be poised and comfortable under fire – at times. At others, he folded and displayed traits typical of a rookie quarterback making his debut. Grier settled in early with a beautiful seam pass to Greg Olsen
, a veteran throw from a rookie. He was mature with his decision making in the first half, throwing the ball away when nothing came open and running for yards when gaps opened. His movement in and around the pocket was good, and he seemed confident when buying time, drifting side to side and eventually finding a receiver downfield. He could have hooked up with Jarius Wright
for his first career touchdown pass, but the lofted pass to the back corner of the end zone was a little too high. Grier’s play deteriorated in the second half as pressure built, with rookie left tackle Dennis Daley victimised at times. Grier’s first interception was a poor decision. Rolling right to escape pressure, he saw an opening downfield but ended up firing the ball into triple coverage, giving the Colts an easy takeaway. His accuracy suffered tremendously in the second half as well, with his footwork rushed a little bit. The result was a series of sailed passes, ending drives when completions should have been made. His second pick came on a such a pass, an overthrown ball down the right sideline that hung up long enough for the defensive back to cut underneath it. With the game out of hand, Grier kept firing but was picked a third time – on another deep ball – on an underthrown deep ball. The cornerback was able to catch up to the receiver and undercut the ball, its trajectory too lofted for the receiver to run underneath it.
RB Christian McCaffrey
, 63 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 54 - 0, Rec: 15 - 119 - 0 (15 targets) - Christian McCaffrey
kept the Panthers offense afloat, much as he has done all season, with another impressive performance. Any time rookie quarterback Will Grier
was in trouble he looked to the underneath patterns that McCaffrey excels at, and invariably the do-it-all back made the most of the touches. Though McCaffrey’s opportunities to run the ball were limited, he showed excellent burst, patience, footwork and guile to make yards where there seemed to be none to be had. It was as a receiver that he took over the game, though, making a mockery of Colts tacklers at times with his quickness and after-the-catch moves.
WR Curtis Samuel
, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (5 targets) - Curtis Samuel
became the de-facto number one receiver for the Panthers after D.J. Moore
left the game with a concussion. It appeared as if rookie quarterback Will Grier
would make it a priority to get Samuel the ball, but an early deep target hung up too long, forcing the receiver to play back through the defensive back to reach it. Samuel was deployed as a rushing attack option on a toss and end around, but in general the offense’s dysfunction limited his opportunities. Grier went back to the well with Samuel on a deep pass late in the game, but much like the previous one it was too short and didn’t allow the receiver to run underneath it.
WR D.J. Moore
, 6 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (2 targets) - D.J. Moore
left the game early with a concussion and did not return after a pass thrown his way on a quick slant saw the defender pin Moore’s arms as he was falling to the turf. Moore’s inability to brace himself as he fell meant his head collided with the turf.
WR Jarius Wright
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 19 - 0 (5 targets) - With the passing game inconsistent and largely dysfunctional with rookie quarterback Will Grier
starting, Jarius Wright
became a go-to option. A pair of early targets failed to connect, with the second, a beautifully lofted end zone pass to the back right corner, tipping off Wright’s hands agonisingly. Wright stayed alive on a Grier scramble late in the first half, coming back to his quarterback to secure a first down catch.
TE Ian Thomas
, 32 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 16 - 0 (3 targets) - Ian Thomas
saw some action in the second half, albeit very little meaningful snaps, as the game got out of hand on the scoreboard. Greg Olsen
went out of the game for a series, ceding snaps to Thomas, though the young tight end was only able to connect with his quarterback on a couple of check down passes with the Colts rallying to make the tackle before Thomas could show off his run-after-catch prowess.
TE Greg Olsen
, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 33 - 0 (5 targets) - Veteran tight end Greg Olsen
made a beautiful catch on a seam route early in the game, a pass that settled rookie quarterback Will Grier
down. The route was perfect by Olsen, allowing Grier to locate the passing lane easily. Olsen was the primary target in the red zone, but two attempts to hook up with the tight end by Grier were unsuccessful; one was too high after it appeared Olsen was open, the other was a high pass that was broken up by the Colts defender. Olsen took a backseat in the second half and ceded some snaps to understudy Ian Thomas
. He wasn’t quite done, however, and Olsen almost hauled in a pass on a deep ball, only for the ball to carom off his outstretched palms.
QB Jacoby Brissett
, 61 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 27 - 119 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 37 - 1, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Jacoby Brissett
was terrible against the Panthers. Brissett did not turn the ball over but his performance was painful to watch. Brissett was highly inaccurate and played one of his worst games of the season. Brissett missed throws all game long including potential touchdowns to Jack Doyle
and TY Hilton. His yardage total probably should have been even lower than it was for how poorly he played. After taking over in excellent field position, thanks to a punt return by Nyheim Hines
, the Colts scored a quick touchdown on their opening possession. Brissett capped the drive with a 1 yard quarterback sneak touchdown on 4th and goal. The Colts second drive ended with Brissett missing Zach Pascal
downfield. Brissett converted a 3rd down with a 24 yard scramble up the middle. Brissett then found Mo Alie-Cox
down the seam for 21 yards to set up a 2 yard touchdown by Marlon Mack
. The Colts moved inside the Panthers 5 yard line on their final possession of the half but Mack was stuffed on 4th and 1. The Colts set up a field goal to open the second half with running plays and underneath passes. The Colts offense remained stagnant and hyper conservative as they held a lead in the second half.
RB Marlon Mack
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 95 - 1, Rec: 2 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Marlon Mack
played well when he was on the field but the Colts struggled to sustain offense for much of the game. Mack consistently picked up positive yardage on his carries. Mack was patient and efficient on his inside carries. Mack found a huge hole off left guard for a 2 yard touchdown. Mack picked up 11 yards running a sweep off left tackle. Mack was stuffed on a 4th and 1 play inside Carolina's 5 yard line. Mack tried to bounce the run to the outside but to no avail. Mack picked up 30 yards on a draw play thanks to impressive patience and nice blocking downfield.
RB Jordan Wilkins
, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 84 - 1 - Jordan Wilkins
was the lone bright spot for the Colts offense. Wilkins made a nice cutback running inside for an 8 yard gain. Wilkins did most of his damage on one possession racking up 71 yards and a touchdown to seal the game for the Colts. Wilkins opened the drive with an impressive 13 yard run on the edge staying in bounds when defenders did not expect him to. Wilkins ran through an arm tackle and burst into the open field for a 38 yard gain. Wilkins builds momentum as he runs and is a load to bring down in the open field. A few plays later Wilkins scored a 1 yard touchdown off right tackle.
RB Nyheim Hines
, 11 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - Nyheim Hines
had a huge game returning punts. Hines set up a touchdown on the Colts first possession with a 40 yard punt return. Hines then had a spectacular 86 yard punt return for a touchdown showing off his speed, balance, and agility. Hines out maneuvered 2 defenders and outraced a 3rd to score a 71 yard punt return touchdown his second of the game.
WR T.Y. Hilton
, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 26 - 0 (4 targets) - TY Hilton had a quiet game but could have had a long touchdown. Hilton made a 13 yard catch running a comeback route on 3rd and 10. Hilton managed to make the play but looked to have no explosiveness on the play and nearly dropped the pass. Hilton made a 7 yard catch running a slant. Hilton had deep separation on his defender for a potential 65 yard touchdown but Brissett overthrew him by a few yards. Hilton made an 8 yard catch running a quick out route.
WR Zach Pascal
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (3 targets) - Zach Pascal
saw only a few targets from Brissett with the Colts holding a lead most of the game. Pascal came open running a deep crossing route but Brissett threw out of his reach. Pascal made a 6 yard catch underneath
TE Jack Doyle
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 17 - 0 (4 targets) - Jack Doyle
made a few underneath catches but fell victim to Jacoby Brissett
's inaccuracy and the game script. Doyle made an 11 yard catch running a curl over the middle. Doyle made a 6 yard catch along the sideline. Doyle appeared to have separation at the goal line but Brissett's throw was way off.
Detroit Lions 17, Denver Broncos 27
What you need to know
- The Detroit Lions lost again on Sunday against the Broncos. David Blough
struggled in place of Matthew Stafford
but peppered Kenny Golladay
with targets including a touchdown pass. Kerryon Johnson
returned from injured reserve and split time with Bo Scarbrough
, but led the Lions in rushing attempts and yards.
- Denver's offensive line looked as good as it has in a while, and Lock played mistake free ball against a banged up Detroit defense(and offense). Lock did not turn the ball over and found the end zone once on a shovel pass to DaeSean Hamilton
, who scored on the end around play that was technically ruled a "reception". Phillip Lindsay
and Royce Freeman
both found the end zone as Freeman vultured an early touchdown while Lindsay dominated touches. Receiver Hamilton led Denver with a career high in yards, receptions, and his first touchdown.
QB David Blough
, 50 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 24 - 117 - 1 TD / 0 INT - David Blough
started again in place of the injured Matthew Stafford
and struggled. Blough showed limited arm strength and struggled with accuracy against the Broncos. Blough scored a touchdown on a pass to Kenny Golladay
at the end zone and avoided interceptions, but took four sacks and failed to consistently move the offense. Blough will face Green Bay in week 17.
RB Kerryon Johnson
, 16 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - Kerryon Johnson
returned from the injured reserve against the Broncos on Sunday. Johnson worked behind both Bo Scarbrough
and Ty Johnson
early in the game before his involvement ramped up. Johnson looked sluggish early in the game, but developed a rhythm on four straight carries in the second half, and led the Lions in both attempts, 10, and yards, 42. Johnson was also on the field in passing situations but caught only one pass for one yard on his lone target. Johnson projects in a committee next week, as he looks to develop momentum into the offseason.
RB Bo Scarbrough
, 14 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 34 - 0 - Bo Scarbrough
started ahead of Kerryon Johnson
in Johnson’s return from injured reserve but had 8 carries to Johnson’s 10. Scarbrough was used between the tackles frequently and had one of his bigger gains of the season with an 18 yard run into the second level. Outside of the long gain, Scarbrough was held in check and was not used in the running game. Scarbrough will project in a timeshare next week against the Packers.
WR Kenny Golladay
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 66 - 1 (12 targets) - Kenny Golladay
had a strong day against the Broncos on Sunday. His performance was not one of his best in the stat sheet, but Golladay’s on-field play was some of the best of the season. He had a great effort after the catch for a touchdown at the goal line and fought through another tackle on the sideline after another reception. Golladay did have a couple of opportunities deep, but one was through too far out of bounds on a sideline and another was overthrown. He also had a deep drop. The Detroit offense has struggled with David Blough
at quarterback, but Golladay was able to come through in championship games on his team-high 12 targets. Golladay will face Green Bay in week 17.
WR Danny Amendola
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 21 - 0 (3 targets) - Danny Amendola
had a down game in week 16 against the Broncos. He had only two short receptions on three targets and was an afterthought in the offense as Kenny Golladay
was targeted on 12 of David Blough
’s 24 attempts. David Blough
struggled and Denver’s offense dominated time of possession which combined to hold the Detroit offense to low volume. Amendola will close out his season against the Packers in week 17.
QB Drew Lock
, 71 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 33 - 192 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0 - Lock had a solid but unspectacular day as the Denver offensive line played solid ball against a banged up Detroit defense. Lock did not take any sacks and led five scoring drives, but only threw one touchdown pass that was actually just a shovel pass to DaeSean Hamilton
, who was coming across the formation on an end around sweep. Lock's couldn't do much downfield, as his biggest gain of the day was a 20 yard connection with Hamilton across the middle of the field off play action in the 1st quarter. Lock finally found the end zone in the 4th quarter with the shovel pass to Hamilton. Lock picked up 10 yards on four scrambles total.
RB Phillip Lindsay
, 41 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 109 - 1, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (3 targets) - Lindsay out-touched Freeman 21-11 and inched closer to his second 1,000 season(currently at 958). Freeman did vulture a 2nd quarter touchdown run on a goal line play. Lindsay helped set up a DaeSean Hamilton
's 4th quarter touchdown with a 13 yard run to the Detroit 4 yard line. He exploded off right tackled and followed a couple of solid blocks by Beck and Patrick for a 27 yard touchdown run(his longest carry of the day) in the 4th quarter. He chipped in two short receptions in the passing game.
RB Royce Freeman
, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 9 - 28 - 1, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets) - Freeman played second fiddle to Lindsay with half the touches, but he did get the first goal line carry in the 2nd quarter, taking an easy touchdown off right tackle from the one yard line.Freeman caught a checkdown pass for a seven yard gain in the 1st quarter and another short checkdown late in the 4th quarter.
RB Devontae Booker
, 4 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets) - Booker lined up wide right in a 4WR set and caught a short crossing route late in the 4th quarter.
WR DaeSean Hamilton
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 65 - 1 (6 targets) - Hamilton had a career day and found the end zone for the first time this year, drawing the second most targets(6) on the team. Hamilton's first reception was a deep crossing route off of play action that picked up 20 yards in the 1st quarter. He had another nice gain negated by a holding penalty on the offensive line in the 2nd quarter. Lock found Hamilton over the middle for a 13 yard gain later in the 2nd quarter, then another seven yards on a curl route just before the half. Lock and Hamilton connected again over the middle for 16 yards on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter. Hamilton scored on a shovel pass in the 4th quarter. He lined up wide left then motioned tight to the formation presnap before catching the quick pitch from Lock and darting into the end zone off right tackle.
WR Courtland Sutton
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 41 - 0 (10 targets) - Sutton secured half of his team-high 10 targets for a modest day against talented CB Darius Slay. He had a short gain on a diving out route in the 2nd quarter. Lock lobbed a deep ball up for Sutton in the end zone in the second quarter, but the ball was knocked away by tight double coverage. Sutton hauled in a 15 yard gain across the middle later in the same drive. Sutton had a short but hard-earned run on a bubble screen in the 3rd quarter, then picked up six yards with a quick slant later in the same drive. Sutton had two consecutive end zone targets broken up by cornerback Darius Slay at the end of the drive. Sutton drew a pass interference penalty to pick up some nice bonus yardage in the 3rd. Sutton finished his day with a quick slant for a 6 yard gain early in the 4th.
WR Tim Patrick
, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 48 - 0 (6 targets) - Patrick's first catch was an out route for a minimal gain in the 2nd quarter. On the very next play he hauled in a crossing route near the end zone and was tackled at the one yard line, setting up an easy touchdown plunge for Royce Freeman
. Patrick snagged a crossing route from a scrambling Lock early in the 4th quarter for a 12 yard gain. Lock hit him for two consecutive 5 yard gains on a later drive in the 4th, then Patrick set his defender up with a great break on an out route for a 16 yard gain.
TE Andrew Beck
, 33 offensive snaps, Pass: 1 - 1 - 6 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 3 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - Fullback/TIght End/Offensive Swiss Army Knife Beck showed up in all the stat columns with a completion for a 4th down conversion, a carry for a 3rd down conversion, a reception, a tackle and a some fine lead blocking. You'd have to imagine he's also in line for backup kicking duties if it comes down to it. Beck hauled in a shovel pass that was sniffed out for a minimal gain by the defense in the 2nd quarter. He also had a nice lead block on Royce Freeman
's second quarter touchdown run. Beck converted 3rd and 1 with a cool looking fullback dive off right tackle in the 3rd quarter. Beck's "completion" was actually a lateral off of an option play. Beck took the handoff on a play that looked the same as his carry earlier in the 3rd, but this time he pitched it to his option man Lindsay, who picked up a few extra yards off right tackle to convert 4th and 1.
TE Noah Fant
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (2 targets) - Fant played a full compliment of snaps and had a solid day as a blocker, but he just didn't produce in the passing game in this one. He caught a tight end screen and barely made it back to the line of scrimmage in the 2nd quarter, then picked up a nine yard gain in the 3rd quarter.
TE Jeff Heuerman
, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (2 targets) - Heuerman worked as the number two tight end. He made a nice diving catch between two defenders in the 2nd quarter for a seven yard gain. Lock hit him on a curl route for another short gain late in the 4th quarter.
Kansas City Chiefs 26, Chicago Bears 3
What you need to know
Kansas City Chiefs
- The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears 26-3 to improve their record to 11-4 on the season. Patrick Mahomes
completed 23 of 33 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while also rushing for 14 yards and a touchdown on two carries. Damien Williams
made his return to the lineup from injury and rushed 16 times for 65 yards, while also catching three passes for 27 yards and a touchdown. Spencer Ware
gained 14 yards on five carries and caught two passes for 22 yards on two targets. Tyreek Hill
caught five passes for 72 yards and Sammy Watkins
caught two passes for 28 yards. Travis Kelce
led the Chiefs pass-catchers with eight receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown.
- Mitchell Trubisky
struggled against the Chiefs as the Bears were dominated on Sunday night. Allen Robinson
led the Bears in receiving while David Montgomery
had success on low volume in the running game. Anthony Miller
had a dud game after a recent stretch of strong play.
QB Patrick Mahomes
, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 33 - 251 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - 14 - 1 - Patrick Mahomes
completed 23 of 33 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Mahomes also chipped in 14 yards and a touchdown on two carries. After starting off the season with 300+ yards passing in five consecutive games, Mahomes has reached that peak only twice in his last eight games. With that said, it is hard to find any fault in Mahomes performance against the Bears, as the Chiefs game plan was to stick to short and intermediate passing routes in order to neutralize the Bears aggressive blitz packages, and the game plan worked to perfection. The Chiefs offensive line did a great job in keeping Mahomes upright while giving him the requisite time to complete quick strikes to his receivers. Mahomes set the pace for this game on the Chiefs first possession, leading the offense on a 17 play drive that culminated in a 12 yard Mahomes touchdown run. With the Chiefs facing a third and five from the Bears 12 yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and after taking a full drop was immediately met with a defender getting pressure on the right side of the formation. Mahomes then tucked the ball and took off around the left side of the line, outrunning the entire Chicago defense on his way to an un-touched 12 yard touchdown run. That play was the fourth third down conversion of the drive for the Chiefs, which included third and 10 and third and 18 conversions. Mahomes first touchdown pass came two drives later with the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the Chicago six yard line. Prior to this play, the Chiefs offense had worn down the Bears defense with another 16 play drive. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and faked the handoff to Williams. Mahomes started to slightly fade to his left which allowed him to set up a side-arm (arm angle) throw to Kelce, who ran a quick double move route where he faked a short out-route before cutting back to the middle of the field. Mahomes throw was perfect, a little behind Kelce which allowed the ball to directly fit in between two defenders. Mahomes final touchdown pass came with the Chiefs facing a third and eight from the Chicago 14 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and immediately after completing his three step drop, he swung the ball out to Williams who was running his route to the left sideline. The pass hit Williams directly in stride, and he was able to elude a Bears defender with a quick hesitation move before crossing the goal line for the 14 yard touchdown. The Chiefs came into this game with a great game plan that revolved around neutralizing the Bears aggressive pass rush. Mahomes never wavered from the game plan, so much so that this was the first game in Mahomes career where he did not attempt a pass of over 20 yards downfield.
RB Damien Williams
, Rush: 16 - 65 - 0, Rec: 3 - 27 - 1 (3 targets) - Damien Williams
rushed 16 times for 65 yards and caught three passes on three targets for 27 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs win over the Bears. Williams returned to the starting lineup after sitting out three weeks with a rib injury and looked refreshed as the Chiefs lead back. LeSean McCoy
was a healthy scratch in this game, so Williams ended up splitting time with veteran Spencer Ware
. Williams saw the bulk of the work though, out-touching Ware 19 to eight, and was the preferred option on early downs and specifically in the red zone. Williams had four carries of five or more yards, and all three of his catches went for six or more yards, including the 14 yard touchdown catch mentioned above. The Chiefs had seemed content on resting McCoy until the playoffs, referring to it as the NBA-esque term “load management. This means Williams should once again be looking at the majority of the touches in next week’s finale against Chargers, especially considering that Ware left the game in the fourth quarter with what was described as a shoulder injury.
RB Spencer Ware
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 14 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (3 targets) - Spencer Ware
rushed five times for 14 yards and caught two passes for 22 yards on two targets in the Chiefs win over the Bears. Ware had trouble getting anything going on the ground, as the Bears were all over him in the backfield when he saw carries. He was more effective as a pass catcher, converting a third and eight with an 18 yard catch and run. Ware also had a 19 yard catch nullified due to penalty, and shortly thereafter he injured his shoulder and was taken out of the game and did not return. Ware will most likely be kept out of the regular season finale against the Chargers, with McCoy once again being activated after spending two weeks on the sideline.
WR Tyreek Hill
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 72 - 0 (5 targets) - Tyreek Hill
caught five passes on five targets for 72 yards in the Chiefs win over the Bears in week 16. The Chiefs wore down the Bears with long, sustained offensive drives, so Hill’s explosive playmaking took a backseat to Kelce and the Chiefs backfield. Hill had the long catch of the night for the Chiefs on a 19 yard reception that kicked off the Chiefs second touchdown drive. Hill also pulled down catches of 13 and 15 yards, which were some of the longest of the night for Mahomes. Hill’s five targets were second only to Travis Kelce
, who lead the team in catches, yards, targets and touchdowns. Mahomes will need to depend on Hill a bit more next week when the Chiefs take on a Chargers secondary that ranks as a top five unit this season. In their first meeting, the Chargers were able to hold Hill without a catch on two targets, the only time where the explosive wide receiver failed to record a reception this season.
WR Sammy Watkins
, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (5 targets) - Sammy Watkins
caught two passes on five targets for 25 yards in the Chiefs win over the Bears. In what has become a trend following week one, Watkins has become an afterthought in the Chiefs passing game, operating mostly as a decoy when he is moved around the formation in pre-snap motion. Watkins targets come in the short and intermediate passing game, which should play into his strengths a runner after the catch, however he has not made an impact after blowing up with three touchdowns in week one. Watkins started off the season seeing consistent targets, averaging roughly nine targets in his first six games, however since then he is averaging less than five targets per game and has not exceeded 50 yards receiving since week 10.
TE Travis Kelce
, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 74 - 1 (9 targets) - Travis Kelce
caught eight passes on nine targets for 74 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs week 16 win over the Bears. With the Chiefs focusing on quick passes in the short and intermediate field, Kelce was easily the most targeted offensive player for the Chiefs. The Bears had trouble staying with him in the short field, as Kelce is too strong for nickel backs and too fast for linebackers. While Kelce’s long gain of the night went for only 13 yards, he did convert first downs on five of his eight catches, with another reception going for a touchdown. Kelce nearly single handily took the ball down the field on the Chiefs third scoring drive, catching six passes on the possession, including the final reception which went for a touchdown. With the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the six yard line, Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun. Kelce was lined up as the inside left slot receiver and just prior to the snap and he went in motion as though he was going to line up on the end of the left side of the formation. As the ball was snapped, Kelce broke back to the right sideline as though he was going to run a shallow out-route. After three steps though, Kelce stuck his foot in the ground forcefully, pivoted and reversed back to the middle of the field. Mahomes fit the ball in perfectly between two defenders, with the pass coming in a little behind Kelce which allowed him to catch the ball cleanly and keep his momentum moving forward across the goal line for the six yard touchdown.
QB Mitchell Trubisky
, 63 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 34 - 157 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 20 - 0 - Mitchell Trubisky
struggled at home in a loss to the Chiefs on Sunday night. Trubisky ran frequently early in the game, including four attempts on the first drive of the game, but failed to get into a rhythm throwing the ball. Trubisky’s struggles were not all his own fault, as he was sacked three times and had a handful of balls dropped. Yet, Trubisky too frequently threw the ball beneath the yard to gain on third down and struggled with accuracy. Trubisky will face the Vikings on the road in week 17.
RB David Montgomery
, 35 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 57 - 0, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (1 targets) - David Montgomery
was effective running between the tackles against the Chiefs on Sunday night. Montgomery was held to only 13 carries but did fine work running hard between the tackles. Montgomery’s fantasy prospects were a frequent refrain as he was held without a score, had only one carry inside the 10-yard line, and was limited to one short reception on a screen pass. Montgomery will face the Vikings next week on the road.
RB Tarik Cohen
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 3 - 25 - 0 (4 targets) - Tarik Cohen
had a quiet night against the Chiefs on Sunday night in a blowout loss. Cohen had three receptions, and two carries where he was able to show power on the interior. He also added a drop. Cohen will be a risky play next week against the Vikings.
WR Allen Robinson
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 53 - 0 (12 targets) - Allen Robinson
had a down game against the Chiefs, largely a result of poor play from Mitchell Trubisky
. Trubisky was errant on multiple throws to Robinson, including a deep ball along the perimeter, a deep target that would have been a touchdown, and a short crossing route. Robinson catches were also difficult, including a good adjustment on a deflected ball. Robinson’s completions were typically in the short area of the field including slants and out routes. Robinson will get a matchup against the Vikings to close out the season in week 17.
WR Anthony Miller
, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 2 - 0 (2 targets) - After a recent stretch of strong play, Anthony Miller
had a disappointing game against the Chiefs in the fantasy playoffs on Sunday. Miller fumbled an end-around on the first drive of the game and his lone reception was a quick screen on third and long for a gain of two yards. Miller will have a week 17 matchup against the Vikings.
Dallas Cowboys 9, Philadelphia Eagles 17
What you need to know
- Dallas produced a clunky game on the road against the Eagles, sputtering on offense to a mere nine points and a myriad of drops through the air. Dak Prescott
was notably wild on a number of throws and offered minimal as a runner uncharacteristically. Ezekiel Elliott
was held in check until the second half but was peppered as a receiver in Dallas’ comeback effort. Amari Cooper
contributed his second straight poor game, this time on a hearty 12 targets as Michael Gallup
, while spotty himself, nearly hit 100 yards. Dallas is now on the outside looking in for a playoff berth, needing their own win and an Eagles loss in Week 17.
- The Eagles put themselves in the NFC East title driver’s seat with a home win over Dallas. Carson Wentz
, still working with a depleted wide receiver corps, used his mobility, tight ends, and Miles Sanders
to the tune of more than 300 yards and no turnovers. Sanders exceled yet again with Jordan Howard
out of the lineup for more than 150 total yards and dynamic highlights regularly. Dallas Goedert
was the consistent pass target with a team-high 91 yards and 12 targets with Zach Ertz
missing a chunk of the game following a huge hit on a red zone target.
QB Dak Prescott
, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 25 - 44 - 265 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0 - Prescott played through a shoulder injury in the divisional showdown in Philadelphia to a poor performance overall. Dallas’ run game, especially in the first half, offered minimal balance for Dallas’ offense, which could not stay on the field. Prescott finally came alive with a bomb to Michael Gallup
for more than 40 yards in the second quarter. Dallas moved the ball in the second half but settling for field goals and squandering opportunities was the watchword for Prescott through the air. Prescott had two critical overthrown passes, once towards a wide-open Amari Cooper
on third down and a deep shot to Tavon Austin
for a likely touchdown.
RB Ezekiel Elliott
, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 13 - 47 - 0, Rec: 7 - 37 - 0 (7 targets) - Elliott was firmly held in check early in the game, amassing all of one rushing yard by the middle of the second quarter. Elliott surged in the second half as Dallas’ offense came alive, with Elliott eluding defenders and churning yards after contact regularly. Dallas shifted to a pass-first approach in the comeback effort, however, and Elliott did not sniff the end zone with any point-blank opportunities. Elliott hauled in seven receptions, his high mark of the season.
RB Tony Pollard
, 4 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 0 - 0 - Pollard barely saw the field against the Eagles and was stuffed on both of his carries, including losing a fumble on the second attempt. Ezekiel Elliott
dominated snaps after Pollard’s fumble in the road loss to the Eagles.
WR Michael Gallup
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 98 - 0 (11 targets) - Gallup surged past 1,000 yards on the season with a big-play-infused performance against the Eagles. Gallup hauled in a contested long target for more than 40 yards as Dallas’ first impact play in the game, but Gallup’s potential monster performance was marred by two dropped by the second-year receiver and a fourth-down end zone target in the closing minutes tipped away. The official review also did not deem defensive pass interference on the play.
WR Randall Cobb
, 48 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 73 - 0 (7 targets) - As Amari Cooper
and Jason Witten
struggled against the Eagles, Cobb had his best game in more than a month, consistently winning down the seam. Cobb had most of his production in the fourth quarter as Dallas was in clear comeback mode with three chunk receptions. Cobb added two drops preventing a potential 100-yard game as well as adding a fourth-and-long connection with Dak Prescott
among his notable contributions.
WR Amari Cooper
, 46 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 24 - 0 (12 targets) - Cooper saw a hearty 12 targets against the Eagles. Even with a depleted secondary, Cooper struggled with tight coverage, a third-down drop, and Dak Prescot airmailing Cooper on a wide-open third down target to a poor performance. Cooper did not get into the box score until almost halftime and two of his receptions were inconsequential short hitch routes. Cooper’s second half of the season has been marred by three clunker games totaling 43 yards between the Patriots, Rams, and now the Eagles game over a five-week span.
TE Jason Witten
, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (3 targets) - Witten was a non-factor against the Eagles, seeing a mere three targets and both of his catches failing to move the chains. Witten also added a dropped pass as Dallas’ passing game struggled overall. Witten surpassed 500 receiving yards for the 15th straight season he has played in the NFL with this week’s production.
TE Blake Jarwin
, 19 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets) - Jarwin saw just one target in the road loss to Philadelphia, his lowest total since Week 9. Jarwin corralled a deep out target for a chunk gain as Jason Witten
struggled to offer impact this week.
QB Carson Wentz
, 72 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 40 - 319 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 22 - 0 - Wentz was in full playmaker mode with the myriad of wide receiver injuries entering the game and Zach Ertz
missing a chunk of the contest in-game against Dallas. Wentz posted a highlight throw down the middle to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
on the opening play of the game and three other highlight plays -all to Dallas Goedert
– spanning the rest of the game. The Eagles controlled the game with their defense and playmaking running back Miles Sanders
, but Wentz was at his best with a high-point touchdown to Dallas Goedert
and later a huge back-shoulder play with the game still in doubt in the closing minutes. The wide receiver position is not getting healthier down the stretch for the Eagles, but Wentz has the team positioned for an NFC East title entering Week 17.
RB Miles Sanders
, 59 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 79 - 1, Rec: 5 - 77 - 0 (6 targets) - Sanders surged past 150 total yards for a second straight week as the rookie continues to rise since Jordan Howard
has missed time with injury. Sanders was dynamic with his cuts, regularly eluding the initial defender in space for additional yardage both as a runner as receiver. Sanders in the passing game has been a shot in the arm for an Eagles offense depleted with wide receiver injuries and Sanders added a wheel route for more than 25 yards this week. Sanders could have added an additional touchdown and 20 more yards on the ground to his tally if not for going down on a game-breaking run into the open field in the closing minutes to secure the home win. While firmly a committee and part-time player for the first half of the season, Sanders has still surpassed 1,200 total yards on the season as a high impact rookie.
RB Boston Scott
, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 12 - 0, Rec: 6 - 7 - 0 (6 targets) - Scott saw only nine touches as Miles Sanders
stole the show for the Eagles backfield with another high-level game. Scott saw six targets but was stuffed on all but one reception. On a positive note, Scott had two quality kick returns this week as the Eagles secured the home divisional win and advantage heading into the season finale.
WR Greg Ward
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 5 - 0, Rec: 4 - 71 - 0 (5 targets) - Ward saw only five targets as Miles Sanders
and Dallas Goedert
were central figures in the Eagles’ passing game in the home win over Dallas. However, Ward got loose down the sideline for more than 30 yards on his most notable reception and added two valuable third-down catches, one setting up a field goal, among his contributions. All of Ward’s 211 yards on the season have come over the past five games as the Eagles wide receiver corps has amassed a critical level of injuries on the season.
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
, 45 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 39 - 0 (2 targets) - Arcega-Whiteside hauled in both of his early-game targets from Carson Wentz
in the home win over Dallas. The rookie collected a stick throw over the middle for more than 25 yards and later on the opening drive converted a third down with a rollout pass. Arcega-Whiteside did not see another target as Miles Sanders
, Dallas Goedert
, and Greg Ward
were notable receiving options for the Eagles.
TE Dallas Goedert
, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 91 - 1 (12 targets) - With Zach Ertz
missing a chunk of the home win over Dallas with injury, Goedert rose to the occasion as the lead tight end. Goedert corralled a high-point touchdown, absorbing a hit and holding on through contact in the end zone. Goedert churned out after-the-catch yardage regularly with a broken tackle and a called-back-by-penalty screen for 15+ yards. Goedert and Carson Wentz
connected on a huge back-shoulder reception in the fourth quarter and the pair essentially iced the game with a rollout reception in the final minute. This was by far Goedert’s best statistically game of the season and the second-year tight end surpassed 50 receptions and 500 yards with his standout performance this week.
TE Zach Ertz
, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets) - Ertz missed a chunk of the game with a rib injury, taking a huge hit as he extended for a red zone target. Ertz was held in check by Dallas’ defense with a red zone slant as the only noteworthy contribution by the veteran tight end. Ertz, if healthy and active in Week 17’s game to clinch the division for the Eagles, has a chance to surpass 1,000 yards on the season.
Baltimore Ravens 31, Cleveland Browns 15
What you need to know
- The Ravens offense had a few blunders early but exploded once they found their rhythm securing the number one seed in the AFC. Lamar Jackson
had a few miscues early but was otherwise dominant with his legs and arm. Jackson made big plays in the passing game and converted in key situations with his legs. Mark Ingram
was on his way to having a huge game but left the game with a lower leg injury and did not return. Gus Edwards
and Justice Hill
each played well in his absence with Edwards handling more carries and Hill the pass catching duties. Mark Andrews
was force against the Browns. Andrews had a huge game and is virtually unstoppable when Jackson is on point. Andrews' size, speed, and ball skills make him a matchup problem. Marquise Brown
was a non factor against the Browns.
- Cleveland got off to a good start, holding Baltimore’s offense scoreless until late in the second quarter. They simply couldn’t keep it up as they were outmatched by an explosive Baltimore offense and a swarming defense. Head coach Freddie Kitchens made a few questionable play calls and cameras caught Odell Beckham
Jr. having a heated exchange with the coach after a failed two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Talented tight end David Njoku
was a healthy scratch for the second straight week with reports indicating that he is showing signs of rust in practice.
QB Lamar Jackson
, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 31 - 238 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 17 - 103 - 0 - Lamar Jackson
played very well against the Browns after a slow start. The Ravens moved into Cleveland territory on their opening possession but a failed conversion on 4th and 3 stopped the drive. Jackson threw wide of Mark Andrews
on the play. The Ravens again moved into Cleveland territory but a botched exchange between Ingram and Jackson gave the Browns the ball back. After a 3 and out the Ravens offense came to life scoring 2 touchdowns in less than 2 minutes. Jackson made a great play finding Ingram as he released downfield for 24 yards. Jackson then found an uncovered Mark Andrews
down the seam for a 39 yard touchdown. Jackson moved the Ravens into the red zone with a series of nice completions. Jackson capped the drive with a spectacular touchdown pass to Andrews. Jackson held the ball as long as he could and made a perfect throw only Andrews could catch with bodies in his face for a 14 yard touchdown. Jackson made a pair of defenders miss after escaping the pocket on 3rd and 10 for a 14 yard gain. A few plays later Jackson found Mark Ingram
in the flat for a 12 yard touchdown. The Ravens final touchdown drive was exclusively running plays. Jackson had a great scramble on the drive putting a defender on his butt before sliding down in bounds. Jackson iced the game with a 5 yard run on 3rd and 4 where he managed to dodge multiple defenders in a small space.
RB Gus Edwards
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 66 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets) - Gus Edwards
played very well against the Browns. Edwards was successful on the majority of his carries and was very effective eating clock late in the game. Edwards made a catch in the flat for a 7 yard gain. Edwards followed Nick Boyle
up the middle for a 10 yard gain splitting a pair of defenders. Edwards had the ball punched out of his hands but he managed to recover his own fumble. Following the Ingram injury the Ravens turned to Edwards. Edwards got 4 carries on the ensuing possession and picked up 36 yards with most of those coming on runs up the middle. Edwards churned out another first down running inside on the Ravens final possession.
RB Mark Ingram
, 30 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 55 - 0, Rec: 2 - 36 - 1 (2 targets) - Mark Ingram
was having a huge game before leaving the game with a lower leg injury. Ingram followed Patrick Ricard through a huge hole on his first carry and slipped through an arm tackle to escape down the sideline for 27 yards. Ingram released up field as Jackson scrambled and Jackson found him for a 24 yard gain. Ingram released into the flat and outflanked the defense for a 12 yard touchdown reception. Ingram sliced through the Browns defense off right tackle on a play that looked similar to his first carry for a 15 yard gain. A few plays later Ingram went down with a lower leg injury and did not return to the game. Coach John Harbaugh said there is no structural damage to Ingram's leg and the Ravens can rest Ingram the next two weeks.
RB Justice Hill
, 13 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 19 - 1, Rec: 3 - 32 - 0 (4 targets) - Justice Hill
played his best game of the season. Hill looked fast and seems to be getting more physical. Hill made a catch in the flat and took it for a 14 yard gain. Hill made a 9 yard catch on 3rd and 5. Hill caught a check down from Jackson and took it for 9 yards. Justice hill found a big crease off right tackle and burst through the lane for a 18 yard touchdown. Hill will see a bigger role in Ingram misses time.
WR Marquise Brown
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets) - Marquise Brown
was a non factor against the Browns. Brown made a 6 yard catch running a curl. Brown was left open in the end zone on one play but Jackson did not see him.
TE Mark Andrews
, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 93 - 2 (9 targets) - Mark Andrews
had a huge game against the Browns. Andrews made plays all over the field and continues to be Jackson's favorite target. Andrews was stopped for a 4 yard gain on 3rd and 7 running a quick out route. Andrews was targeted the following play on 4th and 3 but Jackson's throw was off target. Andrews made a 5 yard catch running another quick out. Andrews was left completely uncovered running a 9 route from the slot and scored an uncontested 39 yard touchdown. Andrews came wide open running a deep crossing route and hurdled a defender after the catch for a 24 yard gain. Andrews scored his second touchdown in less than 2 minutes playing street ball with Lamar Jackson
. Andrews released into the end zone and was fairly well covered but a perfect jump ball throw from Jackson resulted in a 14 yard score. Andrews converted a 3rd and 5 with a 7 yard catch. Andrews nearly had a 3rd touchdown but was called for offensive pass interference. Andrews was also shaken up on the play and his snaps were limited the remainder of the game. Andrews said the injury is not serious post game.
QB Baker Mayfield
, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 20 - 33 - 192 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 4 - 0 - Mayfield turned in an uneven performance in the loss. At times he flashed his excellent accuracy and ability to escape in the pocket but at other times he missed makeable throws and made some poor decisions. He only wound up throwing one interception but came close to throwing a total of three picks. He connected with Jarvis Landry
for a nine-yard slant on his first throw of the game and followed that up with a deep shot to Ricky Seals-Jones
. The ball was just overthrown as the tight end couldn’t make the grab. He came back on the next drive to find Odell Beckham
Jr. for a 22-yard completion and made a nice pass deep down the left sideline to Damion Ratley
but Ratley bobbled the ball as he went out of bounds. Mayfield’s first touchdown came at the beginning of the second quarter but not before an interception on that same drive was nullified by a defensive holding penalty. He led Cleveland down to the Baltimore one-yard line, aided by a defensive pass interference flag which Beckham drew in the end zone. Mayfield then found Demetrius Harris
for a one-yard score in the back of the end zone. He put the ball up high enough for his big tight end to jump up and reach over the defender for the score. Two drives later, Mayfield tried another deep shot, this time to Beckham down the right sideline. It looked as though it was going to be a completion but Marcus Peters reached in and tipped the ball at the last second, resulting in an incompletion. In the third quarter, Mayfield came close to throwing another interception. With Baltimore’s pass rush closing in, Mayfield attempted a dump off to Nick Chubb
. The pass was thrown short and a Baltimore defender made a diving grab that was overturned by officials, who ruled that the ball hit the ground first. In the fourth quarter, Mayfield led Cleveland’s second touchdown-scoring drive. He made a nice pass to Beckham for a 15-yard gain and then hit Ricky Seals-Jones
with a bullet down the seam which got Cleveland to the Baltimore one-yard line. A few plays later, Mayfield found Beckham in the right corner of the end zone on a perfectly-placed fade for a three-yard score. The team’s final drive of the game did not go as well as Mayfield threw an interception on a deep pass down the middle of the field. He was hurried by the Ravens pass rush and made a poor choice in letting the ball go where he did.
RB Nick Chubb
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 45 - 0 (1 targets) - Chubb was held in check for much of the game by a Baltimore run defense that was keyed in on stopping him. Very little came easy for Chubb as most of his runs went for short gains. He saw a red zone carry in the second quarter from the Baltimore 10-yard line and lost three yards on the play. His best drive came in the third quarter. He ripped off a seven-yard run where he dragged a defender for about two yards before going down. He then picked up 12 tough yards where he dragged the pile for a few extra yards at the end of the run. He capped that drive off with another 11-yard run up the middle and drew his lone target of the game, which was thrown short and was uncatchable. Chubb saw some more red-zone work in the fourth quarter, losing one yard on first-and-goal from the Baltimore one-yard line and then losing another four yards on the next play.
RB Kareem Hunt
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 0 - 0, Rec: 4 - 33 - 0 (4 targets) - Hunt struggled to get much going on the ground but made an impact in the passing attack. He also absorbed several big hits from the Baltimore defense on the afternoon. His first touch was a two-yard carry where he took a big hit. On the third drive of the game, he had an eight-yard catch on third-and-nine. He leapt in the air to try to split two defenders and was hit in the air, spinning him around before he fell to the ground one-yard short of the first down. It was a great effort by Hunt to try for the first. In the second quarter he gained six yards on a run to the left and picked up a six-yard reception where he was hit hard yet again. On the following possession, he lost eight yards on a run where he was holding the ball dangerously in the air with one hand. He was lucky not to have fumbled on that play. In the third quarter, Hunt made a leaping grab for a seven-yard gain on third-and-six for a first down. His final touch was an impressive sideline catch for a 12-yard gain in the fourth quarter.
WR Jarvis Landry
, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 74 - 0 (8 targets) - As has been the case for much of the season, Landry led the team in receiving. His first catch was a nine-yard gain on a quick slant. On the same drive he got wide open and made a 12-yard grab. His third catch lost four yards on a quick screen to the left. That play had no chance from the beginning as there were Baltimore defenders all around him. In the second quarter he tacked on another 12 yards on third-and-six to keep the chains moving. In the third quarter, Landry drew a target deep down the sideline. He attempted a one-handed grab but couldn’t haul it in. That play was nullified by a defensive illegal contact penalty. In the fourth quarter, Landry gained 33 yards on a tough catch down the middle of the field. He took a big hit as he made the catch and held on for the big gain. His final catch was a five-yard gain on a quick pass.
WR Odell Beckham
, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 44 - 1 (6 targets) - Beckham’s first catch was a 22-yarder where he got wide open but he negated most of that gain with a 15-yard taunting penalty at the end of the play. In the second quarter he drew a defensive pass interference call in the end zone. He was targeted down the left side and the defender grabbed his shoulder pad while the ball was in the air. Baltimore challenged that the ball was uncatchable but the penalty stood after official review. His final target of the first half was a deep shot down the right sideline. It appeared as though he would make the catch but Marcus Peters made an excellent play to get a hand in to tip the ball just as it arrived. In the third quarter, Beckham gained four yards on a quick pass to the left. He tacked on a 15-yard gain at the beginning of the fourth quarter and capped that drive off with a three-yard touchdown on an end zone fade. He did an excellent job getting both feet in bounds in the back right corner of the end zone. Cameras showed Beckham having a heated conversation with head coach Freddie Kitchens after the failed two-point conversion following his touchdown.
TE Demetrius Harris
, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 1 - 1 (3 targets) - Harris saw his first target on the third drive where he dropped a catchable ball. He made up for it with an impressive one-yard touchdown catch. It was a tough, contested catch in the end zone where he jumped up and reached over a defender for the score. His only other target fell incomplete as he was hit as the ball arrived.
Cincinnati Bengals 35, Miami Dolphins 38
What you need to know
- -Andy Dalton
led an incredible comeback late that saw the Bengals score 23 points in the final six minutes to force overtime.
played less than half of the snaps and didn’t look himself playing through a flu bug.
and Tyler Eifert
keyed the late comeback, combining for three late touchdown catches.
, John Ross
, and Alex Erickson
were the only three receivers who played offensively and each saw at least nine targets.
- It was pegged as a battle between teams fighting for spots atop this years’ draft, but it ended up being one of the best games of the day. Miami built a big lead going into the 4th quarter before a late collapse and giving up 23 points, a Hail Marry, and a 2-point conversion for Cincinnati to tie the game with no time left. With the win, Miami moves to 4-11, and the loss clinches the number one overall pick for the Bengals. Ryan Fitzpatrick
was dominant all game and Miami featured Myles Gaskin
out of the back field instead of Patrick Laird
. Mike Gesicki
found the end zone twice and DeVante Parker
continued his resurgent season. The defense played a bend but do not break brand of football and it almost back fired in the end. The Hail Marry to Tyler Eifert
at the end of the game was ugly coverage by the defense and the big tight end boxed everyone out for an easier than normal score for a last-ditch effort. Miami closes the season against New England and is staring squarely at a top 5 pick in the draft this year.
QB Andy Dalton
, 90 offensive snaps, Pass: 33 - 56 - 396 - 4 TD / 0 INT - It felt weirdly appropriate that with most Bengals fans rooting for a loss to lock up the top draft pick and a shot at selecting Dalton’s replacement that Dalton would lead one of the most dramatic comebacks of the NFL season. His play was mediocre for over three quarters and then, out of nowhere, he led three touchdown drives in the final five minutes and converted a pair of two-point conversion attempts to come back from 23 points down to force overtime. Dalton threw his first touchdown pass of the game late in the third quarter, hitting Tyler Boyd
with a well-thrown fade deep down the left sideline on 4th-and-3 for a 34-yard touchdown. The furious comeback began in earnest midway through the fourth quarter. Dalton led a long, 11-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that he finished off with an 8-yard touchdown over the middle to C.J. Uzomah
. He got the ball back with three minutes to play and led a methodical 14-play touchdown drive that finally resulted in a 3-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd
with 30 seconds left. A successful 2-point conversion pass to Tyler Eifert
made it a one-score game. After an onside kick, Dalton had 29 seconds and no timeouts to go 54 yards. He picked up a big chunk with a 29-yard pass to Tyler Boyd
deep down the seam. As time expired, he threw it up in the middle of the end zone where Tyler Eifert
leaped above a crowd and came down with a 25-yard touchdown. On the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt, nobody was open but Dalton scrambled and was able to race into the end zone to tie the game up and force overtime. He used up all of his magic in regulation, however. Both overtime possessions went three and out.
RB Joe Mixon
, 39 offensive snaps, Rush: 21 - 50 - 0, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (2 targets) - News broke about an hour before kickoff that Mixon had been dealing with a stomach bug and would be at less than 100% for the game. He looked like he wasn’t quite himself in this one as the energy and burst was a bit lacking. He also seemed to be winded at times and saw a major decrease in his share of the snaps. In fact, he played 12 fewer snaps than Giovani Bernard
and Mixon’s 43% share of the offensive snaps was his lowest since Week 1. He was still making the first man miss with some regularity but the explosive plays weren’t there. None of Mixon’s 21 carries went for more than nine yards. Mixon’s biggest play of the day was a 17-yard catch. He lined up out wide and ran a comeback route. He broke a tackle attempt by the safety and got loose down the sideline for the long gain.
RB Giovani Bernard
, 51 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (3 targets) - Incredibly, Bernard played 51 snaps and only managed four total touches. With Joe Mixon
playing through a flu bug, Bernard rotated in on early downs more often than usual but rarely touched the ball on those snaps.
WR Tyler Boyd
, 83 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 128 - 2 (15 targets) - Boyd looked like he was on his way to another solid but unspectacular fantasy showing. He caught a wheel route down the left sideline for 19 yards late in the first quarter and made a man miss on a pretty 14-yard catch and run in the final minute before halftime. Still, he had just a few catches and less than 50 receiving yards late in the third quarter. Then, the Bengals offense started rolling and Boyd started racking up the fantasy points in bunches. It started with a 4th-and-3 catch by Boyd that went for a 34-yard touchdown. He lined up in the slot and ran a fade route against single coverage. He played through a shove and made a beautiful over-the-shoulder grab down the sideline and maintained his balance to get into the end zone. Boyd was the focal point of the offense in the furious fourth-quarter comeback. He saw eight targets in the game’s final nine minute as the Bengals charged back from 23 points down to force overtime. Six of those targets actually came in the final three minutes of regulation. Boyd struck for his second touchdown on another 4th-and-3 play. This time, he took advantage of a rub from Alex Erickson
to get inside position on the slant and was able to twist after the being hit to barely sneak the ball over the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown with 33 seconds left. After an onside kick, Boyd made a 29-yard grab deep down the seam to get the team in position for one shot at the end zone. It was a great performance by Boyd, who played a whopping 83 snaps and was targeted 15 times.
WR John Ross
, 71 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0, Rec: 6 - 84 - 0 (13 targets) - Ross played his most snaps of the season (71) and trailed only Tyler Boyd
with his 13 targets. He got a chance on a deep ball down the left sideline early but wasn’t able to go haul it in despite gaining a bit of separation. He was able to come down with a 34-yard catch on another fade route deep down the left sideline on the next drive, however. He was able to make the contested catch over his shoulder. Ross had two more deep ball opportunities deep down the left sideline that weren’t particularly close to being completed. One was well covered. The other Ross had a step but Dalton’s pass was off target. Ross had a drop on an intermediate route. The ball was thrown slightly outside but he had both hands on it and should have been able to pull it in for a 15-yard gain.
WR Alex Erickson
, 68 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 55 - 0 (9 targets) - Erickson was third on the team with nine targets. He was one of only three Bengals wide receivers who saw snaps in the game and played 68 offensive snaps. Like most of the Bengals offense, Erickson got off to a slow start. His only catch in the first half went for just four yards and came in the final seconds before halftime. He made one catch in the third quarter, a 19-yard grab down the seam in between three defenders. He held on despite taking a big hit to the ribs. Erickson had four short grabs during the Bengals furious fourth quarter comeback, the longest going for 11 yards on a quick out route.
TE Tyler Eifert
, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 57 - 1 (8 targets) - Eifert played 57 snaps (63%), which was his second-highest total of the season. He was a non-factor for the first 50 minutes but was a key cog in the fourth-quarter comeback. He lined up out wide and got inside position on a slant route and made the grab for a 2-point conversion that brought the Bengals within one score with 30 seconds left. On a desperation heave with no time left on the clock, Eifert was able to box out a defender and make the leaping grab for a 25-yard touchdown to tie the game up and force overtime.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick
, 90 offensive snaps, Pass: 31 - 52 - 419 - 4 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 9 - 0 - It was a quick and efficient 3 quarters for Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins this week. The first drive went for 12 plays, 85 yards, and a big man touchdown. The drive was aided by a 27-yard deep pass down the sideline to Allen Hurns
. The touchdown went to Christian Wilkins from 1-yard out. Wilkins is normally a defensive tackle that reported as eligible for this play. It was a 1-yard throw into the flat with Wilkins making the catch, fumbling, and then recovering in the end zone for the score. The second drive had everything to do with his connection with Parker. The duo connected on a 51-yard deep pass across the middle and then capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown. Parker got inside leverage on his man with a short slant pattern on 3rd and goal. He used his body to box out the defender and make the catch in the end zone for the score. The 3rd touchdown of the half for Fitzpatrick came on a blown coverage by the defense. Gesicki found himself wide open deep down the field and was able to back pedal into the end zone without being touched. Fitzpatrick scrambled and left the pocket causing the defense to push up and try to stop a quarterback run. This left Gesicki all alone on about the 5-yard line before Fitzpatrick delivered a strike for another easy score. The game was getting out of hand at this point with the Dolphins then scoring again on their opening drive of the second half. Fitzpatrick found Gesicki for a 13-yard score in the corner of the end zone. His initial read was across the middle on a crossing pattern, but he pulled it back down and found Gesicki in the corner of the end zone with just his man to beat. The big bodied tight end was able to go up and make the play over his much smaller defender and give the Dolphins a 28-6 lead. This is where the wheels fell off a bit for Fitzpatrick. He threw an interception on the very next drive and then the Dolphins missed a field goal to increase their lead. A blown 4th quarter lead gave Fitzpatrick a chance in over time, but both teams played it safe and traded punts for the first 4 drives. He finally completed a big play to Isaiah Ford
for 28 yards and took a series of knees before Jason Sanders
kicked a game winning 37-yard field goal. Fitzpatrick has shown he can still play in this league and will have one more audition against the Patriots to close out the season next week.
RB Myles Gaskin
, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 16 - 55 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets) - With the struggles of Laird in recent weeks, the Dolphins went with Gaskin as their lead back this week. He had a season high 16 carries and averaged 3.4 yards per carry. That is not the most impressive line but the most important thing he did was cash in on the goal line for a touchdown this week. That is something Miami has struggled with over the course of the season and a 2-yard plunge up the middle for Gaskin showed they can run the ball between the tackles when needed. His longest run of the day went for 15 yards and he caught 1 of his 3 targets for 3 yards. No running back did a good job catching the ball out of the back field this week and Gaskin spent most of his time blocking and trying to keep Fitzpatrick upright in the pocket. He should get another chance next week against a stout Patriots defense.
RB Patrick Laird
, 49 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 17 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (1 targets) - The Dolphins have no idea what they are doing at the running back position. After starting last week, Laird was passed over for Gaskin this week. Laird had just 8 carries to 16 for Gaskin. His longest run went for 7 yards and the Dolphins failed to rush for 100 yards as a team this week. Laird does his best work catching the ball out of the back field but only had a single target for 1-yard this week. It looks like Gaskin will take lead duties again next week and Laird will have to settle for the back up role again to close out the season.
WR Albert Wilson
, 66 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 9 - 0, Rec: 7 - 79 - 0 (7 targets) - Wilson was one of the most reliable Dolphins this week. He caught all 7 of his targets and added a rushing attempt for 9 yards. The only thing he did not do for the offense this week was find the end zone. His longest catch went for 35 yards and helped setup a touchdown. He was 3rd on the team in targets but the most important stat was his catch rate. Both Parker and Gesicki had double digit targets but caught 50% or less of those targets. Wilson caught everything that came his way and could see his target share increase next week with the Patriots top coverage men lining up against Parker. Allen Hurns
It was an all around shoot out between the Dolphins and Bengals this week, but Hurns did not play a big role. He caught a long 27-yard pass on the first drive of the game to help setup an opening touchdown but was only targeted one more time the entire rest of the game. His second catch went for 14 yards and a first down. The bulk of the targets went to Parker and Gesicki this week with Hurns lagging way behind.
WR DeVante Parker
, 75 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 111 - 1 (15 targets) - The overall stat line looks very impressive for Parker, but there were some underlying issues this week. The Dolphins clear number 1 receiver was targeted a whopping 15 times this week but only came down with 5 of those balls. That is not a great catch rate and is a big reason why Gesicki and Wilson had much better days than usual. Parker has been facing the top coverage options from opposing teams down the stretch but keeps finding ways to make big plays. His stat line this week is inflated by a 51-yard catch down the sideline that helped setup a touchdown for him on the same drive. Parker continues to take advantage of 1 on 1 coverage and using his bigger body to box out receivers. His 7-yard touchdown was a product of getting inside leverage with his body and making a strong catch with his hands. Fitzpatrick continued to force the ball in Parkers direction the entire game and that is a philosophy that will back fire next week against the Patriots. In many cases it is just Fitzpatrick throwing the ball up and hoping Parker can make a play on it. Stephon Gilmore will most likely shadow Parker next week and we could see a similar box score to when these teams met earlier in the season. Parker was held without a catch and the Patriots came away with a 43-0 victory.
TE Mike Gesicki
, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 82 - 2 (12 targets) - The Dolphins finally started using Gesicki to his potential this week and increased his target share to the highest it has been all season. He had 12 different balls thrown his way this week and was able to come down with 6 of them. His longest play of the game also happened to be his 1st touchdown catch of the game. The play went for 31 yards after Fitzpatrick scrambled out of the pocket and the entire defense broke their coverage to stop the quarterback run. Gesicki saw this and worked his way down the field in to an open spot around the 5-yard line. Fitzpatrick delivered a strike and Gesicki back pedaled untouched into the end zone. His second touchdown came for 13 yards out and was the product of a great fake by Fitzpatrick. The initial read was a crossing pattern in the middle of the field, but Fitzpatrick pumped the ball and then found Gesicki in the corner of the end zone in single coverage. He put the ball up and let Gesicki make a play in the air. The big bodied tight end was able to knock down the much smaller corner in the air and come down with the ball for a touchdown. These are the type of results the team envisioned when they drafted him, and this game further solidifies Gesicki as the tight end of the future in Miami.
Los Angeles Rams 31, San Francisco 49ers 34
What you need to know
Los Angeles Rams
- The Rams had their game plan working to perfection on offense for much of the game, using play-action and the screen game to minimize the 49ers’ strong defensive front. Todd Gurley
was largely held in check on the ground outside of using his speed to the edge on multiple occasions and converting two goal line opportunities into scores. Even with Gerald Everett
back to active status, the tight end sparsely played as Tyler Higbee
was an integral part of the Rams passing game for a fourth straight week during his torrid late-season production run.
San Francisco 49ers
- This San Francisco performance on offense was no different than any other we've seen over the past two months. Therefore, there are only two things you really need to know that you didn't know already. First, it's becoming safer and safer to say that Raheem Mostert
has taken Matt Breida
's job, as Breida officially played zero snaps on offense despite being active for the game. Second, backup center Ben Garland, who the 49ers must rely on for the rest of the season due to Weston Richburg's injury, had another solid-if-unspectacular game, allowing zero pressures against Los Angeles despite facing the best defensive tackle in the NFL.
QB Jared Goff
, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 46 - 323 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 12 - 0 - Goff played one of his best games of the season, nearly pulling off a road upset of the 49ers in the NFC West showdown. Goff was consistently used in the rollout and play-action passing game and the 49ers’ pass rush was minimized as a result, especially in the first half. Goff’s lone slip up in the first half was a quizzical pick-six interception on a flat route to Malcolm Brown
to tarnish an otherwise strong opening to the game. Pressure was the theme of the third quarter for Goff as the Rams struggled on offense. The team (and Goff) rebounded later in the game, however, as Goff made a handful of highlight throws to the deeper parts of the field to Robert Woods
twice, Tyler Higbee
twice, and Brandin Cooks
on one occasion. Goff should have had a second interception as he was hit during his motion and a defender dropped the pass in the closing minutes.
RB Todd Gurley
, 54 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 48 - 2 (2 targets) - Secondary running backs barely played for the Rams against the 49ers. Gurley collected 15 carries and converted both of his goal line opportunities into touchdowns as the Rams’ offense churned out scoring drives. Gurley’s highlight moments were using a stiff arm on the edge and beating penetration in the backfield to turn losses into solid gains. Gurley rarely saw room on inside runs and did not corral either of his two targets in the game, his first week without reception since Week 7. Gurley has found the end zone in four straight games.
RB Darrell Henderson
, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0 - Henderson played sparingly against the 49ers but did see snaps ahead of Malcolm Brown
earlier in the game. Henderson had a nice run up the middle, a rarity for the Rams in this game, as his lone positive moment and was stuffed on his perimeter opportunity.
WR Robert Woods
, 70 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 6 - 0, Rec: 8 - 117 - 0 (11 targets) - Woods was targeted heavily yet again for the Rams offense, seeing 11 targets and 10 total touches. Woods was a magnet for a collection of Jared Goff
’s best throws on the game, including three deep receptions of more than 20 yards, two of them on third-and-long. Woods’ lone missed opportunity came on a stuffed third-down screen pass and Woods was wide open on a deep out when Goff notably missed him. Woods has surpassed 1,000 yards on the season and still sits on a single receiving touchdown despite 83 receptions.
WR Brandin Cooks
, 41 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 39 - 1 (6 targets) - Cooks has inched his way back to relevancy in the Rams offense over the past two weeks and saw six targets against the 49ers. Cooks showed strong hands for a contested touchdown as Jared Goff
extended a red zone play with Cooks uncovering in the back of the end zone. Cooks came up big late in the game as well with a third-and-long in-cut reception. Cooks was stuffed on his lone screen opportunity near the line of scrimmage.
WR Cooper Kupp
, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 31 - 1 (4 targets) - Kupp saw a meager four targets against the 49ers but found the end zone for a fourth straight game. Kupp was stuffed on his two screen pass opportunities, including fumbling on one occasion, which the Rams fortunately recovered. Kupp had one notable play in the game, coming wide open on a deep crossing route for an easy chunk touchdown. Kupp has been a clear secondary option to Robert Woods
and Tyler Higbee
in the Rams offense over the past month.
TE Tyler Higbee
, 62 offensive snaps, Rec: 9 - 104 - 0 (11 targets) - Despite Gerald Everett
returning to active status for the Rams tight end depth chart, Higbee was a feature element of the Rams offense for a fourth straight week and surpassed 100 yards. Much of Higbee’s production came in the first half as the Rams zoomed out to hot start. Higbee was featured with multiple chunk gains in the screen game and added two highlight plays downfield between a high-point reception and another catch in traffic. Higbee nearly scored when tackled at the one-yard-line on a red zone slant and added a drop to his missed opportunities which could have added a score and surpassing 120 yards to his tally.
QB Jimmy Garoppolo
, 57 offensive snaps, Pass: 16 - 27 - 248 - 1 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 5 - 0 - Once again, Garoppolo came through in the clutch, especially on two throws that essentially won the game for San Francisco: a sack-evading roll out touchdown pass to George Kittle
and a perfectly placed bomb to Emmanuel Sanders
that set up Robby Gould's field goal at the buzzer. It might be said that, given his two interceptions leading to Rams scoring chances, Garoppolo was partly to blame for the early deficit his team had to come back from. However, both interceptions were due to great individual plays by Jalen Ramsey. On the first, Ramsey peeled off from his coverage responsibility to show up in a position even the best quarterbacks wouldn't expect him to be. And on the second, Ramsey deflected Garoppolo's (slightly thrown-behind) slant pass, which turned into a can of corn for whichever Rams defender wanted to claim it.
RB Raheem Mostert
, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 53 - 1 (1 targets) - Mostert didn't start, but he played most of the running back snaps. In fact, he appears to have completely overtaken Matt Breida
on the depth chart, as Breida, though active against the Rams, only played on special teams. Having said all that, Mostert's only carry of note all game was his 16-yard touchdown run just before halftime. As is often the case with the 49ers run game, Mostert went untouched thanks to a perfectly executed run-blocking play design.
RB Tevin Coleman
, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 33 - 0 - Once again, Coleman started but saw the field less than Raheem Mostert
. He gained 21 of his 33 rushing yards on two fourth quarter carries. The first was a "keeping them honest" run sprinkled in the midst of five passes. The other made Robbie Gould
's game-winning field goal 9 yards closer.
WR Deebo Samuel
, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 28 - 1, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (6 targets) - Samuel did almost all of his damage on one second quarter drive that brought San Francisco back to within one score. On the first play, his jet sweep motion presnap left him wide open for a wide receiver screen that he caught and ran for an 18-yard gain. Two plays later, he lined up in the backfield, took a shotgun handoff towards the left sideline, and outran three Rams defenders for a touchdown.
WR Emmanuel Sanders
, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 61 - 0 (6 targets) - Sanders was neutralized by Darious Williams, Jalen Ramsey, and the Rams' zone defense -- until the game was on the line with one minute left. Sanders' 46-yard catch to set up San Francisco's game-winning field goal resulted from a complete breakdown on the back end of Los Angeles' Cover-2 zone. safety Taylor Rapp overplayed his anticipation of Sanders' route going towards the sideline, which rendered him a mere spectator when Sanders' route broke toward the deep middle on a post.
WR Kendrick Bourne
, 30 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 29 - 0 (3 targets) - Once again, Bourne came through in his role as San Francisco's situational football weapon. This time, he converted a 3rd-and-16 on the 49ers' game-winning drive. It was a simple option route out of the left slot where he was able to settle down in a hole in the Rams' Cover-3 zone.
TE George Kittle
, 55 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 79 - 1 (8 targets) - Kittle was neutralized by a cavalcade of linebackers and safeties -- until one fourth quarter drive that gave San Franccisco the lead with six minutes left. To start said drive, Kittle ran uncovered through the Rams' zone for a 36-yard gain because Eric Weddle double-covered Deebo Samuel
's go route with Jalen Ramsey, thereby leaving the strong-side intermediate level vacant. And at the end of said drive, Kittle scored on a scramble drill in the red zone. He was inititally double-covered by Corey Littleton and Taylor Rapp; but when Jimmy Garoppolo
broke contain and rolled to his right, Kittle was able to escape from Littleton long enough to come open at the goal line.