NFL Game Recaps: Week 12, 2023

Jalen Hurts




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


Packers 29, Lions 22
  • The Lions hadn’t won a Thanksgiving game since 2016, so the prevailing thought was that they would be eager to finally turn around their fortunes with an easy matchup against the Packers. Instead, they looked like they were playing extremely hung over after a night of drinking. They made lots of mistakes and looked extremely unfocused, allowing Green Bay to pull the shocking upset.

    Detroit began by allowing a deep completion to Christian Watson, which set up a Green Bay touchdown. The Lions answered, but couldn’t keep pace with the Packers. In fact, Jared Goff surrendered a touchdown on a strip-sack to make the score 21-6. Goff then lost another fumble on a scramble and then overthrew Sam LaPorta on third down. On one drive prior to intermission, Goff missed LaPorta again for a big gain, then had an incompletion on a miscommunication. Following an illegal shift, Jameson Williams then failed to turn around for a deep pass.

    The Lions scored after halftime, but they missed a chance to tighten the margin when Goff overthrew Amon-Ra St. Brown on a third down. Goff then was strip-sacked on fourth down, which effectively ended the game.

  • Goff posted great stats – 29-of-44, 332 yards, two touchdowns – but much of that came in garbage time. Goff was just 8-of-16 for 100 yards at halftime, so don’t be fooled by the numbers. Goff was abysmal in this loss, looking disoriented throughout the afternoon. It’s not even like Goff had a difficult matchup, given that the Packers were missing their two best cornerbacks and top linebacker in this game.

  • “No Cookie” Jordan Love had fewer yards than Goff, but he was the far superior quarterback in this contest. He was precise on most of his throws, connecting on deep passes as if he were some seasoned veteran. Love finished 22-of-32 for 268 yards and three touchdowns.

  • Love’s top option was Watson, who went from looking like a complete bust to the next Jerry Rice almost overnight. Watson reeled in five of his seven targets for 94 yards and a touchdown. Jayden Reed (4-34) and Tucker Kraft (2-15) caught Love’s other touchdowns.

  • The worst aspect of Green Bay’s offense was the rushing attack, as the team slowed down every time they gave the ball to A.J. Dillon. The big back mustered just 43 yards on 14 carries, though he caught three passes for 38 receiving yards, which included an impressive hurdle.

  • Both Detroit backs outgained Dillon. David Montgomery rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while Jahmyr Gibbs dashed for 54 yards on 11 attempts. Gibbs caught four passes, but for only 19 receiving yards.

  • Thanks to garbage time, St. Brown was able to accumulate nine catches for 95 yards. He barely edged out Kalif Raymond (5-90) for the team lead. Sam LaPorta (5-47) and Josh Reynolds (2-15) caught Goff’s touchdowns.


  • Cowboys 45, Redskins 10
  • The Cowboys had destroyed everyone at home this year, winning by an average of 27.5 points per game. For a while, it looked like that trend would snap in this Thanksgiving affair. The Cowboys led just 20-10 in the third quarter. They missed some big plays, while the Redskins kept long drives alive by converting seven of their 15 third-down opportunities. Washington even had possession over midfield while down 10 in the third frame, so there was a chance that it would cut into the lead by making this a one-score game.

    Instead, the Cowboys crushed Washington’s hopes by finally converting offensively. They also stepped up on the defensive side of the ball, getting to Sam Howell after failing to do so early in the game. A defensive play sealed this victory, with DaRon Bland securing his record-setting fifth pick-six of the year.

  • Despite missing some throws, Dak Prescott put together a terrific stat line. He went 22-of-32 for 331 yards and four touchdowns. Had the Redskins not fallen so far behind in the fourth quarter, Prescott would have been able to pad his stats even further late in the game.

  • Prescott’s four touchdowns went to different players. Brandin Cooks was one, and he even led the team in receiving with four grabs for 72 yards and a score. CeeDee Lamb (4-53) also found the end zone, and actually did so twice if a two-point conversion is counted. Kavontae Turpin (1-34) and Rico Dowdle (1-15) crossed the goal line as well.

  • Tony Pollard was also able to score, which has been a rarity for him this year. Pollard looked good, running for 79 yards on only 13 carries. He also caught six passes for 24 receiving yards.

  • As for the Redskins, Sam Howell did what he could to keep drives alive with precise throws and clutch third-down conversions. The Dallas pass rush finally got to him in the second half, as the Redskins didn’t score a single point following intermission. Howell went 28-of-44 for 300 yards and the aforementioned pick-six.

  • Howell threw most often to Curtis Samuel, who reeled in nine of his 12 targets for an even 100 yards. Jahan Dotson (5-52) and Terry McLaurin (4-50) were the only other Redskins with more than 30 receiving yards.

  • Brian Robinson didn’t get to be a big part of the passing game this week because Antonio Gibson returned from injury. Robinson rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries. He managed two receptions, but for only 11 yards. The Redskins need to consider allowing Robinson to handle the entire workload.


  • 49ers 31, Seahawks 13
  • The 49ers won two in a row out of their bye. This latest game was their opportunity to further distance themselves from their three-game losing streak. Luckily for them, they were matched up against the Seahawks, a team they have dominated in recent years, including 2022 when they swept them in three meetings.

    This latest clash between the two squads was more of the same. The 49ers dominated from start to finish in a 31-13 victory, which wasn’t even indicative of how lopsided this affair was. The 49ers outgained the Seahawks, 377-220, and averaged 1.7 more yards per play. They won the time of possession by 11 minutes and achieved nine more first downs. The only reason this margin wasn’t wider was because of a fluky pick-six at the beginning of the third quarter where a pass to Christian McCaffrey bounced into the arms of a Seattle defender’s arms. If it wasn’t for that play, San Francisco would have prevailed 31-6.

  • Despite the big win, Brock Purdy’s stats weren’t great. Purdy went 21-of-30 for 209 yards, one touchdown and the pick-six, a throw that was behind McCaffrey. Purdy saw more pressure than he’s used to, as Seattle’s front occasionally made him uncomfortable in the pocket.

  • Speaking of McCaffrey, the All-Pro back had a monstrous evening. He rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns on just 19 carries. He also caught five of his six targets for 25 receiving yards. Had the Seahawks been more competitive, McCaffrey would have enjoyed an even better performance, given that he sat in the latter half of the final quarter with the game being a blowout. He ended up losing seven carries in total to Elijah Mitchell.

  • Aside from McCaffrey, the San Francisco player who had the biggest game was Deebo Samuel. He led his team in receiving with seven catches for 79 yards, and he also scored a rushing touchdown. Brandon Aiyuk (2-50) also found the end zone. George Kittle (3-19) was the only real disappointment.

  • As for the Seahawks, they struggled to maintain drives because Geno Smith saw plenty of pressure in the pocket. Smith, as a result, converted just 3-of-11 third downs. He went 18-of-27 for 180 yards and an interception. He nearly completed some deep shots, but the San Francisco corners made a number of great plays.

  • D.K. Metcalf nearly caught some of those deep passes, but he and Smith couldn’t quite connect. Metcalf posted disappointing numbers as a result with three catches for 32 yards, barely edging out Tyler Lockett (3-30). Jaxon Smith-Njigba was the only player on the team ahead of them with 41 yards on two receptions.

  • Zach Charbonnet received all but two of the carries, but couldn’t do anything with them. He rushed for 47 yards on 14 attempts. He also caught four balls for 11 receiving yards.


  • Dolphins 34, Jets 13
  • The Jets had enough of Zach Wilson and his incompetence, so they decided to give Tim Boyle a shot. The problem was that they were counting on a backup quarterback who threw 12 touchdowns and 26 interceptions at Connecticut and Eastern Kentucky. There was no reason to believe that Boyle would give the Jets a viable chance of winning, so perhaps this performance will have the Jets fans longing for the days of Wilson once again.
    This 34-13 score isn’t even indicative of how lopsided this game was. The Jets scored their first six points on a Tua Tagovailoa pick-six where the quarterback lofted a lazy pass to the outside. Their other seven points came in garbage time. By intermission, Miami outgained New York, 214-47.

  • Boyle went 27-of-38 for 179 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, but those numbers were inflated by garbage time. At the half, Boyle was 7-of-11 for only 35 yards and a pick, which came on a Hail Mary and was inexplicably returned for a touchdown. Regardless, it’s obvious that not only is Boyle not the answer; he should not even be in the NFL, even as a third-string backup. It’s inexcusable that the Jets would have such a terrible player on their roster.

  • Amazingly, Boyle and Tagovailoa scored the same number of fantasy points (9). Tagovailoa had a very difficult matchup, however, as he went 21-of-30 for 243 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions.

  • Despite Tagovailoa’s struggles, his two primary receivers eclipsed the century mark. Tyreek Hill caught nine passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, and he had a chance for a second score but dropped the ball in the end zone. Jaylen Waddle, meanwhile, hauled in all eight of his targets for 114 yards. No other Dolphin accumulated more than 17 receiving yards.

  • The Dolphins had plenty of success moving the Jets on the ground against the Jets’ run-funnel defense. Jeff Wilson Jr. (11-56) did well early, while Raheem Mostert broke free for a 34-yard score at the end. Mostert rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts.

  • Both primary Miami backs outgained Breece Hall on the ground. Hall mustered only 25 yards on seven carries. He did well for his PPR owners at least, catching seven balls for 24 receiving yards.

  • Two Jets outgained Hall aerially: Garrett Wilson (7-44) and Tyler Conklin (4-33). Wilson caught the garbage-time touchdown.

  • This was a Pyrrhic victory for the Dolphins, who lost Jaelan Phillips to a torn Achilles. It’s a shame for Phillips, who was having a great season.


  • Falcons 24, Saints 15
  • Both the Falcons and Saints have plenty of talented players, but are hindered by bad play at quarterback. That was apparent in this battle for first place in the NFC South.

    Desmond Ridder won this game, but he made many mistakes that nearly sabotaged a potential victory. He threw behind his receiver on an early third down, then threw an interception into the end zone in the second quarter. He was picked again after halftime when an errant throw of his was intercepted for the second time by Tyrann Mathieu. Ridder ended up going 13-of-21 for 168 yards, one touchdown and the two interceptions.

    Despite this, the Falcons still prevailed as a result of New Orleans’ mistakes. Derek Carr gave the Falcons seven free points on an early pick-six when he telegraphed a pass in the red zone. Carr also fumbled in the third quarter, but a teammate of his recovered. Another “quarterback,” Taysom Hill, was guilty of a later fumble in the red zone when the score was 14-12 Atlanta. A field goal would have given the Saints the lead, but the turnover gave Atlanta possession and an eventual touchdown to put this game away.

  • In addition to the Saints’ blunders, the reason why the Falcons were able to prevail was their rushing attack. Arthur Smith finally learned about Bijan Robinson, allowing his star rookie runner to have a great game. Robinson rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and he also caught three passes for 32 receiving yards and a second score. His only mistake was a dropped pass while in field goal range. Tyler Allgeier (10-64) and Cordarrelle Patterson (8-43) were also key contributors.

  • The only Falcon with more receiving yards than Robinson was Drake London, who caught five balls for 91 yards. Kyle Pitts (2-22) was a disappointment.

  • The top receiver in this game was Chris Olave, who snatched seven of his nine targets for 114 yards. All of this production came in the first half, as Olave suffered a concussion and wasn’t able to play following intermission. This spoiled what could have been a monstrous performance for him, and it made life much more difficult for Carr, who didn’t have Michael Thomas at his disposal either. Carr, by the way, went 24-of-38 for 304 yards and the aforementioned pick.

  • With Olave hurt, the lone, remaining, dynamic threat for the Saints was Alvin Kamara, who dashed for 69 yards on 15 carries. Kamara shockingly had just four catches despite the constant deficit. He accumulated 50 receiving yards. Juwan Johnson chipped in with four receptions for 45 yards.


  • Titans 17, Panthers 10
  • Bryce Young had already been outplayed by C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson, but both of those quarterbacks were top-four picks. Will Levis, on the other hand, was chosen in the second round. Carolina could have waited an entire day to select its quarterback if it decided on Levis over Young, and based on this performance, perhaps they’ll believe that they should have.

    Young had another rough performance, and it’s not like this was a difficult matchup for him. On the contrary, Tennessee had the 31st-ranked pass defense entering Week 12, ranking ahead of only the Buccaneers. This was a great opportunity for Young to give his organization and fans some optimism for the future, but that simply did not happen. Young had a couple of nice moments, including a third-and-long conversion to a tight end, as well as a 22-yard connection to Jonathan Mingo. However, there were more negative moments for Young, who completed half of his passes by intermission, all while losing a fumble on a strip-sack to set up a Tennessee touchdown. Young also had an awkward moment where he panicked on a slow third-down play and threw – not pitched – the ball backward to his running back.

    Young had a chance to tie the game toward the end of the afternoon, but took one too many sacks to repeatedly put his team in long down-and-distance situations. He failed, giving Tennessee the victory. Young finished 18-of-31 for 194 yards and a lost fumble.

  • As for the other rookie, Levis got the victory and outplayed Young, albeit by a slim margin. Levis went 18-of-28 for 185 yards, but didn’t make any mistakes. He was close to fumbling on a strip-sack on the opening drive, but the “pass” was ruled incomplete. Levis also took one sack despite going up against a fierce pass rush behind a struggling offensive line.

  • The Panthers had a rough matchup in this contest, which was their inability to stop the run versus Derrick Henry. Curiously, the Titans rushed the ball only 18 times with Henry, as the big back tallied 76 yards and two touchdowns.

  • There’s not much to note from the Tennessee passing attack. DeAndre Hopkins led the way with three catches for 49 yards. He barely edged out Chig Okonkwo (4-45).

  • The leading receiver in this game was Jonathan Mingo, so at least one of Carolina’s receivers performed well. He caught four passes for 60 yards. Conversely, Adam Thielen led down his fantasy owners with only one catch for two yards in a very difficult matchup.

  • Carolina split the workload evenly with Chuba Hubbard and Miles Sanders being one carry apart (15-15 in favor of Sanders.) Hubbard predictably outgained Sanders, 45-28, and he also scored a touchdown. Hubbard was also productive as a receiver, catching five passes for 47 yards.


  • Colts 27, Buccaneers 20
  • This was a battle of which team would try to lose the game more than the other. The Buccaneers began with an incredible sequence of ineptitude. Baker Mayfield attempted a sneak at the goal line, but suffered an injury on the try. Tampa Bay then had a false start, followed by a Chris Godwin dropped touchdown. What seemed like a sure touchdown turned into a field goal. Mayfield returned to action after that, but fired an interception into heavy traffic.

    Thanks to Tampa Bay’s mistakes, the Colts went up 17-3, but that’s when Gardner Minshew decided to give the Buccaneers a fighting chance. Minshew, up two touchdowns, inexplicably threw an interception to set up Tampa Bay with a red zone opportunity. Mayfield found Mike Evans for a touchdown to cut the lead in half. Minshew almost gave the ball away again after that, but a Tampa Bay defender dropped another potential pick.

    The Colts went up by 10 in the third quarter and had a chance to extend the lead, but on a fourth down in Tampa territory, Minshew threw five yards shy of the sticks to give the Buccaneers great field position. Mayfield converted a fourth-and-10 to Chris Godwin, then found Mike Evans for a touchdown to tighten the margin to 20-17. Minshew, however, finally got his act together and put together a drive that ws capped off by Jonathan Taylor’s second touchdown of the afternoon to effectively clinch the victory for Indianapolis.

  • Minshew won the game, but had the worst fantasy stats. He went 24-of-41 for 251 yards and an interception. Minshew should have been picked on a second occasion, though to be fair, he was robbed of some touchdowns by Taylor scoring both times in the red zone.

  • Speaking of Taylor, he had a huge performance on the ground. He rushed for 91 yards and two touchdowns despite getting just 15 carries. It was believed that Zack Moss vanished after barely touching the ball in the prior game, but he stole eight attempts away from Taylor. He ran for 55 yards on eight tries.

  • Minshew targeted Michael Pittman Jr. and Josh Downs way more than anyone else. Both receivers saw 13 balls go their way, while the next-closest receiver had six targets. Pittman reeled in 10 of those passes for 107 yards, while Downs struggled with a 5-43 line. Downs was targeted in the end zone a couple of times, but he and Minshew couldn’t connect.

  • The top fantasy receiver in this game was Evans, who caught six of his nine targets for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Chris Godwin had a poor stat line by comparison (3-45), but came up big with a fourth-and-10 conversion in the fourth quarter.

  • Evans caught both of Mayfield’s touchdowns, as Mayfield went 20-of-30 for 199 yards and an interception otherwise. He had a gritty performance after he appeared to suffer an injury on a sneak, but missed only a handful of snaps.

  • Rachaad White was not expected to play on Saturday when news broke that his knee buckled. However, he looked just fine, getting all but one carry among all Tampa runners. He dashed for an even 100 yards on 15 attempts. He wasn’t used as much in the passing game, as he caught two balls for 10 receiving yards.


  • Giants 10, Patriots 7
  • It took Bill Belichick the entire week to name a starting quarterback. He could have chosen an unknown like Will Grier or Malik Cunningham, but instead opted for Mac Jones once again despite benching him in the prior game. This seemed like a disastrous decision, and that was confirmed when Jones put together a horrible first half. He was picked twice; once on a horrible overthrow, and the second that occurred when he threw off his back foot. Jones also fumbled, but his teammate recovered.

    Jones went 12-of-21 for 89 yards and the two interceptions. Belichick realized that he made a mistake at halftime, replacing Jones with Bailey Zappe. The backup completed most of his passes (9-of-14), but mostly dinked and dunked. He made a horrible mistake when he threw an interception into triple coverage to set up the winning score, a Giants field goal. Zappe nearly had a second pick, but a Giants defender dropped the ball. Still, Zappe put the Patriots in position to tie the game, but rookie kicker Chad Ryland missed a 35-yard field goal as time expired.

  • This was an ugly offensive game overall, with the first nine drives of the contest featuring seven punts, a lost fumble, and an interception. Tommy DeVito, however, played better as the afternoon progressed. He was the butt of every joke recently, but he won his second-consecutive game by going 17-of-25 for 191 yards and a touchdown.

  • DeVito didn’t rely on Saquon Barkley this time, as Barkley managed just 46 yards on 12 carries to go along with only one reception for six yards. DeVito showed a nice connection with rookie receiver Jalin Hyatt, who reeled in five catches for 109 yards. WanDale Robinson (4-26) was next in the box score, though he lost a fumble in field goal range on the opening drive.

  • Rhamondre Stevenson outgained Barkley by a wide margin. Stevenson rumbled for 98 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also caught five passes, but for only nine receiving yards.

  • Demario Douglas once again led the Patriots in receiving. He caught six of his nine targets for 49 yards. DeVante Parker (3-42) was the only other Patriot with more than 20 receiving yards.


  • Jaguars 24, Texans 21
  • Trevor Lawrence and C.J. Stroud will be matched up in many competitive games for years to come. This was really the first of them. They battled in Week 3, but the Jaguars were distracted and didn’t take winless Houston seriously. This matchup, conversely, was for control of the AFC South.

    Despite the severity of this game, both quarterbacks made early mistakes. Stroud overthrew Tank Dell for a big play, while Dell had a 62-yard reception negated by an illegal shift on an ensuing drive. Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence overshot Calvin Ridley for a potential score.

    This was just a 13-7 score at halftime, but there were some major fireworks in the second half. Lawrence connected with Calvin Ridley for some big plays, and some of his other passes drew interference flags. The Jaguars went up 10, but the Texans came back to score a touchdown on a Stroud throw to Nico Collins. The Texans had another chance to tie or win the game, but Jacksonville’s pass rush sacked him twice. Stroud was able to overcome the first one with some deep completions, but the second proved to be too much, as the Texans were forced into a long field goal. Matt Ammendola’s attempt was dead center – except, it was a yard too shy, as the ball doinked off the crossbar to give Jacksonville the win.

  • Lawrence had a huge performance once again despite the early mishap, going 23-of-38 for 364 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He also scored on a sneak, giving him three rushing touchdowns in the past two weeks.

  • Ridley had a chance to eclipse the century mark had Lawrence hit him early, but he was still able to tie for the team lead in receiving with five grabs for 89 yards and a touchdown. Christian Kirk tied Ridley on four receptions. He appeared to score just before halftime, but his foot was barely out of bounds on the 2-yard line at the end of a 57-yard reception.

  • Travis Etienne failed to take advantage of what was perceived to be a positive matchup. He mustered only 56 yards on 20 carries. He caught four passes for 30 receiving yards. He had a chance at a touchdown, but was stuffed at the goal line. Etienne missed a drive with a chest injury, but was able to return to action.

  • The Texans didn’t have much luck running the ball either unless Stroud’s rushes are considered. Devin Singletary (6-18) and Dameon Pierce (5-14) shared the workload evenly, but neither was effective. Singletary was at least a weapon in the passing game with six catches for 54 yards.

  • Stroud ended up 26-of-36 for 304 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored a third time on the ground as he scrambled six times for 47 yards.

  • Both of Stroud’s touchdowns went to the usual suspects. Collins caught seven of his nine targets for 104 yards and a score, while Dell reeled in five balls for 50 yards and a touchdown. Dell was robbed of a big afternoon with the aforementioned mishaps.


  • Steelers 16, Bengals 10
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: A 16-point effort may not seem like much, but the Steelers accumulated 421 yards of offense and outgained an opponent for the first time. Firing Matt Canada was the right move.

  • The Steelers fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada prior to this game, and the initial results are mixed. On the plus side, Pittsburgh was improved at moving the ball and extending drives. However that didn’t translate to points for the Steelers, although the referees made a suspect call that took a touchdown away from Diontae Johnson (3-50). At 7-4, the Steelers look destined to get a wild-card spot and probably will lose in the first two of the playoffs rounds when their defense can’t carry them to a win on their own. In this weeks’s Monday Morning Draft, I will outline what Pittsburgh should do at offensive coordinator and over the offseason.

    Cincinnati’s season effectively ended when Joe Burrow went out for the year, and Jake Browning gave proof that he won’t be able keep the offense running at a high level. At 5-6, the Bengals are better off losing to improve their positioning for the 2024 NFL Draft.


  • Pittsburgh had a good drive in the first quarter, going into Cincinnati territory thanks to Kenny Pickett hitting Pat Freiermuth for 29 yards, but Zack Carter forced a fumble from Jaylen Warren that the Bengals recovered and returned to the their 39-yard line. After getting the ball back, Pickett led a field goal drive to take the first lead. Cincinnati responded with Ja’Marr Chase putting together an excellent run after the catch for a 31-yard gain, and that set up an 11-yard touchdown pass to Drew Sample. Cincinnati defense had some bend-but-not-break moments, and the Bengals took a 7-3 lead into halftime.

    A 25-yard pass to Chase early in the third quarter set up Cincinnati for more points, but Trenton Thompson picked off Browning to prevent crucial margin. The Steelers took advantage with Pickett leading a drive down the field, and Najee Harris scored from five yards out to put the Steelers in front 10-7.

    At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Pickett lofted in a perfect slot fade to George Pickens (3-58) for 43 yards, and that set up a field goal. With three minutes remaining, the Steelers added another field goal to go up 16-7. The Bengals responded with a screen to Joe Mixon, who went for 39 yards. That produced a field goal for Cincinnati to make the score 16-10 with a few seconds before the 2-minute warning. The Steelers recovered the onside-kick attempt to clinched the win for them.


  • Pickett completed 24-of-33 passes for 278 yards. He didn’t turn the ball over.


  • Warren (13-49 rushing, 3-13 receiving) and Najee Harris (15-99-1) split Pittsburgh’s carries once again.


  • Freiermuth (9-120) led the Steelers in receiving.


  • Browning completed 19-of-26 passes for 227 yards, a touchdown and an interception.


  • Mixon had only 16 yards on eight carries, but turned two catches into 44 yards.


  • Chase had four catches for 81 yards.



  • Broncos 29, Browns 12
    By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell

  • EDITOR’S NOTE: Who would have thought that the team that lost 70-20 would be in position to make the playoffs after improving to 6-5? It’s been a wild ride for the Broncos.

  • The Broncos won their fifth straight, cruising over the Browns. At 6-5, Denver is in the thick of the wild-card race and is playing efficient team football in all three phases. Cleveland has dropped to 7-4 and still would be in the postseason if the playoffs started from today, but with Deshaun Watson out, it would be surprising if the Browns can win enough to hold on to a wild-card spot.


  • Early in the first quarter, the Broncos moved into Cleveland territory when Courtland Sutton drew a questionable 34-yard pass interference from Greg Newsome. Russell Wilson soon connected with Sutton for a 31-yard completion to set up as a first-and-goal. Samaje Perine (7–55) then pounded the ball into the end zone to put the Broncos up 7-0. Denver put together another scoring drive that saw Wilson take off on a big scramble and then run the ball into the end zone from a few yards out on a zone-read play. The Cleveland offense gradually started to move the ball, producing a field goal drive. Browns backup quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson executed a 2-minute drive late in the first half to get another three-pointer that made the score 14-6 at the half.

    In the third quarter, Thompson-Robinson had some nice completions and Jerome Ford ran well. An 18-yard pass to David Njoku moved the ball close to the end zone, and on fourth-and-goal, Thompson-Robinson connected with Harrison Bryant for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was dropped by Amari Cooper (2-16), leaving Denver holding on for a 14-12 lead. From there, it was all the Broncos. Denver responded by pounding the ball down the field, behind Perine doing the heavy lifting. That resulted in a field goal that gave the Broncos a 17-12 lead entering the fourth quarter.

    Thompson-Robinson took a vicious hit while scrambling, and that led to P.J. Walker coming into the game. The Browns tried a trick-play reverse, and they fumbled the flip to give Denver the ball at Cleveland’s 20-yard line. A few plays later, Adam Trautman made a superb catch on the sideline in the end zone to put Denver up 24-12. The Broncos added field goal and a safety in garbage time.


  • Wilson completed 13-of-22 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 36 yards and another score.


  • Javonte Williams ran for 65 yards on 18 carries.


  • Sutton caught three passes for 61 yards.


  • Thompson-Robinson completed 14-of-29 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. He played better than the numbers illustrate thanks to the Browns receivers really struggling with dropped passes.


  • Ford (9-65) was not used enough by Cleveland.


  • Njoku led the Browns with six catches for 59 yards.



  • Rams 37, Cardinals 14
  • Matthew Stafford tore some ligaments in his thumb a few weeks ago. He struggled while throwing last week in a very fortunate victory that only occurred because Geno Smith suffered an injury. It was unknown if Stafford would be healthier a week later, but it didn’t take very long to have the answer.

    Stafford engineered a touchdown drive to start the game, hitting Tyler Higbee for a touchdown. This was the first of four scores from Stafford, who completed a number of deep throws to prove that the torn ligaments in his thumb were healed. The Cardinals couldn’t get off the field while Stafford had the ball, as the Rams accumulated 457 net yards and won the time of possession by about 10 minutes.

    Stafford finished his excellent afternoon 25-of-33 for 229 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. This was an easy matchup for him, but he showed there were no lingering effects from his thumb injury, as he sliced through Arizona’s beleaguered defense with ease.

  • Kyren Williams was a huge part of the Rams offense. Williams trampled the Cardinals in the first matchup, and history repeated itself in this contest. Williams dashed for 143 yards on 16 carries. He didn’t get a rushing touchdown, but he scored twice aerially, catching all six of his targets for 61 yards. Amazingly, Williams’ performance could have been even better if he didn’t lose touches to Royce Freeman in garbage time. Freeman was given 13 carries, which he turned into 77 yards and a very late touchdown.

  • It’s shocking that Stafford had a great game, and yet neither Puka Nacua nor Cooper Kupp did very much. Nacua caught four passes for 27 yards, and yet Kupp did even less with three receptions for 18 yards.

  • The stats were ugly for the Cardinals for most of the game, but Kyler Murray was able to pad his numbers with some late drives. Murray finished 27-of-45 for 256 yards and a touchdown. He also scored once on the ground, but had just two rushing yards. He’s lucky he wasn’t intercepted on a poor deep throw.

  • Two Arizona players logged more than 35 receiving yards: Marquise Brown (6-88) and Trey McBride (7-60). Greg Dortch found the end zone on three catches for 27 yards, but should have done more considering that he saw nine targets.

  • James Conner didn’t get a chance to do much because of the constant deficit. He rushed for 27 yards on six carries. He was stuffed on a goal-line attempt.


  • Chiefs 31, Raiders 17
  • The Chiefs prevailed by two touchdowns, but for a while, it looked like they would lose this game because they were down two touchdowns themselves. Their receivers continued to drop passes, while the Raiders scored an instant touchdown when Josh Jacobs sprinted 63 yards down the field to go up 14-0.

    It was all Chiefs after that, however. Patrick Mahomes took over and had an outstanding second half. Meanwhile, the Raiders sputtered offensively, scoring just three points following intermission.

  • Mahomes finished two yards shy of the all-important 300-yard plateau, going 27-of-34 for 298 yards and two touchdowns. As mentioned, he was much better in the second half than the first. Following the break, Mahomes was 14-of-16 for 162 yards and a score. It helped that his receivers stopped dropping passes except for one instance, but Mahomes was locked in as he attempted a comeback following a loss.

  • Rashee Rice overcame a couple of embarrassing drops to finish with the best stat line among all receivers in this game. Rice hauled in eight of his 10 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. He and Travis Kelce (6-91) were the only Kansas City receivers with more than 34 receiving yards. Justin Watson caught a touchdown, but that was his only reception, a 3-yarder.

  • Isiah Pacheco had a monster fantasy performance. He rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, and he also caught all five of his targets for 34 receiving yards.

  • Thanks to his long touchdown run, Jacobs was the top rusher in this game. He dashed for 110 yards and the score on 20 carries. He also caught four passes, but for only 15 receiving yards. Jacobs was stuffed on a crucial fourth-and-1 in the second half.

  • Aidan O’Connell had a nice start to this game by connecting with Jakobi Meyers for a touchdown, but he got worse as the afternoon progressed. He was off the mark on too many of his throws late in the game, and he also took a horrible sack on one of the final drives. He finished 23-of-33 for 248 yards and a score.

  • Meyers led the Raiders in receiving with six grabs for 79 yards and an early touchdown. Davante Adams finished right behind him with five catches for 73 yards.


  • Eagles 37, Bills 34
  • The Bills absolutely needed to win this game to have a chance at a playoff run. They put together a gutsy performance at 9-1 Philadelphia, leading by 10 points after both halftime and the third quarter. They fell behind after the Eagles made a ferocious comeback in the fourth quarter, but Josh Allen put together a touchdown drive in the final minutes to take a 31-28 lead. Buffalo’s defense allowed some yardage over midfield on the ensuing possession, but came up with a stop just on the edge of field goal range. Jake Elliott was stuck with a 59-yard attempt in the pouring rain, but he drilled the ball through the uprights with plenty of room to spare.

    Buffalo won the coin toss in overtime and were able to move deep into Philadelphia territory with a pair of clutch third-down conversions and a roughing-the-passer penalty. Allen had Gabe Davis wide open for a touchdown, but Davis turned the wrong way and the pass fell incomplete. The Bills had to settle a field goal to go up 34-31.

    The Davis mishap proved to be too costly. Jalen Hurts connected with DeVonta Smith for gains of 17 and 11 yards, then D’Andre Swift dashed for a 16-yard burst. Hurts followed that up with a 12-yard scramble in which he crossed the goal line to give Philadelphia its 10th victory of the year.

  • Hurts’ game-winning touchdown may have been his MVP moment. He didn’t play well for stretches of this game, but he was terrific in the fourth quarter and overtime. Hurts scored five touchdowns overall, going 18-of-31 for 200 yards, three scores and an interception off a deflection. He also scrambled 14 times for 65 rushing yards and two more touchdowns on the ground.

  • Hurts’ three aerial touchdowns went to three different players: DeVonta Smith (7-106), A.J. Brown (5-37) and Olamide Zaccheaus (1-29). The Zaccheaus touchdown was spectacular, as Hurts launched a deep ball his way on a third-and-15.

  • Swift had a big moment in overtime, but his fantasy owners needed it because Swift didn’t do much otherwise. Despite being in an easy matchup, Swift dashed for 80 yards on 14 carries. He caught only one pass for four yards.

  • As for the Bills, Allen did what he could to keep the Bills alive in the playoff race, but the crucial miscommunication with Davis could prove to be the end for Buffalo. Allen went 29-of-51 for 339 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that was thrown into heavy traffic. Allen was huge as a rusher, scrambling nine times for 81 yards and two more touchdowns.

  • Despite the mishap with Davis, it was Davis who led Buffalo in receiving. Davis had six catches for 105 yards and a touchdown. Stefon Diggs (6-74) also scored, but he was taken off the field on third downs for some reason. This appeared to work for the most part, as Buffalo was 13-of-22 on third down.

  • James Cook predictably had little running room versus the Eagles. He managed only 43 yards on 16 carries, but was big as a receiver with six catches for 57 receiving yards. Cook dropped a potential touchdown, however.


  • Ravens 20, Chargers 10
  • The Chargers always find new and creative ways to lose. In this latest iteration, the Chargers mimicked what the Jets did against them in a recent Monday night affair. The Jets turned the ball over four times in that game, and that’s exactly what the Chargers did in the loss to Baltimore.

    Keenan Allen kicked things off by losing a fumble in his own territory. This set up a Justin Tucker field goal to help the Ravens go up 10-3. Austin Ekeler followed that up with a lost fumble in the 2-minute drill at midfield. The third give-away wasn’t very consequential, as it happened to be a Justin Herbert interception on a Hail Mary on the final play of the opening half. However, Herbert’s next turnover was very costly, as it was a lost fumble on a Jadeveon Clowney strip-sack in the red zone.

    These turnovers dropped the Chargers to 4-7. If it wasn’t apparent that they’d miss the playoffs before, it’s rather clear now. Brandon Staley will be fired soon. On the bright side for Staley, he won’t have to field questions about his play-calling duties once that happens.

  • The Ravens needed those turnovers because their offense had issues keeping drives alive, converting just 4-of-13 third downs. Lamar Jackson barely completed half of his passes, going 18-of-32 for 177 yards and a touchdown. He also scrambled 11 times for 39 rushing yards. This was a very discouraging performance for Jackson, considering that the Joey Bosa-less Chargers were an easy matchup. Jackson didn’t look the same without Mark Andrews.

  • Andrews’ replacement, Isaiah Likely, led the Ravens in receiving with four catches for 40 yards, though all of his production came in the first half. Zay Flowers reeled in Jackson’s lone touchdown, catching five balls for 25 yards. He also scored a 37-yard rushing touchdown. Even better, Flowers threw the ball behind his head during the celebration as if he were performing a bouquet toss.

  • Keaton Mitchell continued to eat into Gus Edwards’ workload. Mitchell dashed for 64 yards on just nine carries, while Gus Edwards’ eight attempts went for 26 yards. Mitchell also caught two passes for 25 receiving yards. He’s electric with the ball and will almost certainly be getting a bigger workload in the coming weeks.

  • Thanks to Mitchell’s yardage, the quarterback to lead his team in rushing was Herbert; not Jackson. Herbert scrambled four times for 47 rushing yards. He went 29-of-44 for 217 yards, one touchdown and the pick on the Hail Mary. Herbert had some nice moments, but didn’t play well overall, albeit in a very difficult matchup.

  • Allen had a big game if the fumble is excluded He caught 14 of his 16 targets for 106 yards. Gerald Everett was next in the box score with four grabs for 43 yards and a touchdown.

  • While Allen was able to rebound from his fumble, Ekeler could not. Ekeler rushed for only 32 yards on 10 carries, though he was able to catch five passes for 32 receiving yards.


  • Bears 12, Vikings 10
  • If ugly defensive grinders are your thing, you surely enjoyed this game. There was no offense speak of from either side, as the defenses dominated with multiple turnovers from each unit. Both offenses were limited to fewer than 300 net yards until the final drive of the night. And the team that prevailed did so without scoring a single touchdown.

    Justin Fields looked like he would dominate this game early when he had a clutch fourth-and-10 conversion to Cole Kmet, but it was obvious that the Vikings weren’t going to allow anything else. They swarmed Fields, who constantly had to throw the ball away or take sacks. Fields also lost two fumbles in the fourth quarter, including one of the penultimate drive that would seemingly cost Chicago the game in a 10-9 affair.

    However, Chicago’s defense came up big with a three-and-out on the ensuing possession. This was nothing new for the Bears, who picked off Joshua Dobbs a whopping four times. Fields was given one more chance, and he came up huge with a 36-yard connection to D.J. Moore, which was the longest play of the night for either team. This set up Cairo Santos for the game-winning field goal in the final seconds to give the Bears the victory.

  • The Bears are all but locked into the No. 1 overall pick, thanks to Carolina’s ineptitude, and they almost certainly select a quarterback with that pick. Thus, they are showcasing Fields for a trade. Fields came up big in the clutch, which might be a selling point. However, Fields didn’t have a great night overall. He went 27-of-37 for 217 yards to go along with 59 rushing yards on 12 scrambles.

  • On the other end of the spectrum, the Vikings still have a legitimate playoff chance, but they’ll need Dobbs to perform better to get there. Dobbs self-destructed with four picks tonight. Some of them weren’t his fault, like one that was a deflection and another that bounced off Jordan Addison’s hands, but Dobbs’ first pick was horrible because he didn’t see Jaylon Johnson. His final interception was the result of him panicking under pressure. Dobbs nearly threw a fifth pick, but Johnson dropped the ball. Still, this was nearly all erased when Dobbs gave Minnesota the lead by hitting T.J. Hockenson in the end zone during the fourth quarter. Dobbs finished 22-of-32 for 185 yards, one touchdown and the four interceptions. Curiously, he didn’t run very much; he scrambled only twice for 11 rushing yards.

  • Moore and Hockenson led their teams in receiving. Moore hauled in 11 of his 13 targets for 114 yards, while only two other Bears – Kmet (7-43) and Roschon Johnson (5-40) – had more than 14 receiving yards. Meanwhile, Hockenson reeled in five balls for 50 yards and a touchdown. Brandon Powell was next on Minnesota’s stat sheet with three catches for 45 yards. Addison (6-39) was a disappointment.

  • Speaking of Roschon Johnson, he handled most of the workload for Chicago. Johnson was given 10 carries, which he turned into 35 yards. He also caught five balls for 40 receiving yards. Khalil Herbert was nowhere to be seen for stretches; he finished with six attempts for 24 yards and two catches for 14 receiving yards.

  • Alexander Mattison was the leading rusher in this game if Fields is excluded. He rumbled for 52 yards on just 10 carries. He also chipped in with two catches for 11 receiving yards.


  • 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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