Taking a quick rundown of the Sunday NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
BUF 48, DEN 19
The Bills have not looked this good in decades. Josh Allen threw for 359 yards and two scores and added two more touchdowns via three rushes for 33 yards. Zack Moss (13-81) and Devin Singletary (8-68, TD) handled the rushing while Singletary added three catches for 16 yards. Stefon Diggs (11-147) and Cole Beasley (8-112) both turned in high yardage though Diggs left injured near the end of the game. This was a thorough beatdown and the Bills led 21-13 at the half and then owned the second half.
Drew Lock was held to only 132 yards and one score to Noah Fant (8-68, TD). No other receiver gained more than 20 yards. Melvin Gordon rushed for 61 yards and two scores on 11 carries and added four catches for 20 yards. Phillip Lindsay also ran 11 times but only covered 38 yards. The 11-3 Bills now own the AFC East for the first time since before World War I and play at the Patriots this week. The 5-9 Broncos end up at the Chargers.
CAR 16, GB 24
Rather surprisingly lackluster game. Teddy Bridgewater passed for 258 yards but no scores and D.J. Moore (6-131) enjoyed letting Robby Anderson (2-21) draw the shutdown corner this week. Mike Davis ran for 59 yards on 14 carries but only added two catches for two yards. The only touchdown came on a run by Bridgewater and the Panthers trailed 21-3 at the half when the Packers stopped caring and the Panthers could only come up with field goals.
Aaron Rodgers threw for only 143 yards and one score – there’s a sign of how the Packers never had to shift into second gear to win this. Rodgers did run in one score. Alan Lazard (5-56) led the receivers while Davante Adams (7-42) was given the week off. Aaron Jones ran for 145 yards and one score and added three catches for 13 yards. The 4-10 Panthers play in Washington and maybe, just maybe you can actually use Christian McCaffrey if you somehow reached the league championship without your first overall draft pick. The 11-3 Packers host the Titans this week.
TB 31, ATL 27
Great game with high points. The Buccaneers trailed 7-24 in the third quarter and the passing game for Tom Brady finally kicked in just in the nick of time. He ended with 390 yards and two scores with Mike Evans (6-110), Antonio Brown (5-93, TD), and Chris Godwin (4-36, TD) all delivering fantasy-relevant performances even if Rob Gronkowski (3-29) did not. Leonard Fournette replaced Ronald Jones and ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns on his 14 rushes. It ended well enough, but the Buccaneers offense took almost three quarters to wake up and their defense never did.
Matt Ryan was in top form even without Julio Jones. He threw for 356 yards and three touchdowns without a shred of rushing support. The backfield only totaled 21 rushing yards and that was with Ito Smith gaining 24 yards on six runs. Todd Gurley lost a yard on his only rush and Brian Hill lost two yards over his five carries. Calvin Ridley caught ten passes for 163 yards and one score while Russell Gage (5-68, TD) did a solid job replacing Julio Jones. Hayden Hurst also scored on his four catches for 21 yards. The Falcons had this won and then the Buccaneers just took it away. The 4-10 Falcons travel to the Chiefs this week and the 9-5 Buccaneers pay in Detroit.
JAC 14, BAL 40
Since the Ravens couldn’t afford a trap game, they put forth a full effort which was plenty in this matchup where they led 40-7 until the final two minutes. Gardner Minshew passed for 226 yards and two scores but no receiver gained more than D.J. Chark (4-53). James Robinson only ran for 35 yards on 16 carries but added three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown. There was just nothing happening in this offense that started the game giving up a safety.
Lamar Jackson turned in a predictably great performance with 243 yards and three touchdowns as a passer and 35 yards and another score as a rusher. Marquise Brown (6-98) and Mark Andrews (5-66, TD) were the only notable receivers other than Dez Bryant scoring a touchdown on his only catch in the game. Mark Ingram was inactive and a lock to be elsewhere next year. J.K. Dobbins ran for 64 yards and a score on 14 carries and added a 17-yard catch. Gus Edwards ran for 42 yards and added two receptions for 36 yards. The loss plummets the Jaguars to only 1-13 and they host the Bears this week. The 9-5 Ravens keep their playoff hopes alive and host the Giants.
SF 33, DAL 41
This was a surprise. The Cowboys never trailed but also never led by much until the end of the game. Nick Mullens passed for 219 yards and two scores as a disappointment, and Brandon Aiyuk (9-73, TD) and Kendrick Bourne (4-86, TD) were the only notable receivers. Bourne caught a 49-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play to boost the passing stats here and prevent Mullens from a shockingly low-production game versus the Cowboys secondary. Raheem Mostert ran for 68 yards on 14 carries but left injured. Jeff Wilson (16-60, TD) had the bulk of his production after Mostert left.
Ezekiel Elliott was inactive and Tony Pollard ran for 69 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries and added six catches for 63 yards as the only Cowboy with a truly productive performance. CeeDee Lamb (5-85) also ran back an onside kick attempt by the 49ers at the end of the game but Michael Gallup (3-26, TD) and Dalton Schultz (2-14, TD) handled the receiving scores. The 5-9 49ers stumble to Arizona this week while the 5-9 Cowboys somehow remain in contention for the NFC East and host the Eagles.
HOU 20, IND 27
The Colts had a bit of trouble winning this game that was tied 20-20 until the final two minutes of the fourth quarter. Deshaun Watson passed for 373 yards and two touchdowns. David Johnson was the top receiver with 11 catches for 106 yards while Chad Hansen (2-55, TD) and Keke Coutee (5-53, TD) both scored and Brandin Cooks (6-59) helped out. But Johnson only ran for 27 yards on eight rushes and that was with Duke Johnson out this week. The Colts seemed to play this one with less intensity than expected and let the Texans stay in the game until late.
Philip Rivers passed for 228 yards and two scores that both went to Zach Pascal (5-79, 2 TD) while T.Y. Hilton settled for four receptions for 71 yards. No other receivers gained more than 19 yards on the Texans. Jonathan Taylor ran for 83 yards and one score on 16 carries which was about half of what the potential haul could have been. He added four catches for 12 yards to help but a homefield matchup with the No. 32 defense should have been far more productive. Nyheim Hines only ran five times for 43 yards while this game should have held at least 30 total carries. The 4-9 Texans return home for their final two games that include the Bengals this week. The 10-4 Colts head to Pittsburgh
NE 12, MIA 22
The Patriots are now officially out of the playoffs for the first time since the invention of grass. Cam Newton passed for 209 yards and ran for 38 yards but the Pats never produced a touchdown and only four field goals made up the score. Sony Michel (10-74) replaced Damien Harris and was effective but little used. Jakobi Meyers ended with seven catches for 111 yards and James White caught four passes for 52 yards to make up the bulk of the receiving production. They can was always close and in reach but the punchless Patriots couldn’t find the end zone.
Tua Tagovailoa passed for 145 yards and added three runs for nine yards that scored two touchdowns. No receivers gained more than 40 yards. Salvon Ahmed was active and ran for 122 yards and a score on 23 carries while Matt Breida added 86 yards on 12 rushes. The Patriots couldn’t sustain drives and the Dolphins were able to run the ball 42 times in all The 6-8 Patriots return home to face the Bills and the 9-5 Dolphins head to Las Vegas.
CHI 33, MIN 27
As an admitted critic of the usage of David Montgomery since he was drafted last year, it is wildly-confirming to see what he accomplished for the last month when they used him as a true full-time player. Montgomery ran for 146 yards and two scores on 32 rushes. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 202 yards and one score to Darnell Mooney (4-49, TD) while Allen Robinson gained a team-high 83 yards on his four receptions. The passing was down with only 21 balls thrown but feeding Montgomery the ball was enough to win this. What a concept.
Dalvin Cook ran for 132 yards and a score on 24 carries and added five receptions for 27 yards. Kirk Cousins passed for 271 yards and two scores between Tyler Conklin (3-57, TD) and Adam Thielen (2-11, TD). Justin Jefferson led the team with eight catches for 104 yards in the losing effort. The Vikings rallied from being down 20-10 but fell just short. The 7-7 Bears head to Jacksonville this week and the 6-8 Vikings travel to New Orleans.
DET 25, TEN 46
No surprises here other than Derrick Henry “only” rushing for 147 yards and one score. Darrynton Evans ran eight times for 30 yards that could have belonged to the chronically-overworked Henry. Ryan Tannehill threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns between Corey Davis (4-110, TD), A.J. Brown (5-44, TD), and Evans (2-27, TD). The Titans pulled away with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Matt Stafford threw for 252 yards and one score to Marvin Jones (10-112, TD) but no other receiver gained more than 41 yards for the Lions. D’Andre Swift ran for 67 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and added four catches for 15 yards. The Lions were in this game for three quarters before their defense shrugged their shoulders and left in the fourth quarter. Henry’s potential chase for 2,000 yards isn’t likely if they dial him back and let the rookie backup take eight carries in the game. It is prudent not to overwork Henry, and he’s a lock to end up as the leading NFL rusher for the second season in a row. The 5-9 Lions return home to host the Buccaneers while the 10-4 Titans head to Green Bay for a very stout challenge.
SEA 20, WAS 15
Not a lot of offensive in this matchup that saw the Seahawks leading 20-3 heading into the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson only passed for 121 yards and one score, but he ran for 52 yards on six carries. DK Metcalf was limited to only 43 yards on five receptions as the lead receiver and the lone touchdown was caught by Jacob Hollister (2-17, TD). Chris Carson (15-63) and Carlos Hyde (2-55) handled the rushing duties in this low-key defensive matchup.
Dwayne Haskins passed for 295 yards and one score but had two interceptions. Logan Thomas (13-101) was the top receiver along with Terry McLaurin (7-77). J.D. McKissic was the primary rusher with 51 yards on 13 carries and nine receptions for 56 yards and one score as a receiver. Haskins threw 55 passes in the game but only Thomas and McLaurin mattered. Which is true in most weeks. The 10-4 Seahawks return to Seattle for their final home game and host the Rams. The Football Team also conducts their final home game with the Panthers visiting.
PHI 26, ARI 33
Thanks, Carson. It was almost great while it lasted. The rookie Jalen Hurts lost the game, but he passed for 338 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, plus ran for 63 yards and a score on his 11 rushes. And he did not lean heavily on any single receiver. Zach Ertz (2-69), Alshon Jeffery (2-63), Jalen Reagor (5-49), and Quez Watkins (3-40, TD) were the top receivers. Greg Ward only caught four passes for 15 yards but scored twice. Mile Sanders gained 64 yards on 17 carries but has the same problem all running backs do when they play with a running quarterback who can score with his legs.
Kyler Murray threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns with DeAndre Hopkins (9-169, TD) about three times better than any other Cardinals wideout. Dan Arnold (3-54) was the next best receiver while the Cardinals continue to use their tight end. Kenyan Drake ran for just 26 yards on ten carries while Chase Edmonds gained 47 yards on 11 runs and he added three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown. That was above expectations for a player that missed two days of practice and was questionable to play. The 4-9-1 Eagles head to Dallas this week while the 8-6 Cardinals host the 49ers in their home finale.
KC 32, NO 29
Great game and GOTW contender. Maybe a preview of Super Bowl LV? The Chiefs took a 29-15 lead in the fourth quarter but Drew Brees finally got hot after looking very rusty for the entire first half. Patrick Mahomes ended with 254 yards and three touchdowns that benefitted Travis Kelce (8-68, TD), Sammy Watkins (4-60), Tyreek Hill (6-53), and Mecole Hardman (3-22, TD). Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 79 yards on 14 runs but left with a knee injury. Le’Veon Bell took over and gained 62 yards and a touchdown on his 15 carries. There were no monster performances here but all players managed a moderately good game.
Drew Brees passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns playing without Michael Thomas. Emmanuel Sanders (4-76), Alvin Kamara (3-40, TD) and Lil’ Jordan Humphrey (2-29, TD) were the top receivers. Kamara added 54 yards on 11 rushes. The Saints made a valiant comeback bid but just fell short. The 13-1 Chiefs host the Falcons while the 10-4 Saints host the Vikings this week.
CLE 20, NYG 6
This late Sunday game didn’t give much reason to stay up. Scoring was at a minimum and the Giants never logged a touchdown. Baker Mayfield threw for 297 yards and two scores but took it easy in the second half when everyone realized that the Giants were never going to find the endzone. Rashard Higgins (4-76) and Jarvis Landry (7-61, TD) were the top receivers but the rushing effort was a disappointment. Nick Chubb scored once, but only gained 50 yards on 15 carries and added 16 yards on two catches. Kareem Hunt only turned in 21 yards on seven rushes and caught three passes for seven yards. It was like a trap game, only without the other side doing anything to trap you.
Colt McCoy passed for 221 yards and no scores. Darrius Slayton (4-74) and Sterling Shepard (4-51) were the top receivers for the Giants. Wayne Gallman only managed 29 yards on nine runs and Alfred Morris led the backfield with 39 yards on seven catches. The Giants without Daniel Jones were unable to generate much offense and the Browns’ defense was good enough to strip all fantasy value from their offense. The 10-4 Browns play at the Jets this week and the 5-9 Giants head to Baltimore where it will not get any better.
NYJ 23, LAR 20
I’m sorry, what?
Come again? It sounded like you said that the Jets won at the Rams.
Whoa. Wrap your head around that.
The Jets led this 20-3 in the third quarter which was kind of funny in that way that you know will never last. But it did. Just a good thing that season ticket holders in Los Angeles were not in attendance.
The Rams scored a touchdown to make it 20-10 and you knew the comeback was on. Then the Jets kicked a field goal to lead 23-10.
In the fourth quarter, Tyler Higbee caught a 3-yard touchdown to make it 23-17. No problem. One more touchdown and a win, and there was still 13:47 left to play in the fourth quarter. The Jets obliged by going four-and-out. The Rams took over on their 31-yard line with 11:48 left to play. They drove the field and with 7:42 left to play, Cam Akers ran in an 18-yard touchdown for the go-ahead sco… oh.. offensive holding. They ended up kicking a 42-yard field goal since there was still 6:40 left to play with the score 23-20.
And the Jets obliged, again, by going four-and-out.
All they needed was a field goal to tie.
On second down and six from the Jets 39-yard line, Cam Akers ran for a 22-yard gain to set up the…oh… Illegal block above the waist. On fourth and four at the NYJ 37-yard line, they opted to go for it rather than kick a 54-yard field goal. Incomplete. The Jets took over with 3:54 on their own 37-yard line and THEY RAN OUT THE CLOCK. On third-and-six on the LA 48-yard line with everything on the line, they threw a pass for six yards to Frank Gore for a first and then started kneeling.
Sam Darnold only passed for 207 yards and one score. Jamison Crowder was the top receiver with only 66 yards on six catches. Frank Gore ran for only 59 yards on 23 carries but rushed in a score. The Jets took off in the first half like whenever a great team faces a bad team and just doesn’t care to prepare.
Jared Goff passed for 209 yards and two scores with one interception. Tyler Higbee (4-67, TD) and Robert Woods (6-56, TD) were the top receivers. Cam Akers ran for 63 yards on 15 carries and really 40 yards more and a touchdown but they were called back.
And now the Jets are no longer undefeated. They no longer own the first pick in the draft, the 1-13 Jaguars do.
And somewhere in America. Trevor Lawrence stood to start a slow clap that progressively got louder and more energetic until he was “whooping” and waving his shirt over his head.
Then he did an internet search on “Tampa Bay realtors.”