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NFL Game Recaps: Week 16





Jaguars 21, Titans 13

  • The Titans dominated for the opening quarter and a half, and as a result, it initially appeared as though there wouldn't be any winners in this game. The Jaguar fans were watching their once-promising quarterback struggle. The Titan fans were seeing their top-two draft selection slip away. All those who bet on Jacksonville witnessed a 4.5-point favorite look completely incompetent. Delanie Walker fantasy owners witnessed Leon Washington vulture an early touchdown. And those tuning into this game for casual purposes had to endure a dreadful matchup.

    Everything changed, however, right before halftime. With the Titans up 10-0 and outgaining Jacksonville by a wide margin (179-16), the Jaguars were able to put together a solid drive, thanks to some tough running by Toby Gerhart. They eventually found their way into the end zone and were able to accomplish the same thing in the third quarter. They established a four-point lead and never looked back.

  • Bortles had a very mixed game. He was dreadful in the early going, as he was just 9-of-15 for only 52 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He checked it down on an early third-and-7 without even bothering to look downfield. He was then strip-sacked, but was fortunate to have his teammate recover. He also missed some routine throws, but was able to get into a rhythm.

    Bortles finished 13-of-26 for 115 yards and a touchdown. He still had some poor throws following intermission, including an awful misfire toward Cecil Shorts in the red zone, but he picked up some big gains on the ground, including a first-down scamper on third-and-long. Bortles compiled 50 rushing yards on five scrambles.

  • Gerhart missed some time in this game with a rib contusion, which is why he had just 12 carries. He ran well after getting stuffed early, finishing with 53 yards and a touchdown. He was outgained by Jordan Todman (5-71, TD), though almost all of that came on a 62-yard burst in the fourth quarter that sealed this victory by Jacksonville.

  • Only one Jaguar had more than 26 receiving yards. Marqise Lee (4-65) was that player. Marcedes Lewis hauled in Bortles' sole touchdown, though he had just two catches for six yards.

  • The player who gained the most in this victory was Sen'Derrick Marks. The star Jacksonville defensive tackle needed half a sack to trigger a $600,000 bonus. He managed to sack Charlie Whitehurst on the final play of the game. Not only did he claim more than half-a-million bucks against his former team; he stopped a Tennessee drive right in its tracks to give Jacksnville its third victory of the season.

  • As for the Titans, I'm surprised by how well Whitehurst played. It appeared as though he was going to ruin Tennessee's chances of landing either Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, as he opened the game with a 6-of-6, 71-yard, touchdown-drive. Whitehurst continued to shred Jacksonville's secondary throughout the evening, finishing 24-of-35 for 287 yards and the score to Washington, but he couldn't get his team into the end zone again. Simple mistakes disrupted drives all evening, though Whitehurst was responsible for throwing short on a crucial fourth down in the middle of the final quarter. His receiver had to come back from the ball and was consequently tackled short of the marker.

  • Washington who was playing in his home town, was second on the team in receiving, as he caught all seven of his targets for 62 yards and the touchdown. Kendall Wright (4-73) paced the team in receiving yardage, but got banged up on a 39-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Walker (4-54) disappointed his fantasy owners.

  • Shonn Greene dominated the carries last week, but he took a back seat to Bishop Sankey again, The rookie runner had some nice gains, but managed only 44 yards on 14 carries. Greene (7-28) had a better average.





    Redskins 27, Eagles 24

  • The running joke in the NFC East has been Dallas' late-season collapses, but this one by the Eagles is on par with what the Cowboys have done in recent years. The second half of this contest epitomized what has happened to Philadelphia the final three weeks.

    The Eagles went into intermission with a 14-10 lead and recovered the opening second-half kickoff. They seemed to have all the momentum, but that's exactly when their meltdown began. It all started when Cody Parkey whiffed on a 34-yard field goal. A third-down stop on Washington's ensuing possession was nullified by a Brandon Graham unnecessary roughness penalty, which was a bogus call. Following a Washington touchdown, LeSean McCoy dropped a pass, and then Parkey missed badly from 46 yards.

    After some defensive breakdowns - more on that later - Mark Sanchez threw an interception on a pass behind Jeremy Maclin. A Vinny Curry roughing-the-passer infraction - this one was actually legit - allowed Washington to move into field-goal range, and they got even closer on a Connor Barwin offsides penalty (which was Philadelphia's 13th infraction of the game). Chip Kelly foolishly didn't let them score a touchdown, permitting the Redskins to bleed the clock and nail a chip shot to seal the 27-24 victory.

    With this loss, the Eagles need to win at New York and then have the Cowboys lose both of their remaining games. That could happen - Dallas has endured worse collapses - but there's no guarantee that Philadelphia will even prevail against the Giants, given the team's issues.

  • I mentioned the defensive breakdowns; Philadelphia's secondary was primarily responsible for this defeat. The three poor defensive backs - Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Nate Allen - all had a big hand in this loss. Williams began the game by being penalized for unnecessary roughness on a third-down stop, pushing Andre Roberts after the play was over. DeSean Jackson torched Fletcher for a 51-yard gain on the following drive. Jackson later haul in a 55-yard bomb and then proceeded to draw what looked like five pass-interference flags on Allen in the end zone. Williams then whiffed on a Pierre Garcon tackle, allowing the Redskins to move in for the game-winning kick.

  • Sanchez didn't help matters. His fantasy numbers were great, but he was guilty of two turnovers. The pick at the end was a killer, and he also opened the game with a lost fumble, forced by Ryan Kerrigan, who easily beat Lane Johnson. Sanchez finished 37-of-50 for 374 yards, two touchdowns, the interception and the fumble. He looked great at times - he converted a third-and-25 with a 26-yard dart to Jordan Matthews and had several other impressive throws - but as usual with Sanchez, the turnovers proved to be too costly.

  • Sanchez made it a point to throw to Zach Ertz as much as possible. I'm not exaggerating; Ertz drew a ridiculous 18 targets - twice more than the player who saw the next-most amount of balls thrown his way (Darren Sproles). Ertz hauled in 15 of those passes for 115 yards.

  • Both of Sanchez's touchdowns went to Riley Cooper (5-53), who dropped a pass. Jeremy Maclin (4-62) and Jordan Matthews (3-58) were big disappointments considering their matchup against Washington's poor secondary.

  • LeSean McCoy also scored. He managed 88 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and also caught three balls for 28 receiving yards. He had a drop, but ran well considering that Washington's defense has been so stout versus ground attacks this season.

  • As for the Redskins, Robert Griffin had a mixed outing, going 16-of-23 for 220 yards and an interception, which he forced into double coverage. He didn't run nearly enough - five scrambles, 11 rush yards - and he was nearly pick-sixed early in the game, but he completed a pair of deep bombs to Jackson. He made some mistakes, showing poor footwork on some attempts and holding on to the ball too long, but he was robbed of a touchdown when Allen tackled Jackson in the end zone prior to the ball arriving.

  • Jackson talked trash about the Eagles leading up to this game, and he backed up his talk. He caught four balls for 126 yards, reeling in receptions of 55 and 51 yards. There's no doubt that Philadelphia missed Jackson's game-breaking ability this year, but it's not like he's done much for the Redskins.

  • I was surprised to see Alfred Morris run so well. The Eagles had a stout rush defense entering this contest, yet Morris was able to tally 83 yards and a touchdown on 21 attempts.

  • The Redskins suffered a couple of injuries in this contest. Trent Murphy was knocked out early with a broken hand, while left tackle Trent Williams hurt his shoulder. Williams remained in the game, but had to actually hold his arm in between plays.


    Chargers 38, 49ers 35

  • Wow. When Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick were running all over the Chargers in the first half, eventually establishing a 28-7 lead in the process, I never imagined that San Diego would be able to win. Philip Rivers did not look right at all, and the Chargers were outgained by about 130 net yards by intermission.

    And then, things just clicked for San Diego. Rivers went from throwing weak passes to the other team to converting first down after first down on crucial, late-game possessions. Rivers was 24-of-40 for 273 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in the second half and overtime. It was clear that Rivers was hindered by a back problem, so this was an extremely gutsy victory on his part, especially considering that he was missing two linemen; deep-reserve center Chris Watt was helped off the field with an ankle injury early on, while guard Johnnie Troutman also left the field.

    The Chargers managed to tie the game with two clutch catches by Eddie Royal on a fourth-and-6 and Dontrelle Inman on a fourth-and-10 with the game (and season) on the line. Two plays after the Inman reception, Rivers found Malcom Floyd in the end zone for a 12-yard score. The 49ers won the coin toss in overtime following a 60-yard Phil Dawson whiff. They moved it into San Diego territory, but Quinton Patton lost a fumble. The Chargers recovered, and thanks to some Rivers completions and tough runs from Ronnie Brown, they moved it into range for Nick Novak, who converted to keep the season alive. San Diego, now 9-6, still needs some help to earn one of the two wild-card spots, but at least it has a chance.

  • Rivers finished 33-of-54 for 356 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. It was ugly early; Rivers' first pick wasn't too bad, as Perrish Cox had great coverage, but his next one was returned for six, as it was heaved right to Antoine Bethea. Rivers' third interception came after halftime; it was a high throw that occurred because he couldn't step into his throw. As mentioned though, Rivers caught fire at the very end to help his team's hopes alive.

  • Rivers' main targets were Royal (10-94, TD) and Antonio Gates, who had seven catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Floyd (4-50) secured the fourth score. Meanwhile, someone named Dontrelle Inman, who had never caught a pass in the NFL prior to Saturday night, logged seven receptions for 79 yards, stepping in for an injured Keenan Allen, as well as an ineffective Seyi Ajirotutu following halftime. Inman's numbers included a key grab on fourth-and-10 of the final drive of regulation. He's worth picking up in dynasty formats.

  • With Ryan Mathews out, the Chargers utilized a three-headed platoon at running back, with Branden Oliver leading the way. He paced the team in rushing with 53 yards on 13 carries and also had three catches for 28 receiving yards. He had some nice spurts where he avoided 49er defenders, but the Chargers went with Ronnie Brown (7-33) when the game was on the line. Donald Brown (4-12) didn't do as much.

  • As mentioned in the opening paragraph, Kaepernick and Gore trampled San Diego early on. Both players actually eclipsed 150 yards on the ground. Gore rumbled for 158 yards and a touchdown on 26 attempts. Coming off a concussion on a short work week, Gore ran with great power, but the 49ers made the mistake of not handing the ball enough to him after halftime; he was given just 12 carries in the second half and overtime.

  • Kaepernick, meanwhile scrambled seven times for 151 rushing yards, 90 of which came on an impressive sprint into the end zone in the third quarter, featuring a crazy juke on Eric Weddle. Kaepernick's passing numbers weren't as impressive, however, as he went 15-of-24 for only 114 yards, a passing touchdown and a lost fumble that was recovered in the end zone for a San Diego score. To be fair, Kaepernick had two touchdowns negated by penalties, including a 63-yard pass to Vernon Davis, which was brought back because of an illegal formation and a chop block.

    These were just two of countless penalties called on the 49ers. It seemed as though they were guilty of an illegal formation or an offsides on every single drive in the second half. San Francisco also had three turnovers, all of which were fumbles by Kaepernick, Patton and Bruce Miller; the latter give-away occurred in the red zone early on.

  • Only one San Francisco player had more than 22 receiving yards. That was Anquan Boldin, who reeled in seven passes for 61 yards. Michael Crabtree had just one reception in overtime; he spent the majority of the game on the sidelines wearing a baseball cap. Davis didn't log a single reception, but had a long score wiped out by two penalties.

  • Both teams incurred a high number of injuries. I already mentioned Watt and Troutman; the Chargers also lost key defenders in Melvin Ingram and Brandon Flowers for a period of time, though both players returned to the field. Meanwhile, the 49ers saw Mike Iupati, Aldon Smith, Eric Reid and some others leave the game.







    Panthers XX, Browns XX




  • Lions XX, Bears XX




  • Ravens XX, Texans XX







  • Dolphins XX, Vikings XX




  • Saints XX, FalconsXX




  • Patriots XX, Jets XX




  • Steelers XX, Chiefs XX






  • Packers XX, Buccaneers XX




  • Rams XX, Giants XX




  • Cowboys XX, Colts XX




  • Bills XX, Raiders XX




  • Seahawks XX, Cardinals XX




  • Broncos XX, Bengals XX




  • For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.



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    2014: Live 2014 NFL Draft Blog - May 8
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    2012: Live 2012 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
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    2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
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    2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
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    2007: NFL Draft: Day 1 Review Blog - April 28
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    Chief Carl Has Lost a Step - Sept. 9
    The NFL Cheated the Patriots - Sept. 16
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    2008 Championship Sunday Diary - Jan. 20
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