NFL Week 15 Game Notes

Some interesting nuggets from all of this weekend’s Week 15 games in the NFL:

Top Passers:

BUF- J. Allen, 28-40, 9.0 ypa, 2-0 TD-INT

DEN- D. Lock, 20-32, 4.1 ypa, 1-0

Top Rushers:

BUF- M. Gordon, 11 carries, 5.5 ypa, 2 TDs

DEN- Z. Moss, 13 carries, 6.2 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

BUF- S. Diggs, 11 catches, 13.4 yards per reception, 0 TDs

DEN- N. Fant, 8 catches, 8.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • The Bills clinched the AFC East title for the first time in 25 years
  • Bills WR Stefon Diggs reached a single-season career high with 111 catches, which is also a new Bills single-season record
  • Bills QB Josh Allen is on pace to finish with the highest completion percentage (68.6), most pass TDs (34) and highest passer rating (103.3) in Bills history
  • Josh Allen drafted in 2018 has surpassed tyrod Taylor for 6th most passing yards in Bills history with 8,857 yards – Dov Kleiman
  • Allen has TD passes to 12 different players this season, most in the NFL (per NFL Network)
  • Denver TE Noah Fant scored his first touchdown since Week 2
  • This is the second home game this season in which the Broncos have allowed 40-plus points, tying a franchise record previously established in 1962, 1968 and 2011 (per @AndrewMason)

Top Passers:

GB- A. Rodgers, 20-29, 4.9 ypa, 1-0 TD-INT

CAR- T. Bridgewater, 21-35, 7.4 ypa, 0-0

Top Rushers:

GB- A. Jones, 20 carries, 7.3 ypa, 1 TD

CAR- M. Davis, 14 carries, 4.2 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

GB- A. Lazard, 5 catches, 11.2 yards per reception, 1 TD

CAR- D. Moore, 6 catches, 21.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Aaron Rodgers led the Packers offense on three straight TD drives to take a 21-3 lead. After passing on 60% of plays on the first two touchdown drives, the Packers ran on six of their seven plays on their third scoring drive.
  • Rodgers finished the first half, 13-for-19 for only 99 yards and a TD. He also added a 7-yard rushing TD. This is now his third season with 40-plus TD passes, the only QB ever to do that. The Packers have only punted 43 times on the season.
  • Robert Tonyan scored his 10th TD of the season, which leads all TEs, while Davante Adams’ streak of eight consecutive games with a TD ended.
  • Carolina had plenty of opportunities but was only able to score one touchdown on its five red-zone trips. They kicked three field goals, and on first-and-goal from the 1 in the first half, Teddy Bridgewater fumbled attempting to reach the ball over the goal line. The Packers returned it 48 yards, setting them up for their third TD.
  • Matt LaFleur became just the sixth coach to win at least 24 games in his first 30 games. (per Gil Brandt).

Top Passers:

TB- T. Brady, 31-45, 8.7 ypa, 2-0 TD-INT

ATL- M. Ryan, 34-49, 7.3 ypa, 3-0

Top Rushers:

TB- L. Fournette, 14 carries, 3.5 ypa, 2 TDs

ATL- I. Smith, 6 carries, 4.0 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

TB- M. Evans, 6 catches, 18.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

ATL- C. Ridley, 10 catches, 16.3 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Tampa failed to score in the first half for the second time this season. Although Tom Brady was 10-for-16, he averaged under five yards an attempt. On the ground, the Bucs managed just 1.6 yards per carry. Tampa passed on 78% of plays in the first half, including 67% of first downs.
  • Atlanta was able to jump out to a 17-0 first-half lead. They passed on over 84% of first-half first downs. On those plays, Ryan was 12-for-16 for 146 yards and two touchdowns.
  • To start the second half, Tampa opened with a touchdown drive for their first points of the game. They would end up scoring on their next four possessions, including three more touchdowns. For the half, they threw on 73% of plays. After struggling in the first half, Brady completed 21 passes and threw for 320 yards with 2 TDs, including a deep TD to Antonio Brown, his first with the Buccaneers.
  • After passing for 235 in the first half, Matt Ryan had just 121 second-half passing yards. He also only threw for 51 yards in the fourth quarter.

Top Passers:

TEN- R. Tannehill, 21-27, 10.1 ypa, 3-0 TD-INT

DET- M. Stafford, 22-32, 7.9 ypa, 1-0

Top Rushers:

TEN- D. Henry, 24 carries, 6.1 ypa, 1 TD

DET- D. Swift, 15 carries, 4.5 ypa, 2 TDs

Top Receivers:

TEN- C. Davis, 4 catches, 27.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

DET- M. Jones, 10 catches, 11.2 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Tennessee opened the game running on first down six straight times with Derrick Henry and converting their first four third downs. The drive ended with a 3-yard Henry rushing TD. On the first play of their second drive, Ryan Tannehill connected with Corey Davis on a 75-yard touchdown set up by a play-action.
  • Prior to the two-minute drill, which resulted in a last-second field goal, Tennessee had run on 10 of 12 first downs. In the first half, Henry averaged nearly six yards a carry on his 14 touches.
  • Detroit had an opportunity after pulling within one score in the third quarter. With Tennessee in third-and-long, they were unable to get the Titans off the field. The drive ended in a Titans touchdown, the first of three straight for Tennessee. For the game, they were 9 of 11 on third down.
  • Henry finished the game with 147 yards on 24 carries. He is the fourth player in NFL history with 1,500-plus rush yards and 15-plus rush TDs in consecutive seasons, joining Terrell Davis (1997-1998), Shaun Alexander (2004-2005) and Larry Johnson (2005-2006).

Top passers:

DAL- A. Dalton, 19-33, 6.3 ypa, 2-0 TD-INT

SF- N. Mullens, 21-36, 6.1 ypa, 2-2

Top Rushers:

DAL- T. Pollard, 12 carries, 5.8 ypa, 2 TDs

SF- R. Mostert, 14 carries, 4.9 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

DAL- C. Lamb, 5 catches, 17.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

SF- K. Bourne, 4 catches, 21.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • In place of Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard recorded 62 scrimmage yards in the first quarter, helping the Cowboys jump out to a 14-0 lead. Elliott’s most yards in a first quarter this season was 36 yards against the Browns in Week 4.
  • The Cowboys entered Sunday scoring TDs on only 63.6% of goal-to-go situations, the second lowest in the NFL. They were 2-for-2 in the first half on those scenarios, capitalizing on two 49er fumbles. Their first two touchdown drives went for only 22 and 24 yards. For the game, the Cowboys scored 24 points off four San Fran turnovers.
  • Arik Armstead was a bright spot for San Fran, recording two sacks for the first time all season and his first full sack since week 2. After 10.5 sacks last year and signing a five-year, $85 million contract this offseason, Armstead only has 3.5 sacks on the season after Sunday.
  • Down four, the 49ers had their onside kick returned for a TD by CeeDee Lamb, sealing the victory for Dallas. It is the first Cowboys kick return TD since 2008.
  • With a win and a Washington loss, Dallas pulls within one game of the NFC East lead. The 49ers have been eliminated from the playoffs, a year after making the Super Bowl.

Top Passers:

IND- P. Rivers, 22-28, 8.2 ypa, 2-0 TD-INT

HOU- D. Watson, 33-41, 9.1 ypa, 2-0

Top Rushers:

IND- J. Taylor, 16 carries, 5.5 ypa, 1 TD

HOU- D. Johnson, 8 carries, 3.4 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

IND- Z. Pascal, 5 catches, 15.8 yards per reception, 2 TDs

HOU- D. Johnson, 11 catches, 9.6 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Houston is third worst in the NFL in opening drive points scored this season. They opened Sunday punting on their first possession. Meanwhile, the Texans have allowed the most opening-drive points this season and allowed another touchdown to the Colts on a 5-yard Jonathan Taylor rush.
  • Houston’s first two drives ended with a third-down sack. On the second one, DeForest Buckner stripped Watson, setting up Indy to take a 14-0 lead. Watson has now been sacked 44 times this season, second most only to Carson Wentz. When Watson is sacked one time or less, Houston is 12-0. When he is sacked 2-plus times, they are 16-23.
  • Houston responded and tied the game in the fourth quarter. Indy responded with a 75-yard TD drive to take a 27-20 lead with under two minutes left, their first TD drive since their first two possessions.
  • With Houston driving and inside the Colts’ 10, Darious Darius Leonard forced a fumble on Keke Coutee to end the game. It was the second time the Texans have lost a game this season against Indy by fumbling late in the red zone.
  • David Johnson was the Texans’ leading receiver, catching all 11 of his targets for 106 yards. On the ground, he only had 8 carries for 27 yards.
  • Philip Rivers continues to play very efficient football, completing 22 of his 28 passes for 8 yards an attempt, despite only having an average depth of target of only 6.8 yards.

Top Passers:

CHI- M. Trubisky, 15-21, 9.6 ypa, 1-1 TD-INT

MIN- K. Cousins, 24-35, 7.7 ypa, 2-1

Top Rushers:

CHI- D. Montgomery, 32 carries, 4.6 ypa, 2 TDs

MIN- D. Cook, 24 carries, 5.5 ypa, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

CHI- A. Robinson, 4 catches, 20.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs

MIN- J. Jefferson, 8 catches, 13.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • David Montgomery set the tone for the Bears offense. The Bears ran on 59% of first-half first downs, leading to a 76% success rate. Montgomery finished with 68 yards in the first half on 13 carries, including seven carries for 50 yards on first down. He is one of four players in the NFL with 700 rushing yards and 300 receiving yards this season. He has five rushing touchdowns in his past six games after only having one through Week 12.
  • Minnesota passed on 70% of first-half first downs. For the half, Kirk Cousins was 9-for-14 for 83 yards and a score. They entered the half trailing Chicago by 10.
  • Chicago played very conservative in the second half, rushing on 77% of plays and 85% of first downs. Mitchell Trubisky was 5-for-7 but threw a red-zone interception with a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
  • Cousins entered Sunday with 17 game-winning drives in fourth quarter or overtime. Minnesota got the ball back down six with 56 seconds left. After moving the ball into Chicao territory, Cousins was intercepted on a Hail Mary attempt to end the game.

Top Passers:

SEA- R. Wilson, 18-27, 4.5 ypa, 1-1 TD-INT

WAS- D. Haskins, 38-55, 5.4 ypa, 1-2

Top Rushers:

SEA- C. Carson, 15 carries, 4.2 ypa, 0 TDs

WAS- J. McKissic, 13 carries, 3.9 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

SEA- D. Metcalf, 5 catches, 8.6 yards per reception, 0 TDs

WAS- L. Thomas, 13 catches, 7.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • On Sunday, Dwayne Haskins started his first game since Week 4. Washington opened with a three-and-out, extending their streak of not scoring on any opening drives this season. Their first four drives resulted in only 77 yards with three punts and an interception.
  • In the first half, Wilson only passed for 71 yards. Seattle averaged under five yards a pass attempt, and averaged over seven yards a rush. They had a 15-16 run-pass split in the first half. They capitalized off a Haskins red-zone interception to take a 10-point halftime lead.
  • Jamal Adams added another sack, giving him 9.5 on the season. This is the most ever by a defensive back since the sack became a statistic in 1982. (NFL RedZone)
  • After two fourth-quarter touchdowns, Washington trailed by only five. On the edge of the red zone, Haskins was sacked twice on third and fourth down, ending the game for Washington.
  • Wilson has now gone six straight weeks with under 300 passing yards after having five 300-yard games in the first half of the season. Since Week 10, Wilson has thrown five interceptions and has been sacked 16 times, which both rank in the bottom five in the NFL in that span. He finished with only 121 passing yards on Sunday, his lowest since December, 2018.

Top Passers:

MIA- T. Tagovailoa, 20-26, 5.6 ypa, 0-1 TD-INT

NE- C. Newton, 17-27, 7.7 ypa, 0-0

Top Rushers:

MIA- S. Ahmed, 23 carries, 5.3 ypa, 1 TD

NE- S. Michel, 10 carries, 7.4 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

MIA- D. Smythe, 5 catches, 8.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

NE- J. Meyers, 7 catches, 15.9 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • For the first time in the Super Bowl era, an Alabama quarterback faced an Auburn quarterback in the NFL.
  • Both offenses struggled in the first half. New England punted on its first two possessions before kicking a field goal midway through the second quarter. On their following possession, they nearly gave up a scoop-and-scored touchdown on a Cam Newton fumble, but the ball had grazed Christian Wilkins, who was standing out of bounds.
  • Miami failed to score in the first half. Their best opportunity ended in a red-zone interception by J.C. Jackson, who trails only Xavien Howard for the league lead.
  • After an opening drive touchdown in the second half, Howard extended his turnover streak to six straight games by punching out a fumble. The Dolphins now have 20 straight games with a takeaway, the longest active streak in the NFL.
  • The story of the second half was the Miami running game. They rushed on 66% of plays and 68% of first downs. Matt Breida and Salvon Ahmed combined for 22 carries for 145 yards and a score after halftime.
  • With a loss Sunday, New England will finish below .500 for the first time since 2000. It is the first time they will miss the playoffs since 2008. Belichick also falls to 21-6 against rookie QBs. It is his first loss since 2013 against Geno Smith. Since then, he has been 9-0, including a 45-0 victory against Justin Herber earlier this season.

Top Passers:

BAL- L. Jackson, 17-22, 11.0 ypa, 3-1 TD-INT

JAC- G. Minshew, 22-29, 7.8 ypa, 2-0

Top Rushers:

BAL- J. Dobbins, 14 carries, 4.6 ypa, 1 TD

JAC- J. Robinson, 16 carries, 2.2 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

BAL- M. Brown, 6 catches, 16.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

JAC- D. Chark, 4 catches, 13.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Entering Sunday, Lamar Jackson had won his last nine starts in December, the longest active streak in the NFL. He is now 11-1 in his career in December.
  • After an opening drive interception, the Ravens recorded a safety on a Matt Judon sack, before scoring on their next four possessions. In the first half, Baltimore only passed on 42% of plays, but Jackson was 11 of 14 with 145 yards and 2 passing touchdowns.
  • JK Dobbins continues to emerge as the feature back for Baltimore, leading Baltimore in running back carries for the third straight week. He now has four straight games with a rushing touchdown and 40-plus rushing yards. Maurice Jones-Drew and Todd Gurley are the only rookie running backs with a longer streak over the last 15 years.
  • Dez Bryant caught one of his three targets for 11 yards and a touchdown — his first touchdown since 2017, after leading the NFL in receiving touchdowns from 2010 to 2017.
  • Jacksonville allowed 30-plus points for the eighth time this season.

Top Passers:

NYJ- S. Darnold, 22-31, 6.7 ypa, 1-0 TD-INT

LAR- J. Goff, 22-34, 6.1 ypa, 2-1

Top Rushers:

NYJ- F. Gore, 23 carries, 2.6 ypa, 1 TD

LAR- C. Akers, 15 carries, 4.2 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

NYJ- J. Crowder, 6 catches, 11.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

LAR- T. Higbee, 4 catches, 16.8 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • With a Ty Johnson receiving touchdown, the Jets have scored on their first possession in eight straight games and have scored first in their last nine games.
  • The Rams offense struggled to get moving in the first half. Before kicking a field goal to end the half, the Rams punted five times (blocked once) and Jared Goff threw an INT. The Rams passed on 73% of first half plays, despite Goff averaging under 4.5 yards an attempt. They also only managed 3.2 yards a carry.
  • After struggling in the first half, Sam Darnold was effective for the Jets in the second half. He was 11-for-16 for 135 yards after halftime, including an opening drive to give the Jets a 13-point lead, their first since Week 12 of 2019.
  • Down three, the Rams had a chance to steal another game from the Jets, but they were unable to convert on fourth-and-4. Despite out-gaining the Jets, L.A. was only 2-for-12 on third and fourth down, while the Jets were 8-for-18.
  • The Jets avoid becoming just the second team to go winless since 2010 but may have lost the opportunity to draft Trevor Lawrence.

Top Passers:

ARI- K. Murray, 27-36, 11.3 ypa, 3-1 TD-INT

PHI- J. Hurts, 24-44, 7.7 ypa, 3-0

Top Rushers:

ARI- C. Edmonds, 11 carries, 4.3 ypa, 0 TDs

PHI- M. Sanders, 17 carries, 3.8 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

ARI- D. Hopkins, 9 catches, 18.8 yards per reception, 1 TD

PHI- Z. Ertz, 2 catches, 34.5 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • With Jack Driscoll going down at right tackle, the Eagles were starting their 13th starting offensive line combination in 14 games, an NFL record. They opened the game by allowing a safety after Jalen Hurts was flagged for intentional grounding the end zone.
  • After Arizona scored on an 8-yard rushing touchdown, a blocked punt set up Arizona to take a 16-0 first-quarter lead. After opening with eight rushing touchdowns in nine games, Kyler Murray had gone four games without finding the end zone. Murray also set a new single-season record with his ninth game of having a throwing and rushing TD.
  • The Eagles got on the board to open the second quarter on a 32-yard Quez Watkins TD reception. He is the fifth Eagle with his first career TD catch this year. (Scott, Fulgham, Croom, Reagor, Watkins)
  • In the second quarter, Larry Fitzgerald recorded his first TD of the year, his 121st career score. He now has 12 TDs against the Eagles in 10 games (including playoffs). He has a TD catch in 17 seasons. Only Jerry Rice (20 seasons) has a longer streak.
  • Hurts finished the first half with three passing TDs, the first time an Eagles QB has finished with 3-plus pass TDs this season. For the game, he finished with over 300 yards, 3 TDs, zero INTs and a passer rating of over 100; Carson Wentz has put up those numbers just once in his 68 career starts.
  • With the game tied at 26, DeAndre Hopkins caught a game-winning 20-yard touchdown. He finished with 9 catches and a season-high 169 receiving yards. It is his third straight season with 100-plus catches.

Top Passers:

KC- P. Mahomes, 26-47, 5.4 ypa, 3-0 TD-INT

NO- D. Brees, 15-34, 6.9 ypa, 3-1

Top Rushers:

KC- C. Edwards-Helaire, 14 carries, 5.6 ypa, 0 TDs

NO- A. Kamara, 11 carries, 4.9 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

KC- T. Kelce, 8 catches, 8.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

NO- E. Sanders, 4 catches, 19.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Patrick Mahomes entered the game tied with an NFL-record six straight games with 315-plus passing yards, which was broken. Meanwhile, the Saints were getting back Drew Brees after he missed four weeks with broken ribs and a partially collapsed lung.
  • The Chiefs opened by dominating the time of possession in the first quarter, holding it for over 12 minutes. They still passed on 20 of 26 plays, and Mahomes averaged over five yards an attempt. Following a Brees interception, Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill for his league-leading 15th TD catch. Travis Kelce added a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to give K.C. a 14-point lead.
  • Brees started a game 0-for-5 for the first time in his career. In the first half, he had only 5 completions on 16 attempts. The Saints would take the lead to open the second half on a 24-yard Latavius Murray TD catch.
  • Mahomes continued to add to his MVP bid, leading two second-half touchdown drives to give the Chiefs their 13th win of the season. In the second half, K.C. ran on 74% of first downs, leading to a 52% success rate.
  • The Saints and Chiefs remain the only two teams in the NFL to score 21-plus in every game this season.

Top Passers:

CLE- B. Mayfield, 27-32, 9.3 ypa, 2 TDs

NYG- C. McCoy, 19-31, 11.6 ypa

Top Rushers:

CLE- N. Chubb, 15 carries, 3.3 ypa, 1 TD

NYG- A. Morris, 7 carries, 5.5 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

CLE- R. Higgins, 4 catches, 19.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

NYG- D. Slayton, 4 catches, 18.5 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • The Giants entered Sunday very short-handed on offense. Colt McCoy was making his second start this season, and Freddie Kitchens, who was the head coach of Cleveland last year, was calling plays with Jason Garrett unavailable. (Covid).
  • New York opened very aggressively, failing to convert on fourth down twice in the first half inside Cleveland’s 10. They were 0-for-3 in the red zone in the first half and trailed 13-3.
  • Baker Mayfield was very effective on play action. He was 9-for-12 for 91 yards and 2 TDs, despite only averaging 3.5 yards a rush. Against the blitz, he was 14-for-16 for 130 yards and 2 TDs (per Next Gen Stats). For the game, Mayfield was only sacked once and was also only hit once.
  • Cleveland reaches 10 wins for the first time since 2007.
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