Week 17 Game Notes

Some interesting nuggets from all of this weekend’s Week 17 games:

Top Passers:

BUF- J. Allen, 18-24, 9.0 YPA, 3-1 TD-INT

MIA- T. Tagovailoa, 35-58, 6.2 YPA, 1-3

Top Rushers:

BUF- A. Williams, 12 carries, 5.3 YPA, 2 TDs

MIA- S. Ahmed, 6 carries, 4.8 YPA, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

BUF- G. Davis, 2 catches, 53.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

MIA- D. Parker, 7 catches, 16.6 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Buffalo entered Sunday in the driver’s seat for the two seed in the AFC. After opening the game with an interception and two punts, the Bills blitzed Miami with four second-quarter touchdowns, highlighted by a Isaiah McKenzie punt return TD.
  • For the season, Josh Allen set a Bills franchise record with 8 games of 300-plus passing yards. He added three touchdown passes on Sunday, giving him 37 on the season, also a single-season record for Buffalo.
  • After falling behind early, Miami threw on over 74% of plays. They were able to pull with within two scores after a Myles Gaskin TD to start the second half, but three interceptions by Tua Tagovailoa, including a pick-six on their next possession, put the game out of reach.
  • Buffalo goes on to play Indy at home on Saturday, while Miami was eliminated with victories by Indy, Cleveland and Baltimore. The Dolphins hold the third pick in the draft, courtesy of Houston, and the 18th pick.
  • It is the first time Buffalo has reached 13 wins since 1991. Each of their last seven victories have been by 10-plus points.

Top Passers:

MIN- K. Cousins, 28-40, 10.1 ypa, 3-0 TD-INT

DET- M. Stafford, 20-31, 9.5 ypa, 3-1

Top Rushers:

MIN- A. Mattison, 21 carries, 4.5 ypa, 1 TD

DET- A. Peterson, 7 carries, 9.0 ypa, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

MIN- J. Jefferson, 9 catches, 14.8 yards per reception, 0 TDs

DET- M. Jones, 8 catches, 22.5 yards per reception, 2 TDs

  • In Dalvin Cook’s absence, Alexander Mattison had one of his best games of the season, rushing 21 times for 95 yards and a score. After signing a two-year extension keeping him in Minnesota through 2022, Kirk Cousins had one of his best seasons of his career. He threw three touchdowns on Sunday, giving him 35 on the season, a career high. He also had the third-most passing yards in a season for his career and his best career yards per attempt at 8.3 (minimum 210 attempts/ season).
  • Justin Jefferson was a big reason for his success. With nine catches for 133 yards on Sunday, Jefferson passes Odell Beckham Jr., Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin to set the rookie record for receiving yards. He finishes with seven TD grabs. The Vikings hold the 14th pick.
  • The Lions hold the seventh draft pick after failing to make the playoffs for the fourth straight season. They too are in the midst of a GM search. The Lions are seeking an experienced candidate and have already interviewed ex-Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff. They also have interest in Steelers GM Kevin Colbert and Seahawks GM John Schneider, in an attempt to lure him with roster control. The Lions are set to interview Robert Saleh this week for the head coaching position.

Top Passers:

BAL- L. Jackson, 10-18, 6.27 YPA, 3-1 TD-INT

CIN- B. Allen, 6-21, 2.3 YPA, 0-2 TD-INT

Top Rushers:

BAL- J. Dobbins, 13 carries, 12.3 YPA, 2 TDs

CIN- T. Williams, 4 carries, 18.5 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

BAL- M. Boykin, 1 catch, 43.0 yards per reception, 1 TD

CIN- C. Carter, 1 catch, 21.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Since missing Week 13, Lamar Jackson is now 4-0 as a starter. In that span, Baltimore is averaging 38 points per game. He also is now 13-1 in regular-season games in December and January.
  • JK Dobbins was the leader in the backfield for Baltimore. He averaged over 12 yards on his 13 carries with two TDs, including a 72-yarder in the third quarter, a career long. He has seven touchdowns in the past six games. In total, Baltimore rushed for 404 yards, becoming just the fourth team to rush for 400-plus yards since 1950. With a victory, the Ravens secured the top wild card spot and will play at Tennessee next Sunday.
  • For the Bengals, Brandon Allen was just 6-for-21 for 48 yards and two interceptions. As a team, Cincy was just 1-for-9 on third down. At 4-11-1, they locked in the fifth pick in the 2021 draft as they try to build around Joe Burrow.

Top Passers:

CLE- B. Mayfield, 17-27, 7.3 YPA, 1-0 TD-INT

PIT- M. Rudolph, 22-39, 8.1 YPA, 2-1

Top Rushers:

CLE- N. Chubb, 14 carries, 7.7 YPA, 1 TD

PIT- J. Conner, 9 carries, 4.1 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

CLE- R. Higgins, 2 catches, 22.5 yards per reception, 0 TDs

PIT- C. Claypool, 5 catches, 20.2 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Nick Chubb was the catalyst for the Browns offense early, helping them jump to a 10-0 lead. He opened the scoring with a 47-yard TD run, becoming the first Cleveland running back with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons since Jamal Lewis in 2007-2008. His 12 rushing TDs is the most a single player has had for the franchise since 1968, despite missing four games this season. In the first half, Chubb averaged nearly 12 yards on his seven carries. It is his third straight season averaging over five yards an attempt.
  • Mason Rudolph was making his first start of the season in place of Ben Roethlisberger. Despite averaging over eight yards an attempt, he threw a costly third-quarter interception, allowing Cleveland to take a two-score lead four plays later.
  • The Browns end the longest playoff drought in the NFL and will play in the postseason for the first time since 2002. These teams will meet again on Sunday Night Football in Pittsburgh next week.

Top Passers:

TEN- R. Tannehill, 18-27, 8.0 YPA, 1-0 TD-INT

HOU- D. Watson, 28-39, 9.4 YPA, 3-1

Top Rushers:

TEN- D. Henry, 34 carries, 7.4 YPA, 2 TDs

HOU- D. Johnson, 14 carries, 6.0 YPA, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

TEN- A. Brown, 10 catches, 15.1 yards per reception, 1 TD

HOU- B. Cooks, 11 catches, 15.0 yards per reception, 2 TDs

  • With a victory, Tennessee claimed its first division title since 2008. They continued to rely on their offensive stars. Derrick Henry saw carries on nearly 50% of first-half plays and averaged over 11 yards an attempt. A.J. Brown caught all three of his first-half targets and added a late second-quarter TD. For the game, Henry rushed for 250 yards on 34 carries, becoming the eighth player in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards.
  • Deshaun Watson was excellent in the final game of the season for Houston. He averaged over nine yards a pass and threw three touchdowns. In the absence of Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks continued to emerge as Watson’s favorite target. He caught 11 of his 16 targets for 166 yards and two touchdowns, and 136 of his yards came on first downs.
  • With a 51-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal, Houston was able to tie the game at 38 with just 18 seconds left. On the first play of the following drive, Ryan Tannehill connected with Brown on a 52-yard reception, setting up a game-winning field goal. For the game, he finished with 151 yards.
  • Tennessee advances to play Baltimore at home next Sunday. Houston enters an uncertain offseason, highlighted by a head coach & GM search, along with limited draft capital. They send the No. 3 pick to Miami as part of the Laremy Tunsil trade.

Top Passers:

IND- P. Rivers, 17-27, 6.1 YPA, 1-1 TD-INT

JAX- M. Glennon, 26-42, 6.2 YPA, 2-0

Top Rushers:

IND- J. Taylor, 30 carries, 8.4 YPA, 2 TDs

JAX- D. Ogunbowale, 14 carries, 3.6 YPA, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

IND- N. Hines, 6 catches, 8.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

JAX- C. Conley, 7 catches, 12.4 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • The Colts led start to finish against Jacksonville on Sunday. After a Jags punt to open the game, Indy scored six plays later, aided by a Jonathan Taylor 56-yard run.
  • The rest of the first half was highlighted by Jacksonville mistakes. They punted three times, fumbled, and turned the ball over on downs before scoring a TD to close the half.
  • Two missed field goals and an interception by Philip Rivers allowed Jacksonville to pull within six points, as they tried to claim their first victory since Week 1. After they pulled within six, they punted on their next three possessions before Taylor put the game out of reach with a 45-yard TD rush.
  • Taylor becomes just the third Colts rookie with 1,000 rush yards and 10 rush TDs, joining Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James. He also set the Colts single-game record with 253 rushing yards.
  • Jacksonville is now on the clock with the No. 1 draft pick. Reports out of Jacksonville suggest that the Jags are likely to move on from Doug Marrone as head coach after parting with GM Dave Caldwell earlier this season. Indy plays in Buffalo next Saturday to open the postseason.

Top Passers:

NE- C. Newton, 21-30, 8.1 ypa, 3-0 TD-INT

NYJ- S. Darnold, 23-34, 7.8 ypa, 1-2

Top Rushers:

NE- C. Newton, 11 carries, 7.2 ypa, 0 TDs

NYJ- J. Adams, 11 carries, 4.3 ypa, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

NE- J. Meyers, 6 catches, 11.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

NYJ- B. Perriman, 3 catches, 28.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • By throwing three touchdowns and averaging over eight yards a pass, Cam Newton was able to lead New England to victory in his likely last game with the Patriots. It was Newton’s first pass TD since Week 13 and his first multi-pass TD game all season.
  • New England holds the 15th pick in the draft. New York enters the offseason with a lot of speculation about their future. After going just 9-23 in two seasons, they relieved Adam Gase of his head coaching duties.
  • The Jets will also have to decide on Sam Darnold’s fifth-year option. In his 38 career starts, he is just 13-25 as a starter while averaging 6.6 yards an attempt with 45 TDs and 39 INTs. He has also fumbled 20 times, losing 7.

Top Passers:

NYG- D. Jones, 17-25, 9.2 ypa, 2-1 TD-INT

DAL- A. Dalton, 29-47, 5.2 ypa, 0-1

Top Rushers:

NYG- W. Gallman, 11 carries, 5.9 ypa, 0 TDs

DAL- A. Dalton, 7 carries, 6.9 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

NYG- S. Shepard, 8 catches, 14.0 yards per reception, 1 TD

DAL- D. Schultz, 7 catches, 10.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Both Dallas and New York entered Sunday alive for the NFC East, but each would need a victory and a Washington loss at night. With two second-quarter touchdowns, Daniel Jones was able to give New York a chance at a playoff berth that ultimately ended with a Washington victory. Sterling Sheppard was a bright spot for New York, catching 8 of his 10 targets for 112 yards and a TD. He also added a 23-yard touchdown rush on the Giants first possession. The Giants hold the 11th pick in the draft.
  • Outside of wins against Cincinnati, San Fran and Philadelphia, Dallas severely struggled following Dak Prescott’s injury. They enter the offseason with a well-publicized negotiation with their franchise QB. Extending Prescott with another franchise tag, would cost Dallas $37.7M over one season. They pick one pick ahead of the Giants at 10.

Top Passers:

NO- D. Brees, 22-32, 6.3 YPA, 3-0 TD-INT

CAR- T. Bridgewater, 13-23, 7.7 YPA, 0-2

Top Rushers:

NO- T. Montgomery, 18 carries, 5.8 YPA, 0 TDs

CAR- R. Smith, 10 carries, 4.0 YPA, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

NO- E. Sanders, 9 catches, 7.0 yards per reception, 1 TD

CAR- C. Samuel, 7 catches, 16.9 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Without their entire running back room out, the Saints started Ty Montgomery at running back. He did an excellent job leading the backfield, with over 5.8 yards a carry on 18 touches.
  • Carolina had success moving the ball. Teddy Bridgewater averaged nearly eight yards an attempt, and Carolina became just the second team this season to have two receivers eclipse 1,000 receiving yards (D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson).
  • Despite moving the ball, Carolina was outscored 26-0 after the first quarter. Bridgewater threw two red-zone interceptions, the sixth game the Saints have recorded 2-plus INTs. Bridgewater was replaced by P.J. Walker, who added three more second half interceptions.
  • The Panthers hold the eighth pick in the draft, and the Saints clinch the two seed and will play Chicago Sunday afternoon.

Top Passers:

GB- A. Rodgers, 19-24, 10.0 YPA, 4-0 TD-INT

CHI- M. Trubisky, 33-42, 6.0 YPA, 0-1

Top Rushers:

GB- A. Jones, 11 carries, 3.8 YPA, 1 TD

CHI- D. Montgomery, 22 carries, 3.1 YPA, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

GB- M. Valdes-Scantling, 2 catches, 43.5 yards per reception, 1 TD

CHI- D. Mooney, 11 catches, 8.5 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • With a Packers win, Matt LaFleur became the second head coach in NFL history to guide a team to a first-round bye in each of his first two seasons.
  • Aaron Rodgers continues to dominate the Bears, improving to 21-5 against Chicago in his career. After falling behind 7-0, Rodgers threw TDs on his first three possessions, helping build a 21-13 halftime lead. Rodgers completed his first 11 passes and threw for over 150 yards in the first half. He finished the regular season with 46 passing TDs, a career-high and a single-season Packer record.
  • Robert Tonyan continues to build on his breakout season. After not having more than 10 receptions in a season, he now has 52 catches with 11 touchdown receptions, seven of them occurring in the red zone. Davante Adams finishes with 115 catches on the season, setting a single-season record for Green Bay. He also caught his 18th TD of the season, which ties a Green Bay receiving record.
  • Green Bay locked up the first-round bye in the NFC. Chicago advances to the postseason as the last team in after Arizona fell to the Rams.

Top Passers:

TB- T. Brady, 26-41, 9.7 ypa, 4-1 TD-INT

ATL- M. Ryan, 29-44, 6.0 ypa, 2-0

Top Rushers:

TB- R. Jones, 12 carries, 6.5 ypa, 1 TD

ATL- B. Hill, 9 carries, 10.4 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

TB- A. Brown, 11 catches, 12.5 yards per reception, 2 TDs

ATL- R. Gage, 9 catches, 10.1 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Tom Brady threw four touchdown passes, giving him 40 on the season, just the second time he has accomplished that in his career. Forty TD passes adds to his franchise record after he surpassed Jameis Winston’s record of 33 from last season.
  • The Bucs enter the playoffs scoring 40-plus points in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history. They enter the playoffs having won four straight. In that span, they are averaging 37 points per game, and Brady has thrown 12 TDs-1 INT. They will travel to Washington for the first round of the playoffs.
  • Atlanta enters the offseason with the No. 4 pick. They are in the midst of conducting a GM search and have been linked to three first-time candidates in Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown, Vikings assistant general manager George Paton and Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen (according to They also have been linked to ESPN’s Louis Riddick and former Texans GM Rick Smith.
  • They have interviewed interim head coach Raheem Morris and are set to interview Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy and 49ers DC Robert Saleh for their head coaching vacancy (per CBS).

Top Passers:

DEN- D. Lock, 24-41, 8.27 YPA, 2-0 TD-INT

LVR- D. Carr, 24-38, 9.76 YPA, 2-2 TD-INT

Top Rushers:

DEN- M. Gordon, 26 carries, 3.57 YPA, 1 TD

LVR- J. Jacobs, 15 carries, 5.93 YPA, 2 TDs

Top Receivers:

DEN- J. Jeudy, 5 catches, 28 yards per reception, 1 TD

LVR- D. Waller, 9 catches, 13 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • In one of the two AFC games that had no playoff implications, Derek Carr led a fourth-quarter touchdown drive after getting the ball back with under two minutes left. Vegas converted the two-point conversion on a completion to Darren Waller, to take a one-point lead.
  • According to Adam Schefter, Vic Fangio will return for Denver in 2021. They hold the ninth pick in the draft. Vegas will select 17th, after finishing 7-9.

Top Passers:

LAC- J. Herbert, 22-31, 9.7 YPA, 3-0 TD-INT

KC- C. Henne, 23-32, 6.8 YPA, 2-0

Top Rushers:

LAC- J. Jackson, 9 carries, 8.0 YPA, 0 TDs

KC- D. Thompson, 14 carries, 3.2 YPA, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

LAC- M. Williams, 6 catches, 18.0 yards per reception, 1 TD

KC- D. Thompson, 7 catches, 9.3 yards per reception, 1 TD

  • Without Pat Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Clyde Edwards-Helaire on offense, Kansas City turned to Chad Henne, making his first start since 2014 with Jacksonville. After Henne led two scoring drives to open the game, including throwing his first TD since 2014, Kansas City allowed 24 straight points to L.A.
  • In the first half, Justin Herbert completed 66% of his passes while averaging 7.5 yards a pass. He added three total touchdowns. Herbert now holds the rookie record for completions, TD passes and total TDs in a season. With 4,336 passing yards, he fell just 38 yards short of Andrew Luck’s rookie season record.
  • The Chargers finished the season with four straight wins, including three division wins to improve to 7-9, to help Anthony Lynn build his case to remain the head coach for Los Angeles. If they move on, the vacancy will certainly be an attractive opening. They hold the 13th pick in the NFL Draft.
  • Kansas City will begin the playoffs with the sole bye in the AFC, as they try to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champ since New England in the 2003-2004 seasons.

Top Passers:

LAR- J. Wolford, 22-38, 6.1 ypa, 0-1 TD-INT

ARI- C. Streveler, 10-15, 6.2 ypa, 1-1

Top Rushers:

LAR- J. Wolford, 6 carries, 9.3 ypa, 0 TDs

ARI- K. Drake, 10 carries, 3.6 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

LAR- C. Akers, 4 catches, 13.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

ARI- D. Arnold, 3 catches, 15.3 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Both teams were reeling at quarterback in a game that would determine a wild card spot. John Wolford was making his first career start for L.A. after Jared Goff fractured his thumb last week. Wolford went undrafted out of Wake Forest before leading the Alliance of American Football with 14 passing TDs.
  • On Arizona’s first possession, Kyler Murray was rolled up on during a third-down sack. He would not return until the fourth quarter. Chris Streveler replaced Murray, seeing his first career action. Streveler has been with the Cardinals since training camp after playing two seasons in the CFL. He went undrafted in 2018 out of South Dakota.
  • Arizona was able to capitalize on a Wolford interception to take a 7-0 lead on a Jonathan Ward red-zone touchdown. In the second quarter, Arizona committed a holding penalty in the end zone leading to a safety. Two possessions later, Arizona was driving with under 30 seconds left, but Streveler was intercepted by Troy Hill, who returned it 84 yards for a touchdown, the play of the game for L.A.
  • The Cardinals managed just seven points and were unable to score in the second half despite Murray returning for their final two drives. Arizona has the 16th pick in the draft. Los Angeles advances to face Seattle, but Goff’s availability remains uncertain.

Top Passers:

SEA- R. Wilson, 20-36, 5.0 ypa, 2-0 TD-INT

SF- C. Beathard, 25-37, 7.4 ypa, 1-0

Top Rushers:

SEA- C. Carson, 11 carries, 4.4 ypa, 0 TDs

SF- J. Wilson, 20 carries, 3.8 ypa, 1 TD

Top Receivers:

SEA- T. Lockett, 12 catches, 7.5 yards per reception, 2 TDs

SF- K. Bourne, 5 catches, 15.2 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • Russell Wilson records his 15th win vs. San Fran since 2012, the most by any QB against the Niners in that span. He only averaged five yards a pass attempt, but led two fourth-quarter scoring drives, despite Seattle being locked into the three seed with Saints and Packers victories.
  • Tyler Lockett led Seattle with 12 catches for 90 yards and 2 TDs, including a go-ahead touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the four. He finishes the season with 100 catches, setting a franchise record.
  • DK Metcalf was largely held in check, only recording 21 yards on three catches. He finishes the season with 1,303 receiving yards, passing Steve Largent’s franchise record, set in 1985.
  • Seattle advances to face the Rams at home. A year after making the Super Bowl, San Fran fails to make the playoffs and will have the 12th pick in the draft.

Top Passers:

WAS- A. Smith, 22-32, 5.1 YPA, 2-2 TD-INT

PHI- J. Hurts, 7-20, 3.6 YPA, 0-1

Top Rushers:

WAS- A. Gibson, 19 carries, 3.9 ypa, 0 TDs

PHI- B. Scott, 15 carries, 4.3 ypa, 0 TDs

Top Receivers:

WAS- C. Sims, 5 catches, 8.6 yards per reception, 0 TDs

PHI- J. Arcega-Whiteside, 2 catches, 20.0 yards per reception, 0 TDs

  • The Eagles entered Sunday starting their 14th different offensive line combination, the most in NFL history.
  • After falling behind 10-0, Jalen Hurts led a 10-play drive, ending in a Hurts 6-yard touchdown run, his second career touchdown. After a Washington punt, Hurts led another long drive that ended in his second rushing touchdown to give Philly a 14-10 lead.
  • Washington responded with a Logan Thomas touchdown to the end the half and would not relinquish the lead the rest of the game.
  • Without DeSean Jackson, Miles Sanders, Alshon Jeffery, Dallas Goedert, Jordan Mailata, Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett and Jalen Mills, the Eagles seemingly had no interest in winning. Down three entering the fourth, the Eagles replaced Hurts for Nate Sudfeld, who threw an interception and fumbled on their next two possessions.
  • Washington clinches their first division since 2015. The Eagles failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and will select sixth in the 2021 draft. The NFC East has not had a repeat winner since 2001-2004. (Eagles).
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