NFL Week 16 Game Notes

Some interesting nuggets from all of this weekend’s Week 16 games in the NFL:

New Orleans 52 (11-4), Minnesota (6-9) 33

Top Passers:

NO- D. Brees, 19-26, 12.0 YPA, 0-2 TD-INT

MIN- D. Lock, 27-41, 7.1 YPA, 3-0

Top Rushers:

NO- A. Kamara, 22 carries, 7.0 YPA, 6 TDs

MIN- D. Cook, 15 carries, 4.9 YPA, 1 TDs

Top Receivers:

NO- A. Thielen, 8 catches, 12.1 yards per reception, 1 TDs

MIN- N. Fant, 4 catches, 20.8 yards per reception, 0 TD

  • New Orleans opened the game scoring on four of their five first half possessions to take a 24-14 halftime lead. They ran on 57% of first-half plays and averaged over eight yards a carry.
  • Alvin Kamara was the catalyst for the Saints offense, scoring all three of their first-half touchdowns while averaging eight yards a carry on 12 touches. On his nine first-down carries, he averaged over nine yards an attempt.
  • Up three, New Orleans scored on a touchdown drive with under two minutes to go in the first half. It is the ninth time they have done that this season. On that drive, the Saints threw on 71% of plays and averaged over 7.6 yards a pass attempt.
  • Kirk Cousins was effective for Minnesota, averaging over seven yards an attempt and throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions, but they struggled to get a consistent run game going. After Dalvin Cook opened with 32 yards on the Vikings opening scoring drive, he managed just 41 more yards for the game.
  • Kamara continued to dominate on the ground for New Orleans, rushing 10 times for 59 yards and three touchdowns in the second half, giving him 155 yards and six touchdowns for the game. He is the first player to have six rushing touchdowns in a game since 1929. The Saints’ 52 points is also the most the Vikings have given up in a game since 1963.
  • It marks the fourth consecutive NFC South title for the Saints.

Tampa Bay 47 (10-5), Detroit 7 (5-10)

Top Passers:

TB- T. Brady, 22-27, 12.9 YPA, 4-0 TD-INT

DET- C. Daniel, 13-18, 4.8 YPA, 0-0

Top Rushers:

TB- K. Vaughn, 15 carries, 4.1 YPA, 0 TDs

DET- D. Swift, 10 carries, 4.5 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

TB- M. Evans, 10 catches, 18.1 yards per reception, 2 TDs

DET- D. Amendola, 5 catches, 7.4 yards per reception, 0 TD

  • Detroit’s coaching staff was decimated by COVID-19 protocols. The Lions were without interim head coach Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin, leaving WR coach Robert Prince as the head coach for Saturday.
  • Tampa Bay led start to finish, scoring touchdowns on five of their six first-half possessions. They passed on 70% of plays, including 59% of first downs. In the first 30 minutes, Tom Brady was 22-or-27 for 348 yards. He also threw four touchdowns to four different receivers. (Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown).
  • After Matthew Stafford left early in the game, Detroit failed to get anything going on offense. They had just 186 total yards, punted eight times and turned the ball over three times. Their only points came on a Jamal Agnew punt return with the game well out of control.
  • Blaine Gabbert replaced Brady in the second half and added touchdown passes to Gronkowski and Evans.
  • Evans now becomes the seventh player in NFL history with 8,000-plus receiving yards and 60-plus receiving touchdowns in their first seven seasons. He joins Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe. It is also his 10th multi-touchdown game since entering the league in 2014, fourth-most in the NFL in that timeframe.
  • The Bucs clinched their first playoff berth since 2007.

San Francisco 20 (6-9), Arizona 12 (8-7)

Top Passers:

SF- C. Beathard, 13-22, 8.3 YPA, 3-0 TD-INT

ARI- K. Murray, 31-50, 4.9 YPA, 0-1

Top Rushers:

SF- J. Wilson, 22 carries, 8.3 YPA, 0 TDs

ARI-K. Murray, 8 carries, 9.4 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

SF- G. Kittle, 4 catches, 23.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

ARI- C. Kirk, 7 catches, 10.9 yards per reception, 0 TD

  • Both teams struggled to move the ball in the first half and combined for six punts and a turnover.
  • In his first start since 2018, C.J. Beathard opened the scoring for San Fran on a 21-yard TD pass to Jeff Wilson to take a 7-3 lead late in the first quarter. Arizona added a late FG to pull within one at the half.
  • Beathard led two second-half touchdown drives to take an eight-point lead. For the game, he completed 59% of his passes and averaged over eight yards an attempt with three touchdown passes. It is the first time since Week 6 a 49ers QB did not throw a pick.
  • Trailing by eight, Arizona had a chance but was unable to convert on a fourth-and-6 near midfield. For the game, Kyler Murray averaged under 5 yards an attempt despite passing 50 times, his most since Week 1 of last season.
  • Larry Fitzgerald recorded six catches for 28 yards. He now has 17 consecutive seasons with 50-plus catches, tying Jerry Rice for most all time.
  • The Cardinals can make the playoffs with a win against the Rams next Sunday.

Miami 26 (10-5), Las Vegas 25 (7-8)

Top Passers:

MIA- R. Fitzpatrick, 9-13, 14.0 YPA, 1-0 TD-INT

LV- D. Carr, 21-34, 9.9 YPA, 1-0

Top Rushers:

MIA- M. Gaskin, 14 carries, 6.2 YPA, 0 TDs

LV-J. Jacobs, 13 carries, 5.3 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

MIA- M. Gaskin, 5 catches, 16.4 yards per reception, 2 TDs

LV- N. Agholor, 5 catches, 31.0 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Vegas entered halftime with a seven-point lead after scoring on three of their final four drives of the half. Despite passing on 64% of plays, Derek Carr was just 11-for-20 for 129 yards. He particularly struggled in the red zone, going 0-for-4, while failing to score TDs on two of their three trips.
  • Miami opened the second half with a nine-play touchdown drive to tie the game at 13. After that, they had three straight 3-and-outs entering the fourth quarter. Tua Tagovailoa was 17-for-22 but was averaging just 4.3 yards an attempt.
  • Trailing by three, Miami put in Ryan Fitzpatrick to jump-start the offense. He immediately led a 13-play field goal drive by passing on 62% of plays. After Carr connected with Nelson Agholor on an 85-yard TD, Fitzpatrick returned to the field to throw a 59-yard TD pass of his own on a catch and run by Myles Gaskin.
  • Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins would eventually get the ball back with just 19 seconds left after the Raiders elected to run the clock but settle for a field goal, despite the opportunity to score a TD. On the first play of Miami’s drive, Fitzpatrick completed a 34-yard pass to Mack Hollins while getting his facemask pulled, a penalty that added 15 yards, setting up Jason Sanders for a game-winning 44-yard field goal.
  • For the game, Vegas was 0-for-10 on third down, and they are now eliminated from playoff contention. The Dolphins will make the playoffs with a win next week against Buffalo or a loss by Indy, Cleveland or Baltimore.

Pittsburgh 28 (12-3), Indianapolis 24 (10-5)

Top Passers:

IND- P. River, 22-35, 7.7 YPA, 1-1 TD-INT

PIT- B. Roethlisberger, 34-49, 7.0 YPA, 3-0

Top Rushers:

IND- J. Taylor, 18 carries, 4.1 YPA, 2 TDs

PIT-J. Connor, 5 carries, 4.0 YPA, 1 TDs

Top Receivers:

IND- Z. Pascal, 3 catches, 21.3 yards per reception, 1 TD

PIT- J. Smith-Schuster, 9 catches, 10.7 yards per reception, 1 TD

After a Pittsburgh three-and-out to start the game, Indy scored on a 70-yard drive, ending in a 6-yard Jonathan Taylor TD rush. It is the sixth consecutive game the Colts have scored a first-quarter touchdown, and it is the first opening-drive TD the Steelers have given up all year.

Outside of a 3-yard touchdown drive aided by a Philip Rivers fumble, Pittsburgh failed to generate much offense in the first half. They punted five times, including three three-and-outs. They trail only the Jets for most three-and-outs this season. For the half, Ben Roethlisberger was just 11-for-20 for under 100 yards.

The Colts scored on two more touchdown drives to take a 21-7 lead at the half. Rivers was 9-for-12 for 153 yards including 4-for-4 for 80 yards against the blitz.

The second half was totally different for the Pittsburgh offense. After Indy opened with a field goal, Pittsburgh scored 21 unanswered points to take a 28-24 lead. On their three touchdown drives, the Steelers passed on 14 of 16 plays. In the second half, Roethlisberger was 23-for-29 for 244 yards and three touchdown passes.

After an opening drive field goal to start the second half, Indy managed just 97 second-half yards while punting three times and turning it over twice.

Pittsburgh clinches their first AFC North title since 2017. The Colts remain alive in the playoff hunt but need a win in Week 17 and a loss from either Miami, Baltimore or Cleveland to advance.

Kansas City 17 (14-1), Atlanta 14 (4-11)

Top Passers:

ATL- M. Ryan, 27-35, 8.6 YPA, 2-0 TD-INT

KC- P. Mahomes, 24-44, 6.3 YPA, 2-1

Top Rushers:

ATL- I. Smith, 10 carries, 4.6 YPA, 0 TDs

KC-D. Williams, 10 carries, 4.6 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

ATL- C. Ridley, 5 catches, 26.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

KC- K. Kelce, 7 catches, 14.0 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Atlanta entered Sunday giving up the second-most passing yards per game, while Kansas City entered first in passing yards. In the first half, the Chiefs passed on 72% of first-half plays, including 71% of first downs. Patrick Mahomes was 14-for-22 for 133 yards, but they managed just seven points. Mahomes had two incompletions on third down, and Sammy Watkins threw an interception on a trick play on the edge of the red zone.
  • In the first half, Matt Ryan was 10-for-12 for nearly 11 yards an attempt. Despite this, they ran on 75% of first-half first downs and 48% of plays. Ito Smith led the backfield with six carries for 34 yards before halftime.
  • Mahomes opened the second half with a red-zone interception after moving the ball to Atlanta’s seven. Both teams struggled to move the ball in the second half, and the Falcons entered the fourth trailing just 10-7. After Matt Ryan connected with Laquon Treadwell on a 5-yard TD, Mahomes was able to move the ball down the field, ending in a 25 yard Demarcus Robinson TD, a play after AJ Terrell dropped an interception in the end zone.
  • With :14 seconds left, the usually reliable Younghoe Koo missed a 39-yard field goal to send the game to overtime. It is only his second miss this season and his first since Week 3.
  • The Chiefs have locked in the one seed in the AFC and will not have to travel the rest of the year unless it’s to Tampa for the Super Bowl.

Chicago 41 (8-7), Jacksonville 17 (1-14)

Top Passers:

CHI- M. Trubisky, 24-35, 7.6 YPA, 2-1 TD-INT

JAX-M. Glennon, 24-37, 5.7 YPA, 2-2

Top Rushers:

CHI- D. Montgomery, 23 carries, 4.1 YPA, 1 TDs

JAX- D. Ogunbowale, 14 carries, 5.1 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

CHI- A. Robinson, 10 catches, 10.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

JAX- D. Chark Jr, 4 catches, 15.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • After scoring on two of their first three drives, the Jags offense sputtered for much of the game. Mike Glennon was starting for Gardner Minshew after outplaying him in practice, and Dare Ogunbowale was making his first career start with James Robinson out with an ankle injury.
  • After DJ Chark tied the game on a 20-yard TD pass, Chicago scored 31 unanswered points over a 2-plus quarter span. Chark accounted for nearly 30% of the Jags passing offense and continues to be a bright spot on a struggling team.
  • Mitchell Trubisky had one of his better performances of the season. After a bad red-zone interception at the end of the first half, he was 13-for-16 for 130 yards and a TD. He also added a six-yard rushing touchdown on the Bears’ first drive of the second half.
  • Over the third quarter and start of the fourth, the Bears scored four straight touchdowns. On those drives, they ran 15 times and passed 15 times. Trubisky was 12-for-15 for 120 yards and a TD pass. Allen Robinson led the way for the Bears, catching 10 of his 13 targets for 103 yards for the game. Only DeAndre Hopkins has a higher percentage of their team’s receiving yards.
  • With a Jets win, Jacksonville secures the right to the first pick. If the Bears can beat Green Bay at home next week, they will become just the third team in NFL history to make the playoffs after a three-game losing streak.

Baltimore 27 (10-5), New York Giants 13 (5-10)

Top Passers:

NYG- D. Jones, 24-41, 6.1 YPA, 1-0 TD-INT

BAL- L. Jackson, 17-26, 7.0 YPA, 2-0

Top Rushers:

NYG- W. Gallman, 6 carries, 4.5 YPA, 0 TDs

BAL-G. Edwards, 15 carries, 5.7 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

NYG- S. Shepard, 9 catches, 10.7 yards per reception, 1 TD

BAL- M. Andrew, 6 catches, 12.7 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Baltimore entered Sunday first in the NFL in rushing offense but 31st in passing offense. In the first half, they ran on 56% of plays and 53% of first downs. They scored on all four of their first-half possessions to take a 20-3 lead.
  • In the first half, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards both had eight carries and combined for five yards an attempt. Dobbins added a 2-yard touchdown. He now has seven on the season, which ties Jamal Lewis’ rookie franchise record. He has scored in five straight games. Mark Andrews led the way for Baltimore’s receiving attack. He accounted for 46% of targets and had 42% of the teams’ receiving yards with 76. Dez Bryant caught a TD for the second straight week after not having one since 2017.
  • For the game, Lamar Jackson averaged over seven yards a pass and threw two touchdowns. He also added 80 yards on the ground. He improved to 12-1 as a starter in December and has won 11 straight of those games. John Harbaugh has had winning seasons in 10 of his 13 seasons as the Ravens’ head coach. He now has double-digit wins in eight of those seasona.
  • Baltimore has gone 38 straight games with 100-plus rushing yards, tying the second-longest streak in NFL history. They rushed for 249 yards. Edwards, Jackson and Dobbins all eclipsed 75 yards on Sunday. Mark Ingram continues to be a healthy scratch.
  • With a win next week, Baltimore will make the playoffs for the third straight season. They play in Cincinnati.

New York Jets 23 (2-13), Cleveland 16 (10-5)

Top Passers:

CLE- B. Mayfield, 28-53, 5.4 YPA, 0-0 TD-INT

NYJ- S. Darnold, 16-32, 5.5 YPA, 2-0

Top Rushers:

CLE- N. Chubb, 11 carries, 2.5 YPA, 1 TDs

NYJ- F. Gore, 14 carries, 3.4 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

CLE- A. Hooper, 7 catches, 10.1 yards per reception, 0 TD

NYJ- J. Crowder, 7 catches, 13.1 yards per reception, 1 TDs

  • Cleveland failed to score a touchdown in the first half and managed just three points. Without multiple starting o-linemen and their top four receivers, Baker Mayfeld was just 13-for-24 in the first half. The Browns passed on 74% of first-half plays but only on 46% of first downs before halftime. With Chubb garnering much of the attention, he managed just six yards on eight carries.
  • New York scored back-to-back first-half touchdowns to take a two-score lead. The Jets have now held double-digit leads over the Bills, Rams and Browns this season. They opened the third quarter with an additional TD to take a 17-point lead.
  • Despite pulling within a touchdown, Cleveland was unable to convert on a fourth-and-1 from the Jets’ 16-yard line with under two minutes to go after Mayfield fumbled on a QB sneak. After starting 0-13, the Jets have won two straight.
  • With the Colts losing to Pittsburgh, Cleveland is still in the driver’s seat to make the playoffs with a win next week against Pittsburgh.

Carolina 20 (5-10), Washington 13 (6-9)

Top Passers:

CAR- T. Bridgewater: 19-28, 7.0 YPA, 1-1 TD-INT

WAS- D. Haskins: 14-28, 5.5 YPA, 154 YDS, 0-2

Top Rushers:

CAR- C. Samuel, 7 carries, 7.4 YPA, 0 TDs

WAS- A. Gibson, 10 carries, 6.1 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

CAR- C. Samuel, 5 catches, 21.2 yards per reception, 0 TD

WAS- J.D. McKissic, 8 catches, 9.6 yards per reception, 1 TDs

  • Dwayne Haskins was making his second-straight start for Washington after being fined and stripped of his captaincy this week.
  • With an opportunity to win the division with a victory, Washington managed just three points in the first half. They punted three times and Haskins had a fumble and threw two interceptions. He was just 6-for-15 for 36 yards. He was eventually replaced by Taylor Heinicke, who saw his first NFL action since 2018.
  • Without leading receiver Terry McLaurin (ankle), Washington QBs struggled to work the ball down the field. J.D. McKissic led them in receiving and no wide receiver had more than four catches. Rookie Antonio Gibson continued to be a bright spot for Washington, averaging over six yards a carry on his 10 attempts. Down 17 at the half, they only rushed on 13% of second-half plays.
  • Carolina opened the scoring on a muff punt that resulted in a touchdown. Mike Davis added a second-quarter touchdown, giving him eight total touchdowns on the season. He also surpassed 1,000 scrimmage yards for the first time in his career after not having more than 730 in any other season.
  • With a win on Sunday night in Philadelphia, Washington will still win the NFC East with a 6-10 record.

Dallas 20 (6-9), Philadelphia 13 (4-10-1)

Top Passers:

DAL- A. Dalton: 22-30, 12.6 YPA, 3-1 TD-INT

PHI- J. Hurts: 21-39, 8.8 YPA, 1-2

Top Rushers:

DAL- E. Elliott 19 carries, 5.5 YPA, 0 TDs

PHI- J. Hurts- 9 carries, 7.7 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

DAL- M. Gallup, 6 catches, 20.2 yards per reception, 2 TDs

PHI- D. Jackson, 1 catch, 81 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • With a chance to force a showdown for the division next week against Washington with a win, Philly jumped out to a 14-3 lead after Desean Jackson caught an 81-yard touchdown. That is the most receiving yards an Eagle has had in a game since Week 7.
  • Jalen Hurts was efficient for the Eagles in the first half, completing 64% of his passes for nearly 13 yards per attempt. He also added 53 yards on five rushes.
  • In the second and third quarters Dallas had five straight scoring drives, including three touchdowns. Over that span, they passed on 60% of plays, and Andy Dalton threw for three touchdowns. With a depleted Eagles secondary, UDFA Michael Jacquet was left exposed in his second career start. Before being replaced, he allowed 7 catches for over 180 yards, the second-most allowed by a defender this season. Jalen Mills eventually switched back to corner, where he had played to start his NFL career.
  • After the first quarter, Dallas outscored Philadelphia 34-3 including outsourcing them 27-3 after Fletcher Cox left with a stinger. The Eagles have given up back-to-back 500-plus-yard games to their opponents for the first time in franchise history. (per @DZangaroNBCS)
  • After three straight seasons of making the playoffs, Philadelphia has been eliminated. Dallas stays alive but needs a win next week and a Washington loss to claim the NFC East.

Seattle 20 (11-4), Los Angeles Rams 9 (9-6)

Top Passers:

SEA-R. Wilson : 20-32, 7.0 YPA, 1-0 TD-INT

LAR- J. Goff: 24-43, 5.4 YPA, 0-1

Top Rushers:

SEA- C. Carson, 16 carries, 4.3 YPA, 0 TDs

LAR- D. Henderson, 12 carries, 5.2 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

SEA- DK Metcalf, 6 catches, 9.8 yards per reception, 0 TD

LAR- C. Kupp, 8 catches, 8.2 yards per reception, 0 TD

  • After allowing 30 points per game the first nine weeks of the season, Seattle had only allowed 16 points a game their past five games, which is top five in the NFL in that span. They have also only allowed 296 yards a game their past five games.
  • After neither team scored a touchdown in the first half, Seattle opened the second half with a 7-play, 70-yard drive that ended in a Russell Wilson rushing TD. They would not relinquish the lead the rest of the day. It is the first time the Rams have been held without a TD all year.
  • Seattle’s defense was the story of the game. They forced four L.A. punts, including three 3-and-outs. Jared Goff also added a second-quarter interception, giving him 38 turnovers since 2019, the most in the NFL.
  • Goff banged his thumb on a helmet in the third quarter. Reports Sunday night believe Goff broke his right thumb from the injury.
  • With a victory, Pete Carroll claims his fifth division title with Seattle and his first since 2016. With a win next week against Arizona, the Rams will make the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Packers 40 (12-3), Titans 14 (10-5)

Top Passers:

GB- A. Rodgers: 21/25, 9.2 YPA, 4-1 TD-INT

TEN- R. Tannehill: 11/24, 5.0 YPA, 1-2

Top Rushers:

GB- AJ Dillon: 21 carries, 5.9 YPA, 2 TDs

TEN- D. Henry: 23 carries, 4.3 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

GB- D. Adams: 11 catches, 12.9 yards per reception, 3 TDs

TEN- AJ Brown: 4 catches, 10.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • In the snow, the Packers controlled the game by scoring touchdowns on their first three possessions. Aaron Rodgers was 11-for-13 for 95 yards with three touchdowns to start the game. The Packers passed on 54% of passes on those three drives.
  • Davante Adams continues to carry the Packers receiving corps. He caught 11 of his 12 targets for 142 yards, accounting for 61% of Green Bay’s receiving yards. He also added three receiving touchdowns. He now leads the NFL with 17, and it is his 10th game scoring a touchdown this season.
  • With Jamal Williams inactive with a quad injury, A.J. Dillon had his most productive game as a pro. After not having more than five carries for 31 yards in his career, Dillon rushed 21 times for 124 yards. He also scored his first two career touchdowns.
  • Derrick Henry was largely contained by the Packers defense. It was only the second time since Week 10 he has been held to under 4.3 yards a carry. Two Ryan Tannehill interceptions prevented Tennessee from getting back into the game.
  • With a win next week at Chicago, Green Bay will clinch home-field advantage and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Tennessee can clinch the AFC South with a win next week at Houston.

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