It appeared as though the Bears would run away with a blowout in the early stages of this game. Mitchell Trubisky was able to engineer a 50-yard touchdown drive to start the afternoon, as he was aided by a poor call on a late hit out of bounds on the kickoff return. With some guy named David Blough in an instant 7-0 deficit, how could the Lions possibly compete?
Blough shocked the world right away, as his first completion was a 75-yard touchdown bomb to Kenny Golladay. Blough followed that up with some nice play-action conversions, ultimately converting with another score to Marvin Jones. The Lions, as a consequence, were able to take a 17-10 lead into an interesting halftime that I’ll delve into later.
Despite throwing an interception in the second half, Trubisky was able to lead his team into the end zone late in the fourth quarter, thanks to two deep shots to Anthony Miller. It appeared as though Miller was out of bounds before maintaining possession on the second catch, which brought the Bears down to Detroit’s 2-yard line, but Matt Patricia didn’t challenge for some reason. The Bears scored a couple of plays later, as Trubisky hit David Montgomery for the go-ahead score.
Blough had slightly more than two minutes and a pair of timeouts to get the victory. He converted a third-and-11 to Kenny Golladay and crossed midfield, thanks to a questionable Roquan Smith penalty, but a sack on third down made a fourth-down situation impossible for him. Blough heaved up a desperation toss on fourth-and-22, which was easily intercepted.
Blough played very well, considering that he was battling an elite Chicago pass defense with almost zero practice time. He finished 22-of-38 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that wasn’t his fault. He played mistake-free football and came up with some clutch completions, despite the difficult matchup. I made note of how impressed I was with Blough during his preseason action in my NFL Picks pages, and I believe he can be a solid No. 2 NFL quarterback for years to come.
Golladay had a monster first half, but was limited to just one reception after intermission. Still, he had a great fantasy day, logging four catches for 158 yards and a touchdown. Jones (3-40) was next on the receiving list, while T.J. Hockenson (6-18) saw the most targets, 11. Hockenson got hurt at the end of the game, but the injury didn’t look too severe. He’ll have extra time to heal.
Bo Scarbrough ran very well once again. He had some tough rushes, gaining 83 yards on 21 carries. The day could’ve been even better for him, as he had a 21-yard gain negated by a Golladay illegal block in the back. Curiously, Scarbrough didn’t get the ball on a third-and-1 inside the red zone in the fourth quarter. Detroit made a stupid play call, opting to run instead with J.D. McKissic. He was tackled on an outside run by Kyle Fuller, which was an outstanding play to save this game for the Bears.
Meanwhile, Trubisky came up big in the clutch. He made some mistakes in the opening half and was guilty of an interception in the third quarter where he threw the ball late, but he was outstanding in the fourth quarter. Trubisky was 12-of-14 for 192 yards, two touchdowns and a pick following halftime.
Trubisky finished 29-of-38 for 338 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He put together a strong performance, but did so against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Trubisky will face much tougher challenges in the coming weeks, so we’ll see if he can parlay this outing into some strong ones in the future.
Miller, as mentioned earlier, was enormous down the stretch. He ended up snatching nine of his 13 targets for 140 yards. Miller didn’t catch a touchdown, but he came close, as he was ruled down at the 2-yard line on Chicago’s final offensive drive. Miller’s only mistake was a drop in the first half that looked like it might have been a fumble.
Trubisky’s touchdowns were thrown to Robinson (8-86), Montgomery and fourth-string tight end Jepser Horsted (1-18). Robinson was guilty of a drop on the final offensive drive. Montgomery rushed for 75 yards on 16 carries otherwise.
One final note: The NFL had a halftime show during this game featuring some musicians named the Brothers Osmond, or something of that nature. Because of a delay in starting the brief concert, Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro wasn’t able to warm up prior to the second half. The NFL needs to stop it with this musical performance nonsense during halftimes of games because football fans really don’t care about music. I suppose the one exception is if current and former NFL players like Kenyan Drake and Chris Brown can perform. I published a Jerks of the Week entry on the most popular musicians, including Kenyan Drake.
Bills 26, Cowboys 15
Josh Allen was extremely raw coming out of Wyoming. He showed some flashes of brilliance last season, but had many more negative moments. This was not surprising, as it was expected that Allen would need two years to develop into a quality starting quarterback. Now almost fully into his second season, Allen has made the leap.
Allen was unbelievable in this game. Following a slow start, Allen made a big statement when he fumbled the ball on a fourth down, picked it up and plowed for a first down. This seemed to energize his team, and Allen continued to beat the Cowboys, except he did it aerially. Allen torched Dallas’ beleaguered secondary. He was able to break down exactly what the Cowboys were doing and completed the precise throws he needed to make. Allen was completely flawless in the second half, and I mean that quite literally. He was 11-of-12 for 130 yards following halftime, with his sole incompletion being thrown away because of pressure.
Allen finished 19-of-24 for 231 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 10 times for 43 yards and another score on the ground. This was an eye-opening performance from him, and he’s certainly further ahead in his development from where everyone expected him to be. If Allen continues to play this well, it’ll be very difficult to beat the Bills come January.
Allen wasn’t the only player to throw a touchdown for the Bills. Buffalo was able to take the lead when John Brown fired a score to Devin Singletary on a trick play. Brown didn’t do much as a receiver – three catches, 26 yards – as he faced tough coverage from Byron Jones.
Luckily for the Bills, they didn’t need Brown to do anything outside of throw the touchdown, as Cole Beasley was the primary wideout in a revenge spot. Beasley hauled in six of his seven targets for 110 yards and a touchdown against his former team.
Singletary handled five more carries than Frank Gore, 14-9, rushing for 63 yards. He also caught three passes for 38 receiving yards. Singletary made some explosive plays in this victory, so it’s nice to see that he’s handling more of a workload now that he’s deeper into his rookie campaign.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, didn’t run the ball very much. Thanks to Jason Garrett’s incompetence, Elliott had just two carries in the second half. Elliott finished with only 12 attempts in total despite battling a mediocre run defense, which just goes to show how horrible Garrett is. Elliott finished with 71 rushing yards, though he was able to help his PPR owners with seven catches on 10 targets for 66 receiving yards.
Dak Prescott was hot to open the game, scoring a touchdown on a 62-yard drive. However, Dallas had just 117 net yards during the rest of the first half. Prescott was at fault for that, as he was very sloppy with the ball. He threw an interception while under heavy pressure and then was strip-sacked by Ed Oliver. He also had another potential pick negated by a hands-to-the-face penalty that was just an awful call.
Prescott finished 32-of-49 for 355 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Box score observers will determine that Prescott played well, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. A chunk of his yardage came in garbage time, and Prescott made far too many blunders, including a complete whiff on a fourth down when targeting Elliott for a potential score.
Speaking of blunders, Garrett was stupid enough to leave a hobbled Amari Cooper on the field in a blowout during the fourth quarter. Cooper took a fierce shot to his knee and was down for a while. Fortunately, he was able to walk off the field on his own power. Still, the fact remains that Garrett nearly ended his team’s playoff chances because of more incompetence. He needs to be fired as soon as possible.
Cooper ended up leading the team with eight catches for 85 yards. Michael Gallup was next after Cooper and Elliott with three grabs for 63 yards. He appeared to score in the second half, but had just one foot inbounds.
Saints 26, Falcons 18
Heading into Thanksgiving, there were just two successful onside kicks in the NFL this season, thanks to the new rule changes that are supposed to protect players. The Saints led this game 26-9, but thanks to not one, not two, but THREE onside kick recoveries for the Falcons, executed by trick-shot kicker Younghoe Koo, Atlanta had a chance to prevail despite the huge deficit being fully indicative of how lopsided this game was.
It was a scary moment for the Saints and those who wagered on them on the final drive, but heavy pressure by New Orleans’ front ended any hope the Falcons had of achieving an improbable comeback. This was a fitting end to this game, as New Orleans’ pass rush disrupted Atlanta’s offense throughout most of the evening.
The final play of the affair was a Cameron Jordan sack, which was the ninth time New Orleans sacked Ryan, and the fourth from Jordan. Last week was bad when the Buccaneers sacked Ryan on six occasions, and yet this was even worse. Ryan had a miserable night as a consequence, as he was guilty of three turnovers in addition to taking all of those sacks.
The Saints, meanwhile, didn’t really have an efficient offensive evening. They scored a touchdown right away, but sputtered for most of the evening otherwise, especially once they crossed midfield. They constantly bogged down around the Atlanta 25-yard line, forcing Wil Lutz to kick four field goals.
There are a couple of reasons why the Saints weren’t fully efficient. One is the absence of stellar left tackle Terron Armstead, who was sorely missed. Second, the Saints made some uncharacteristic mistakes. New Orleans receivers and tight ends dropped five passes, which was bizarre. One drop was even by Michael Thomas in the end zone. The fourth-quarter miscue would’ve put the game away had Thomas converted.
Thanks to the five drops, Drew Brees failed to reach 200 passing yards, which amazingly made him the worst fantasy quarterback on Thanksgiving, even when compared to Mitchell Trubisky and David Blough. Brees finished 18-of-30 for 184 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t even make any poor throws or mistakes; his teammates just let him down.
Thomas ended up with two drops, one of which was the aforementioned non-touchdown. Thomas caught everything else thrown to him, but finished with a horrible stat line of six catches for 48 receiving yards, punishing everyone who paid up for him on DraftKings. Jared Cook also dropped two passes. One drop also occurred in the end zone. Despite this, Cook led the Saints in receiving with three grabs for 85 yards.
Alvin Kamara was guilty of the fifth drop. He also had a disappointing performance; he rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries while catching four balls for 23 receiving yards. He was stuffed on a third-and-1 attempt.
One Saint who didn’t disappoint was Taysom Hill, who scored two touchdowns. He rushed one and caught one, picking up 45 total yards in the process. Hill was the rotten turkey for fantasy owners who started Thomas and/or Thomas.
Going back to the Falcons, the heavily sacked Ryan picked up tons of yardage in garbage time, going 35-of-50 for 312 yards, two touchdowns, a pair of interceptions and a lost fumble. One was an inexplicable pick by 300-pound defensive tackle Shy Tuttle at the line of scrimmage when the ball was thrown right to his torso. Ryan telegraphed his second interception.
With Julio Jones out, Calvin Ridley led the team with eight catches for 91 yards. Christian Blake – six catches, 57 yards – was next, followed by Russell Gage (5-52), who caught a touchdown. Tight end Jaeden Graham (4-41) also scored, but left the game with an injury in the fourth quarter. Not included in these stats is not one, not two, but THREE pass interference penalties by inept cornerback Eli Apple, who played with terrible technique all night as he failed to cover Ridley.
Devonta Freeman made his return from injury. He gained 51 yards on 17 carries. He also caught four passes, but accumulated just 13 receiving yards in the process.
Bengals 22, Jets 6
Now that the Bengals have gotten their first win of the year, they should consider benching Andy Dalton again. Dalton played well against an improved Jets secondary, showing that he can, in fact, still be a medicore starting quarterback in the NFL. This, however, is not something the Bengals need at the moment. They need losses, or else they’ll jeopardize their ability to use the No. 1 overall pick on surging LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
Dalton, who was barely pressured in this game, finished 22-of-37 for 243 yards and a touchdown. He made no mistakes, save for an overthrow of a receiver on his first attempt. This was a far cry from how Ryan Finley had performed in recent weeks. Still, we know by now that Dalton isn’t the long-term answer for the Bengals, which is why it’s so important for Cincinnati not to jeopardize the top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Dalton threw primarily to three players: Auden Tate (4-66), Tyler Boyd (5-59) and C.J. Uzomah (5-51). Boyd scored a touchdown and drew a deep pass interference flag. Uzomah should have found the end zone as well, but he dropped one of the easiest potential catches he’ll ever have in his life.
Joe Mixon also found the end zone. He rushed for 44 yards and a score on 19 carries, while catching all four of his targets for 26 receiving yards. Mixon had a 31-yard run negated by an illegal block above the waist.
The Jets didn’t have nearly as much success with their primary running back, which was shocking, given how great the matchup was on paper. Le’Veon Bell couldn’t produce any long gains against the worst linebacking corps in the NFL, mustering only 32 yards on 10 carries, while catching four passes for 35 receiving yards. One except was when Bell had a brilliant run to pick up a first down on a third-and-14, but a hold negated a play that the CBS announcers described as “vintage Bell.” Adam Gase’s misuse of Bell has been appalling; there’s no reason why Bell should’ve had just five targets in this contest.
Sam Darnold struggled to take advantage of a great matchup as well, going just 28-of-48 for 239 yards versus Cincinnati’s miserable secondary. Darnold couldn’t get any momentum going on most drives, as he saw lots of pressure from Cincinnati’s front. Save for the opening drive, he was constantly under siege, and pressure even created a holding penalty in his own end zone, resulting in a safety. Carlos Dunlap, in particular, was fantastic. He sacked Darnold thrice.
Despite the Jets constantly trailing, only one player of theirs had more receiving yardage than Bell’s 35. That was Robby Anderson, who hauled in seven of his 10 targets for 101 yards. Only half of his production came in garbage time.
Titans 31, Colts 17
Pay no attention to the final score of this game. This contest was a tight, defensive battle for about 55 minutes, and both teams were locked into a 17-17 standstill for the majority of the second half. It looked like the Colts would finally take the lead when they moved into Tennessee territory. Following a negated completion that was overturned upon review, Adam Vinatieri lined up for a 46-yard field goal to help his team go up by three. The Titans had other plans, however, as they blocked Vinatieri’s field goal and returned it for a touchdown. Minutes later, Tennessee scored again when it received the ball in great field position when Jacoby Brissett overshot Zach Pascal on a deep throw.
Suddenly, a tight battle turned into a two-touchdown lead for the Titans in a blink of an eye. The end result was Tennessee improving to 7-5, while the injury-ravaged Colts dropped to 6-6.
Both Vinatieri and Brissett blew this game for the Colts, though it could be argued that T.Y. Hilton’s midweek injury was the catalyst for this collapse. Nevertheless, Vinatieri missed three field goals in this contest, including his blocked attempt returned for six. Brissett, meanwhile, heaved two ugly interceptions. His overthrow of Pascal was his second pick. The first was a horrible decision where he fired late over the middle while under heavy pressure. This set up a Tennessee field goal, which tied the game at the aforementioned score of 17-17.
Brissett finished 25-of-40 for 319 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He put some nice drives together, but his two killer interceptions ruined any chance the Colts had of winning this game.
To be fair to Brissett, he didn’t really have any viable options outside of Pascal (7-109) and Jack Doyle (6-73), who caught his sole touchdown. T.Y. Hilton’s absence was huge, and things only got worse when Chester Rogers suffered an injury in the opening half.
The Colts failed to establish the run, as Jonathan Williams was bottled up by Tennessee’s great ground defense. Williams was limited to 14 yards on eight carries, while Jordan Wilkins (11-47) actually led Indianapolis in rushing. Nyheim Hines (4-22) scored a touchdown.
Indianapolis’ run defense, meanwhile, has been potent since Darius Leonard returned from injury. That wasn’t the case in this game, as Derrick Henry trampled Indianapolis for 149 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. Henry lost a fumble on the opening play of the afternoon, setting up an Indianapolis touchdown, but Henry had some tough runs later in the contest, including a scoring run n a fourth down to trim the margin from 17-7 to 17-14.
Henry’s great running set up some terrific play-action bootlegs for Ryan Tannehill. The former Dolphin quarterback made no mistakes outside of a strip-sack, going 17-of-22 for 182 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts couldn’t capitalize on his lost fumble, as Vinatieri missed a long field goal following the turnover.
Tannehill’s sole touchdown was a 40-yard bomb to special-teamer Khalif Raymond, which came right after Brissett’s second interception. The only Titan with more receiving yards than Raymond was A.J. Brown, who secured three catches for 45 yards. Corey Davis caught only one pass for 23 yards.
Steelers 20, Browns 13
Legendary head coach Dick Vermeil was a big proponent of not giving his opponents motivation, as he often talked up lesser competition. Freddie Kitchens clearly does not follow this mantra, as he showed up to the stadium wearing a shirt that said Pittsburgh started the brawl that took place a couple of weeks ago when these teams last met. This energized the Steelers, who were able to prevail to keep their standing in the playoff race.
The Steelers struggled to do much early, as the Browns established a 10-0 lead. However, the Steelers, who almost seemed to refuse to throw a forward pass in the first 20 minutes of the afternoon, began putting Jaylen Samuels in the Wildcat, which opened up the rest of the offense. Duck Hodges, making his second start, eventually began launching deep bombs, several of which were complete. Hodges hit hunting partner James Washington with a bomb right before halftime to completely erase Cleveland’s lead. Washington snatched the touchdown while being dragged down, which was very impressive.
Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield was struggling with a hand injury he suffered just prior to intermission. He banged his hand on Bud Dupree’s helmet, and he completed just eight of his 15 attempts in the second half as a result. He was also strip-sacked around midfield and threw an interception behind his receiver in the 2-minute drill at the end of the game. That said, Mayfield wasn’t helped by his teammates, as Demetrius Harris dropped a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Mayfield finished just 18-of-32 for 196 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Conversely, the aggressive Hodges outplayed Mayfield despite having less (healthy) talent around him, as he went 14-of-21 for 212 yards, one touchdown and a pick. Granted, Mayfield may not have been 100 percent because of his hand injury, but the fact that Hodges performed better despite not having an Odell Beckham or a Jarvis Landry to throw to just speaks to how poorly the Browns are coached. It would be a huge mistake for them not to move on from Kitchens after the season is over.
Speaking of Beckham and Landry, one did well, while the other was a major disappointment. Beckham continued to struggle with Mayfield, as he caught just three passes for 29 yards. Landry was better, reeling in six receptions for 76 yards.
The Browns’ two star runners collectively eclipsed the century mark. Nick Chubb gained 58 yards on 16 carries, while Kareem Hunt tallied 46 yards on seven tries. Hunt was also a factor in the receiving game, as he caught all five of his targets for 19 receiving yards and a touchdown. Pittsburgh’s defenders hit both running backs very hard as soon as they touched the ball, though Hunt looked spectacular on some of his runs.
The leading rusher in this game was Benny Snell, who registered 63 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. Snell had a huge run in the fourth quarter to move the Steelers out of the shadow of their own end zone with an 11-yard burst. Samuels (7-32), as mentioned, did well in the Wildcat to kick start Pittsburgh’s offense.
A couple of notes on Hodges: I mentioned his stats earlier, and he managed to outplay Mayfield. His willingness to be way more aggressive than Mason Rudolph gives Pittsburgh’s offense more upside. However, it’s worth noting that Hodges made a couple of mistakes in the fourth quarter. He tried to throw the ball with his left hand at one point when he was pressured heavily, and he fumbled as a result. Luckily for him, the ball trickled out of bounds before Cleveland could recover it. Also, Hodges heaved up an interception on a deep throw with seven minutes remaining.
Washington, who reeled in Hodges’ touchdown, caught all four of his targets for 111 yards. He was the only Steeler with more than 28 receiving yards. Diontae Johnson, who caught just one of his five targets for 14 yards, dropped a ball.
Dolphins 37, Eagles 31
Brian Flores won this game with some creative play-calling. Everyone has seen the fake field goal in which the Dolphins lined up in a swinging gate. This ended up being the difference in this game, which was a losing proposition for both teams. The Eagles blew an opportunity to tie the Cowboys for the divisional lead, while the Dolphins ruined their chances of landing the top quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft class, Joe Burrow.
You’d think these teams would collude with each other for their best interests, but that didn’t happen for some reason. Instead, the Dolphins will move forward with their quarterback of the future, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The bearded veteran torched the Eagles’ secondary mercilessly, going 27-of-39 for 365 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. It didn’t look like things would go well for Fitzpatrick early on, as the Dolphins’ first three drives began with an interception (the receiver slipped), and two sacks on each of the other possessions. However, Fitzpatrick was able to shake this off and prove that he, not Burrow, can be the Dolphins’ quarterback over the next dozen years.
The Eagles showed no ability to cover DeVante Parker. Their secondary had improved in recent weeks, but suffered a major setback in this contest. It started when the Dolphins, down 10-0, took a chance on a fourth-and-4. Fitzpatrick launched a bomb to Parker. It appeared for a second like Ronald Darby would be able to intercept the pass, but Parker skied over him to haul in what would be a 43-yard touchdown. This was Parker’s first of two touchdowns, and he collected seven receptions for 159 yards otherwise. He also drew a pass interference flag in the end zone.
Mike Gesicki also found the end zone. The athletic tight end snatched five of his seven targets for 79 yards and a touchdown. Allen Hurns (3-33) and Albert Wilson (5-32) contributed as well.
While the Dolphins torched the Eagles, they couldn’t do much on the ground. Wilson was actually the team’s leading rusher with two end-arounds for 31 yards. Kalen Ballage gained zero yards on three attempts, while Patrick Laird mustered only four yards on 10 attempts, but managed to fall into the end zone. Ballage injured his leg, but the Dolphins didn’t exactly miss him when he left the game. On the contrary, his injury helped Miami prevail.
Philadelphia had more success running, and oddly enough, the team stuck to one running back for a change. Miles Sanders gained 83 yards on 17 carries, and he also caught all five of his targets for 22 yards and a touchdown. Sanders looked great, but it was a curious decision not to get Jay Ajayi (2-9) involved in an obvious revenge situation.
Carson Wentz had a mixed performance. He missed some passes he should have converted, but he moved the chains effectively for most of the afternoon. His defense simply couldn’t come up with a stop in the second quarter onward. Wentz went 28-of-46 for 310 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, which was on the Hail Mary on the final play of the game.
Wentz played much better in this game because he had his weapons back from injury. Primarily, Alshon Jeffery hauled in nine of his 16 targets for 137 yards and a touchdown. Dallas Goedert (6-66) was next on the receiving chart. Conversely, Zach Ertz (3-24) didn’t do much, as it seemed as though the Eagles wanted to be cautious with him, given that he was coming off a hamstring injury. That said, Ertz should have caught a touchdown, but dropped the ball in the end zone when his team was down nine late in the game.
Packers 31, Giants 13
This game was played in beautiful, snowy conditions in the Meadowlands. The play for the Giants, however, was anything but beautiful, as Daniel Jones committed three turnovers to help the Packers cruise to a victory.
That said, the Packers didn’t need much assistance, as Aaron Rodgers was hot following his Sunday night debacle at San Francisco. Rodgers was nearly perfect in the opening half, as he threw a pair of touchdowns to Davante Adams and Allen Lazard. He remained hot after intermission, setting up a touchdown when he converted a fourth-and-10 to Geronimo Allison. This was one of four third- or fourth-down conversions Rodgers had in which he moved the chains with 10 or more yards to go in the second half. Before long, the Packers opened a 31-13 lead, which was good enough to get them to improve to 9-3.
Rodgers finished 21-of-33 for 243 yards and four touchdowns. He was excellent in the snowy conditions, and he could’ve been even better had Adams not dropped a gain of about 20 yards in the second half.
Adams was guilty of the drop, but made up for the blunder with two touchdowns. He caught six of his 10 targets for 64 yards. He also drew a pass interference flag in the end zone. The only player to eclipse him in receiving yardage was Lazard with three grabs for 103 yards and a score. Lazard saw just three targets, however, so he doesn’t suddenly seem like a great fantasy option. That said, perhaps this performance will convince Rodgers that he needs to throw more to his young receiver, though it’s worth noting that Lazard was responsible for running a wrong route during a third-down incompletion.
Aaron Jones was the one star Packer player who disappointed. The Giants have an improved run defense – thanks to the Leonard Williams trade – and they limited Jones to just 18 yards on 11 carries. Jones had some attempts at the goal line, but just couldn’t plunge into the end zone, save for once instance that was called back by penalty. Jamaal Williams (10-41) even outgained him.
Saquon Barkley also disappointed. He had a great matchup against a struggling Green Bay run defense, yet couldn’t reach the century mark. He gained 83 yards on 19 carries, and he wasn’t a big factor in the passing game, catching just three of his seven targets for 32 yards. Barkley ran with more purpose this week and made a terrific juke move on one play, but continues to not really play like his former self.
While Barkley didn’t reach expectations, he was at least not completely inept. Daniel Jones was just that, as he barely completed half of his passes and tossed three interceptions. The first pick occurred because he stared down his receiver. The second was an overthrow on a desperation heave. The third was also an overthrow, down the sideline, which was the result of Jones throwing off his back foot.
Jones, otherwise, went 20-of-37 for 240 yards and a touchdown. He made some nice throws in the conditions, but the turnovers killed his team. That needs to improve next season, though to be fair, he didn’t have Evan Engram or Golden Tate at his disposal in this contest.
With no Engram or Tate available, third-string tight end Kaden Smith led the Giants in receiving, as he caught six of his eight targets for 70 yards. Darius Slayton (6-44) also had a nice game, while Sterling Shepard (3-40) reeled in a touchdown. Slayton made a great catch deep downfield when he extended his arms to haul in the ball, but an illegal formation negated the amazing play.
Redskins 29, Panthers 21
I would love to know what happened to the Panthers. I watched this game twice, and I still don’t understand. Carolina sprinted out to a 14-0 lead, as its offense looked unstoppable against the Redskins’ anemic secondary. Kyle Allen torched the Washington defensive backs easily, throwing two touchdowns to each of his top wide receivers. It looked like Carolina was going to improve to .500 while cruising to an easy victory.
It’s unclear what changed, but the Panthers didn’t score a single point after that until garbage time. They suddenly looked lethargic and couldn’t pass protect whatsoever, as Montez Sweat dominated in the trenches. Carolina generated just 28 net yards in the opening half following the two scoring drives, as the Redskins restricted them to a series of three-and-outs. There was also an Allen interception that was nearly a pick-six, as the Redskins were ruled down at the 1-yard line. Any positive Allen throws were disrupted by drops or fumbles.
The defense, meanwhile, suffered a big loss when Gerald McCoy was knocked out for the game. He left the field in the opening half, but tried to return in the third quarter and then got hurt again. Derrius Guice broke a 60-yard run to spark the Redskins, who would’ve taken a lead into halftime if it wasn’t for a blocked field goal right at the end of the opening half. That didn’t matter, as the Redskins ultimately established a 29-14 advantage until a late score that gave the Panthers a chance, especially after an onside kick conversion. Allen, however, inexplicably dropped back 20 yards in the pocket on the final play of the game, giving the Redskins the victory, and ultimately ending Carolina’s season.
Allen was a huge disappointment. Following a hot start, he struggled until picking up garbage yardage at the end of regulation. He finished 27-of-46 for 278 yards, three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and an interception, but those numbers were enhanced by late throws. He saw a couple of his passes dropped, but he was lucky that Washington’s secondary dropped two potential interceptions of his. Allen has proven himself to be a high-caliber backup, but he’s not a long-term starter. Carolina will need Cam Newton to be 100 percent next year.
Allen’s touchdowns went to D.J. Moore (6-75) and Curtis Samuel (4-65), both of whom dropped passes. Samuel’s drop would’ve been a gain of 20 yards or so. Greg Olsen didn’t do much – three catches, 22 yards – and to make matters worse, he took a crushing blow to the head in the second half.
Christian McCaffrey had a disappointing fantasy performance for the first time since Week 2. He was limited to 44 yards on 14 carries, and his seven catches went for 58 receiving yards. He eclipsed the century mark in total, but more was expected from him, especially at his DraftKings price. McCaffrey also had a couple of shots at a touchdown late in the game, but was stuffed at the goal line. He dropped two passes as well.
Oddly enough, both of Washington’s primary backs more than doubled up McCaffrey’s rushing total. That seems crazy, but true. Guice, who looks like a star in the making, tallied 129 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 attempts. He had a punishing stiff-arm on a long second-half run. Adrian Peterson, meanwhile, was just one shy of the century plateau, dashing for 99 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. His only blemish was a fumble, which he recovered. Washington’s offensive line mauled Carolina’s front all afternoon.
Dwayne Haskins allowed his runners to do all the work. He was not responsible for this win, as he barely completed half of his passes. He went 13-of-25 for 147 yards. Haskins made a couple of nice throws, but showed pocket awareness at times.
Haskins was so bad that Terry McLaurin caught just two passes for eight yards. Kelvin Harmon was the team’s leading receiver with three catches for 51 yards.
Ravens 20, 49ers 17
It looked like the 49ers would be able to upset the Ravens in the early going. Jimmy Garoppolo converted an opening third-and-7 with a 30-yard pass to Kendrick Bourne, and then hit Deebo Samuel with a 33-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-2. Meanwhile, the Ravens punted on their opening drive, which was significant because that was their first punt with Lamar Jackson on the field since Week 9.
The 49ers, up 7-0, looked like they would have complete control of this game, but Garoppolo began making mistakes. He was strip-sacked, which allowed the Ravens to get on the board, as Jackson found Mark Andrews in the end zone. Garoppolo then nearly made another grave error, as Tyus Bowser dropped a potential pick-six because he lost his footing. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s defense also played a part, as a roughing-the-passer penalty allowed the Ravens to keep an ensuing drive going. Jackson parlayed the mistake with his own touchdown run to take a 14-7 lead.
This was a tight battle in the second half, as both teams failed on fourth-down tries in the final frame. San Francisco linebacker Fred Warner, who was outstanding in this contest, knocked a pass away on a fourth-and-5, while the 49ers failed on a fourth-down attempt of their own when Garoppolo’s pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage. The Ravens then had another fourth-down opportunity on the ensuing drive, and Jackson converted with a sneak. This allowed the Ravens to drain the final six-and-a-half minutes of the clock as they moved into field goal range. Justin Tucker lined up for a 49-yard attempt on the final snap of regulation, and he drilled the kick, giving Baltimore its 10th victory of the year.
Jackson didn’t have the best passing numbers, going 14-of-23 for 105 yards and a touchdown, as he admittedly was bothered by the rain. However, he rushed for 101 yards and another score on 16 scrambles. Jackson’s one major blunder of this game was a lost fumble near the red zone in the second half.
Andrews, as mentioned, was able to snatch Jackson’s sole touchdown. Andrews, who caught three passes for 50 yards, was the only Raven with more than 21 receiving yards. Marquise Brown was a complete non-factor, as he hauled in just one pass for a single yard.
Jackson’s volume once again derailed a Mark Ingram performance. Ingram was given just 15 carries, which he turned into 59 yards.
The leading rusher in this game wasn’t Jackson or Ingram, or even Tevin Coleman. It was 49ers third-string running back Raheem Mostert, who somehow rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. None of this was fluky. Mostert ripped through a Baltimore defense that didn’t want any part in tackling him. Mostert’s 40-yard touchdown run featured numerous missed tackles.
Garoppolo, as mentioned earlier, started hot, but made some killer mistakes. The 49ers may have prevailed if he didn’t fumble. Still, he misfired on just six occasions, going 15-of-21 for 165 yards and a touchdown.
Just three 49er players finished with more than 20 receiving yards: Bourne (3-42), Samuel (3-41) and Emmanuel Sanders (4-41), who drew a pass interference flag. The Ravens completely bottled up George Kittle, who was limited to just two catches for 17 yards.
EDITOR’S NOTE: It’s quite apparent that Doug Marrone will be fired after this season (or maybe even before it’s over.) Good. Marrone sabotaged the previous coaching staff because he wanted the job. It’s nice to see what comes around, goes around.
This game had no relevance for the playoffs because both teams were effectively eliminated weeks ago, but it did matter beyond draft positioning, as both coaching staffs and front offices are trying to illustrate to ownership that their teams are headed in the right direction. This game gives proof that the Buccaneers are improving under head coach Bruce Arians, while the Jaguars look like they are sleepwalking on Doug Marrone. Nick Foles struggled and was benched for Gardner Minshew, who gave the Jaguars a bit of a spark, but it didn’t matter as the Bucs had too big of a lead after dominating the first half.
After Foles hit a 41-yard completion to Dede Westbrook, Devin White easily picked off Foles to set the tone for the Tampa Bay defense. Jameis Winston responded and got Tampa Bay moving with a 25-yard pass to O.J. Howard (5-61) before Peyton Barber gashed the Jaguars for a 15-yard touchdown run. Later, when Shaq Barrett strip-sacked Foles, White scooped up the fumble to run it into the end zone, putting them up 15-0 following a two-point conversion. Leonard Fournette moved the ball into Bucs territory, but a Carl Nassib strip-sack kept points from being scored. Tampa Bay turned that into another touchdown run from Barber and later added a field goal to have a 25-0 lead at halftime.
Foles was benched for Minshew to start the third quarter, and after Winston was strip-sacked by Andrew Wingard, the Jaguars had the ball near midfield. That was turned into a 52-yard field goal by Josh Lambo. Jaguars rookie Josh Allen got his ninth sack of the year on a fourth down to give Minshew the ball around midfield to start the fourth quarter. Minshew hit D.J. Chark (2-47) for 30 yards, and Westbrook got open for a short touchdown reception followed by a leaping two-point conversion to cut the Bucs’ lead to 25-11.
The Jaguars had a good punt return by Westbrook in the fourth quarter with short a drive to get inside the 5-yard line, but the Bucs put together back-to-back goal-line stands after a gifted first down was not enough for the Jaguars, who were stopped on fourth-and-goal once, and then on third-and-goal Westbrook dropped a pass and Sean Murphy-Bunting caught the deflection for an interception. The Bucs added a field goal in garbage time, while the Jaguars offense couldn’t move the ball behind their leaky offensive line.
Winston completed 21-of-33 passes for 268 yards with zero touchdowns and interceptions.
Barber led the Bucs on the ground with 44 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Ronald Jones (6-8) did not impress.
Breshad Perriman (5-87) was Tampa Bay’s leading receiver. Mike Evans was open for some big plays downfield, including touchdowns, but Winston was inaccurate on deep balls once again. Chris Godwin (4-50) played better than his stat line indicates.
Minshew completed 16-of-27 passes for 147 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He gave the Jaguars some juice when he came into the game. Foles was 7-of-14 for 93 yards and an interception.
The Bucs are very good at defending the run and limited Fournette to 38 yards on 14 carries, but Fournette made nine catches for 53 yards.
Westbrook led the Jaguars in receiving with five catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Between a phantom false start on the Chargers’ final offensive drive, and the phantom pass interference on the Broncos’ final offensive drive, the officials did a great job of giving Denver its fourth victory of the season.
There were some new and missing faces in this game, as Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock was making his first NFL start, while the Broncos were without star edge rusher Von Miller. Derwin James made his season debut, but a lot of eyes were on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, given reports that broke before the game saying Rivers could be benched if he continued to struggle. Rivers played better than he had in recent weeks, and Lock put together a decent debut, but a terrible pass interference call was the difference in Denver pulling out a win on the final play of the game.
The Broncos got on the board first with Lock lofting in a pass to Courtland Sutton, and the second-year wideout making a phenomenal diving one-handed catch to put Denver up 7-0. Rivers’ interception streak continued when he tried to throw a screen pass but floated in a soft pass to the chest of Broncos defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones to set up the Denver offense deep in Los Angeles territory. On third-and-goal, Lock found Sutton wide open for his second touchdown of the game.
Los Angeles was gifted a first down with a running-into-the-punter penalty. Passes to Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen (6-68-1) moved the ball inside the 20, but the Chargers settled for a field goal. In the second quarter, the Chargers muffed a punt that Denver recovered at the Los Angeles 21 and turned into a field goal. Late in the first half, Mike Williams got wide open in busted coverage for a 52-yard reception, and the Chargers finished the drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler. That cut the Denver lead to 17-10 at the half.
The Chargers tied the game early in the fourth quarter with Melvin Gordon and Ekeler moving the ball across midfield before Rivers found Keenan Allen wide open in busted coverage for a 36-yard touchdown. Promptly, Denzel Perryman picked off Lock, and Los Angeles was set up at the Denver 37, but Derek Wolfe came through with his second sack of the game and Michael Badgley missed a 55-yard field goal to bail out Lock.
Lock took advantage of the momentum to move the ball into Los Angeles territory, and Denver connected on a field goal for a 20-17 lead. Late in the fourth quarter, the Chargers went for a fourth-and-11 deep in their own territory, and Mike Williams made an incredible 38-yard catch. That set up a 46-yard field goal from Badgley to tie the game at 20. With just seconds remaining, Casey Hayward was called for a terrible pass interference penalty that gifted Denver 37 yards. The next and final play of the game saw Brandon McManus hit a 53-yard field goal to give Denver the win.
Lock was 18-of-28 for 134 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in his NFL debut. He was decent, but not impressive, after a fast start.
Phillip Lindsay ran for 58 yards on 17 carries.
Courtland Sutton caught four passes for 74 yards with two touchdowns.
Rivers completed 20-of-29 passes for 265 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Melvin Gordon ran for 99 yards on 20 carries. Austin Ekeler had just 16 yards on nine carries but caught four passes for 51 yards and a touchdown.
Mike Williams led the Chargers in receiving with five receptions for 117 yards.
Rams 34, Cardinals 7
The Cardinals had been surging prior to their bye, but this defeat looked like the Arizona team from earlier in the season that was blown out at home versus the Seahawks and Panthers. In those games, Arizona couldn’t do anything offensively because Kyler Murray was constantly under siege behind his beleaguered offensive line. The blocking had improved lately, but it took a big step backward in this contest, as Murray had no chance. The Cardinals produced just 63 net yards of offense in the opening half.
The defense, meanwhile, didn’t help matters with its utter incompetence. It was so bad that Jared Goff was on pace to break the NFL single-game passing yards record at halftime. He logged 323 passing yards – in the first half, alone! Goff didn’t reach Norm Van Brocklin’s all-time mark of 554 yards because the Cardinals couldn’t stay competitive, allowing the Rams to take the air out of the ball following intermission. Goff threw the ball just 12 times in the second half, compared to 31 times prior to the break. It’s a shame that we didn’t see Goff eclipse Van Brocklin. He didn’t even finish the game, as Blake Bortles played in the fourth quarter.
Goff’s final numbers were 32-of-43 for 424 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals stood no chance against him, as Goff constantly threw to wide-open targets. Arizona was content with covering no one in this game.
The only prominent Ram who didn’t post great stats was Brandin Cooks, who was dealing with Patrick Peterson. Cooks was limited to just two catches for 24 yards. Robert Woods picked up the slack, hauling in 13 of his 19 targets for 172 yards. He made some unbelievable plays. He snatched a 19-yard leaping grab and later caught a short pass and made some ridiculous moves to pick up 48 yards after the catch.
Woods didn’t find the end zone, but Cooper Kupp (6-65) managed to do so. Tyler Higbee also scored, as Arizona continued to show a complete disinterest in defending tight ends. Higbee converted seven of his eight targets for 107 yards and a score.
Todd Gurley just missed out on the century mark, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. He also caught a 20-yard pass.
Going back to the Cardinals, Murray’s pedestrian stat line – 19-of-34, 163 yards, one interception – isn’t even indicative of how poorly he performed. He had just 67 yards at the half, and he was very lucky to get away with throwing just one interception. He had a pick-six that was dropped in the opening half when down 10-0, and another potential interception of his was negated by pass interference following replay review. And yet, that wasn’t it, as yet another Murray pick was erased by a penalty, as there was a roughing-the-passer call. Murray als had a wide-open receiver downfield for a touchdown when this game was 20-0, but Murray didn’t see him, opting instead to throw an incompletion into tight coverage. Murray’s one interception ended up being a pick-six by Rapp.
Larry Fitzgerald ended up being Arizona’s leading receiver with six grabs for 56 yards. He ended up being the only Cardinal with more than 30 receiving yards. Christian Kirk (3-23) didn’t even log a single reception in the opening half, thanks to Jalen Ramsey’s elite coverage.
Both Kenayn Drake and David Johnson saw action for the Cardinals. Drake mustered just 31 yards on 13 carries, while Johnson’s four attempts went for 15 yards. I expect Johnson’s workload to increase in the coming weeks as he works his way back from injury.
Chiefs 40, Raiders 9
A 40-point result might indicate that Patrick Mahomes absolutely torched the Raiders, but that was far from the case. In fact, Mahomes didn’t even play a good game. Instead, Kansas City’s defense showed tremendous improvement, as Andy Reid worked his usual bye-week magic to improve an area of the roster.
Kansas City’s stop unit picked off Derek Carr on a telegraphed pass in the early going, then opened up a big lead when second-round rookie Juan Thornhill took back a pick-six from Carr. The Chiefs didn’t even allow a single point until garbage time in the fourth quarter. It was a shocking performance, to say the least, and if Kansas City’s defense can continue to play like this, the team will have a very good chance of advancing to the Super Bowl.
Mahomes, meanwhile, made some glaring mistakes. He threw an interception in this game that was very uncharacteristic, as he fired way across his body across the middle of the field. Mahomes can sometimes get away with throws like this because of his great arm talent, but this was an impossible attempt. Mahomes also tossed another pick that was overturned by replay and missed Travis Kelce for a touchdown later in the afternoon.
Mahomes barely completed half of his passes, going 15-of-29 for 175 yards and a touchdown. Luckily for his fantasy owners, he was able to run in a score. While Mahomes wasn’t his usual, prolific self, it wasn’t completely his fault that he wasn’t at his best. Kelce dropped a touchdown in the opening half, while another potential score of his, caught by Demarcus Robinson, was negated by a holding penalty. Also, the violent winds carried some of his passes.
Given the conditions, only three Chiefs accumulated double-digit receiving yardage: Kelce (5-90), Tyreek Hill (5-55) and LeSean McCoy (3-20). Kelce dropped two passes, while running back Darrel Williams also was guilty of a drop.
Speaking of Williams, he suffered a non-contact injury in the second half, ruining his ugly game (6 carries, 13 yards). Darwin Thompson ended up handling most of the workload at the end of the game, and he was able to score on his 11 carries for 44 yards. McCoy (5-10) also found the end zone.
The Raiders were able to run better than the Chiefs. Unfortunately for them, they were so far behind, they could only give Josh Jacobs 17 carries, which he transformed into 104 yards. Jacobs hit the century mark three times in this game, as he took negative results twice after reaching that plateau.
Carr was not very effective, as his overall stat line – 20-of-30, 222 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions – was mostly a byproduct of a couple of late garbage-time drives. Carr was just 6-of-12 for 91 yards, as Kansas City’s improved pass defense, aided by the strong winds, did a number on him.
Darren Waller ended up having a huge game because of this garbage time, as he caught seven of his nine targets for 100 yards. Tyrell Williams, meanwhile, was limited to just one catch for nine yards.
Texans 28, Patriots 22
Think back to last year. Were the Jaguars, Lions, Titans and Dolphins good in 2018? Of course not, as all four teams missed the playoffs. What all four teams had in common, besides missing the postseason, was that they all defeated the Patriots at home. All four teams were hyped up following these victories, and yet it didn’t matter because the Patriots were the team that ended up making the playoffs and ultimately winning the Super Bowl.
The Texans will similarly be hyped because of this victory, but it’s important to determine whether it’s warranted or not. I’m not so sure. Numerous Patriot players were dealing with the flu heading into this contest, so they may have been feeling lethargic during the course of this game. Also, the Texans still have glaring flaws, including their offensive line and secondary. They’re very poorly coached as well.
That said, there are a couple of bright spots in this win. First, Duke Johnson saw much more of a workload than usual. It took the inept Bill O’Brien 13 weeks to realize that Johnson is better than Hyde, but better late than never. Johnson had just one fewer carry than Hyde, 10-9, and he outgained Hyde, 36-17. However, Johnson was a huge part of the passing game, catching five of his six targets for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Second, young edge rusher Jacob Martin emerged as a potent threat. Martin was a throw-in in the Jadeveon Clowney trade, but he was so dominant in this contest that the Patriots began double-teaming him. Martin logged 1.5 sacks, which isn’t indicative of how well he played.
Third, there was some improvement from Houston’s secondary. Cornerback Bradley Roby played well, as he nearly had two pick-sixes, but was tackled short of the goal line once and then had his turnover negated by holding the second time. Safety Justin Reid had a strong performance as well.
Deshaun Watson spent the entire evening targeting everyone but New England’s terrific cornerbacks. He had success throwing to Johnson and his tight ends. Watson put together the best passing performance against the Patriots this year, as he went 18-of-25 for 234 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught a 6-yard touchdown from DeAndre Hopkins on a trick play.
Speaking of Hopkins, he led the Texans with five catches for 64 yards. He struggled to get open versus Stephon Gilmore, as some of his receptions came versus a zone. Kenny Stills (3-61) caught a touchdown right after Will Fuller (1-8) dropped a ball in the end zone. Johnson and Darren Fells (2-23) had Watson’s other scores.
The Patriots, meanwhile, had offensive struggles throughout the evening, as they were stuck on just nine points entering the fourth quarter. Tom Brady spent most of the evening yelling at his receivers and slamming his helmet in frustration on the sidelines. Aside from Julian Edelman, all of his wideouts made numerous mistakes, whether it was running wrong routes or dropping passes. An angry Brady at least helped his fantasy owners with garbage-time stats in the fourth quarter, allowing him to go 24-of-47 for 326 yards, three touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. Brady was lucky, as he easily could’ve tossed three picks.
Brady threw touchdowns to James White twice and Edelman once. Edelman led the Patriots in receiving with six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown, while White accumulated eight receptions for 98 yards. Excluding those two, only one receiver, Jakobi Meyers (3-46), finished with more than 25 receiving yards. Mohamed Sanu (3-14) dropped a pass on fourth down. He looks like a waste of a traded draft pick.
White had a monster fantasy performance, as he finished with the team-leading 79 rushing yards on 14 carries. Sony Michel (10-45) didn’t get much of an opportunity to do much because of the constant deficit.
Seahawks 37, Vikings 30
The Vikings led for the majority of the opening half and were locked in a tie game early in the third quarter when this night ended for them abruptly. Dalvin Cook lost a fumble on a play that absolutely destroyed Minnesota. Not only did this turnover lead to Seattle’s first lead of the evening, it caused Cook and Stefon Diggs to both suffer injuries, joining Riley Reiff, who was already concussed.
Cook and Reiff never returned to the game. Diggs was able to play, but wasn’t quite himself. He dropped two passes after coming back from injury, one of which turned into an interception when the ball popped into the arms of a Seattle defender. This set up another score, this time a touchdown for Seattle. Those 10 points were crucial in this game, as the Vikings nearly mounted a comeback from a 34-17 deficit.
Kirk Cousins nearly got there, as the Vikings were down just four points – thanks to a Dan Bailey missed extra point – but turned the ball over on downs. Cousins’ final pass fell incomplete on a horrible throw to Irv Smith Jr., as Cousins needlessly drifted back in the pocket. Cousins’ poor Monday night track record continued as a result.
Cousins struggled for most of the evening, though the stats don’t quite indicate that. Cousins went 22-of-38 for 276 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but most of that came in garbage time. It was very telling that Cousins had just one pass attempt of more than 15 yards in the opening half. It was almost as if Mike Zimmer and the rest of his coaching staff were trying to mask Cousins the best they could. Unfortunately for them, Cousins had to attempt that horrible throw to Smith on the team’s final offensive drive.
Conversely, Russell Wilson performed like the MVP candidate that he is. He went 21-of-31 for 240 yards for two touchdowns and an interception, which occurred on a weird volley ball-type play, where a Minnesota defensive lineman batted the ball back to Wilson, who batted it to another Viking defender. Wilson didn’t do much scrambling – four carries, 13 yards – as the Vikings utilized Anthony Barr as a spy against him.
One of Wilson’s touchdowns was a 60-yard bomb to David Moore on a busted coverage between Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith. The leading receiver was D.K. Metcalf – referred to as “Decaf Metcalf” by the inept ESPN announcer – who had six catches for 75 yards. Metcalf also lost a fumble. This all had to be very tilting for Tyler Lockett fantasy owners, as Lockett didn’t catch a single pass on two targets.
Wilson’s second touchdown was caught by Rashaad Penny, who had a huge game. Penny rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries and caught four passes for 33 receiving yards. He scored twice. This, however, didn’t prevent Chris Carson from going off, as Carson gained 102 yards and a score on 23 attempts despite missing an early drive with an injury.
The Vikings didn’t have as much success with their backs, as Cook fumbled twice before leaving the game. He ended the night with just 29 yards on nine yards, though he was able to score a touchdown. Alexander Mattison (4-22) didn’t do much on the ground in his absence, but he was able to catch four passes for 51 yards.
Mattison was second in receiving behind Laquon Treadwell and his 58-yard touchdown, scored in a busted coverage. Kyle Rudolph (4-50) caught a one-handed touchdown, while Diggs (4-25) wasn’t healthy enough to do much on his nine targets.
For more thoughts, check out my updated NFL Power Rankings, which will be posted Tuesday morning.