Taking a quick rundown of the weekend NFL games with a fantasy perspective.
SF 20, ARI 12
This was just the start of teams that needed to win but did not. And teams with nothing to win became spoilers. C.J. Beathard passed for 182 yards and three touchdowns with running backs Jeff Wilson (1-21, TD) and Kyle Juszczyk (2-10, 2 TD) catching the scores. George Kittle was active and though he was expected to play a minimal role, he ended as the leading receiver with four catches for 92 yards. Wilson had a career day (easily) when he ran for 183 yards on 22 carries. More than that, the 49ers’ defense played a tremendous game.
Kyle Murray was held to only 247 passing yards and one interception with 75 yards on eight runs. Christian Kirk (7-76) and DeAndre Johnson (8-48) were the primary receivers but a disappointment facing a secondary that was without key players. Kenyan Drake ran for 45 yards and a score on 18 carries and added just five yards on two catches. The Cardinals played flat and couldn’t sustain drives. The 6-9 49ers end up hosting the Seahawks while the 8-7 Cardinals try to reach a winning season in Las Vegas.
TB 47, DET 7
This game was one of the most lopsided in the NFL this year. The Buccaneers already led 34-0 in the second quarter. Tom Brady passed for 348 yards and four scores before sitting out the second half, while Blaine Gabbert passed for 143 yards and two more scores. Mike Evans (10-181, 2 TD), Chris Godwin (5-84, TD), Rob Gronkowski (2-58, 2 TD), and Antonio Brown (4-35, TD) all scored and fantasy owners couldn’t find a potential starter that didn’t go off. Leonard Fournette ran for 34 yards and a score with three catches for 32 yards before he gave way to Ke’Shawn Vaughn (15-62). This one was a laugher from the first play.
Matt Stafford only lasted for three passes, then they tried Chase Daniels and eventually David Bough. The Lions never had a chanceand no receiver gained more than 37 yards. The only score was from a punt return touchdown. D’Andre Swift ran for 45 yards on ten carries and added four catches for 25 but the game went immediately and irretrievably south from the start. The 10-5 Buccaneers finish up hosting the Falcons and the 5-10 Lions face the Vikings.
MIN 33, NO 52
This Christmas Day game was only a treat for the Alvin Kamara owner in every league. He rushed for 155 yards on 22 carries and ran in six touchdowns while adding three catches for 17 yards. Drew Brees was back and threw for 311 yards and two interceptions. Emmanuel Sanders (4-83) and Jared Cook (3-82) were the top receivers but this game was all about Kamara who could have had seven had they not allowed Taysom Hill to run in a touchdown. Kamara tied the NFL record but could have set a new one.
Kirk Cousins passed for 291 yards and three scores between Adam Thielen (8-97, TD) and Irv Smith (6-53, 2 TD). Justin Jefferson turned in six catches for 85 yards. Dalvin Cook (15-73, TD) added just two receptions for 12 yards and the Vikings even allowed Mike Boone to run in a short score instead of Cook. The loss sends the 6-9 Vikings to Detroit this week while the 11-4 Saints finish up with a trip to Carolina.
NYG 13, BAL 27
This game was never close and the Ravens led 27-6 in the fourth quarter. Daniel Jones passed for 252 yards and one score to Sterling Shepard (9-77, TD) which came in the fourth quarter trash time. Evan Engram ended with seven receptions for 65 yards but no other receiver gained more than 33 yards. Wayne Gallman only ran for 27 yards on six runs and caught two passes for 26 yards. The Ravens had no problem controlling the Giants from the start.
Lamar Jackson threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 80 yards on 13 runs. Mark Andrews (6-76) led the receivers while Marquise Brown (4-25, TD) scored. Dez Bryant (1-8, TD) also scored on his only catch in the game. J.K. Dobbins ran for 80 yards on 13 runs and Gus Edwards gained 85 yards on his 15 rushes. The rushing offense handled this touch the split meant no individual rusher did that much. The 5-10 Giants host the Cowboys to end the year while the 10-5 Ravens head to Cincinnati.
CIN 37, HOU 31
Go figure. The Texans’ defense is nothing special, but the Bengals were down to mostly second-string players. Brandon Allen threw for 371 yards and two scores with Tee Higgins (6-99, TD) and Alex Erickson (6-88) as the top receivers while Samaje Perrine ran for 95 yards and two scores on just 13 carries and Giovani Bernard gained 65 yards on his 16 runs with seven catches for 66 yards. Bengals trailed 27-31 remaining but scored ten points in the final two minutes to take the win.
Deshaun Watson passed for 324 yards and three scores with Brandin Cooks (7-141, TD) and Keke Coutee (5-54) as the top receivers. David Johnson had a big day with 128 yards and a score on just 12 carries and three catches for 11 yards and another touchdown. Watson injured his arm at the end of the game and it looked significant. The 4-10-1 Bengals end by hosting the Ravens and the 4-11 Texans face the visiting Titans.
CHI 41, JAC 17
The Bears happily accepted their free win but it could have been worse than it was. Mitchell Trubisky passed for 265 yards and two scores with one interception and he ran in a score a well. Allen Robinson (10-103) and Jimmy Graham (4-69, 2 TD) did most of their damage earlier in the game. David Montgomery ran for 95 yards and a score on 23 carries and added 26 yards on two catches. Artavis Pierce came in for two carries and scored a touchdown and Ryan Nall also had two runs.
Mike Glennon threw for 211 yards and two scores but also had two interceptions. DJ Chark (4-62, TD) and Laviska Shenault (5-48, TD) were the only receivers with more than 27 yards. With James Robinson out, Dare Ogunbowale gained 71 yards on 14 rushes and added three catches for seven yards but this was tied in the second quarter 10-10 and then became all about the Bears. The 1-14 Jaguars finish at the Colts while the 8-7 Bears host the Bears.
ATL 14, KC 17
Hard to say what is worse? That the Chiefs always play down to the level of their opponent or that they get away with it every time? Patrick Mahomes passed for 278 yards and two scores and ran for 21 yards against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Travis Kelce (7-98, TD) and Tyreek Hill 4-65) were the top receivers as usual and Demarcus Robinson (2-29, TD) had his rare touchdown. With Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the sideline, Le’Veon Bell only ran for 30 yards on seven rushes while Darrell Williams gained 46 yards on ten runs. This game was tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter and the Chiefs won it with a touchdown pass with under two minutes to play.
Matt Ryan threw for 300 yards and two scores with Calvin Ridley (5-130) and Hayden Hurst (5-47, TD) as the top receivers. Todd Gurley ran for only 16 yards on four carries but gained 34 yards on his three receptions. Ito Smith was the lead back with just 46 yards on ten rushes. The 4-11 Falcons finish up at the Buccaneers and the 14-1 Chiefs host the Chargers.
CLE 16, NYJ 23
Amazing. The Jets took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter and never gave it up. They’ve won two games in a row and the Jaguars are free to win a game now that they have wrapped up the No. 1 overall draft pick. Sam Darnold threw for 175 yards and two scores and Jamison Crowder not only caught seven passes for 92 yards and a score, he also threw a 43-yard touchdown to Braxton Berrios. Even Chris Herndon caught a score on his four receptions for 34 yards. Frank Gore ran for only 48 yards on 14 carries but remains the primary back.
Baker Mayfield’s hot streak ended with only 285 yards and no scores after 53 passes. Austin Hooper (7-71) and Ja’marcus Bradley (5-60) were the top receivers since all of the starters were on the COVID list as of Sunday morning. The Jets held Nick Chubb to only 28 yards on 11 runs though he and Kareem Hunt (4-11, TD) both ran in a touchdown. The Browns trailed 20-3 in the third quarter and could not manufacture a comeback. The loss sends the 10-5 Browns home to host the Steelers and the 2-13 Jets look for the hat trick at the Patriots.
IND 24, PIT 28
The Steelers pulled this out after trailing 24-7 in the third quarter. Philip Rivers passed for 270 yards and one touchdown to Zach Pascal (3-64, TD). T.Y. Hilton ended with 60 yards on three catches and Jack Doyle caught four passes for 50 yards. Jonathan Taylor ran for 74 yards and two scores on his 18 carries while Nyheim Hines gained 44 yards on eight runs and caught five passes for 20 yards. The Colts had this one won but the Steelers got hot in the fourth quarter.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 342 yards and three touchdowns. JuJu Smith-Schuster (9-96, TD), Diontae Johnson (8-75, TD), and Eric Ebron (5-47, TD) all scored in the fourth quarter in an otherwise lackluster offensive showing for three quarters. James Conner only ran for 20 yards on his five rushes but scored once. He also added five receptions for 45 yards. The 10-5 Colts host the Jaguars this week while the 12-3 Steelers head to Cleveland.
DEN 16, LAC 19
Not exactly a shootout. Drew Lock threw for 264 yards and two interceptions, but he ran in the only touchdown for the Broncos. DaeSean Hamilton (5-77) and Noah Fant (6-65) led the receivers while Jerry Jeudy (6-61) was thrown a team-high 15 targets but dropped most of them. Melvin Gordon ran for 79 yards on 16 carries but had no catches. The Broncos tied the score 16-16 with under three minutes left but the Chargers kicked a 37-yard field goal to win with 41 seconds left.
Justin Herbert passed for 253 yards and one score to Austin Ekeler (3-23) who ran for 45 yards on two carries. Mike Williams was the best receiver with only four catches for 54 yards with Keenan Allen out. This was just a low-energy game and nothing like the fireworks that usually happen when Herbert plays. The 5-10 Broncos return home to face the Raiders and the 6-9 Chargers head to Kansas City where they hope the Chiefs are resting their entire team.
CAR 20, WAS 13
Go figure. The Panthers didn’t do much, but the Washington Football Team lost the ball four times and changed quarterbacks. Plus, Terry McLaurin was out. Dwayne Haskins was benched after two interceptions and a 36.9 QB rating on his 28 passes. Taylor Heinicke finished the game and they combined for 291 yards and one score. Antonio Gibson ran for 61 yards on ten rushes and added eight yards on three catches. J.D. McKissic ran for 15 yards and led the team on eight catches for 77 yards and the one touchdown. Logan Thomas also turned in 63 yards on seven catches but adding Haskins and taking away McLaurin is not a winning combo.
Teddy Bridgewater only threw for 197 yards and one score to Robby Anderson (7-39, TD) while Curtis Samuel (5-106) and D.J. Moore (5-37) accounted for almost all of the other receptions. Mike Davis ran for just 28 yards on 14 carries but scored once and had no catches. Samuel also ran seven times for 52 yards as the leading rusher and receiver. The 5-10 Panthers host the Saints this week while the 6-9 Football Team plays in Philadelphia.
PHI 17, DAL 37
The Cowboys passing game looked great again and the magic that Jalen Hurts brought to the Eagles was overshadowed by two interceptions and a lost fumble. Hurts passed for 342 yards and one score plus he ran for 69 yards on nine runs. Miles Sanders scored on his 15 carries for 57 yards and he added four receptions for 27 yards. DeSean Jackson was active and his lone catch went for an 81-yard touchdown. But the Eagles stopped scoring in the second quarter while the Cowboys racked up 24 more points.
Andy Dalton threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns and looked better than ever. Michael Gallup (6-121, 2 TD) and Amari Cooper (4-121) led the receivers and CeeDee Lamb (3-65, TD) scored as a receiver and ran in a second touchdown on a 19-yar4d play. Ezekiel Elliott started slowly but ended with 105 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 34 yards. It all worked in this home version of the annual series with the Eagles. The 6-9 Cowboys head to New York to play the Giants and the 4-10-1 Eagles host the Football Team hoping to be a spoiler.
LAR 9, SEA 20
This was everything that the Rams did not need. Jared Goff threw for 234 yards and one interception while injuring his throwing thumb. Cooper Kupp (8-66), Josh Reynolds (6-65), and Robert Woods (4-48) show how much the Seahawks secondary has improved. Cam Akers is out with a high-ankle sprain and Darrell Henderson gained 62 yards on 17 runs before leaving with his own ankle injury. If Goff, Henderson, and Akers are out, fold up the tents and make plans for next year.
The Seahawks didn’t have much success either though they had no turnovers. Russell Wilson managed 225 passing yards and one score plus he rushed in a touchdown as well. DK Metcalf (6-59) and Tyler Lockett (3-44) were the best receivers, Chris Carson gained 69 yards on 16 carries and caught three passes for 10 yards but the offense was just good enough to get this needed win. The 9-6 Rams end up hosting the Cardinals and the 11-4 Seahawks finish the season at the 49ers.
TEN 14, GB 40
The Titans came within 14-19 in the third quarter but the Packers pulled away permanently behind Davante Adams and AJ Dillon. Aaron Jones ran for 94 yards on ten carries but Dillon replaced Jamaal Williams and became the primary back with 21 rushes for 124 yards and two scores. Aaron Rodgers looked like he was playing sandlot football with younger kids when he completed 21-of-25 for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Davante Adams (11-142, 3 TD) was mostly unstoppable, and Equanimeous Brown (1-21, TD) handled the receiving touchdowns. The Packers were terrifyingly good at home where they’ll be throughout the conference playoffs.
Derrick Henry (23-98) never broke a run longer than 10 yards. Ryan Tannehill passed for 121 yards and one score with two interceptions like a good quarterback that did not want to play in snowy and cold Green Bay. A.J. Brown (4-43) and Jonnu Smith (3-30, TD) were the top receivers. The 10-5 Titans head to Houston this week while the 12-3 Packers play in Chicago.
MIA 26, LV 25
Such a heart-breaker for the Raiders.The low-scoring, back-and-forth matchup that was tied 16-16 with only four minutes left to play. Then Nelson Agholor caught an 85-yard touchdown with a missed extra point. 42 seconds later, Myles Gaskin caught a 59-yard touchdown. The Raiders kicked a field goal with only 19 seconds left to play for a 25-23 lead. The Dolphins took over on their own 25-yard line and Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with Mack Hollins for 34-yards on the first play and the Raiders had a roughing the passer penalty that brought the ball to the LV-26 yard line where Jason Sanders kicked the game winning 44-yard field goal as time expired and Jon Gruden’s head exploded.
Tua Tagovailoa was benched in the second half and Ryan Fitzpatrick stepped in with a nearly-flawless performance. Myles Gaskin ran for 87 yards on 14 carries and also was the lead receiver with five catches for 82 yards and two scores. Mike Gesicki (4-54) was the best of the rest but Devante Parker did not play.
Derek Carr threw for 336 yards and a score to Agholor (5-155, TD) while Darren Waller (5-112) also came up big though no other wideout gained more than 34 yards. Josh Jacobs ran for 69 yards on 13 carries and failed to catch either pass thrown to him. The Raiders should have won that game but Fitzpatrick was magic when they needed him the most. The 10-5 Dolphins travel to Buffalo this week while the 7-8 Raiders finish up in Denver.