The Titans entered this game as 11.5-point favorites, so I can't imagine that they believed that they would be in a dog fight at the end of regulation. It was apparent that's what would happen when Marcus Mariota injured his elbow in the second quarter. Mariota left the game for good, meaning Blaine Gabbert would have to lead the team to victory.
Gabbert wasn't great, but he didn't make any mistakes either. He was extremely fortunate to get away with one, as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix dropped a potential interception of his. However, Gabbert shook it off and was able to hit MyCole Pruitt for the game-winning touchdown, feeding off a play-action fake to Derrick Henry.
The Titans prevailed, but they're going to need Mariota (10-13, 110 yards) on the field against a real opponent. It is highly unlikely that Gabbert will be able to defeat the Colts, who have a strong run defense capable of putting the clamps on Henry.
Gabbert finished 7-of-11 for 101 yards and a touchdown. He should've been picked, but he made some nice throws, including a 27-yard dart to Pruitt down the seam. Gabbert, however, is an atrocious quarterback who was fortunate to be battling a sub-par defense.
Henry led the Titans to victory. The Redskins had him bottled up for a while - he had 29 rushing yards at one point in the third quarter - but he wore down Washington's defense, bulldozing them during the game-winning drive. Henry was so dominant that after he pushed forward with a big gain to set up a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line, the crowd chanted, "Henry! Henry! Henry!" The Titans probably could've scored with him, but he sold the play-action fake well, allowing Gabbert to hit Pruitt for the decisive score. Henry finished with 84 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
While Pruitt hauled in the only aerial touchdown in this game, Taywan Taylor (3-64) and Corey Davis (3-45) were Tennessee's leading receivers. Their numbers were suppressed because of Gabbert's incompetence.
The Redskins, meanwhile, had a chance to win this game. They were down three and moved close to midfield. The drive ended with a Josh Johnson interception, but don't blame him. Josh Doctson stopped his route, probably because he didn't want to take a big hit. Johnson was picked as a result, which effectively ended the game.
Johnson finished 13-of-23 for 153 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Johnson missed a receiver for a long touchdown on his first pass, but rebounded well and played a solid game throughout. His second pick was a desperation heave with no time left on the clock. Cornerback Malcolm Butler, who snatched the interception, stupidly ran the ball back for a touchdown, risking a fluke fumble to help the Redskins win the game in the process. Butler may have been an idiot on the play, but his pick-six put the game over the total.
Adrian Peterson had a great performance. He looked like a young running back with some spectacular moves and burst. He rushed for 119 yards on 26 carries despite battling a defense that stops the run well.
Gabbert's sole touchdown went to Michael Floyd, a 7-yarder that was his only catch of the evening. Jamison Crowder (5-78) led the Redskins in receiving. Doctson (3-30), however, ended up costing his team a victory with his selfishness. Doctson is a sloth who needs to be released as soon as possible. He's been a first-round bust who has dropped lots of passes. Now, he's just completely giving up on routes. He needs to go.
Ravens 22, Chargers 10
The Chargers had a thrilling comeback against the Chiefs last Thursday night, but they may have used all their energy in that effort. They came out flat in this game against an absolutely desperate Baltimore team. The Ravens pushed them around and hogged the ball. They were so dominant in controlling the game that they limited the Chargers to just 12 offensive snaps in the first 27 minutes.
The Ravens ran the ball well, as usual, but the big play in this game came via Lamar Jackson's arm. There was one drive where he connected on a nice pass to move the chains, then sailed a bomb to Mark Andrews, who caught the ball in stride for a 68-yard touchdown. The Ravens were trailing, 10-6, at that stage, and that score game them a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Their defense put the clamps on the Chargers after that. They sacked Philip Rivers four times, forced a strip-sack on Antonio Gates that was returned for a touchdown, then intercepted Rivers on a deep shot to the end zone to clinch the victory.
Jackson finished with more passing yards than Rivers, which is something no one would believe would happen prior to this game. A big chunk of that came on the bomb to Andrews, but Jackson completed several impressive passes in this game. He was nearly picked once by Casey Hayward, though the interception would've been a very difficult catch to make. Jackson also overshot Michael Crabtree by a mile on a fourth-and-3 try in the red zone.
Jackson finished 12-of-22 for 204 yards and a touchdown. His rushing numbers weren't great - 13 scrambles, 39 rushing yards - as the Chargers looked like they were willing to do anything to prevent him from taking off. They did a great job of this, as most of Jackson's rushing yardage came on one run, a 27-yard scramble.
Gus Edwards continued to trample the opponent. He rushed for a 43-yard gain on Baltimore's first play from scrimmage. He also broke free for a nice run to officially end the game. Edwards finished with 92 yards on 14 carries. He should've gotten the entire workload, but Kenneth Dixon wasted all but one of his eight carries. Dixon gained 28 yards, but made the critical mistake of fumbling the ball. The Chargers took over on a short field and scored their only touchdown of the evening. Dixon's only positive play was converting a third-and-12 with a 20-yard burst in between the tackles.
Though Jackson threw the ball well for the most part, he didn't didn't fire nearly as many passes as Joe Flacco would have, so the receiving numbers continued to be suppressed. Excluding Andrews (2-83, TD), no Raven had more than 30 receiving yards. John Brown (2-27) led the way for Baltimore following Andrews, while Crabtree (1-20) dropped a touchdown and was flagged for offensive pass interference.
Before moving on to the Chargers, it's worth noting that the Ravens should have gotten a shutout. I mentioned that seven San Angeles points came via Dixon's fumble. The other three were courtesy of safety Tony Jefferson, who committed 30 yards' worth of penalties on the drive right before intermission. Fifteen came on a pass interference that didn't seem necessary, while the next 15 came on a late hit out of bounds. Jefferson also took a bad angle on a deep shot from Rivers, and he was lucky that the pass was off the mark.
Speaking of players who self-destructed on a drive, how about Keenan Allen? The Chargers' top receiver had a clunker of a night, catching five passes for 58 yards. Most of that came in garbage time. On one drive, Allen's pass interference negated his own deep reception. He was arguing with the official so passionately that he lined up incorrectly on the next play, causing a deep Mike Williams reception to be nullified by an illegal formation. Allen was still yelling at the official as Rivers snapped the ball, so that's why the flag was thrown. This is not something a veteran receiver should be doing.
As for Rivers, he went 23-of-37 for 181 yards and two interceptions. He night was bookended by picks. His first pass was a deep shot toward Williams that was wrestled away by Brandon Carr. His final pass was a bomb into the end zone that was hauled in by Marlon Humphrey.
Rivers didn't play well, as he missed some throws. However, his teammates were responsible for dropping passes, fumbling balls and committing penalties to wipe out nice gains. Also, Baltimore's ability to control the ball kept Rivers off the field a good deal.
Melvin Gordon scored a touchdown off the aforementioned Dixon fumble. His fantasy owners needed that because Gordon had just 41 yards on 12 carries against the AFC's best defense. He had a 9-yard run negated by a Russell Okung hold. Gordon also caught three passes for 13 yards. He made a nice blitz pick-up at one point, but he ceded passing-down touches to Justin Jackson, who caught seven balls for 47 receiving yards.
Aside from Allen and Justin Jackson, only one Charger had more than 13 receiving yards. That was Gates (3-21), who committed the costly fumble. Mike Williams had just one reception for seven yards, thanks to Allen's blunder.
The Chargers' loss means they are almost certainly locked into the No. 5 spot. The Chiefs can clinch the division with a win over the Seahawks. For the Chargers to claim the AFC West, they'd need to beat the Broncos in Denver next week, and they would need the Chiefs to lose to both Seattle (road) and Oakland (home).
Browns 26, Bengals 18
The Browns may have won this game in a blowout, but this could've been an even larger victory for them. They struggled to score early because they made some mental blunders. For example, they picked up a fourth-and-1 on a Nick Chubb run on the opening drive, but an illegal shift nullified the play. The next drive saw Rashard Higgins negate his own 55-yard reception with offensive pass interference, and that was followed by a Jarvis Landry drop. It was a scoreless affair for a while because of this, but the Browns eventually got on track. By halftime, they were up 16-0, as they outgained the Bengals' pathetic offense, 255-36.
The Bengals were down 26-3 at one point, but they made it close with two garbage-time touchdowns, with one aided by a blocked punt. The Browns, however, closed it out with a deep pass to David Njoku. As Baker Mayfield was running down the field, he looked toward former Hue Jackson and smirked.
Mayfield had a great game, going 27-of-37 for 284 yards and three touchdowns. He could've easily eclipsed the 300-yard barrier if his teammates didn't make the blunders I detailed earlier. Mayfield threw some absolute dimes in this contest, prompting one of the announcers to shout, "surgical!" after a back-shoulder throw in the fourth quarter.
While Mayfield enjoyed a terrific fantasy performance, Chubb did not. Chubb nearly did, as he appeared to have a touchdown run in his sights at one point, but tripped on his own two feet. He nearly scored again on the next drive, but was tackled out of bounds a yard shy of the goal line. Chubb still had a solid performance in real life - 19 carries, 112 yards - but his fantasy owners just missed out on a great day.
Mayfield wasn't the only passer throwing deep balls in this game. And no, the other person wasn't Jeff Driskel. Landry hurled a 63-yard bomb to Breshad Perriman. This set up one of Mayfield's touchdowns, as he hit Darren Fells in the end zone.
Perriman led the Browns in receiving as a result, catching two passes for 76 yards. Njoku (3-73), Higgins (6-60) and Fells all caught touchdowns. A big chunk of Njoku's output, 66 yards, came on the final real play from scrimmage.
Driskel was an abomination in this game. His final numbers may not look bad, as he went 13-of-19 for 133 yards and two touchdowns. However, all of that came in garbage time, and by "all of that," I truly mean all of that. Driskel was just 2-of-6 for three yards in the opening half. He had an interception dropped in the third quarter.
With the Browns constantly ahead, Joe Mixon didn't have much of an opportunity to run the ball. Mixon was given just 17 carries, which he turned into 68 yards. He nearly found the end zone in garbage time, but was tackled a couple of yards shy of the goal line.
Thanks to garbage time, C.J. Uzomah was able to catch four passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. John Ross (1-3) hauled in the other score, which came after the blocked punt.
Vikings 27, Lions 9
The Vikings looked like they were ready to choke this game away. They trailed 9-0 late into the second quarter, and it could've been worse had the Lions not committed numerous gaffes on third downs. The game changed, however, on a fluky play. The Vikings tried a Hail Mary with seconds remaining just prior to intermission. Kirk Cousins' prayer was answered, as his deep pass connected to Kyle Rudolph. Rather than trailing, the Vikings went into the break with the lead. This play was marred with controversy, as time should've expired when Rudolph ran backward on the previous play. The officials, for whatever reason, granted the Vikings two extra seconds despite time clearly running out while the play was still going on, which Minnesota turned into a touchdown. This gave them the momentum they needed in the second half, as they dominated the final two quarters.
Cousins had some struggles early, as he had an interception that was dropped. However, he picked up his play when Darius Slay went down with an injury in the second quarter. Slay would ultimately return, but the damage was done because the Vikings scored two touchdowns when he wasn't on the field.
Cousins finished 21-of-28 for 253 yards and three touchdowns. Those numbers are inflated, as his 44-yard touchdown to Rudolph should've never been attempted, and he should've been intercepted earlier.
Rudolph had a huge afternoon, in case you couldn't tell. He saw nine targets and snatched all of them for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Thielen (5-80) was next on the receiving list, while Stefon Diggs (2-10) was locked down by Slay for most of the afternoon, but was able to salvage his fantasy output with a touchdown. He dropped a pass in the early going.
The Vikings didn't run the ball nearly as often as they did last week. Dalvin Cook had just six carries by halftime. He finished with 73 yards on 16 attempts, while Latavius Murray picked up 22 yards on nine totes.
As for the Lions, I mentioned earlier that they had some screw-ups on third down. Most of it involved their own incompetence. The first drive saw Matthew Stafford throw a 2-yard pass on a third-and-13. The next possession ended with an inside run to Theo Riddick on a third-and-3 that went nowhere. The following third down was another run with Riddick, this time on a third-and-11. This was a loss that moved the Lions out of field-goal range. This horrible play-calling and poor execution limited the Lions to nine points even though they dominated the time of possession for the first quarter-and-a-half.
Stafford, still hampered by his back injury and a poor supporting cast, posted some miserable numbers. He was 18-of-32 for only 116 yards. He's clearly not 100 percent. He was actually removed from the game midway through the fourth quarter in favor of the dreadful Matt Cassel.
Kenny Golladay saw 15 targets, but because of Stafford's limitations, he was held to six catches for 58 yards. T.J. Jones (6-42) was the only other Lion with more than 22 receiving yards.
The Lions don't seem to understand that LeGarrette Blount is terrible. Blount received more carries than his teammate, Zach Zenner, yet had significantly fewer yards. While Zenner picked up 45 yards on eight carries, Blount was limited to just 29 yards on 11 tries. Blount also had two drops, one of which nearly resulted in an interception. It's truly amazing that the Lions continue to feed him the ball. The only explanation I have is that they're trying to improve their draft positioning, and giving Blount carries is the easiest way to lose.
Colts 28, Giants 27
The Colts needed a victory over the hapless Giants to keep their season alive. New York was just blown out against the Titans, so it didn't appear as though Indianapolis took them seriously. That was evident as the Giants scored twice quickly, with Eli Manning torching the Colts' secondary. The Colts were down 14-0 in the early going, and Andrew Luck threw an interception when he heaved a pass off his back foot.
With Ryan Kelly also going down with a neck injury, things looked bleak for the Colts. They trailed by double digits on three separate occasions, as the Giants couldn't be stopped. However, Luck caught fire in the second half. He threw some beautiful back-shoulder passes on a drive and was fortunate enough to avoid a strip-sack turnover because of a defensive hold. This drive concluded with Marlon Mack scoring a touchdown to draw to within three. Luck then engineered another touchdown drive, as he scrambled for a first down, drew an interference flag with the help of Dontrelle Inman, then found Chester Rogers in the end zone to take the lead for good, saving the season for Indianapolis.
Luck had a heroic second half. He was 16-of-23 for 214 yards and two touchdowns following intermission. It all began with a 55-yard bomb to T.Y. Hilton, and Luck was unstoppable from that point forward, save for the nullfied lost fumble and a dropped interception on the penultimate offensive drive.
Luck finsihed 31-of-47 for 357 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. Luck didn't have his best game because of his first-half struggles, but he led his team to victory. Luck is capable of beating anyone, and Indianapolis will be a threat in the playoffs if it manages to sneak in. To do so, they'll need to beat Indianapolis next Sunday night.
Luck's touchdowns went to Rogers (7-54) and Inman (4-46). Hilton didn't reach the end zone, but he led the Colts in receiving. He hauled in seven of his eigth targets for 138 yards. Eric Ebron (3-28) suffered a concussion in the opening half.
Mack scored two touchdowns in this game, one on the ground and one through the air. He probably should've scored thrice, but Nyheim Hines vultured an early score. Mack needed to reach the end zone for his fantasy owners because his yardage output (12-34) was underwhelming, thanks to the Giants' big, early lead.
As for the Giants, it's inexplicable that Eli Manning was so prolific in this game. The Colts are weaker against the pass than the run, but the Giants were missing Odell Beckham. New York couldn't throw on Tennessee's pedestrian secondary last week, yet it was a complete reversal in this contest.
Manning went 25-of-33 for 309 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The pick occurred on the final drive, as Manning was flawless beforehand despite missing his best receiver. Rather than checking the ball down all the time, Manning spent most of the afternoon taking shots downfield.
With Beckham out, Sterling Shepard finally did something for a change. He caught six of his seven targets for 113 yards. Shepard had done nothing all year before this game, so this was completely unexpected. Evan Engram was next on the receiving list, as he snared all six of his targets for 87 yards.
The Colts have a tremendous run defense, so they were able to limit Saquon Barkley to 43 yards on 21 carries, though he scored a touchdown. Barkley was able to assist his PPR owners with five catches for 34 receiving yards. Barkley made one crucial mistake, failing to get out of bounds on the final drive. This seemed to hurry Manning, who sailed a pass on his game-ending interception.
Jaguars 17, Dolphins 7
The Dolphins had a slim chance to reach the playoffs, but that's all over in the wake of this inexplicable loss to the Jaguars. As a result, Ryan Tannehill is almost certain to play his final game in a Miami uniform next week, as his extremely disappointing tenure with the Dolphins is mercifully coming to an end.
Tannehill lost this game with a huge mistake. Down just three points in the fourth quarter, Tannehill had a chance to lead his team to victory. However, a defender grabbed hold of his leg. Rather than take the sack, Tannehill heaved the ball. Because he couldn't step into his throw, he released the pass with no power. The ball, consequently, was intercepted and taken back for six. The Jaguars opened up a 10-point lead, ending Miami's playoff aspirations.
Tannehill finished 15-of-22 for only 146 yards, one touchdown and the pick-six. His poor play wasn't all his fault. He was pounded into oblivion. He was officially sacked just three times, but he took a ton of hits in this game. The offensive line must be improved for whomever the next quarterback will be.
With Tannehill struggling, the Miami receiving stats were suppressed. Danny Amendola led the way with three catches for 40 yards. Neither DeVante Parker (2-13) nor Kenny Stills (1-5) did much.
Those who were expecting Kalen Ballage to parlay last week's long run into a solid performance were sorely disappointed. Ballage inexplicably was given just four carries, which he turned into just 10 yards. Kenyan Drake (6-23) saw a bit more work. Both backs saw work as receivers. Drake caught four passes for 31 receiving yards, while Ballage snatched two balls for 39 yards.
As for the Jaguars, if they were going to fire Doug Marrone by the end of the season, they should've done so prior to this contest. This was the very definition of a Pyrrhic victory. Not only did the Jaguars win to worsen their draft positioning, but an injury to Cody Kessler forced the team to use Blake Bortles. Had Bortles suffered an injury, the Jaguars would've owed him money next year. There's no reason Bortles should've even been active, so it's evident that the Jaguars are absolutely clueless.
Kessler was awful. He was just 12-of-17 for 106 yards, but was under pressure frequently. The Dolphins accumulated six sacks. Kessler had to leave for injury in the second quarter, but returned to the game. He later left for good. Bortles (5-6, 39 yards) was better, and predictably so. Bortles, unlike Kessler, has actual NFL talent. He just doesn't care about his career and wants to do nothing but party all the time.
Jacksonville's receivers had trouble being productive as well. Dede Westbrook led the way with seven catches for 45 yards, while Donte Moncrief (4-43) was close to him.
Leonard Fournette struggled to do anything against Miami's horrible run defense. He was limited to just 43 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, which is a testament to how bad Jacksonville's offensive line is. Carlos Hyde (8-47) led the team in rushing, thanks to a 19-yard burst.
Patriots 24, Bills 12
Everyone said Tom Brady looked extremely old during his recent two-game losing streak. The Patriots dominated this game, winning time of possession by 11 minutes and outgaining the Bills by a wide margin, but Brady still looked old. He struggled in this game, though he was battling one of the better aerial defenses in the NFL.
Brady's final stats look hideous. He went 13-of-24 for 126 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. One pick wasn't his fault, as his pass went right through Rob Gronkowski's hands on the play. However, Brady's other interception was thrown right to linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, thanks to a possible miscommunication with Rex Burkhead. Also, Brady nearly had another pick on a similar play where he threw right to linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, and he threw way behind James White in the fourth quarter. Brady may not have accumulated more than 100 passing yards if it wasn't for one brilliant play by Julian Edelman. The slot receiver caught an intermediate pass and appeared to be tackled by two defenders. Instead, Edelman rolled over two defenders and had the awareness to realized that he never hit the ground. He kept sprinting toward the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown.
Coming off two consecutive losses, I was expecting more from Brady. He was battling a tough defense without his top receiver, Josh Gordon, but the Brady of a few years ago, or even last season, would have performed much better than this. His yardage total was the lowest he's accumulated in 15 years. It's a clear sign that the Patriots are not going to make a deep run into the playoffs, though if there's a silver lining, it's that they've re-established control of the second seed in the conference. They can clinch a first-round bye with a home win over the Jets next week.
Speaking of old players, Gronkowski didn't even catch a single pass in this game. At this rate, he's doing more harm than good. As mentioned, he was responsible for an interception because of a drop.
With Gronkowski struggling, Edelman saw a ton of targets. Ten balls went his way, and he snatched six of them for 70 yards and a touchdown. His one mistake was a drop on the first play of the game. Edelman was just one of two Patriots with more than 13 receiving yards, with the other being Burkhead, who made horrible mistakes as well. Burkhead, who rushed for 39 yards on 13 carries and caught four balls for 40 receiving yards. However, in addition to the miscommunication that resulted in an interception, he lost a fumble at midfield. The Bills didn't score off the give-away, but the turnover negated an opportunity for points for the Patriots.
Burkhead is terrible. There's no reason for the Patriots to give him touches over the vastly superior Sony Michel and White. Save for catching passes, Burkhead does nothing well. He's a 4.80 40 plodder who fumbles. It seems like New England's offense slows down whenever he's on the field. It's no surprise that both Michel (18-116) and White (8-41) outgained him even though White saw fewer carries. Both Michel and White scored touchdowns, while Burkhead just wasted downs.
Despite the Patriots' poor play, they were still in position to cover the spread, up 24-6 late in the game. Unfortunately for New England bettors, Josh Allen scored a touchdown in the final minutes to get the aggravating back-door cover.
Allen's numbers otherwise were awful. He failed to complete half of his passes, going 20-of-41 for 217 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Allen had some poor throws - he overshot an open Isaiah McKenzie by a mile on one occasion, while both picks were errant throws that were his fault - but Allen definitely doesn't deserve all of the blame. His teammates dropped six passes, by my count, including two by Robert Foster to negate possible touchdowns, one of which would've been an 82-yarder. Allen desperately needs help in the receiving corps. Here's a list of the 2019 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Prospect Rankings.
Foster dropped two passes, finishing with four catches for 52 yards. The two players who finished higher than him on the receiving list were Zay Jones (5-67), who scored the back-door touchdown, and Jason Croom (4-55), who lost a fumble inside the New England 10-yard line.
LeSean McCoy was a huge disappointment, as he was limited to just nine yards on six carries. Keith Ford (7-33) led the team in rushing.
Packers 44, Jets 38
The Packers may have won this game, but the Jets were the true winners. This could have been an absolute disaster for Green Bay. Despite the Packers being eliminated from the playoffs in the wake of last week's loss, they thought it would be a good idea to have Aaron Rodgers play in a meaningless game despite dealing with multiple leg injuries. Making matters worse, the Packers suffered multiple injuries on the offensive line. Guard Lane Taylor left the game, while left tackle David Bakhtiari looked like he was playing on one leg because he got banged up as well. Rodgers easily could have gotten hurt behind his injury-ravaged blocking unit. He didn't, and he led his team back from a 35-20 deficit, but this easily could've been a disastrous result.
Even still, the Packers still suffered negative ramifications as a result of this victory. They ruined their draft positioning as well, all because they wanted to risk Rodgers' long-term health. I compared interim head coach Joe Philbin to a scarecrow because he doesn't move at all on the sideline, but the comparison makes more sense in the wake of this week's decision-making because it's apparent that Philbin also doesn't have a brain.
Despite Rodgers' needlessly risking his 2019 status, he had a brilliant performance. He torched the Jets mercilessly in his crazy fourth-quarter comeback, going 37-of-55 for 442 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for two touchdowns. That number appeared to be three, but his third running score was negated by a hold. That didn't matter because the Packers ended up scoring anyway.
Rodgers gave the Packers a 38-35 lead at the end of regulation. The Jets were able to tie, thanks to a great kickoff return, but the Packers won the coin toss in overtime and never gave New York possession. The key play in the extra session was a pass interference, which occurred when Rodgers heaved a pass under heavy pressure on third down. A horrible interference call was whistled on the Jets, even though the cornerback didn't touch the receiver and the wideout was out of bounds upon touching the ball, putting Green Bay into field goal range. Another pass interference flag gave the Packers a first-and-goal, and this one was even worse. The targeted receiver tripped on his own two feet, and the Jets were flagged. Rodgers followed that up by finding Davante Adams in the end zone for the decisive score.
While Adams clinched the game, he wasn't at the top of the receiving chart. Equanimeous St. Brown held that distinction with five catches for 94 yards despite leaving midway through the fourth quarter with a concussion on a hard hit along the sideline. Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5-75) was right behind him, though he dropped a ball in the end zone. Adams, however, saw the most targets with 18. He reeled in 11 of them for 71 yards and the touchdown. He nearly scored a second time earlier in the game, but Rodgers overthrew him in the end zone. Promising young receiver Jake Kumerow (3-68) caught Rodgers' other aerial score.
With Aaron Jones out for the year, Jamaal Williams saw all of the carries. There weren't many of them because the Packers were so far behind most of the afternoon, but he turned the 15 tries into 95 yards and a touchdown in which he impressive tightroped the sideline.
Moving on to the Jets - a.k.a. the real winners of this game - they were able to establish a 35-20 lead in the fourth quarter. They had a chance to run out the clock, but a holding penalty at midfield put them in a hole. This gave the Packers one more chance in regulation, and the rest is history. Rodgers was able to mount the great comeback, thanks in part to the absence of Leonard Williams. The Jets' best defensive player was ejected just prior to halftime because he threw a punch.
Still, this loss shouldn't spoil Sam Darnold's brilliant afternoon. Darnold had great success torching the Packers' poor defense, going 24-of-35 for 341 yards and three touchdowns. The only blemishes on the day were a dropped interception prior to halftime and the fact that Darnold couldn't hit a teammate for a fourth score following the great kickoff return in a three-point game at the end of regulation.
Darnold continued to show terrific chemistry with Robby Anderson. The speedy threat caught nine of his 13 targets for 140 yards and a touchdown. Chris Herndon (6-82) and Elijah McGuire also caught Darnold's passes in the end zone.
Speaking of McGuire, he scored twice, but his inability to run well allowed the Packers to mount a comeback. He mustered only 35 yards on 14 carries, though he was able to catch three passes for 50 receiving yards.
Jets kicker Jason Myers made the Pro Bowl this year despite missing two extra points last week. Myers also whiffed on a 45-yarder in this game - a kick that would've allowed the Jets to prevail. Myers is not a good kicker, so I'm not sure why he was voted into the Pro Bowl. Voters, as usual, were clueless.
Eagles 32, Texans 30
The Nick Foles magic continues! Foles made several great plays in this game. He converted all four of his fourth-down attempts, including one that was a long Darren Sproles touchdown. Another was a touchdown to Zach Ertz. Another was a sneak. He also heaved an 83-yard touchdown bomb to Nelson Agholor. Foles was so great that he set a franchise single-game record for yardage with 471 on 35-of-49 passing. He also threw four touchdowns, with his only blemishes being a couple of high throws, a lost fumble on a Jadeveon Clowney strip-sack, and an interception in which he didn't see the covering linebacker amid pressure.
Despite Foles' brilliance, the Eagles had a 30-29 deficit in the final minute of regulation because Deshaun Watson was just as special. Watson engineered a comeback from down 29-16. His second touchdown drive saw him spin away from defenders on third down on multiple occasions to find Jordan Akins for a 22-yard gain to move to the Philadelphia 34-yard line. He then launched a long pass to Vyncint Smith, who hauled in what appeared to be the game-winning score.
Foles had one more chance, and it didn't seem as though he'd be able to finish the game. He completed a pass on third down from his own end zone, but was drilled as he made the throw. Roughing the passer was called, but he was down for a while and had to leave the game. Foles, however, was able to gut it out, missing just one snap. He returned to hit Ertz with a deep pass, putting the team in field goal range. Jake Elliott drilled the kick to give the Eagles a 32-30 victory, keeping them alive for the final playoff spot.
Thanks to Foles' massive passing afternoon, four Eagles accumulated 76 receiving yards or more. One was Ertz, who reeled in 12 catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. In doing so, Ertz broke Jason Witten's single-season record for catches by a tight end. Hilariously, Ertz fumbled the ball that gave him the record, but a teammate recovered.
The other three Eagles to eclipse 76 receiving yards were Agholor, who led the way with five grabs for 116 yards and his long touchdown. Sproles (3-76) had the long touchdown early in the game. Alshon Jeffery (3-82), meanwhile, was the only one of the quartet not to find the end zone. Jeffery missed a bit of action with dehydration and then a minor injury.
Sproles led the Eagles in rushing as well, gaining 32 yards on nine carries, while Josh Adams (11-21) struggled mightily. Adams lost a fumble, which gave the Texans life. The Eagles were running out the clock with a few minutes remaining, up 13. Had Adams not fumbled, it would've been nearly impossible for the Texans to mount a comeback, and we wouldn't have seen Foles' late-game heroics. Meanwhile, Wendell Smallwood was not a part of the running game plan, as he saw just one attempt. He managed to catch four passes, however.
Going back to Watson, his stats also reflected his brilliance. He went 29-of-40 for 339 yards and two passing touchdowns. He also scored twice on the ground, scrambling eight times for 49 rushing yards. Watson put his team on his back in the fourth quarter and nearly engineered an amazing comeback, but Foles had other ideas.
Watson played very well, but made a couple of mistakes. He had a potential interception was dropped, then was strip-sacked on the next play. This set up a Philadelphia touchdown that put the Eagles up 13 in the fourth quarter.
Adding injury to insult, the Texans lost their No. 2 receiver once again. Demaryius Thomas suffered what appeared to be a torn Achilles, so they'll need to rely on Keke Coutee, DeAndre Carter (6-61) and Vyncint Smith (1-35) moving forward. Of course, DeAndre Hopkins remains a stud; he caught nine of his 12 targets for 104 yards.
Young running back D'Onta Foreman returned from injury to play his first game this season. He couldn't even gain a positive yard, losing a single yard on seven carries. The good news is that the scored a receiving touchdown. Alfred Blue (4-14) saw less work, but was better as a runner.
In addition to Thomas, the Texans lost several cornerbacks in this game, as Kayvon Webster, Kareem Jackson and Johnathan Joseph were knocked out.
Falcons 24, Panthers 10
The story of this game for the Panthers involved their ineptitude in the red zone. They moved the chains well in between the 20s, accumulating way more first downs than the Falcons did, 29-16. They also outgained the Falcons by nine yards. The problems occurred when they reached the 20-yard line.
The Panthers scored a touchdown on their opening drive with the help of a shady holding penalty. However, their fortunes reversed, as backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw two interceptions in the red zone. They also dropped passes and turned the ball over on downs late in the game to end what appeared to be an impressive drive. Thus, Carolina scored just 10 points despite accumulating 436 net yards.
Heinicke made some decent throws, as he went 33-of-53 for 274 yards and a touchdown. However, the mistakes were killer, as he fired three interceptions. Heinicke left the game temporarily with an elbow injury and was released by someone named Kyle Allen, who completed all four of his passes for 38 yards. Allen threw a nice strike on one of his attempts, so I wondered why the Panthers didn't leave him in the game. Heinicke was far worse, although he had a much larger sample size.
Despite Cam Newton's absence, Christian McCaffrey had a big game. He rushed for 101 yards on 21 carries and also caught 12 of his 13 targets for 77 receiving yards. He didn't find the red zone, however, as the Panthers mysteriously didn't give him enough work when they had first-and-goal opportunities.
Save for McCaffrey, the Panthers' receiving leader was Jarius Wright, who snared seven of his eight targets for 69 yards. Rookie tight end Ian Thomas caught Heinicke's sole touchdown, hauling in four of his five targets for 48 yards. D.J. Moore (2-19) dropped several passes.
As for the Falcons, they hit some big plays, which is one of the reasons why they lost the time of possession by 15 minutes. Matt Ryan drilled Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu with 75- and 44-yard touchdown bombs, respectively. Carolina's poor secondary offered little resistance.
Ryan finished 15-of-26 for 239 yards and three touchdowns. He had a couple of chances for a fourth score. One missed opportunity was when he was strip-sacked in the red zone after Wright fumbled the ball inside his own 15-yard line. The other was a Ridley drop near the goal line.
Ridley, despite the gaffe, led the Falcons in receiving with three catches for 90 yards. Sanu (5-81) was next, while Julio Jones (4-28) caught the other touchdown.
Tevin Coleman had a disappointing game considering that the Panthers were missing their top defensive lineman, Kawann Short. Coleman gained 51 yards on 10 carries before leaving with a groin injury. Brian Hill tallied 115 yards on eight attempts, though 60 of those yards came on a late attempt, so don't read too much into that. Still, Hill could start in Week 17, so he's worth keeping in mind for DFS purposes.
Cowboys 27, Buccaneers 20
The Cowboys beat the Buccaneers to claim the NFC East, but this was far from an impressive victory. They were legitimately outgained by the Buccaneers, 383-232 (it was 236-121 Tampa in the first half). They averaged fewer yards per play, 5.1-4.6, lost the time-of-possession battle by 11 minutes and had 11 fewer first downs. The Cowboys did nothing special to win this game, as all they had to do was watch the Buccaneers commit blunder after blunder.
The Buccaneers may not be going to the playoffs, but they clinched the Dumbest Team in the NFL Award for 2018. It all starts with the quarterback and coach, and Jameis Winston was in fine form in this game. Winston gave the Cowboys seven free points in the opening half. He lost a fumble and had it returned for a touchdown because of his poor ball security. Winston then had not one, but two delay-of-game penalties on fourth down in the red zone. One was negated by a strange penalty that the TV announcers criticized. Winston then was flagged for the same penalty on the same drive! Winston is the dumbest starting quarterback in the NFL, and it's fair to wonder if he slept through the "Count Down to Zero" class that Florida State undoubtedly offers its athletes, as Winston inexplicably didn't understand when to snap the ball.
It all wasn't on Winston, as the Buccaneers had another fumble on an attempted end-around. This set up an easy touchdown for the Cowboys on a short field. Thus, if you remove the Buccaneer fumbles, they would've prevailed, 20-13.
Winston finished 34-of-48 for 336 yards and a touchdown. The stats look good, but don't be fooled. Winston is a bozo who hasn't shown any signs that he can be a consistent, dependable quarterback in the pros. The Buccaneers made a huge mistake by not seeing what they have in Ryan Griffin down the stretch. They should have fired Dirk Koetter to make this possible.
Mike Evans didn't make the Pro Bowl, so he wanted to prove that he belonged. He caught six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Adam Humphries (10-79) was next on the list, while DeSean Jackson caught just one ball for 24 yards.
Peyton Barber did nothing versus Dallas' elite run defense, mustering only 43 yards on 17 carries.
As for the Cowboys, their 232 net yards against the Buccaneers were a major disappointment. They had a nice, early drive, but barely did anything else. Dak Prescott didn't make any mistakes that counted, going 20-of-25. However, he didn't challenge Tampa downfield very often, finishing with 161 yards and a touchdown, which came off the end-around fumble. Prescott also ran into the end zone once. He was nearly pick-sixed on his first offensive drive when he threw the ball right to a linebacker, who dropped the ball because he wasn't expecting it. Prescott rebounded, however, on the next play when he impressively fit a pass in between two defenders down the sideline.
Prescott's sole passing touchdown went to Michael Gallup, catching three passes for 53 yards. Cole Beasley (5-50) was next on the receiving list, while Amari Coper (4-20) had a very Raider-like stat line.
Ezekiel Elliott, for whatever reason, carried the ball only 18 times, picking up 85 yards in the process. He also caught five passes for 24 receiving yards.
The dark cloud over this Dallas victory was that talented defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford was carted off the field on the first defensive drive.
Los Angeles Rams 31, Arizona Cardinals 9
By Charlie Campbell - @draftcampbell
EDITOR'S NOTE: How did C.J. Anderson not have a job before this game? He played well last year, so I don't understand why no one rostered him after Carolina inexplicably released him. The NFL makes no sense sometimes.
After their red-hot start to the season, the Rams wanted to get back on track after some recent losses and struggles from their offense. Los Angeles did not need Todd Gurley over the hapless Cardinals, and the worst team in the NFL was a perfect tonic for the Rams to get back in the win column while rebuilding some positive momentum for the playoffs.
Los Angeles moved across midfield on the first drive of the game, but Jared Goff fumbled the ball away after holding onto the ball too long and not having good ball security while getting sacked by Benson Mayowa. Arizona turned the good field position into a field goal, with a 15-yard scramble by Josh Rosen being the key play to set up the points. Goff bounced back with some excellent throws to lead Los Angeles down the field, and the drive ended with a fly sweep touchdown run by Robert Woods. The Rams expanded their lead with another touchdown early in the second quarter on a zone-read run from Goff from a few yards out.
Arizona pulled out the "tricker-ation" with Larry Fitzgerald, who threw his first career touchdown pass on a fake wide receiver screen with a throwback to David Johnson from 32 yards out. Fitzgerald became the oldest wideout to throw a touchdown pass in NFL history. Congratulations to the future Hall of Famer. After that, it was all Los Angeles.
The Rams answered with Goff ripping the ball through the Arizona defense, and C.J. Anderson finished a drive with a short touchdown run. Los Angeles took a 21-9 lead into the half.
In the third quarter, a 26-yard pass to Josh Reynolds set up a field goal for the Rams. Soon after that, Dante Fowler strip-sacked Rosen, which spotted the Rams another field goal. Los Angeles put the game away with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Woods in the fourth quarter.
Goff was 19-of-24 for 216 yards with a touchdown. Woods led the Rams in receiving with 89 yards and a score on six receptions.
Anderson ran for 167 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown.
Rosen was hounded by Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh all day. He looked like a deer in headlights on multiple plays. Rosen completed 12-of-23 passes for 87 yards. Fitzgerald had 53 yards on six receptions in addition to his passing touchdown.
David Johnson ran for 35 yards on 10 carries and had his 32-yard touchdown reception.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Allen Robinson provided a classic case for why no player should ever try to score a meaningless touchdown. He ran like an idiot after securing the first down and got stripped as a result, nearly costing his team the victory.
Entering this game, the Bears did not have much to play for after clinching the NFC North last week with a win over Green Bay. However, Chicago still has an outside chance of getting a first-round bye if it kept winning and the Rams suffered one more loss. Thus, the Bears played their starters and treated this game seriously. Once again, the Chicago defense was superb and the team got just enough offense to beat a pesky 49ers team.
Midway through the first quarter, the Bears got moving when Mitch Trubisky found Allen Robinson downfield for a pass of over 40 yards, but an easy field goal was missed by Cody Parkey. The kicking problems that have plagued the Chicago offense continue to be painful, and the organization never should have cut Robbie Gould. Early in the second quarter, the 49ers moved into Chicago territory to set up a 33-yard field goal from Gould. A few plays later, Trubisky threw a terrible waffling pass on a lateral to Tarik Cohen, but the speedster back dropped the ball and DeForest Buckner recovered the fumble. That led to a second San Francisco field goal.
Chicago responded with Trubisky making some nice plays via his feet and arm to move the ball inside 49ers territory. The drive ended with a short touchdown pass from Trubisky to Anthony Miller (3-24). Just before the half, San Francisco quaterback Nick Mullens engineered another field goal drive to have a 9-7 lead at halftime.
The Bears put a touchdown drive together in the third quarter, spreading the ball out on the ground before Jordan Howard scored. Early in the fourth quarter, two completions to George Kittle led to the 49ers threatening for a touchdown, but a dropped pass by Marquise Goodwin was intercepted by Danny Trevathan in the red zone on a crushing play for San Francisco.
The Bears later converted a key fourth-and-1 on their side of midfield. They had a few other third-down conversions, but Allen Robinson had the ball punched out from behind by Tarvarius Moore, and the loose ball was recovered by San Francisco at the Bears' 24-yard line with 1:52 remaining. After getting into Chicago territory, the Bears' defense shut the door as Mullens made a terrible play on a fourth down when he could have picked up a first down with his feet, but threw a Hail Mary that sailed out of bounds.
Trubisky was 25-of-29 for 246 yards with a touchdown. Robinson led the Bears through the air with six receptions for 85 yards.
Howard led Chicago on the ground with 53 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries.
Mullens was 22-of-38 for 241 yards and an interception. Kittle led the 49ers through the air with seven receptions for 74 yards. Dante Pettis was injured in the first half and did not return.
The Bears shut down the 49ers' rushing attack, as Jeffery Wilson (11-27) and Matt Breida (4-20) doing nothing. Breida was also knocked out with an injury.
EDITOR'S NOTE: I know the bye week was never in question, but the Saints desperately need it. Terron Armstead got hurt again. One of the reasons I loved the Saints was because their offensive line would finally be intact for the first time since Week 10, but Armstead aggravated an injury, and the Saints struggled to score after that. The Saints will need Armstead back for the divisional round.
You couldn't have asked for a more exciting game, as the Saints and Steelers battled back and forth for 60 minutes. Both teams came into this game needing wins for different reasons. The Saints needed the win to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, which was sorely needed after watching the offense falter during their last three games away from their home dome. The Steelers, on the other hand, were in a more precarious situation, as they watched the Ravens beat the Chargers on Saturday and knew a loss would knock them out of the playoffs for the time being, and that is what happened, as the Saints held on to win.
Both teams moved the ball with relative ease for most of the afternoon, with the Steelers amassing 429 yards and three touchdowns and the Saints 370 yards and four touchdowns. If you were looking for fantasy production, you came to the right place, as Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Jaylen Samuels, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas all put up great numbers in this hard-fought match. In the end though, turnovers cost the Steelers the game, as they lost two fumbles in critical spots and couldn't convert a punt fake on fourth-and-5 in their own territory.
The Saints weren't without their miscues though, as early on they let Taysom Hill throw a deep pass that was intercepted in the end zone. There are teams for which this kind of play could make sense, but why in the name of Archie Manning would the Saints ever choose Hill to throw the ball deep when they have Drew Brees at quarterback? Give Hill the opportunity to run the ball if you want, but in a game in which every possession is critical, you don't waste one like that.
New Orleans bounced back from that miscue, but also got a lot of help from the referees, as Brees tossed a deep pass toward Kamara on fourth-and-1, which went high over Kamara's head. A flag, however, came out for pass interference, giving the Saints 33 yards and first-and-goal. The replay showed no pass interference, but the Saints got bailed out. Mark Ingram then ran it in from the 1-yard line to take the early lead.
The Steelers were able to move the ball, but New Orleans' defense played well to hold them to just two field goals early and then the New Orleans offense scored another touchdown, this time a Kamara 8-yard run on which he broke three tackles right up the middle. Kamara was a beast in this game with that run and a couple critical long runs after the catch. He and also went in for a 1-yard touchdown early in the second half to put the Saints up 24-10 to secure an amazing 18 touchdowns on the season, which is a Saints record.
Down 10 and unable to stop the Saints out of halftime, the Steelers were on the ropes, but then Roethlisberger and Brown got to cooking, as they answered the Saints' touchdown with two of their own, with 3- and 20-yard touchdown connections on their next two drives. On the day, Brown caught 14-of-19 targets for 185 yards and those two scores, while Roethlisberger completed 33-of-50 passes for 380 yards and three touchdowns.
This was probably Roethlisberger's best game of the season, as he moved well in the pocket and improvised to find Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster over and over again, while not turning the ball over, which has been a problem for him this season.
The Steelers looked like they had the momentum after taking a four-point lead with Brown's second touchdown reception, but that's when the New Orleans defense stepped up and stopped the Steelers on their next three drives.
The first stop was a Stevan Ridley fumble on third-and-2, when the defense stacked the box, giving Ridley nowhere to run, as they stripped the ball. The next stop was probably the most egregious, as the Steelers tried a fake punt from their own 42-yard line on fourth-and-5 with a direct snap to fullback Roosevelt Nix. Nix got through the line, but he was stopped a yard short and then did a first-down celebration and looked like a moron. From there, Brees used the short field and connected with Ted Ginn for a 25-yard reception on third-and-20 and then hit Michael Thomas for a 2-yard touchdown to take the three-point lead with a minute and 25 seconds on the clock and no timeouts for Pittsburgh.
That was still enough time for Roethlisberger to get his team into field goal range for the chance at a tie, but the third and final stop by the Saints finished the Steelers off, as Roethlisberger connected with Smith-Schuster over the middle to the Saints' 35-yard line with 41 seconds left. Smith-Schuster was then stripped of the ball, and the Saints recovered to put an exclamation point on their No. 1 seeding.
The Saints now can rest their starters next week against Carolina, while the Steelers will head home to take on the Bengals. If the Steelers win, they still have to hope the upstart Browns can go into Baltimore and beat the Ravens, who have won five of their last six games, to sneak back into the playoffs.
Seahawks 38, Chiefs 31
Kansas City's defense had no chance of stopping Russell Wilson. This was apparent when the Chiefs drew to within three late in the game and just needed one stop. Instead, Seattle put together a touchdown drive. Rather than sit on the ball and run it like most conservative teams, the Seahawks opted to air out the ball. Russell Wilson launched bombs to Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin for 45 and 29 yards, respectively. This set up a 1-yard Chris Carson touchdown run to widen the margin to within 10 with a couple of minutes remaining. This gave the Seahawks the victory, as well as the wild-card berth.
Wilson was amazing. He broke out of potential sacks like Houdini and hurled numerous, accurate deep balls to his receivers. Kansas City's secondary, missing Kendall Fuller, looked completely inept in trying to stop him. Wilson mercilessly torched Fuller's replacement, Tremon Smith.
Wilson finished 18-of-29 for 271 yards and three touchdowns. He also scrambled eight times for 57 rushing yards. Not included in those stats were countless pass interferences and defensive holds by Kansas City's bewildered secondary. The Chiefs desperately need Fuller back from injury.
Baldwin led the Seahawks with seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Tyler Lockett (4-99) was close to the century mark. He would've gotten it had he not been interfered with right before halftime. Wilson's other touchdowns went to Ed Dickson (3-19) and Nick Vannett (2-11). Dickson converted a third-and-15 on one of the worst tackling efforts you'll ever see by Tremon Smith.
The Chiefs could stop neither the pass nor the run, as Carson trampled them all night. Carson accumulated 116 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
As for Kansas City's offense, Patrick Mahomes struggled in the early going. It looked like he was playing blindfolded, as he couldn't hit routine passes. He had Travis Kelce wide open for a deep touchdown, yet missed him by a mile. Mahomes completed just one of his first seven passes for seven yards.
Mahomes improved after that, but his teammates let him down. Damien Williams lost a fumble while up 10-7, setting up an easy touchdown for Seattle. Chris Conley then lost a fumble near midfield right before halftime. These two turnovers created a 10- or 14-point swing, so the Chiefs could've won this game despite their slow start.
Mahomes finished 23-of-40 for 273 yards and three touchdowns. He also scrambled thrice for 33 rushing yards. The numbers aren't great, but Mahomes was 22-of-33 for 267 yards following his inexplicable slow start. He'll be better at home in the playoffs, and he can make sure he gets to host two postseason contests with a win next week over Oakland.
Tyreek Hill led the Chiefs in receiving with four grabs for 74 yards. He appeared to suffer a serious injury following a long gain in the second half, but he missed just one snap. Conley (3-54) and Kelce (5-54) were next on the stat sheet.
Save for the fumble, Damien Williams had a solid performance. He rushed for 103 yards on just 13 carries, and he also caught all seven of his targets for 37 receiving yards and an aerial touchdown. Williams likely has leapt Spencer Ware on the depth chart.
Raiders 27, Broncos 14
Inferior NFL teams can demolish superior ones if they have a big motivational edge. The Raiders possessed that in this divisional matchup. This was their final game in the Black Hole, so they wanted to win this game for their fans. They also desired to avenge a Week 2 loss to the Broncos, which came down to the wire. Denver, conversely, showed very little effort in this contest. The team was flagged for 11 penalties, and most of them were mental errors. For example, the Broncos were flagged for a delay-of-game penalty on a fourth down. They also had 12 men on the field on a crucial down. Several players, particularly Bradley Roby, didn't look like they were trying. Even the initial touchdown was a result of this lackluster effort, as the Broncos surrendered a 99-yard punt return touchdown to Dwayne Harris because the players touched the ball on a punt and allowed Harris to pick up the ball and run the other way.
While the Raiders gave their fans a proper send-off, the Broncos will be looking for answers. Head coach Vance Joseph will certainly be fired soon, and if I were John Elway, I'd can him on the flight home. The Bronco players didn't not fight for Joseph. They gave zero effort in an embarrassing loss against one of the worst teams in the NFL. Much needs to be changed.
Case Keenum needs to go as well. He's just not starting material. There's a reason teams always want to move on from him. He makes for a great backup, but he certainly hasn't been worth the $18 million per year the Broncos paid him this past offseason. Keenum simply caught lightning in a bottle last year, and it didn't hurt that he had Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs to throw to, all while being backed up by a great defense.
Keenum finished 23-of-37 for 202 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. Keenum had some nice plays, including one where he stumbled around and ran for a first down, setting up a touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton. He also missed out on a 47-yard completion to Courtland Sutton because of a drop. However, Keenum was responsible for the delay of game on fourth down, and he sailed too many throws over his receivers' heads. His meaningful interception occurred when he overshot his target by a mile when he was down 10 points in what looked like a possible comeback in the fourth quarter. His other pick occurred in desperation time. Here are the 2019 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospect Rankings.
Keenum's other score went to Sutton (6-65), who led the Broncos in receiving. Tim Patrick (3-44) and Hamilton (6-40) were the only other Broncos to accumulate more than 21 receiving yards.
Fans who expected a big night from Phillip Lindsay were thoroughly disappointed, as Lindsay was limited to just 46 yards on 10 carries. Lindsay suffered a hand injury midway through the game and left permanently. Royce Freeman (7-21) proved to be a poor substitute.
Lindsay was one of two major fantasy players in this game. The other was Jared Cook, who also suffered an injury! Cook caught two passes for 20 yards in the early going, but was knocked out with a concussion. What a cruel ending to a fantasy season for some people.
Derek Carr had a mediocre output. He went 19-of-26 for 167 yards. He was accurate, but didn't see some open players downfield for longer gains. There's a chance he may have, but just didn't trust his poor pass protection. The Raiders must improve their offensive line this offseason.
While the Broncos didn't put forth any effort, Doug Martin ran very hard. He gashed the lethargic Denver defense, gaining 107 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Jalen Richard (4-11) also scored.
Jordy Nelson led the Raiders in receiving, as Carr continued to pepper him with tons of targets (10). Nelson caught seven of them for 75 yards. Richard, who caught four balls for 40 receiving yards, was the only other Raider with more than 20 yards through the air.
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.