NFL Game Recaps: Week 15, 2021




NFL Game Recaps of previous weeks and seasons can be found via links at the bottom of the page.


Chiefs 34, Chargers 28
  • The Chargers had a chance to achieve a monumental victory for their franchise by beating the Chiefs. Prevailing in this game would have given them the divisional lead with a season sweep of Kansas City. They were winning for most of the evening, but two fourth-quarter touchdown drives by the Chiefs sent the game into overtime. Kansas City won the coin toss, and Justin Herbert never saw the ball in the extra session. Patrick Mahomes went down the field and connected with Travis Kelce for the 34-yard decisive score.

    It was a near-victory for the Chargers, so they’ll be wondering what could have been if they didn’t leave so many points on the field. They made controversial decisions to go for it on fourth down on numerous occasions and failed repeatedly. Despite what analytically clueless people on the FOX broadcast had to say, the Chargers made the correct decisions; their execution, however, was the culprit.

    Beginning with the opening drive, the Chargers committed three drops in the red zone, two of which came from Mike Williams. The third was Donald Parham’s, which ended in calamity, as Parham seemed to be unconscious on the ground before shaking as he was being carted off the field. Joe Buck speculated that Parham had the chills on a cold night in Los Angeles, but this seemed to be an incorrect assessment.

    The Chargers continued to make mistakes, as a Herbert interception was tipped at the line of scrimmage by Nick Bolton, while a later potential touchdown pass to Jared Cook was just a bit high. A later fourth down was knocked away from Cook. There was also a lost fumble by Joshua Kelly near the goal line. The Chargers will be kicking themselves because avoiding any of these blunders likely would have prevented this game from even going into overtime.

  • The Chiefs, meanwhile, had their own struggles. Mahomes lost a fumble on a Joey Bosa hit in the first half, then was picked when Uchenna Nwosu made a terrific interception with an extended, one-handed catch. In between, Mahomes had a wide-open Mecole Hardman in the end zone on a fourth-down try, but missed him completely, inexplicably tossing the ball right into the ground.

    Mahomes was able to shake off these mistakes with a great fourth quarter and overtime. He finished 31-of-47 for 410 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Of Mahomes’ 410 yards, 298 of them came after intermission.

  • Kelce was the hero of this game. In addition to his game-winning touchdown, he also made a 69-yard reception in which he was brought down at the Chargers’ 1-yard line. He led the team with 191 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions. Tyreek Hill also had a huge performance, though he fought through an injury in the early portion of overtime. He snatched 12 of his 13 targets for 148 yards and a touchdown. He also drew a deep interference flag, and he made a 40-yard reception as he was being smothered by a defender who was flagged for interference.

  • The Chiefs didn’t get much out of their running game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire mustered just 32 yards on nine attempts. Mahomes tied him for the team lead on three scrambles.

  • Going back to the Chargers, it’s a shame that their mistakes ruined what would’ve been a signature win for Herbert. This was an amazing performance by the second-year quarterback, who endured five drops from his targets. Despite these drops, Herbert was 22-of-38 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He led the Chargers on what appeared to be the game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, but Mahomes charged back and tied the game to force overtime.

  • It should come as no surprise that Keenan Allen led the Chargers in receiving. He caught six passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Mike Williams (3-49) was next, but dropped two passes inside the Kansas City 5-yard line.

  • Austin Ekeler was limited with an injury, which would explain why Justin Jackson handled one more carry than he did (13-12). Jackson outgained Ekeler, 86-59, but Ekeler scored a touchdown and caught four passes for 23 receiving yards.




  • Colts 27, Patriots 17
  • During their winning streak ahead of this game, the Patriots had feasted off their opponents making lots of mistakes. New England, conversely, remained mostly error-free. That completely changed in this Saturday night affair.

    The blunders began early when the Patriots suffered a rough series of events in the first quarter. Jakobi Meyers dropped a deep pass on a third-and-6, forcing the team to punt. Extending the drive would prove to be crucial because New England’s punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown. The Patriots would end up ruining a chance at scoring later in the opening half when Jones was intercepted in the red zone as a result of not seeing Darius Leonard. Halftime was sandwiched by a pair of Jones’ picks, as the rookie quarterback stared down his receiver in the third quarter, allowing Bobby Okereke to jump the route.

    Jones stopped committing errors after that, but his teammates continued the trend. The defense dropped a pair of potential Wentz interceptions, one of which looked like a clear pick-six by Jamie Collins. A false start at the goal line ruined a chance at a touchdown in the fourth quarter, while Nelson Agholor dropped a deep catch. Jonnu Smith, meanwhile, had a touchdown negated by a hold, but the Patriots ended up reaching the end zone later on that drive anyway.

    The Patriots, as a result of these mistakes, found themselves down 20-0. They ended up making a late charge, scoring 17 unanswered points to draw to within three. They had a chance to get the ball back with about 1:10 remaining, but Jonathan Taylor, on a second-and-long, ripped through the defense for a 67-yard score. This ended the Patriots’ chances of winning this game, though they outgained the Colts, 365-275, and averaged 0.3 more yards per play.

  • Jones had a rough stretch, but did well overall. He made some clutch third-down conversions, and he had some deep passes that were dropped. The two interceptions were bad, but he played a strong game otherwise. Jones finished 26-of-45 for 299 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

  • Both of Jones’ touchdowns were thrown to Hunter Henry, who had a monster game. He caught six of his eight targets for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Kendrick Bourne (3-44) and Meyers (6-44) both disappointed their standard fantasy owners.

  • Damien Harris was out, so Rhamondre Stevenson was expected to have a huge performance. That never happened, as the Patriots bottled him up very well. He was limited to just 36 yards on 20 carries.

  • The Colts obviously got much better production from their running back. Taylor, who scored on the aforementioned 67-yard touchdown, dashed for 170 yards on 29 attempts. He lost an 8-yard receiving touchdown to Nyheim Hines in the first quarter.

  • Wentz struggled in this game. He even tried to throw away another potential victory, which he has done all year, but the Patriot defenders couldn’t take advantage. Wentz completed just five passes on his 12 attempts for 57 yards, one touchdown and an interception where he somehow didn’t see two New England defenders over the middle of the field. Wentz had some poor throws, including one where he overshot Michael Pittman on the opening drive. He also threw too high into the end zone toward one of his tight ends.

  • Thanks to Wentz’s severe struggles, only two Colts accumulated double-digit receiving yards: Zach Pascal (1-23) and T.Y. Hilton (1-19). Pittman caught just one of his five targets, and he was ejected along with Kyle Dugger during a third-quarter fight.




  • Dolphins 31, Jets 24
  • It’s hard to believe that when the Dolphins were losing to the Jaguars in London that they would eventually find a way to win six consecutive games to improve to .500. They did just that, with their latest victory being a come-from-behind triumph against a divisional rival.

    The Dolphins were down 10-0 after one quarter, as the defense inexplicably had no answer for Zach Wilson on the opening drive. The rookie quarterback, who was projected to fare poorly because of his severe struggles against the blitz, completed 9-of-14 passes for 118 yards in the first half, doing some major damage on the initial possession with some well-scripted throws to his tight ends. Conversely, Tua Tagovailoa struggled by going 7-of-12 for 83 yards and an interception prior to intermission. The pick was an overthrow toward DeVante Parker, as Tagovailoa had accuracy woes to begin the game.

    Things flipped in the second half, with Tagovailoa catching fire. Save for another interception on a horrible, weak-armed, telegraphed pass that was returned for a touchdown, Tagovailoa had the same, exact completion percentage as Wilson in the first half (9-of-14). Wilson, meanwhile, couldn’t match Tagovailoa’s first-half numbers. He completed just five passes after intermission, and none of those throws were impressive. He also lost a fumble on a strip-sack in the process. Wilson had severe issues dealing with the Dolphins’ blitzing schemes. He was decisive and confident in the first half, but as the afternoon progressed, he grew increasingly lost and confused. Wilson ultimately had two chances to tie the game in the final minutes of regulation, but couldn’t achieve a single first down on either possession. He was nearly pick-sixed on one of his throws during this sequence.

  • If you don’t feel like doing the math, Tagovailoa finished 16-of-27 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. His picks were horrible, but he did a good job of rebounding in the second half, especially considering that he didn’t have his best weapon (Jaylen Waddle).

  • With Waddle sidelined, Tagovailoa leaned on Parker, who led the Dolphins with four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Mike Gesicki (5-43) saw just as many targets (8).

  • Myles Gaskin was expected to handle most of the workload in Miami, but he had just 10 carries for 54 yards, with one of his yardage coming on one burst. Instead, it was Duke Johnson who was given most of the touches. Johnson looked like the running back Bill O’Brien thought he was getting when he traded a fourth-round pick for him, dashing for 107 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing out of Johnson. Between punishing stiff-arms, lethal jukes and power to break through tackles, Johnson resembled a first-round running back prospect. Was this a byproduct of Johnson battling the woefully inept Jets’ defense? We’ll soon know the answer.

  • The Jets didn’t have as much success on the ground. Both Michael Carter and Tevin Coleman rushed eight times each. Carter was expected to perform well, but he mustered just 18 yards compared to Coleman’s 50.

  • Wilson’s final numbers were 13-of-23 for 170 yards and the lost fumble. He also scored a rushing touchdown on a sneak. These stats obviously aren’t great, but they’re much better than most expected, given Wilson’s incompetence against the blitz. Still, Wilson was horrible in the second half. The pass rush really gave him problems, and he was nearly intercepted twice. Remove the opening drive, and Wilson’s results would look much worse.

  • Jamison Crowder caught five passes for a team-leading 40 yards. He barely edged out Ryan Griffin (2-39) and Tyler Kroft (2-35).




  • Lions 30, Cardinals 12
  • The Cardinals were once the best team in the NFL this season, but that changed in the final week of October when J.J. Watt was lost for the regular season, while Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were both banged up in a Thursday night loss to the Packers. The defense hasn’t been the same without Watt, while the offense eventually lost Hopkins for the regular season as well. With Hopkins and Rodney Hudson sidelined, Murray looked bewildered in this game despite battling the one-win, talent-deprived Lions.

    The Lions, meanwhile, made the most of their matchup against the capsizing Cardinals – so much so, in fact, that they ruined their draft positioning. Their victory moved them out of the top spot in the 2022 NFL Draft, which could have disastrous repercussions in the future.

    For now, Jared Goff and his teammates will enjoy this surprising victory. Goff was excellent, as he misfired just once in the second half. He connected on deep throws Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds to score touchdowns in the first half, all while sitting on the ball for a big chunk of the first half. The Lions maintained possession for about 18 of the 30 minutes heading into intermission. This includes the final two minutes, when they were trapped deep in their own territory. Rather than run the clock out, they were aggressive, and they were rewarded for it, as Goff found Reynolds for a touchdown to close out the opening half.

    It appeared as though the Cardinals had a chance to get back into the game in the third quarter when Lions running back Godwin Igwebuike lost a fumble at midfield, up 17-3. However, the Lions intercepted Murray when A.J. Green didn’t come back to the ball, allowing cornerback Amani Oruwariye to jump the route and take the ball back to the Arizona 6-yard line. The Lions scored a touchdown right away, clinching the victory by extending their lead to 24-3.

  • Murray finished 23-of-41 for 257 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He had issues with the snap at times and looked incredibly frustrated throughout the afternoon, as his receivers dropped balls and his pass protection failed him, particularly against Charles Harris, who had an incredible performance. This was a low-effort game by the Cardinals, but Murray needs Hopkins and Hudson back to perform on a higher level.

  • With Hopkins sidelined, Christian Kirk led the Cardinals in receiving with eight catches for 86 yards and a touchdown despite dropping a pass that would’ve been good for a gain of 15 yards. Green (4-64) and Zach Ertz (5-62) were next on the stat sheet.

  • Chase Edmonds made his return to action from an injury that has kept him out since Week 10. He out-rushed James Conner, 53-39, on fewer carries (8-6). He didn’t catch a pass, as the receptions went to Conner (2-31). It’s unclear why Edmonds and Conner didn’t get much receiving work, as getting them involved against the Lions’ ferocious pass rush would have been a good strategy.

  • The Lions made much better use of their running backs. Craig Reynolds was spectacular once again, rushing for 112 yards on 26 carries. This was not a fluke, as Reynolds ran like a legitimate NFL running back. Igwebuike caught both of his targets for 11 receiving yards.

  • Goff’s victory may prevent Detroit from landing Kenny Pickett. Perhaps this performance will persuade the team to keep him for one more year. Goff misfired just five times, going 21-of-26 for 216 yards and three touchdowns. His lone blunder was a dropped potential interception on the second drive. Otherwise, Goff was fantastic.

  • The Lions had two receivers accumulate more than 20 yards: St. Brown (8-90) and Reynolds (6-68). Both scored touchdowns. St. Brown looked special by juking bewildered Arizona defenders.




  • Bills 31, Panthers 14
  • The Bills didn’t have the most convincing victory over the Panthers, but on a day in which many large favorites struggled, the Bills should be thankful to come away with a win.

    Buffalo didn’t have the most explosive offensive performance, which was expected when guard Jon Feliciano was ruled out with an illness Sunday morning. The Bills were missing two starting offensive linemen and were tasked to block a stellar Carolina pass rush that was trying to get to Josh Allen, who was dealing with a foot sprain. Buffalo was limited to 4.8 yards per play as a consequence, with Allen committing two turnovers.

    Ultimately, Buffalo’s offensive struggles were inconsequential because the Panthers were even more abysmal when they had the ball. Hilariously, Carolina had to go for it on every non-punting fourth down because of a kicker injury in pre-game warmups. This meant more of Cam Newton, which meant more incompetence.

    Newton, once again, struggled, with his “I’m back!” chant seemingly occurring eons ago. On one of those fourth downs, Newton had Robby Anderson open, but bounced the ball nowhere near his feet. He severely underthrew D.J. Moore for what should’ve been a 56-yard touchdown. Most of his Newton’s passes were way off the mark, as he failed to complete half of his passes. He went 18-of-38 for only 156 yards, one touchdown and an interception in which he inexplicably threw right to a Buffalo defender. Newton was at least able to run well, scrambling 15 times for 71 rushing yards and a touchdown.

  • Moore didn’t get much of a chance to have a great game because of Newton’s struggles. He caught six passes for 48 yards, missing out on a potential deep touchdown when Newton underthrew him. Moore was tied for the team lead in receiving with Ameer Abdullah, who hauled in all four of his targets and scored a touchdown. Abdullah, once again, handled all the receiving work, with Chuba Hubbard seeing just one target. Hubbard rushed for 40 yards on eight carries.

  • The Bills, meanwhile, were hindered by some incompetence as well. Allen was strip-sacked on the first drive, but a teammate recovered the loose ball. Allen ultimately turned the ball over later in the first half when he threw an interception as a result of failing to see Jeremy Chinn, who baited him into the bad throw. It didn’t get much better in the second half, as Allen completed only 4-of-12 passes following intermission, missing Stefon Diggs for some big gains. He clearly was not 100 percent coming off his foot sprain.

    Allen was 19-of-34 for 210 yards, three touchdowns and the interception. As mentioned earlier, the hobbled Allen had pass-protection issues as a result of two of his offensive linemen being sidelined.

  • Both of Allen’s touchdowns were thrown to Gabriel Davis, who caught five passes for 85 yards otherwise. Allen’s third score went to Stefon Diggs (4-35), who would’ve had a much better game had Allen been healthier.

  • It was a surprise to see the Bills run well even though Carolina has been gashed on the ground all year. Devin Singletary gained 86 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts.




  • Cowboys 21, Giants 6
  • The Cowboys easily won this game, which was never in doubt. However, questions lingered about their offense being in a slump. Dak Prescott nearly threw away last week’s victory over the Redskins, and this contest saw nothing change in that regard.

    Despite the Giants missing numerous defensive players, the Cowboys averaged just 4.7 yards per play. They squandered numerous opportunities in the red zone early on, as CeeDee Lamb drops and questionable play-calls plagued them. Lamb dropped three balls, while Dallas called a run on a third-and-7 in the red zone. They also passed up on a chance to throw a pass into the end zone by letting too much time tick off the clock during the final drive of the opening half.

    Despite this, the Cowboys led by 15 in the second half because their defense was so dominant. Prescott once again took this for granted with a lost fumble on a strip-sack in which he showed zero pocket awareness. This didn’t end up mattering because Dallas’ defense bailed him out once again.

  • Prescott finished 28-of-37 for 217 yards and a touchdown. He showed terrific accuracy at times, as indicated by the numbers, which were hurt by Lamb’s three drops. However, Prescott missed some big throws and looked lost at times. He should’ve thrown a second touchdown to Michael Gallup, but underthrew him by a mile.

  • Despite the three drops, Lamb was second on the team in receiving with six catches for 50 yards. He trailed only Dalton Schultz, who snatched all eight of his targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. No other Cowboy logged more than 32 receiving yards, as Amari Cooper was limited to just two receptions for eight yards.

  • Ezekiel Elliott scored a touchdown, rushing for 52 yards on 16 carries in the process. His best play was a 10-yard gain in which he moved the pile the entire way. Still, Elliott gave away too many touches to Tony Pollard, who outgained Elliott with 74 yards on 12 attempts. Pollard, once again, looked like the better running back.

  • Like Elliott, Saquon Barkley was outgained despite handling more carries. Barkley was limited to just 50 yards on 15 attempts, while Booker gained 74 yards on eight tries, thanks to a 31-yard burst on a fourth down. Barkley lost a fumble, as he was stripped by DeMarcus Lawrence, who had a big game.

  • Lawrence was also responsible for one of Mike Glennon’s three interceptions. He hit Glennon’s arm, causing the ball to pop into the air. Glennon’s second pick was a wildly inaccurate pass downfield, while the third was a reckless throw into the end zone. Glennon was eventually pulled, finishing 13-of-24 for 99 yards and the three picks.

    Jake Fromm stepped in and nearly led a back-door cover at the very end. He finished 6-of-12 for 82 yards, showing nice touch and accuracy on some of his throws. Fromm figures to start next week if Daniel Jones can’t return.

  • Kenny Golladay led the team in receiving with three catches for 53 yards. Evan Engram (4-33) was the only other Giant who accumulated more than 24 receiving yards. Sterling Shepard (2-13) tore his Achilles on the final drive of the game when he collapsed on a non-contact injury. This was extremely unfortunate, especially given that it occurred so late in the year that it could mean that Shepard won’t be ready for the 2022 opener.




  • Steelers 19, Titans 13
  • The Titans must have been in a giving mood this Sunday because they gift-wrapped this win for the Steelers. Pittsburgh did nothing to deserve this victory, as Tennessee made countless mistakes throughout the afternoon.

    Tennessee led 10-0 when the trouble began. It was an innocent Anthony Firkser lost fumble that allowed the Steelers to kick a field goal. The Titans were clean after that until a 10-play stretch in which they committed three turnovers. The first was a fumble by someone named Racey McMath. The second was a Ryan Tannehill interception caused by a deflection at the line of scrimmage. The third as a botched snap.

    The Steelers had so many opportunities to put this game away as a result of these turnovers, but their dreadful offense could only muster Chris Boswell field goals each time. Thus, they led just 19-13 despite crushing the turnover battle. Tennessee had one more chance to prevail, but Nick Westbrook was tackled inches shy of the line to gain on a fourth-down pass in the red zone.

  • Pittsburgh prevailed, but averaged just 3.7 yards per play in the process. This was a horrific showing, as Ben Roethlisberger had no time in the pocket to find any of his receivers. Roethlisberger didn’t have a bad completion rate – he was 16-of-25 – but the lack of time in the pocket forced him to dink and dunk, which is why he registered only 148 passing yards.

  • Diontae Johnson led the Steelers in receiving with only 38 yards. He caught all five of his targets. He barely edged out Pat Freiermuth (4-37), who couldn’t complete the game after suffering a scary-looking concussion in which his body just stopped upon taking a hit to the helmet.

  • Pittsburgh’s run defense was laughably anemic. Najee Harris was limited to only 18 yards on 12 carries. He didn’t even save his fantasy owners as a receiver, catching just two passes for eight more yards.

  • It was D’Onta Foreman, not Harris, who looked like the first-round pick. Foreman rumbled for 108 yards on 22 carries. He also matched Harris’ reception total of two and eclipsed his receiving yards (27).

  • Foreman finished third on the Titans in receiving with Westbrook leading the way with four grabs for 32 yards, followed by Chester Rogers’ four catches for 30 yards. The Titans simply couldn’t move the ball aerially once they lost Julio Jones to a hamstring injury. Jones failed to catch a pass on a single target.

  • With Jones hurt and A.J. Brown still sidelined, no one can really blame Tannehill for struggling. Tannehill completed 23-of-32 passes, but accumulated only 153 yards and an interception in the process.




  • Texans 30, Jaguars 16
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: I can’t believe how much Trevor Lawrence sucks. He has no help around him, but Houston’s already-terrible defense was missing half of its starters. Lawrence should’ve looked like a viable quarterback at the very least.

  • This game only mattered for draft positioning, and in that regard, the Jaguars got the victory by falling to 2-12, while the Texans improved to 3-11. After the Lions’ shocking upset over the Cardinals, Jacksonville is now in position to have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. For a look at what the Jaguars should do with the pick, along with head coaching candidates to replace Urban Meyer, check out this week’s Monday Morning Draft.

  • The Texans took their opening drive 75 yards on 15 plays, eating 8:21 off the clock. Davis Mills made key conversions to Brandin Cooks and David Johnson before finding Cooks in busted coverage for a 22-yard touchdown. Jacksonville responded with Trevor Lawrence finding James O’Shaunghnessy open along the sideline for a gain of 30 yards, but the drive stalled and the Jaguars had to settle for a short field goal. On the ensuing kickoff, Houston’s Tremon Smith raced down the field, shook three tackles, and then broke free for 98 yards for a touchdown to put the Texans up 14-3.

    Jacksonville responded with Lawrence and James Robinson leading a nice drive. A 23-yard completion to Laquon Treadwell set up a short touchdown run for Robinson to cut the Houston lead to 14-10. A heavy rain started coming down, but that didn’t stop the Texans from tacking on a long field goal. A fourth-down stop on a quarterback sneak by Lawrence then set up Mills with great field position. Mills hit a few passes to set up another long field goal from Ka’imi Fairbairn, and the Texans took a 20-10 lead into halftime.

    Early in the third quarter, Mills lofted in a 33-yard completion to Phillip Dorsett, and that set up another field goal for Fairbairn. The Jaguars responded with a field goal drive of their own, and early in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville rookie corner Tyson Campbell picked off Mills to set up Lawrence at the Texans 22. It was a short field, but the Jaguars settled for another field goal to cut the Houston lead to seven. Houston clinched its win late in the fourth quarter when Cooks took a screen pass 43 yards to the end zone.

  • Mills completed 19-of-30 passes for 209 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

  • Rex Burkhead was Houston’s leading rusher with 41 yards on 16 carries.

  • Cooks caught seven passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

  • Lawrence competed 22-of-38 passes for 210 yards.

  • Robinson ran for 76 yards on 18 yards with a touchdown.

  • O’Shaughnessy led Jacksonville through the air with four receptions for 60 yards.




  • 49ers 31, Falcons 13
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: I had a DraftKings entry that finished 245th in the Wildcat. I was debating between George Kittle and Mark Andrews, with Andrews obviously allowing me to get in a better third receiver. I went with Kittle. This decision ended up costing me thousands of dollars. FML.

  • These former NFC West rivals had playoff hopes on the line in this game. In the wake of this result, the Falcons’ postseason chances are on life support after falling to 6-8, while the 49ers further strengthened their odds for a wild-card spot.

  • On the opening kickoff, Ja’Mycal Hasty fumbled the ball and the Falcons recovered at the 12-yard line. A completion to Kyle Pitts moved the ball to the goal line, but the San Francisco defense put together a goal-line stand, including a fourth-down incompletion, which set the tone for the game. The 49ers’ defense would bend but not break, regularly denying the Atlanta offense points despite a lot of drives into San Francisco territory.

    After that early goal-line stand, Atlanta’s defense forced a punt that set up the Falcons’ second drive in San Francisco territory just past midfield, and Atlanta turned that into a field goal. The 49ers got moving with an outlet pass to George Kittle, who took it downfield for a gain of 25 yards. A few plays later, Jimmy Garoppolo found Kittle for 28 yards, but the drive stalled and the 49ers tied the game with a field goal.

    Following a Falcons punt, Garoppolo threw a frozen rope, hitting Brandon Aiyuk on the run for a gain of 35 yards. A completion to Kittle set up a 6-yard touchdown run for Kyle Juszczyk, and the 49ers didn’t look back after that. Atlanta tied the game at 10 thanks to an awful call by the officials of a roughing-the-passer penalty on Arden Key. That gift gave Matt Ryan a first down and yardage that he promptly turned into a 20-yard touchdown pass to Russell Gage. Garoppolo continued to rip up Atlanta, however, hitting Deebo Samuel for a 32-yard gain. To end the drive, Samuel took a run out of the backfield for a 10-yard touchdown. That put the 49ers up 17-10 at halftime.

    Early in the third quarter, Nick Bosa strip-sacked Ryan and the 49ers recovered to get set up in Atlanta territory. Completions to Kittle and Samuel went inside the 10, and Jeff Wilson Jr. scored from a few yards out to put the 49ers up 24-10.

    Atlanta answered with Ryan lofting a 49-yards bomb to Olamide Zaccheaus that set up a first-and-goal. Another goal-line stand by the 49ers forced the Falcons to settle for a field goal, making the score 24-13. The Atlanta defense couldn’t stop San Francisco though, as Garoppolo led his team down the field and tosse a short touchdown toss to Jauan Jennings.

    Early in the fourth quarter, a phenomenal catch by Kyle Pitts (4-77) went for 50 yards, but a fourth-and-1 was snuffed out for a tackle for a loss by Jimmie Ward to deny Atlanta points and shut down any comeback hopes.

  • Garoppolo completed 18-of-23 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown.

  • Wilson was San Francisco’s leading rusher with 110 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.

  • Kittle led the 49ers in receiving with six catches for 93 yards. Samuel had four catches for 60 yards and a 10-yard touchdown run.

  • Ryan completed 19-of-32 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown.

  • Cordarrelle Patterson (11-18) was held in check.

  • Gage had eight catches for 91 yard and a touchdown.


  • Bengals 15, Broncos 10
  • There was lots of sharp money on the Broncos leading up to this game, but Denver didn’t look like a team all the professional bettors favored during the week. The offense was incredibly sluggish all afternoon and showed no sense of urgency most times. CBS announcer Ian Eagle made an interesting statement prior to halftime when he noted that the Broncos looked like they were “playing for the field goal the entire time” because they didn’t use timeouts, took their time and settled for a 51-yard field goal, which ended up going wide right. Ironically, this miss gave the Bengals a free chance for a 58-yard field goal, which ended up connecting.

    The successful kick gave the Bengals a 6-3 lead entering the third quarter. When Cincinnati entered the red zone at the 7:40 mark of the third frame, that was the first time either team crossed that threshold in this game. The Bengals couldn’t do anything when they got there, however, as Joe Burrow had to settle for a 4-yard pass on a third-and-8.

    The Bengals led 9-3 when this game completely changed. Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrible injury while scrambling, and he had to be carted off the field on a stretcher. Drew Lock managed to “lead” a touchdown drive, which was comprised mostly of quality runs, but failed to do anything afterward, thanks in part to a lost fumble on a Khalid Kareem strip-sack in the red zone. The Bengals, meanwhile, hit a long touchdown play on a Tyler Boyd 56-yard reception, which ended up being the decisive score.

  • Burrow didn’t have the best offensive showing, but didn’t make any mistakes while seeing tons of Denver pressure. He went 15-of-22 for 157 yards and the touchdown to Boyd.

  • Speaking of Boyd, he was the only Cincinnati player with more than 23 receiving yards. He caught five passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Both Tee Higgins (2-23) and Ja’Marr Chase (1-3) were clamped down by the elite Denver cornerbacks. Chase had a 46-yard reception wiped out by a holding penalty.

  • Joe Mixon had a nice 12-yard burst in this game, but he was limited to 58 yards on 17 carries. He never found running room versus Denver’s stout front.

  • Javonte Williams was the leading rusher in this affair with 72 yards on 15 attempts. Melvin Gordon had 53 yards on as many carries. Williams was definitely the better rusher, as he had a 14-yard gain in which he broke numerous tackles. Gordon, conversely, lost a fumble, but had it overturned by replay review. It’s clear that Williams is the superior back, yet the Broncos stubbornly refuse to give their best player more touches.

  • Bridgewater, as mentioned, left the contest with a devastating injury. He struggled while in the game, as he was lucky he wasn’t intercepted on numerous occasions. He finished 12-of-22 for 98 yards. Lock was 6-of-12 for 88 yards, one touchdown and a lost fumble in relief. Lock also was lucky to get away with not throwing a pick.

  • The lone Denver passing touchdown went to Tim Patrick (3-42). He was third on the team in receiving, trailing the two tight ends, Albert Okwuegbunam (3-58) and Noah Fant (5-57). Both Courtland Sutton (2-12) and Jerry Jeudy (0 catches on 4 targets) were huge disappointments, though Sutton at least drew an interference flag. Sutton had a chance at a touchdown early in the game, but Eli Apple did a great job of knocking the ball out of his hands. Sutton also was guilty of a drop on third down in the opening quarter.




  • Packers 31, Ravens 30
  • Before the Packers opened up a huge lead, it appeared as though the Ravens were going to give them a run for their money despite Lamar Jackson being sidelined. Baltimore scored two touchdowns in the opening half, while Green Bay didn’t have any more offensive success than Baltimore. Tyler Huntley made some surprisingly great throws, particularly to Mark Andrews for big gains. This game went into the locker room tied at 14.

    Everything changed following intermission, however, as the Packers made all the correct adjustments. Offensively, Aaron Rodgers made some big passes on two separate touchdown drives. He nearly had a third score following intermission, but overthrew Allen Lazard by just a bit. Defensively, Huntley was limited to just 2-of-6 passing by the time the Packers established a 31-17 lead. Green Bay kicked a field goal following a failed fourth-down attempt by Baltimore’s offense, and the game appeared to be finished.

    The Ravens, however, inexplicably put together two touchdown drives, as Huntley ran circles around Green Bay’s bewildered defense. The second score occurred with 44 seconds remaining, prompting John Harbaugh to go for two, much like he did versus the Steelers a couple of weeks prior to this game. For some reason, Huntley didn’t try to run for once, opting to throw to Andrews in a crowd. The pass fell incomplete, giving the Packers the victory.

  • Rodgers misfired on just eight occasions in this game, going 23-of-31 for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He made only a couple of bad throws. One came early when he overshot Davante Adams for a potential big gain. The second was the aforementioned miss toward Lazard by a bit in the end zone, which would’ve never put the game in doubt for Green Bay.

  • Speaking of Adams, he was second on the team in receiving with six catches for 44 yards and a touchdown, which were disappointing numbers for him. Marquez Valdes-Scantling eclipsed him with five grabs for 98 yards and a score. Lazard, conversely, struggled with two catches for 23 yards.

  • Both Packer backs scored touchdowns this week. A.J. Dillon rumbled into the end zone in the first quarter, ultimately gaining 22 yards on seven carries. Aaron Jones (13-58) ended up with a touchdown via a Rodgers pass.

  • Thanks to some late heroics, Huntley finished with a monster fantasy stat line. He went 28-of-40 for 215 yards and two passing touchdowns to go along with 13 scrambles for 73 rushing yards and two more touchdowns. He was the winning quarterback in the DraftKings million-dollar contest.

  • Both of Huntley’s aerial scores went to Andrews, who caught 10 of his 13 targets for 136 yards and two touchdowns. Marquise Brown (10-43) was the only other Raven with more than 13 receiving yards.

  • With Huntley running so much, Latavius Murray (7-48) and Devonta Freeman (6-22) didn’t do much.




  • Saints 9, Buccaneers 0
  • Anyone familiar with this rivalry would not have been surprised by a competitive game between these teams, and even a New Orleans upset victory. But a 9-0 shutout? How could Tom Brady fail to score a single point against a divisional rival in a prime-time affair?

    Brady has struggled against the Saints ever since arriving in Tampa Bay. He is now 0-4 straight up against them in the regular season. New Orleans has the magic formula to beat Brady, which is a terrific four-man pass rush and great coverage underneath. Of course, Brady had never been blanked on the scoreboard by this opponent, but that’s what happens when a team loses nearly all of its weapons. It began when Chris Godwin suffered a knee injury on a nasty hit in the second quarter. Mike Evans was knocked out shortly later with a hamstring. Leonard Fournette exited in the third quarter. Once he was gone, the only viable option Brady had at his disposal was Rob Gronkowski, and he was not nearly enough.

    Brady, as a consequence, went 26-of-48 for only 214 yards, an interception and a lost fumble. He appeared to have a second interception, but that was overturned by replay review. Brady took three sacks in the opening half alone, as Cameron Jordan had an amazing night. Jordan notched two sacks and forced a fumble when Brady attempted to scramble. In doing all of this, Jordan eclipsed the 100-sack plateau for his career.

  • Despite Godwin leaving the game first, he still managed to lead the team in receiving with six catches for 49 yards. His absence was enormous because the Saints had the worst matchup with him entering this contest. Evans, who typically struggles against Marshon Lattimore, caught one ball for 14 yards. Gronkowski, meanwhile, hauled in only two of his 11 targets for 29 yards.

  • Fournette was sorely missed as well. He rushed for 34 yards on nine carries, but did his best work as a receiver out of the backfield. Fournette caught all seven of his targets for 33 receiving yards.

  • The Saints didn’t need to do much offensively, as they could have run the Bobby Boucher offense and still prevailed. Taysom Hill, however, couldn’t quite complete half of his passes, going 13-of-27 for 154 yards. The Buccaneers did a great job of defending his scrambles, as Hill’s 11 runs were limited to 33 rushing yards.

  • Alvin Kamara also struggled to find any running room versus Tampa Bay’s stalwart run defense. Kamara was restricted to 18 yards on 11 carries. He also caught just two passes for 13 receiving yards.

  • Only one Saint registered more than 17 receiving yards. That was Marquez Callaway, who had a big game. He caught six of his nine targets for 112 yards.


  • Raiders 16, Browns 14
  • The Browns were missing nearly 20 players because of positive tests, so they were behind the eight ball entering a game they needed to win to remain in one of the wild-card spots in the playoff race. They needed to play a clean game in order to win, and that didn’t happen. Mistakes were made, including a Donovan Peoples-Jones dropped deep pass, a missed field goal, multiple holding penalties and two touchdowns that were called back for different reasons.

    The Browns had no points at the half, and it didn’t look like they’d have any success scoring, but a Derek Carr lost fumble on a strip-sack gave Cleveland its first opportunity. A David Njoku score was nullified because one of his feet was barely out of bounds, but Nick Chubb dashed into the end zone on the next play. Following a Las Vegas field goal, the Browns, down six, put their best drive together, Nick Mullens completed multiple third-down conversions to Peoples-Jones and eventually entered the red zone. Chubb appeared to score, but a holding call negated yet another Cleveland touchdown. The Browns were forced to go for it on fourth down, and they were successful when Mullens hit Harrison Bryant in the end zone.

    Cleveland suddenly had a 14-13 lead, but left too much time on the clock when they failed to convert a first down on their next possession. Carr made good use of this, completing 5-of-6 passes before spiking the ball when Daniel Carlson was in range. Carlson connected on the kick, allowing the Raiders to hold on to the victory.

  • Carr had a mixed performance. He was clutch at the end, and he put together a terrific drive at the very beginning. However, his fumble sparked the Browns, and he was also responsible for an interception on a deep throw. He finished 25-of-38 for 236 yards, one touchdown and the pick.

  • Zay Jones, of all people, led the Raiders in receiving with six catches for 67 yards. He barely edged out Foster Moreau (7-65). Hunter Renfrow (3-32) was a huge disappointment, while Bryan Edwards (3-8) caught Carr’s sole touchdown and drew a deep interference flag.

  • Josh Jacobs also frustrated his fantasy owners, gaining just 52 yards on 15 carries. He also caught three passes for 42 receiving yards.

  • Chubb was definitely the superior back in this contest. He rumbled for 91 yards and a touchdown, and he was a penalty away from scoring twice.

  • Mullens did a fine job of managing the game, as he refrained from committing turnovers. He went 20-of-30 for 147 yards and a touchdown. He was very close to tossing two scores, but Njoku couldn’t remain inbounds.

  • Peoples-Jones had an eventful evening. He dropped a deep pass, but came back to draw an interference flag and then made some clutch catches. He hauled in four balls for a team-leading 48 yards. Njoku (3-29) was next.




  • Vikings 17, Bears 9
  • The Bears were missing Allen Robinson, Khalil Mack, two offensive linemen and seven defensive backs entering this game. If I were to tell you that one team in this game outgained the other, 370-193, averaging 2.1 more yards per play in the process, you almost certainly would have guessed the Vikings accumulated the bulk of the yardage.

    Yet, Minnesota couldn’t do anything offensively, yet it didn’t matter because the Bears shot themselves in the foot repeatedly all night. It began in the first quarter when Justin Fields lost a fumble at midfield. David Montgomery lost a fumble in the red zone shortly later. The Bears then had a field goal blocked, and those were all the errors they made – in the first half. An unnecessary roughness penalty on Chicago transformed a Minnesota field goal attempt into a touchdown, and then another special-teams blunder, a muffed punt, gave the Vikings an extra possession. If that wasn’t enough, the Bears botched two potential touchdowns; one was a drop by Jimmy Graham, while the other was ruled incomplete because the receiver got just one foot inbounds. Fields then had a chance to hit Darnell Mooney for a touchdown, but overshot him.

    The Bears, thanks to all of their horrible mistakes, had scoreless drives end at the Minnesota 46, 12, 31, 21, 9 and 14.

    With all of these blunders, one might think that the Vikings would’ve ran away with a 34-9 victory. However, Minnesota couldn’t move the ball at all. The Vikings had the most nonsensical game plan. Despite the Bears missing all of their starting defensive backs, they seldom bothered to attack the secondary, opting instead to run Dalvin Cook into a defensive line that had been replenished by Akiem Hicks’ return. Cook was limited to 89 yards on 28 carries as a consequence.

    Cousins, meanwhile, completed just half of his passes, going 12-of-24 for 87 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The pick looked like a punt, but it wasn’t Cousins’ fault because Justin Jefferson was dragged down by the defender, yet the official didn’t throw the obvious pass interference flag. That said, Cousins did not play well. He constantly looked rattled in the pocket, and his passes were off the mark. Then again, it would have helped had the Minnesota coaches put him in better passing situations, rather than just let him heave the ball on third-and-long every time.

  • Like Cousins, Fields had a rough game. He fumbled twice, losing one. He took bad sacks and overthrew a receiver in the end zone. He was bothered by Minnesota’s constant pressure as well.

    However, Fields had some bright moments as well, particularly in between the 20s. He finished 26-of-39 for 285 yards and a touchdown, and he scrambled seven times for 35 rushing yards.

  • Montgomery had a couple of long runs, but finished with just 60 yards on 18 carries. He also caught five passes for 23 receiving yards. As mentioned, he coughed up the ball in the red zone.

  • As far as the receivers are concerned, Jefferson paced the Vikings with four grabs for 47 yards and a touchdown, doing all the work in Adam Thielen’s absence. Cole Kmet (6-71), Mooney (5-63) and Damiere Byrd (5-62) all outgained Jefferson.


  • Eagles 27, Redskins 17
  • The Eagles were expected to win this game easily because the Redskins were missing numerous players who happened to be on the virus list. However, they couldn’t get out of their own way in the first quarter. Dallas Goedert was responsible for an interception when a dropped ball of his bounced off his heel and into the arms of a Washington player. Jalen Hurts then lost a fumble on a strip-sack in the red zone. The Redskins were able to score off these turnovers, establishing a 10-0 lead despite being 10-point underdogs.

    Things changed in the second quarter, and really for the rest of the game, as the Eagles played cleanly outside of some drops. They established a dominant running game, which the depleted Redskins could not answer. Philadelphia rode this ground attack the rest of the way, ultimately winning by double digits.

  • Miles Sanders became the first Eagle with consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, dashing for 131 yards on 18 carries. He was part of a trio that accumulated 228 rushing yards, with the other two being Jordan Howard (15-69) and Hurts (8-38).

  • Hurts had an amazing game, save for the aforementioned lost fumble. He misfired just six times, and half of those incompletions were the result of drops. Hurts is an inconsistent passer, as he sometimes can’t connect with any of his receivers, but he was on point in this contest, delivering constant strikes to his targets. Hurts finished 20-of-26 for 296 yards, one touchdown and the interception, which was a complete fluke. He also scored twice on the ground.

  • Despite being responsible for an interception, as well as another drop, Goedert led the Eagles in receiving. He caught seven of his nine targets for 135 yards. Jalen Reagor (3-57) and DeVonta Smith (3-40) were next on the stat sheet, while Greg Ward (2-28) snatched Hurts’ only aerial touchdown.

  • As for the Redskins, they didn’t get a bad game out Garrett Gilbert despite the fact that he was on the roster for only five days. Gilbert went 20-of-31 for 194 yards. He didn’t commit a single turnover despite the offensive line missing three starters, including Brandon Scherff. He actually should’ve thrown a touchdown, but Adam Humphries (3-33) dropped a ball in the end zone.

  • One of Gilbert’s best passes was a 46-yard bomb to Terry McLaurin. As a result of this play, McLaurin led the Redskins in receiving, though he caught only five more yards otherwise (2-51). Tight ends Ricky Seals-Jones and John Bates accumulated 29 receiving yards each on four and one catches, respectively.

  • Washington’s leader in receptions was Antonio Gibson, who caught six balls for 39 yards. He was limited on the ground (15-26), but scored a touchdown, at least. Gibson missed some time with a toe injury, but managed to return to action.




  • Rams 20, Seahawks 10
  • The Rams prevailed by 10, yet the margin of victory easily could have been much larger. They had trouble separating from the Seahawks in the early stages of this game because of some mistakes. One was a Matthew Stafford interception to begin the second quarter when he and Cooper Kupp weren’t on the same page. On the next possession, Stafford took a bad sack on third down to move out of field goal range. The result of this was just a 3-3 tie at halftime, which the Seahawks broke in the third quarter with a quick touchdown drive.

    Seattle, however, was outscored 17-0 the rest of the way. Stafford and Kupp were flawless together in the second half, while Sony Michel broke numerous big gains. They took a two-score lead via a field goal after Seattle failed on a fourth down, ending a horrible sequence that featured some terrible coaching. The Seahawks, down 17-10, ran the ball on third-and-6 with four minutes remaining. They then decided to go for it on fourth down after gaining nothing on the run, but had to waste a timeout to avoid a delay of game. The fourth-down throw was a good one by Russell Wilson, but the officials missed a very obvious pass interference. The intended target, DeeJay Dallas, was so furious that he was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty. Despite Dallas’ protests, the game ended for the Seahawks, marking the end of their playoff hopes.

  • Stafford finished 21-of-29 for 244 yards, two touchdowns and the aforementioned interception. Stafford was a very accurate 7-of-9 for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the second half.

  • Both of Stafford’s scores went to Kupp. The stud receiver caught nine passes for 136 yards and the two touchdowns. Both Van Jefferson (2-23) and Odell Beckham (1-7) disappointed, as the Rams’ second-leading receiver was Ben Skowronek, who caught four balls for 42 yards. He dropped a pass in the first half.

  • Michel, as mentioned, had a strong performance. He started over a healthy Darrell Henderson and rushed for 92 yards on 18 carries, while also catching two passes for 23 receiving yards. He had a 15-yard reception negated by a hold. Michel’s best run was a 39-yard burst in which he broke four tackles. He was excellent, as he has taken the job away from Henderson, who gained 23 yards on six tries.

  • As for the Seahawks, this may have marked the end of the Wilson era. They’re now 5-9, meaning they can’t finish the season with a winning record. There are rumors that Wilson will play for the Giants next year, which would be a good fit if New York could upgrade its blocking.

    Wilson finished 17-of-31 for 156 yards and an interception. The pick wasn’t Wilson’s fault because it came on a desperate heave on the final play of the game. However, Wilson made some bad passes in this game. On one occasion, Wilson had D.K. Metcalf open for a deep touchdown, but he underthrew him, allowing a Rams cornerback to break up the pass. The FOX announcers speculated that this was a lingering effect from Wilson’s finger injury.

  • Metcalf wasn’t perfect either, as he dropped a pass on third down. He caught six passes for 52 yards as he dealt with Jalen Ramsey the entire night. Metcalf trailed only Gerald Everett (4-60) on the Seattle stat sheet.

  • Rashaad Penny couldn’t find any running room against the Rams’ stalwart ground defense. He was limited to 39 yards on 11 carries.


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



    Fantasy Football Rankings - May 23


    2025 NFL Mock Draft - May 21


    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22


    NFL Picks - Feb. 12








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    2010 NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 8
    2010 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 15
    2010 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 22
    2010 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 29
    2010 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
    2010 NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 13
    2010 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2010 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2010 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 3
    2010 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 10
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 17
    2010 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 24
    Super Bowl XLV Live Blog - Feb. 6


    2009: Live 2009 NFL Draft Blog - April 25
    2009 Hall of Fame Game Live Blog - Aug. 10
    2009 NFL Kickoff Live Blog - Sept. 10
    2009 NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 14
    2009 NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 21
    2009 NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 28
    2009 NFL Week 4 Review - Oct. 5
    2009 NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 12
    2009 NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 19
    2009 NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 26
    2009 NFL Week 8 Review - Nov. 2
    2009 NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 9
    2009 NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 16
    2009 NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 23
    2009 NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 30
    2009 NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 6
    2009 NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 13
    2009 NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 20
    2009 NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 27
    2009 NFL Week 17 Review - Jan. 4
    2009 NFL Week 18 Review - Jan. 11
    2009 NFL Week 19 Review - Jan. 18
    2009 NFL Week 20 Review - Jan. 25
    Super Bowl XLIV Live Blog - Feb. 7


    2008: Live 2008 NFL Draft Blog - April 26
    2008 NFL Kickoff Blog - Sept. 4
    NFL Week 1 Review - Sept. 8
    NFL Week 2 Review - Sept. 15
    NFL Week 3 Review - Sept. 22
    NFL Week 4 Review - Sept. 29
    NFL Week 5 Review - Oct. 6
    NFL Week 6 Review - Oct. 13
    NFL Week 7 Review - Oct. 20
    NFL Week 8 Review - Oct. 27
    NFL Week 9 Review - Nov. 3
    NFL Week 10 Review - Nov. 10
    NFL Week 11 Review - Nov. 17
    NFL Week 12 Review - Nov. 24
    NFL Week 13 Review - Dec. 1
    NFL Week 14 Review - Dec. 8
    NFL Week 15 Review - Dec. 15
    NFL Week 16 Review - Dec. 22
    NFL Week 17 Review - Dec. 29
    NFL Wild Card Playoffs Review - Jan. 4
    NFL Divisional Playoffs Review - Jan. 11
    NFL Championship Sunday Review - Jan. 19
    Super Bowl XLIII Live Blog