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Team Notes week 13 2022
NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS AND OTHER GOOD STUFF
Directly from the desk of FlashUpdate Editor Bob Harris. The good; the bad; and yes. ... Even the Bears. There is no better way to jump start your weekend than browsing these always educational -- often irreverent -- team-by-team, Fantasy-specific offerings. ...
Access specific teams by clicking on a team name in the schedule appearing directly to your left or by clicking on a helmet below; return to the helmets by hitting the link labeled "Menu" following each teams notes. ...
Arizona CardinalsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss reported it, "James Conner had just slid on his sneakers after the Arizona Cardinals' 25-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers when the running back stood up to put on his jacket.
"Conner tried to get up but his body wasn't cooperating. He winced a bit and then put one hand on each side of his locker and pulled himself upright."
Weinfuss went on to explain that's the toll a season-high 25 carries and three catches takes on a body.
It's a workload Conner hasn't experienced since he had 31 carries in a Sept. 2018 overtime tie as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. His effort Sunday paid off with 120 rushing yards -- Conner's first 100-yard game with the Cardinals -- and 20 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Even though Arizona lost, falling to 4-8 with five games left, Conner and his teammates felt his performance was a long time coming.
"The workload, I wanted to get it going, so I was overdue, me personally in the run game just to get something going," Conner said. "But, yeah, it just sucks. Lost the game. So, it wasn't enough."
For most of Sunday's game, Conner controlled the Cardinals on offense and dictated how the Chargers could defend them, which hasn't happened often this season.
The Cardinals haven't been able to rely on the run game to burn clock and control the pace of the game because they've trailed more often than they've led. On Sunday, however, Arizona was the team in control early and Conner was a major factor in that. He had 54 yards in the first quarter.
Getting Conner more involved was part of the game plan, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said.
"When you can get him going early usually is a good sign for our offense," he said.
It was the first time the team had more rushing attempts than passing attempts since a Week 4 win over the Carolina Panthers.
But as Weinfuss added, when the Cardinals needed Conner the most, they didn't use him.
On fourth-and-1 from their own 34 with 7:12 left in the second quarter, the Cardinals called for a pass instead of giving Conner the opportunity to bulldoze his way for the needed inches.
"He's freaking huge," wide receiver A.J. Green said of the 6-1, 233 pound back. "You saw the move he put on the corner. He can make a lot of guys miss. Happy he's on our team."
Quarterback Kyler Murray instead threw an interception, which turned into the Chargers taking the lead, 14-10, with a touchdown shortly thereafter.
The quarterback said Conner's 120 yards were "a step in the right direction as far as the run game."
Arizona's rushing scheme was impacted last weekend when offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Sean Kugler was fired in Mexico City and sent home to Arizona on Monday morning for allegedly touching a woman inappropriately. That left the responsibility of designing the run game up to a committee of assistant coaches, Kingsbury said last week. The Cardinals had just 67 yards rushing in the loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Whatever the design was this week, it worked. Now the Cardinals hope it continues.
The more Conner can run like he did Sunday, the more pressure it'll take off Murray. And the more it'll wear down defenses.
Even in a loss, Conner's showing can be a turning point in an otherwise lost season.
"I think it can be," offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum said. "The light is still on. It's very, very dim, but the light is still on and we have an opportunity to come out of this bye, come out a little healthier and see what we can take it from there."
Meanwhile, Marquise Brown was back on the field. That was good. It was good to pair him with DeAndre Hopkins.
The two combined for 133 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches.
It was going to be difficult to explore that after a heartbreaking loss like Sunday, however.
"It felt like we were fine, we just didn't make enough plays to get it done," Brown told Darren Urban of the team's official website.
Both receivers worked within the slot at times, and there were a couple plays -- like Hopkins' 29-yard catch late in the third quarter, that the two lined up near each other and made the defense pick their poison. Brown had more catches -- six to four -- but Hopkins had 87 yards compared to Brown's 46 and Hopkins' 33-yard catch-spin-and-run touchdown was a thing of beauty.
It may not have been as beautiful as his fourth-quarter, one-handed four-yard catch of an errant Murray throw that seemed destined to make all the highlight shows. Unfortunately it came on one of those three-and-out drives that in the end doomed the Cards.
But they have Hopkins and Hollywood together, and it was fun to watch, and should help the offense the balance of the season.
"It felt good to have them back out there," Murray said. "There were some things we wish we could have back, but to have them back out there on the same field, that was the first time actually. It was good to see them both in action."
But it was the unpredictability they brought to the Cardinals' offense in a last-second loss to the Chargers that sparked the most wonder about what could've been had Hopkins not been suspended for six games and Brown not broken his foot. ...
Indeed, the offense utilized Brown and Hopkins well together and Conner's day led for a very balanced offensive output. The Cards still have four of five missing offensive linemen and their top tight end, and that probably isn't changing.
"We've got to find a way to maximize who we are and what we put out there these last five weeks," Kingsbury said.
But the Cardinals now have a bye week plus -- their next game isn't until Dec. 12, a Monday night home game against the Patriots -- to stew on the outcome and wonder why it ended the way it did.
It's been the story much too often this season.
"It felt like you were going to win that game," Murray said. "The energy, offensively I felt we played well -- until the fourth quarter, when we needed it the most, we didn't make it happen."
Kingsbury is giving the team a week off to recuperate, with the next practice scheduled for next Monday. It remains to be seen if the Cardinals can clear their heads, keep their motivation and be a factor in the playoff race over the final month.
Other notes of interest. ... Robbie Anderson made only his second catch for the Cardinals, and his first for positive yardage -- a 17-yard grab in the first half. His first catch had been a screen that lost four yards.
Greg Dortch was out with his bad thumb, and practice-squad man Pharoh Cooper did a nice job as a return man. Cooper, who returned to the team after a stint in 2019, was a one-time Pro Bowl return man and he still has those skills. A 15-yard punt return helped set up a Matt Prater field-goal drive.
Cooper was the 77th player the Cardinals have used in a game this season, most in the NFL and the exclamation point of all their injuries.
Also according to Urban, Rookie tight end Trey McBride is most certainly still a work-in-progress. At this point, you hope the snaps he is getting generate something good next season. ...
The Cardinals announced they waived wide receiver Andre Baccellia on Monday. Baccellia has bounced between the practice squad and active roster all season, so he likely heads back to the team's practice squad if he clears waivers.
And finally. ... Both Murray and Kingsbury downplayed the NFL Network report that things had been tense between them and the two weeks Murray was out the pair worked out some things.
"There was no tension," Murray said. "This whole season has not gone the way anyone wanted or envisioned it to go. Between me and him though, we're good."
Said Kingsbury, "We've been good. When you're not winning obviously everybody's going to be a little on edge, but I thought he played really well today."
Whatever the case, as they head into their bye week the lack of success this season led to a question for Kingsbury about whether he's worried about his job security.
"I'm not," Kingsbury said after the game.
Kingsbury, like general manager Steve Keim and Murray, signed a contract extension earlier this year, but this season has gone poorly enough that sticking with the status quo may not be a possibility in Arizona.
The next five games could determine just how sweeping the changes will be.
You can access complete stats for the Cardinals Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Kyler Murray, Clayton Tune
RBs: James Conner, Michael Carter, Emari Demercado
WRs: Marquise Brown, Michael Wilson, Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch, Zach Pascal
TEs: Trey McBride, Geoff Swaim, Zach Ertz
Atlanta FalconsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
According to ESPN.com's Michael Rothstein, it was the look the Falcons wanted. Running back Cordarrelle Patterson was open in the end zone to potentially take the lead Sunday afternoon, with less than a minute to play.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota let the pass go and then the exact opposite of what the Falcons planned for took place. Defensive lineman Daron Payne's left hand tipped what might have been a touchdown pass into the air. Cornerback Kendall Fuller came diving in, picking it off in front of Patterson.
While one play never truly determines an NFL game, Washington's 19-13 win over Atlanta hinged at least partially on that one.
"We had a wide open look that we liked," head coach Arthur Smith said. "They made a play."
When the regular season concludes six weeks from now, it might feel like one of the opportunities missed out on most if Atlanta ends up out of the postseason.
Had Atlanta won Sunday, it would have once again been .500 and held tiebreakers for wild cards over three teams -- Seattle, San Francisco and Washington. Atlanta would have had a half-game lead in the NFC South.
Instead, Atlanta is a half-game back of Tampa Bay (5-6), which lost to Cleveland in overtime.
Those seemingly fleeting wild-card chances took a hit too as the Falcons, at 5-7, are now two wins back of the No. 7 Commanders at 7-5.
The loss came on a day where Washington and Atlanta played so similarly.
Both focused on the ground and Washington outrushed Atlanta, 176-167, although the Falcons had a better yards per carry average (5.8 to 4.8). The quarterbacks -- Mariota and Taylor Heinicke -- had similar numbers. The teams had similar total yardage (Atlanta 332 yards, Washington 314) and similar third-down percentage (41.7 percent for Washington, 40 percent for Atlanta).
Neither pressured the quarterback much. Both had an interception and three passes defended. It was close to an equal game. Until the end, where the Commanders made one more play.
On the play, Patterson was open when Mariota started his throwing motion. Payne was engaged with right guard Chris Lindstrom, not appearing to have a shot at batting down the ball. Mariota threw it. As he did, Payne disengaged his left arm, raised it up and knocked the ball in the air.
"Sometimes you can kind of feel defenders in your face," Mariota said. "But it's hard to say you're kind of thinking about that in that moment."
It was just Mariota's second red zone interception of his career.
It's possible it feels like this could be one of those big missed opportunities for the Falcons only in the moment because there have been a few this season -- a 16-point blown lead in Week 1 against New Orleans, a comeback falling short in Week 2 against the Rams, the roughing-the-passer that wasn't called against Tampa in Week 5 and the back-and-forth end in Week 9 against the Chargers.
That's the thing. Atlanta has hung around in almost every game this season. The Falcons have been competitive in a year when most thought they wouldn't be. And they still have a chance at the postseason, partially because of the poor play of the NFC South.
Which is why Sunday might burn a little more because against another team fighting for a wild-card berth, it could really end up costing them. Or not. We just won't know for about another month.
"In no way are we out of this thing," offensive lineman Jake Matthews said. "All I can say is, being this fresh off of it, frustrating. Absolutely expected to punch that in at the end and win it.
"And unfortunately it didn't happen."
The goals this week?
As Associated Press sports writer George Henry suggested, shore up the passing game and run defense and get ready to face Pittsburgh on Sunday before getting a bye. ...
Other notes of interest. ... Rookie wideout Drake London, the eighth overall draft pick, had his second straight game with fewer than five targets and ended the day with two catches for 29 yards. He has yet to top 40 yards receiving since Week 3.
Olamide Zaccheaus led the receivers group with five catches for 91 yards.
Each of his five catches on the day resulted in first downs helping Atlanta move the chains consistently.
With the Falcons not having one of its offensive weapons in Kyle Pitts, Zaccheaus stepped up when it mattered most.
"It's tough. It's tough without Kyle, right?" Mariota said. "He's just an unbelievable player and I thought multiple guys stepped up into that role. You have to when you're replacing a guy like Kyle, whether it's (Zaccheaus), whether it's (MyCole Pruitt), and (Anthony Firkser). I thought our guys came out and filled that role nicely. Unfortunately we just didn't make enough plays."
Along with Zaccheaus' offensive production, Pruitt scored his second touchdown of the season and delivered Atlanta its first touchdown against the Commanders in the second quarter.
The receiving corps as a whole accumulated a total of 174 yards through the air, with tight ends Firkser, Hesse, and Pruitt all getting touches.
Yet, Zaccheaus' impact for this Falcons offense shined against the Commanders and continues to show well throughout the season. According to the Nerdy Birds report, he ranked second in the NFL in yards per target, averaging 12.1 yards while also ranking sixth in the league with a 76 first down percentage heading into Sunday's game.
Now, entering Week 13, Zaccheaus leads the Falcons' receiving corps with 30 receptions for 465 yards, two touchdowns while averaging 15.5 yards a catch.
Creating separation and finding soft spots within defenses has been key for the Virginia product this year.
"I think for me, it's just understanding what they're in and understanding the concepts," he said. "Just understanding where people might be when you catch the ball and just kind of taking a picture of where you catch the ball and assessing after that."
Zaccheaus' offensive production will continue to be relied upon as the season progresses, especially with Pitts on injured reserve the next three games at least. ...
Mariota was just 15 of 25 passing for 174 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
As for the backfield. ... The game script was fine with Atlanta playing close in a one-score game and almost taking a fourth-quarter lead, but that wasn't enough to help Patterson put together a quality performance.
The running game accounted for 167 yards.
Running backs Tyler Allgeier and Patterson combined for 106 yards on 11 carries apiece. Mariota added 49 yards on six carries.
Patterson added three receptions on five targets for 19 yards.
Patterson continued to see his workload monitored carefully, as he's now seen between 10 and 13 carries in three of his four games since returning from a knee injury. He also managed gains of 21, 15 and 13 yards to top 50 rushing yards for the second consecutive game.
Patterson's involvement as a pass catcher was also encouraging, as his five targets matched his highest mark of the season.
Finally. ... Smith told reporters on Wednesday that Pitts will be out for the rest of the season after undergoing a knee procedure this week.
Pitts went on injured reserve with a reported torn MCL on Nov. 21. Pitts’ recovery time was to be determined by the outcome of the surgery.
“Nothing that concerns us going into 2023,” Smith said of Pitts, via Tori McElhaney of the team’s website.
As Profootballtalk.com notes, Atlanta’s passing offense has generally been down in 2022 after transitioning from Matt Ryan to Mariota at quarterback. But Pitts’ production in particular took a hit.
After recording 68 catches for 1,026 yards as a rookie in 2021, Pitts finishes 2022 with just 28 receptions for 356 yards with two touchdowns. His yards per reception went down from 15.1 to 12.7, catch percentage was down from 61.8 percent to 47.5 percent, and yards per target was down from 9.3 to 6.0.
You can access complete stats for the Falcons Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Desmond Ridder, Taylor Heinicke, Logan Woodside
RBs: Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson
WRs: Drake London, Mack Hollins, KhaDarel Hodge, Van Jefferson, Scott Miller, Jared Bernhardt, Josh Ali
TEs: Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, MyCole Pruitt, John FitzPatrick
Baltimore RavensCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
Lamar Jackson didn't seem to handle losing to Jacksonville very well. He certainly didn't want anyone blaming him for Baltimore's 28-27 setback to the Jaguars that ended with Justin Tucker missing a 67-yard field goal.
Jackson blasted a fan on Twitter for suggesting the Ravens let the star quarterback leave in free agency at the end of this season because "games like this should not come down to" Tucker.
The fan added "Let Lamar walk and spend that money on a well-rounded team."
Jackson snapped back using profane and inflammatory language, saying the fan "never smelt a football field" before later deleting his response.
"I don't like losing," Jackson said after the game. "Nobody likes losing, but it is what it is."
Jackson completed 16 of 32 passes for 254 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 14 times for 89 yards and lost a fumble. His receiving corps dropped at least four passes, including ones by Mark Andrews and Demarcus Robinson in the end zone.
The Ravens (7-4) settled for three short field goals in five trips inside the 20-yard line and were 1 for 3 in goal-to-go situations.
"Just have to score more points, try to score more points early, if anything," Jackson said. "Try not to miss the opportunities. We missed a few opportunities out there. That's it."
Jackson put the Ravens in position to win late, though.
As ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley reported it, down by one point with four minutes remaining, Jackson converted a second-and-20 with his best pass of the season. He uncorked a 62-yard throw to 35-year-old wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had gotten behind two defenders.
Before that throw, Jackson was having one of his worst passing games (13-of-29 for 168 yards). Jackson entered this game completing just 24 percent of his throws that traveled more than 20 yards in the air (which was better than only the benched Zach Wilson in the NFL).
Jackson then finished off the drive hitting Josh Oliver for a 12-yard score, his first touchdown pass since Nov. 7. He then added a 2-point conversion to Andrews. And even after the Jaguars answered and took a one-point lead with their own 2-point conversion, Jackson put Baltimore in position for Tucker's winning kick.
"I think the kick has a better chance than a Hail Mary," head coach John Harbaugh said.
Tucker's 67-yarder, which would have been a yard longer than his NFL record, came up several yards shy of the crossbar. Jacksonville players flooded the field -- and at least one jumped into the stands -- to celebrate.
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for Baltimore. Harbaugh and the Ravens bemoaned the red-zone struggles.
"We got stopped," Harbaugh said. "You try to call your best plays. Sometimes you think you can run it in -- you run it in, it doesn't work -- sometimes you try to pass it in. We just didn't do a good job in the red zone is the bottom line.
"You go down there and kick, what, four field goals? That's tough. Those are big trips down there, and obviously touchdowns are what you're looking for. It's something we have to improve on going forward. That's really important for us."
Gus Edwards ran for 52 yards and a touchdown, but he also fumbled late, leading to a field goal.
Oliver finished with four receptions for 76 yards and a score in his return to Jacksonville, the team that drafted him in the third round in 2019. The Jaguars traded Oliver to Baltimore after two injury-filled seasons.
Still, the game came down to a few plays and ended with another close loss for the Ravens, who thought they had turned a corner after a slow start to the season.
"Really not trying to brush off anything anymore, really not trying to lose at all," Jackson said. "We don't want to have close games. We need to do what we do."
The Ravens have a good chance to move back ahead of Cincinnati. Baltimore hosts Denver (3-8) next weekend, while the Bengals face AFC-leading Kansas City. ...
Other notes of interest. ... What's going on with the Ravens in the red zone?
As Hensley put it, "The Baltimore offense is keeping lesser teams in games by failing to finish off drives."
The Ravens are 3-of-9 in the red zone the last two games, including 2-of-5 on Sunday. Jackson is struggling inside the 20-yard line after excelling there for years. Over the last two weeks, Jackson is 2-of-10 passing for 17 yards in the red zone. From 2018 to 2021, Jackson had completed 60.2 percent of his red-zone passes, throwing 59 touchdowns and two interceptions. ...
Edwards, Robinson and Devin Duvernay all played through questionable designations without any apparent issues.
Edwards led the running backs playing 50 percent of the offensive snaps after a two-game absence. His powerful one-yard touchdown run gave Baltimore a 19-10 lead in the third quarter. However, his crucial fourth-quarter fumble set up a Jaguars field goal that gave them a late lead.
Kenyan Drake (two carries, two yards) and Justice Hill (one carry, three yards) had limited opportunities. ...
Now, after undergoing an arthroscopic knee surgery to remove scar tissue related to his previous knee procedure, J.K. Dobbins would return to practice this week.
Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference that Dobbins will participate "to some degree."
"I'm not sure exactly what they'll let him do, so we'll see," Harbaugh said.
Dobbins started four games earlier this season but averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. He totaled 123 yards rushing with a touchdown and caught six passes for 39 yards.
As a rookie in 2020, he averaged 6.0 yards per carry.
While Baltimore currently ranks No. 2 in rushing yards, a healthy Dobbins, who was indeed on the practice field Wednesday, would still be a boost to a unit that has Edwards, Drake and Hill.
And finally. ... Harbaugh said he spoke with Jackson on Monday about the star quarterback's profane postgame tweet, saying the language Jackson used was out of character.
Jackson, meanwhile, insisted on Twitter that he did not intend to disrespect anyone's sexual orientation and has never done so.
Harbaugh said he heard about Jackson's tweet Sunday night and talked to him Monday morning.
"We talk a lot about football, but we also talk a little bit about that stuff too -- what goes on in terms of the media and everything, and really, it's just, beg guys not to get into the Twitter world right after the game, especially after a loss," Harbaugh said. "It's never going to be positive. It's not going to be a nice place, and I think that's kind of reflected in Lamar's response.
"... He wants to win. I'm sure he's frustrated, just like we all are, and that's just a place you just don't want to live right after a game. I know he understands that."
You can access complete stats for the Ravens Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley, Josh Johnson
RBs: Gus Edwards, Keaton Mitchell, Justice Hill, J.K. Dobbins
WRs: Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, Tylan Wallace
TEs: Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar, Mark Andrews
Buffalo BillsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As the team's official website put it: "Patriots week is here, and that means the offense is getting ready to be tested by a divisional opponent with a tough defense."
New England is allowing teams to put up less than 20 points a game and is also taking the ball away at a top five rate.
One player who's allowed them to play at such a high level is linebacker Matt Judon. The LB leads the NFL with 13 sacks.
As quarterback Josh Allen prepares for Thursday, he knows he'll have to be ready for Judon and New England's multiple looks on defense.
"He's a game wrecker right now," Allen said of Judon. "I think he leads the league in sacks. Their secondary -- it's a Patriots secondary, guys that are smart, tough football players that can play multiple spots. They play man from zone looks and zone from man looks, and I think that's why a lot of people struggle against them.
"They can show you so many different things and do so many different things. So trusting our base rules, trusting my eyes and making the smart decision and living to fight another down."
Allen said it'll be important for him to not predetermine anything pre-snap and wait until after the snap to decide what defense they're in and where he's going with the football.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs said it's important for the team to really focus on the details this week when playing against a defense that always seems to be in the right place at the right time. That ability has allowed the Patriots to be a top 10 defense as they allow an average of 109.3 rushing yards per game and 198.5 passing yards per game.
Diggs said one thing he can do to make life easier for Allen on Thursday is being there for his QB.
"Just getting open and having good body language, I would say," Diggs said. "Josh likes to see that early and often. And having that good body language to really show you being in the right place at the right time and trusting that he'll find you."
Buffalo's schedule has been anything but easy lately.
From a snowstorm to a short week to back-to-back Thursday games, this team has had everything thrown their way. The group has three games in 12 days and thinks what's been the most helpful during this time is knowing this season has been anything but common.
"We had game one, then went straight to a Monday night, had a Sunday night and had a four o'clock Sunday game," Allen said. "We've just been so up in the air with our schedule. I think Coach McDermott's done such a great job of being smart with how we're practicing. When we're going full pads, when to give guys a little bit of a break. When you have a coach that's willing to do that and make sure guys are well rested, guys appreciate that.
"So I think it's the leadership that we have on this team. It starts with Coach Sean McDermott and making sure that guys are ready to go."
Whatever the case, even if the Bills offense has some issues, but their stars performed when they needed them which is an important step.
Heading into their Thanksgiving Day win over the Lions, Buffalo was 1-9 when trailing in the fourth quarter over the last two years. But Allen and Diggs led the unit downfield on back-to-back drives, connecting on five targets for 65 yards and a score on the final two drives to win the game.
But improving in the red zone remains a priority for the offense.
Worth noting. ... Defensive end Von Miller won't play on Thursday night against the Patriots. He could play the following Sunday against the Jets.
Miller disclosed his status in the latest episode of The VonCast.
"I did get hurt," Miller said. "You know, the news is not the best of news. But it's definitely not the worst of news. It's kind of like in the middle.
"I didn't tear my ACL. That was the huge part of it. But I do have some lateral meniscus damaged, and it's going to have to be addressed. But I do feel like I can play through that. So I'm going to wait a little, let the swelling go down for about 7-10 days and hopefully right before the Jets game, I will be back."
It sounds as if he'll need to have surgery at some point. But it sounds as if he'll be able to keep going, eventually, despite the injury.
The Bills obviously need him. He was signed to be a difference maker in 2022, and the time is coming for him to make the ultimate difference, as the team inches toward another postseason run.
Elsewhere on the injury front. ... In addition to Miller, left tackle Dion Dawkins is going to miss Thursday night’s game.
The Bills released their final injury report ahead of their matchup with the Bills and it shows that Dawkins has been ruled out. Dawkins missed practice all week with the ankle injury that he suffered against the Lions on Thanksgiving.
David Quessenberry replaced Dawkins in that game.
Tight end Quintin Morris (illness) is listed as questionable after returning for a full practice on Wednesday.
While Dawkins and Miller are out, the Bills are set to get four others back after they missed last week. Defensive end A.J. Epenesa (ankle), linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (groin, heel), center Mitch Morse (elbow, ankle), and defensive end Greg Rousseau (ankle) are all off the injury report.
I'll follow up on any injury issues via Late-Breaking Update in advance of Thursday night's kickoff.
You can access complete stats for the Bills Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Josh Allen
RBs: James Cook, Latavius Murray, Ty Johnson
WRs: Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Khalil Shakir, Trent Sherfield, Deonte Harty
TEs: Dalton Kincaid, Quintin Morris, Dawson Knox
Carolina PanthersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's David Newton reported, interim coach Steve Wilks didn't need an extra day to evaluate the film to say quarterback Sam Darnold played well enough in Sunday's 23-10 victory over the Denver Broncos to get another start in two weeks against the Seattle Seahawks.
"Yes, he does start at Seattle," Wilks said without hesitation.
Darnold, making his first start since last year's season finale at Tampa Bay, completed 11 of 19 pass attempts for 164 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown, rolling into the end zone after recovering his own fumble at the 2.
Most importantly to Wilks, Darnold didn't commit a turnover and he wasn't sacked for only the third time in 51 career games since entering the NFL in 2018 as the third-overall pick by the New York Jets.
Baker Mayfield, who won the starting job over Darnold in training camp, had six interceptions to six touchdowns in going 1-5 as the starter. P.J. Walker had three interceptions to three touchdowns in going 2-3.
"He did a good job," Wilks said of Darnold. "He managed the game, ran the offense efficiently, connected down the field at times, moved the pocket and he did a great job of getting outside."
Managing the game is all Wilks wants with his defense playing at a high level.
All Darnold wants to do is win and feel comfortable doing it.
"It took a couple of plays for me to finally feel comfortable out there," said Darnold, who began the season on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. "Once I got my feet wet a little bit and threw my first completion, it was smooth sailing, especially with the way we were running the ball."
The Panthers rushed for 185 yards on 46 carries against a defense giving up only 115.3 yards rushing a game. The defense did the rest, holding the Broncos to 246 yards and only three points until a late touchdown.
Wilks believes that's the formula that will help the Panthers (4-8) stay relevant in the NFC South, which is led by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6).
"We talk about it all the time," said Wilks, who is 3-4 since Matt Rhule was fired after a 1-4 start. "When I say manage the game, I'm talking about being smart, not forcing it in there. Always ready to take your check down, particularly when get in field goal range, not taking a sack. Just being aware of the situations. He did a good job of that today."
Darnold's performance likely meant Mayfield has played his last snap for the Panthers, barring injuries. Walker should be ready to return from a high ankle sprain after the bye and is expected to be Darnold's backup.
That means Mayfield, unless the Panthers opt to release him, would be inactive against the Seahawks.
Darnold, in the final year of his rookie deal, on Sunday began putting himself in position to at least be considered for a role with Carolina next year. The Panthers are expected to select a quarterback with a first-round pick.
"As long as I get to play football, I'm happy," Darnold said.
As long as he keeps doing exactly what Wilks envisioned -- and what former coach Matt Rhule needed -- playing within the system, getting the ball to receiver D.J. Moore, avoiding mistakes and letting the defense do the rest, Darnold isn't going anywhere.
But it's fair to wonder if Mayfield be on the roster in two weeks?
Carolina has seen all it needs of Mayfield, 1-5 as the starter. That Mayfield has continued to exhibit leadership could keep him on the roster. But with the Week 13 bye, this might be a good time to release him, sign a young quarterback to the practice squad and get him ready for an emergency situation.
Next up, the Panthers get a needed week off with a late-season bye this week, which should help them regroup for the stretch run and overcome some illnesses that have plagued the locker room in recent weeks.
The Panthers are only 1 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6), so the division is up for grabs.
Given all that, Associated Press sports writer Steve Reed believes Wilks is building a solid case to become the next full-time head coach of the Carolina Panthers.
Wilks became the team's interim head coach on Oct. 10, inheriting a team that was floundering at 1-4 under Rhule. The Panthers have gone 3-4 since.
Wilks has clearly won the support of the players in the locker room, but what's still uncertain is if his current body of work will be enough to convince billionaire owner David Tepper to lift the interim tag.
Tepper hasn't discussed Wilks' future publicly and there are still five games remaining in the season -- all of which could go a long way toward determining Wilks' fate.
What would help Wilks' cause would be getting some wins against quality opponents, winning on the road -- the Panthers are 0-5 away from Bank of America Stadium -- and capturing the NFC South.
Wilks said he communicates with Tepper regularly, but those conversations have been focused on what the team is doing now.
"We don't get into the future," Wilks said. "I'm not about the future right now. It's about winning the day. As I've said from day one, I've got 13 weeks and I'm going to try to do it my way within those 13 weeks and whatever happens at the end, we'll deal with it."
Players have come to realize that the "Wilks way" includes brutal honesty.
Last week, for instance, he challenged his star players to step up during a team meeting, going as far as to put each of their pictures and names up on the wall for all to see. Players said they didn't feel as if they were being called out in a negative way.
The Panthers responded with a solid win with several star players such as Brian Burns, Moore and D'Onta Foreman playing huge roles in the victory.
"It lets you know how highly he thinks of the star players on this team and he wants us to play to our potential," said Burns, who had two sacks and a forced fumble on Sunday. "Guys took that into consideration and went out there and balled. Whatever he did worked."
"I feel like that sheer honesty is respected amongst men," Darnold said.
Meanwhile, the offensive line continues to improve as well.
In fact, Reed points out group has seen as much improvement since last season. The additions of veteran free agents Austin Corbett and Bradley Bozeman along with first-round pick Ickey Ekwonu have helped fortify the line and reinvigorated the running game.
Carolina ran for 185 yards against the Broncos and Foreman has now had four 100-yard rushing games in the past six outings.
"We have found our identity," Darnold said of running the football.
There are issues.
Despite their success on the ground, the Panthers continue to struggle on third downs, converting just 2 of 12 attempts in the win over the Broncos. They remain last in the league in that category, converting just 27 percent of their opportunities.
They'll undoubtedly work on that over the bye.
One last note here. ... Carolina's tight ends, Tommy Tremble (49), Ian Thomas (38) and Stephen Sullivan (15), combined for 102 snaps, their most as a group this season.
You can access complete stats for the Panthers Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Bryce Young, Andy Dalton
RBs: Chuba Hubbard, Miles Sanders, Raheem Blackshear
WRs: Adam Thielen, Jonathan Mingo, D.J. Chark, Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Mike Strachan
TEs: Hayden Hurst, Tommy Tremble, Ian Thomas, Giovanni Ricci
Chicago BearsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
The Bears left open the possibility that Justin Fields could return to the starting lineup against the Packers this week. After the team's 31-10 loss to the Jets, head Matt Eberflus said that he thought Fields would remain day-to-day, and if Fields continued progressing in his recovery from a shoulder injury, then he'd have the opportunity to play in Week 13.
"We think that he's getting better every single day," Eberflus said. "He felt better every single day. At game time today he wasn't ready to perform and protect himself. I suspect we'll see where it goes."
Fields warmed up on Sunday to see if he was healthy enough to play against the Jets. But after he made a few test passes, the team decided to make him inactive.
"It really comes down to one thing: his strength," Eberflus said. "He didn't have the strength to protect himself in the game properly, and to perform the way that he wanted to perform."
Fields hurt his shoulder in the waning moments of Week 11's loss to the Falcons. He spent the next week as a limited participant in practice, and was officially questionable to play against the Jets.
After the Packers game, the Bears have their bye week.
In addition, Eberflus revealed Monday that receiver Darnell Mooney likely will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the ankle injury he sustained in Sunday's loss.
Mooney was hurt while blocking on David Montgomery's 13-yard run from the Bears' 1 early in the second half when a Jets player rolled up the back of the receiver's left leg.
"It's unfortunate," Eberflus said. "Mooney did a great job blocking on that. It was a second effort. Obviously a really good run by David. A guy ended up trying to tackle him and swung around … and his leg was there."
Mooney leads the Bears with 40 receptions for 493 yards and two touchdowns. The third-year pro caught just 10 passes for 173 yards in the first five games but had 30 receptions for 320 yards in his last seven contests.
"I think he's done a great job," Eberflus said. "It was a slow start for everybody. Once we got going into the offense, I think he really started to shine. He's outstanding at blocking the perimeter. He had a really nice connection with Justin [Fields] throughout that stretch.
"He's our leading receiver. But more importantly he's a great teammate. He's a great leader. No one puts more yards in than Darnell Mooney, I'll promise you that. He laps people. He doubles them up. That's what the numbers tell me. His speed and his numbers are outstanding. He works extremely hard.
"What I told him yesterday was, 'Hey, just hang in there. Things happen. Still be around. We want you to be around and be in that leadership role and helping the younger players out.' He's a great Bear, for sure."
Losing Mooney was a major blow to the Bears offense.
"I mean just his attitude, you feel it in the building," said tight end Cole Kmet. "He just brings light in the room, a great leader, a dude that everyone seems to gravitate towards. So whenever you lose a guy like that in the huddle it's definitely tough for the team. He's a great playmaker but just his attitude and how he approaches his day-to-day is just really special."
Receivers Equanimeous St. Brown and Chase Claypool had minor injuries Eberflus didn't want to reveal, and are day to day; more on both players and Fields via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
Looking ahead, it's worth noting that Claypool made a real impact downfield for the first time with catches of 31 and 20 yards. The 31-yarder set up their first touchdown.
The running game was also a factor.
In fact, it worked surprisingly well even without Fields and injured running back Khalil Herbert. The Bears ran 29 times for 127 yards. Montgomery had 79 yards on 14 attempts. The 127 yards were six over the league average, but well below their league-leading average of 192 yards a game because of Fields' absence.
Meanwhile, Trevor Siemian, who started against the New York Jets in place of Fields, said he was "embarrassed" to sustain an injury during pregame warm-ups that momentarily put his status for Sunday's game in question.
"Honestly, I'm more embarrassed to get an injury," Siemian said. "I've got guys in there that are playing -- what are we at? Week 12, 13? -- going through hell and I had like a noncontact thing show up. Not ideal, but everybody's going through something at this point of the year."
Siemian said he felt something "flare up" in his oblique area while he was throwing pregame and received medicine, not an injection, in the locker room to help him play through the pain.
The Bears initially designated Siemian as their backup quarterback while announcing Nathan Peterman would start against the Jets.
Peterman was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster on Saturday.
Ultimately, Siemian started and played the entirety of Sunday's loss and completed 14 of his 25 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception. While he admitted that his oblique injury bothered him "a little bit" during the game, Siemian said it did not hinder his ability to function in the offense.
"I could play," he said. "I could do everything I needed to do."
Fields, who was questionable against the Jets because of a separated left shoulder, also warmed up at MetLife Stadium but was not cleared by the Bears' medical staff to play in Sunday's game. Siemian said he did not know officially until Sunday morning that he would be starting but knew there was "a good chance" given Fields' shoulder injury and limited reps in practice. ...
Given all that, it's worth noting that Eberflus said at a pre-practice press conference that Fields would be limited Wednesday and that Siemian would be held out. Peterman was slated to split first team work with Fields and the Bears have also signed Tim Boyle off of the Lions practice squad to increase their options at quarterback.
I'll have more on Fields and Siemian via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
Finally. ... Safety Eddie Jackson left Sunday's game with what the team believes was a significant Lisfranc injury, according to NFL Network.
Both Jackson and Mooney were placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. They'll miss at least four games, but neither player is expected to see the field again this season.
You can access complete stats for the Bears Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Justin Fields, Tyson Bagent, Nathan Peterman
RBs: Khalil Herbert, D'Onta Foreman, Roschon Johnson, Travis Homer, Khari Blasingame
WRs: D.J. Moore, Darnell Mooney, Tyler Scott, Velus Jones Jr., Trent Taylor, Equanimeous St. Brown
TEs: Cole Kmet, Robert Tonyan, Marcedes Lewis, Jake Tonges
Cincinnati BengalsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
The streaking Cincinnati Bengals should have Ja'Marr Chase back for Week 13's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Chase is expected to return this week after missing the past four games due to a hip injury, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday, per a source informed of the plan.
The star wideout was close to returning for Sunday's 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans, but the Bengals played it safe.
Last week, Chase was limited in practice and listed as questionable before being ruled out.
Getting the second-year pro back for the stretch run would be a big boon for the Bengals' playoff chances. In seven games this season, Chase has surpassed the 125-yard barrier three times. He has 605 total receiving yards on 47 catches with six touchdowns on the season.
Meanwhile, head coach Zac Taylor said Monday that Joe Mixon remains in concussion protocol but is making progress, Ben Baby of ESPN.com reported.
In fact, ESPN's Adam Schefter chimed in on Monday, reporting that Mixon "is trending in the direction" of being able to play Sunday.
Mixon suffered a concussion during the second quarter of Week 11 and was sidelined for Week 12, paving the way for Samaje Perine to lead Cincinnati's backfield.
The good news?
Although he's still in the protocol, Mixon was scheduled to practice at some level on Wednesday.
Winners of three straight, the Bengals moved to the No. 6 seed in the AFC following Sunday's win and pulled even with the Ravens at 7-4 in the AFC North.
And, as Associated Press sports writer Mitch Stacy suggested, Joe Burrow is cementing his reputation for being able to use whatever he's got and do whatever is necessary -- sometimes just enough -- to win.
With Chase and Mixon watching from the sidelines in Nashville, the quarterback leaned on receiver Tee Higgins, Perine and little-used players such as running back Trayveon Williams and receiver Trenton Irwin.
Burrow and the Bengals gritted out the win, supported by a physical defense that limited Derrick Henry, one of the NFL's best backs, to 38 rushing yards.
"This is the kind of game that great teams win," Burrow said. "It's not always going to be pretty. It's the NFL. It's not going to be pretty all the time."
With Baltimore's loss at Jacksonville, Cincinnati is tied with the Ravens for first place in the AFC North.
The AFC West-leading Chiefs visit Sunday.
"I think it was a game that we just needed to win," Taylor said. "Our guys were ready to roll, (we) had a great mindset. We know we've got another big one next week."
Perine gained a season-high 58 yards on 17 carries. Williams caught a 24-yard pass late in the first half to set up a 7-yard TD run by Perine.
Irwin, on third-and-12 from the Tennessee 43 in the fourth quarter, moved the chains with a fantastic 16-yard sideline catch, setting up Burrow's 27-yard TD toss to Higgins.
Burrow doesn't care about style points. He's protecting the ball and adapting to what defenses are giving him. Against the Titans, he was 22 of 37 for 270 yards and a TD, using seven different receivers. He also ran for 32 yards and was sacked only once.
"We wouldn't trade our quarterback for anybody on the planet," Taylor said.
There are issues: A half dozen penalties in the first half cost the Bengals 46 yards and killed some momentum. They finished the game with nine for 80 yards.
In addition, Cincinnati was just 5 for 14 on third downs.
But Higgins had a great game as the go-to guy in the absence of Chase, catching seven passes for 114 yards. That included a 24-yard grab to move the chains and then the leaping 27-yard catch that gave Cincinnati a 20-13 lead in the fourth quarter.
The Bengals will obviously get a boost if Mixon and Chase are ready to go when they host Patrick Mahomes and the 9-2 Chiefs on Sunday. A week later, the Bengals will get another chance at the Browns, who stunned them 32-13 on Halloween night.
I'll have more on Mixon and Chase, who worked on a limited basis Wednesday, via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
In a related note. ... Baby believes and argument can be mad that Perine should remain involved in the offense even after Mixon returns. The numbers might not suggest it, but Perine was efficient throughout the game, scoring a touchdown. Between Perine, Williams and Chris Evans, Cincinnati has some reliable depth at running back.
Part of that success has come thanks to the offensive line.
The state of that unit was a big issue last season and it was a focus of offseason work in Cincinnati, but the start of the season didn't show much sign of improvement.
Burrow was sacked 13 times in back-to-back losses to open the season and the team's run game wasn't in top form, either.
As Profootballtalk.com notes, that has changed in recent weeks.
Burrow has been sacked four times in the last three games and they've run for 411 yards over that span. The Bengals have won all three of those contests and Burrow sang the praises of the offensive line when he spoke to reporters after the game.
"They're playing as good as anybody in the league," Burrow said, via the team's transcript. "Our run game has really taken off. Our protection was awesome today. I had so much time in the pocket to be able to find guys or try to find an escape route and go make plays with my legs. I am so proud of those guys for how they are playing."
The win over the Titans was a rematch from last year's playoffs and the Bengals will have another one against the Chiefs in Week 13. They'll need the offensive line to remain sharp in order to extend their winning streak to four games.
You can access complete stats for the Bengals Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jake Browning, Joe Burrow
RBs: Joe Mixon, Trayveon Williams, Chris Evans, Chase Brown
WRs: Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Trenton Irwin, Andrei Iosivas, Charlie Jones
TEs: Irv Smith Jr., Tanner Hudson, Drew Sample, Mitchell Wilcox
Cleveland BrownsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
Deshaun Watson is officially the Browns' starting quarterback.
The Browns returned Watson to the active roster on Monday following the end of his 11-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
To make room for Watson, the Browns waived QB Joshua Dobbs.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed to reporters on Monday that Watson would start their Week 13 game and Jacoby Brissett would return to a backup role.
"I think Deshaun has the support of his teammates, has the support of this organization," Stefanski said. "Right now his focus, my focus is on this Houston game."
Watson was one of the most prolific passers in the league prior to his last start in 2020 and entered 2022 having recorded the highest completion percentage in NFL history (67.8 percent) among all players with at least 1,500 passing attempts. He also became the first player in NFL history to record consecutive seasons (2018-19) with at least 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns and was the first player in NFL history to surpass 10,000 career passing yards and 1,000 career rushing yards in his first 40 games.
Watson led the league with 4,823 passing yards in 2020.
The Browns are looking for a playoff push with Watson now under center and are in position to build one after their 23-17 overtime win over the Buccaneers on Sunday.
"Deshaun is going to come in and be Deshaun," wide receiver Amari Cooper said Sunday. "We've seen that greatness on display a multitude of times. You kind of are who you are -- it's not like he's just gonna deviate from being that great player. We see it all the time, even when he's on the practice field. You practice how you play. So can't wait for him to get back, can't wait to practice with him. Can't wait to catch some balls from him."
Watson has been able to practice with the Browns since Nov. 14 and has been allowed to work out with the team's training staff, attend meetings and meet individually with coaches since Oct. 10.
And now the Browns will finally get a return on the investment they made to get Watson.
From draft picks surrendered to fully-guaranteed dollar committed to P.R. hit taken for embracing Watson despite the widespread off-field allegations of sexual misconduct, it's time for the Browns to start getting something for the sacrifice they've made.
It comes at an intriguing time.
With the Browns somehow toppling the Buccaneers in overtime on Sunday in Brissett's last game as the replacement for Watson, Cleveland sits at 4-7. They're still alive in the chase for a wild-card berth.
It won't be easy.
After facing the Texans in Houston (the city from which Watson was traded), the Browns go to Cincinnati. Then, the Ravens come to town. Next up are the Saints, who remain very much alive in the downtrodden NFC South.
The Browns visit the Commanders after that. And Washington is chasing a playoff berth, at least for now.
Finally, it's a Week 18 trip to Pittsburgh.
The Steelers won't lay down for anyone, no matter their record as of January 8. If the Browns are still alive and if the Steelers aren't, the Steelers would surely love to put a stake in Cleveland's playoff chances.
So it won't be easy for the Browns to run the table.
Especially with Watson undoubtedly showing some rust. But it's not impossible. The first step will be the easiest. The next two, against the teams vying for the AFC North crown, will be the best test as to whether Watson and the Browns can parlay an unlikely Week 12 win over the Buccaneers into a much more unlikely playoff appearance.
In a related note. ... That Brissett went out a winner.
In what will likely be his final start as Cleveland's starting quarterback, Brissett led the Browns on a game-tying touchdown drive at the end of regulation. Then, he set up the game-winning touchdown -- which running back Nick Chubb punched in from 3 yards out in overtime -- to defeat the Bucs.
Brissett has exceeded all expectations in his 11 games as Cleveland's starter. His late-game heroics in a win over Tom Brady could ultimately be a fitting finale. ...
A few final items. ...
Chubb rushed 26 times for 116 yards and the aforementioned touchdown and brought in his only target for 16 yards against the Buccaneers.
The star running back ended up taking on his heaviest workload of the season on the ground, and his final carry was the most critical since it culminated in a game-winning three-yard touchdown. Chubb had to work for his yards most of the afternoon against a talented Buccaneers defense, but he finished with his sixth 100-yard effort of the campaign one week after producing a season-low 19-yard tally against the Bills in Week 11.
His productive afternoon also vaulted Chubb over the 1,000-yard mark for the season for the fourth straight year, sending him into this week's game against the vulnerable Texans run defense with plenty of momentum. ...
David Njoku secured five of seven targets for 29 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
As CBSSports.com notes, Njoku's day was mostly pedestrian until he recorded an outstanding one-handed 12-yard touchdown grab in the back of the end zone with 32 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Njoku notably saw five more targets than fellow tight end Harrison Bryant, who'd taken on a larger role during his teammate's recent absence with an ankle injury.
Njoku's trip to the end zone was his first since Week 3 and only his second of the season, giving him some momentum going into Watson's debut -- assuminhg he's available.
Stefanski told reporters on Wednesday that Njoku is dealing with a different knee injury than the one that caused him to miss practice time last week.
He was scheduled to sit out Wednesday's practice; I'll have more on Njoku's status via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
Rookie kicker Cade York missed his sixth field-goal attempt, this one a 39-yarder that had no chance.
York did convert on a 51-yarder, but the Browns were counting on better production from the fourth-round pick. Stefanski wanted to speak with York before making any comment about the latest misfire.
On the injury front. ... According to Associated Press sports writer Tom Withers, Myles Garrett could barely get dressed after aggravating a left shoulder sprain sustained two months ago when he flipped his car while speeding. Garrett acknowledged he may need surgery, and it's not out of the question the Browns will give him a week off to rest. ... CB A.J. Green is in concussion protocol after making a tackle in the first quarter. ... Stefanski said safety Greg Newsome, who has missed the past two games with a concussion, is trending toward a return.
You can access complete stats for the Browns Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, P.J. Walker, Deshaun Watson
RBs: Jerome Ford, Kareem Hunt, Pierre Strong Jr., Nick Chubb
WRs: Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Cedric Tillman, Marquise Goodwin, David Bell
TEs: David Njoku, Jordan Akins, Harrison Bryant
Dallas CowboysCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As Associated Press sports writer Schuyler Dixon suggested, an extended break for the Dallas Cowboys will be dominated by talk of whether the defending NFC East champs will get top receiver CeeDee Lamb some help by signing Odell Beckham Jr.
Dak Prescott has left little question his deep group of tight ends will play a big role in a playoff push regardless of whether the high-profile free agent picks Dallas.
Dalton Schultz had two receiving touchdowns in a 28-20 Thanksgiving victory over the New York Giants.
Then rookie Peyton Hendershot ran 2 yards for a score and was the choreographer in a made-for-TV "Whac-A-Mole" celebration that underscored the bond of all four tight ends.
Another rookie, Jake Ferguson, provided a highlight a few plays earlier when he hurdled New York safety Jason Pinnock and ran over cornerback Rodarius Williams on the same play.
Dallas is the first team since Green Bay in 1983 to have a tight end with two receiving TDs and another with a rushing score in the same game.
"I realized it in training camp," Prescott said of a group that includes undrafted third-year player Sean McKeon.
"Obviously, having the relationship with Schultz. ... My trust in him," Prescott said. "Getting into training camp and seeing those young guys take on the responsibility, the roles, and do it with such confidence. I was eager to give them more, and for them to make more plays."
The Cowboys (8-3) still trail division-leading Philadelphia as they took their mini-break before hosting Indianapolis on Dec. 4.
Dallas' usual Thanksgiving-related stretch of three games in 12 days started with a fourth-quarter collapse in Green Bay before the biggest road rout in franchise history, a 40-3 win at Minnesota.
After his 10th consecutive victory over the Giants, Prescott is 4-1 since returning from a five-game absence with a broken thumb on his throwing hand. Cooper Rush had the same record filling in.
"I feel real good where we are," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "There's a lot of football to be played. The nice part about where we are is you know we control our own destiny."
The best part?
The next three games are against sub.-500 AFC South opponents Indianapolis, Houston (Dec. 11) and Jacksonville (Dec. 18).
Win those, and Dallas might have a shot at overtaking the Eagles in the NFC East. ...
Meanwhile, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he talked to Beckham on Thanksgiving Day. Jones previously confirmed reports that Beckham planned to meet with the Giants, his first NFL team, and the Cowboys after their Thanksgiving meeting.
The question is whether Beckham has been cleared for a return after tearing an ACL while winning the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams in February.
"We'll have to see," Jones said. "I haven't gotten the benefit of his rehab work and where he is. But that's where it is."
The other question is this: Do the Cowboys need to sign Beckham?
According to ESPN.com's Todd Archer, maybe they don't.
Lamb has two 100-yard receiving games in the last three games. Michael Gallup is showing signs that his surgically repaired knee is no longer an issue. And, as noted above, the tight end group is showing they can be a featured part of the offense.
Beckham may be a Cowboy, but they will not need him to be their lead receiver. He can come in, after a long layoff from a torn ACL, and be a contributor. ...
Also according to Dixon, the Cowboys were 29th in the NFL in third-down conversions at 32 percent through seven games. In three of the four games since, they've been at 63 percent or better.
The go-ahead touchdown against the Giants was Prescott's 15-yard pass to Schultz on third-and-goal.
Penalties remain an issue.
The Cowboys had a season-high 13 penalties, tying them with Denver for the most in the NFL at 83 going into the Broncos' game Sunday at Carolina.
The variety was impressive, from a rare holding call against five-time All-Pro right guard Zack Martin, to holding calls against defensive linemen, to multiple false starts. Dallas has three games with double-digit penalties.
"First off, we have to stop with the penalties," Prescott said when asked about the outlook for the rest of season. "We've got to be more disciplined."
On a more positive note. ... Ezekiel Elliott looked closer to normal in his second game back since returning from a right knee injury that sidelined him for two games.
The two-time rushing champ's 5.8-yard average was his second best this season. The 92 yards were his best.
On the injury front. ... McCarthy said the Cowboys were considering virtual meetings when they returned from the weekend off after seven players either missed the New York game or were listed on the injury report as questionable because of illness.
Five of them are defensive linemen. Johnathan Hankins and Tarell Basham didn't play. DeMarcus Lawrence, who also has a foot injury, Neville Gallimore and Dante Fowler did play.
Cornerback Kelvin Joseph was sidelined, while safety Donovan Wilson played a season-low 50 snaps.
"We need to learn from this pandemic," McCarthy said. "That's why we'll look at some Zoom opportunities for next week. We need to tackle this challenge. It's going to be a challenge obviously here the next couple of weeks."
The Cowboys are waiting to see if they will land Beckham, but they’re reportedly moving toward getting another wideout on the active roster as well.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that wide receiver James Washington is expected to be designated for return from injured reserve. The move would allow Washington to return to practice with the team and it opens a 21-day window for the Cowboys to add him to their active roster.
Washington signed with the Cowboys as a free agent this offseason, but has not played in any games because he fractured his foot this summer. He had 114 catches for 1,629 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Steelers. s
You can access complete stats for the Cowboys Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Trey Lance
RBs: Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Hunter Luepke
WRs: CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup, Jalen Tolbert, KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Brooks
TEs: Jake Ferguson, Luke Schoonmaker, Peyton Hendershot
Denver BroncosCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold pointed out, in a season in which the only thing the Denver Broncos can consistently do, it seems, is raise their own frustration level with one loss after another, a brief sideline blowup between defensive tackle Mike Purcell and quarterback Russell Wilson was caught on camera Sunday.
It came early in the fourth quarter of the Broncos' eighth loss of the season. And while both players were quick to dismiss the incident after the Panthers' 23-10 victory, it was clear the team's seventh loss in the past eight games had taken a toll.
"Frustration," Purcell said of the incident. "We all want to spark on something. We are all in this together, period. That's the quarterback of our offense, they're about to take the field. ... Obviously, [the defense wasn't] doing our job, but got to get a spark somewhere. They're about to take the field, that's all it was."
Purcell had just been flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty during a 26-yard field goal from Panthers kicker Eddy Pineiro with 13 minutes, 33 seconds left in the game. As he went to the sideline, he was seen shouting at Wilson, who responded before Purcell started shouting again.
"I had just got a penalty on a field goal block, frustrated for everything," Purcell said. "Frustrated for everything, we didn't do our job on defense ... just not good enough."
"Mike and I are on the same page," Wilson said. "He came off after they kicked a field goal, he was pissed off, he just said, 'We've got, we've got to F'in' go,' and I agree. We're on the same page -- there's no animosity there at all.
"We've got to win. We've got to come out here and have some grit to us, some mentality to us. We've got to win these football games," Wilson added. "Those guys are out there battling every play, and offense, we've got to be able to capitalize. So, yeah, there's nothing there at all, me and him -- there's nothing there."
Broncos players have been asked many times over the past two months if there is a growing rift in the locker room because of the team's offense. The Broncos are the lowest-scoring team in the league -- 14.3 points per game -- and Sunday's loss was the ninth time this season when they've scored 16 or fewer points, the fourth time they've scored 10 or fewer points.
But having surrendered a 100-yard rushing performance as well as a 100-yard receiving effort in each of the past two games -- losses to the Las Vegas Raiders and the Panthers -- some of the Broncos' defensive leaders were quick to point out there is enough blame to go around.
"We didn't play good enough to win, we didn't stop the run, we didn't stop the explosives," safety Justin Simmons said. "No way you're going to win games like that."
"We didn't do enough," said linebacker Josey Jewell. "This one was not a good one."
Simmons said he had spoken to Purcell after the game and said he would talk to Wilson as well.
"I think the chemistry with this group is still great," Simmons said. "I think when you put as much into it as you do week in and week out and you don't get the results, it can be frustrating. So as frustrated as everyone is watching, you can imagine how guys are when they're the ones out there trying to put in the work and try to win football games.
"And some of that spills over. ... Those types of things happen in a game. Mike means well ... things aren't clicking for us as a team, not just on one side of the ball. ... Those things are going to happen."
Head coach Nathaniel Hackett said he didn't see the incident but said after the game he would talk to both players.
"I know they're both competitors. ... We'll get to the bottom of it," Hackett said.
Of course, Wilson and the offense struggled for much of Sunday's defeat in Charlotte.
The Broncos had negative net passing yardage until the late stages of the first half, and Denver's offense allowed three sacks and lost a fumble in the game.
Wilson finished the game 19-of-35 for 142 yards, one touchdown and a 73.7 quarterback rating.
"There is some semblance of newness with this whole group," Hackett said of Wilson, "and we've had a lot of changes throughout the offense with different people that have been out there playing with him, and we need to get him the confidence back to be able to make the plays that he can make, but he's out there and he's fighting every single play. I give him so much credit. He's taken a bunch of hits, and it's because he's trying to do everything he can to make a play. So I appreciate that on how he's doing that, and everybody's got to play better around him."
Hackett said the protection issues -- Wilson has now been sacked 12 times in the last three weeks -- cannot be pinned on one player.
"It's a combination of a lot of things," Hackett said. "It's not just one [person]. It's all 11 guys, it's the coaches. We need to get better plays where people are open faster for him. At the same time, we need to be better in pass protection, we need to be better route-runners. We all just need to be better across the board."
On a day when Wilson should have been able to celebrate a career milestone -- his touchdown pass was the 300th of his career, tying John Elway -- he instead was left with the reality of a loss.
"I'd rather win than anything else," Wilson said. "At the end of the day, the only record I really care about is winning. So we've got to find a way."
They'll have to do it with another cross country trip as they head for Baltimore to take on the Ravens (7-4).
As Legwold put it, "It's one thing when it's Raiders receiver Davante Adams romping through the defense, but when the offensively challenged Panthers, with their third different starting quarterback of the season and an interim head coach, line up and control the line of scrimmage, it should sound the alarm."
With the run-heavy Ravens next on the scheduled, the Broncos need some complementary football -- as in an offense that at least eats some time when it doesn't score any points -- or their defense will get pulled down into the losing swirl as well.
Looking for positives?
Running back Latavius Murray rushed for 92 yards on 17 carries, including a 52-yard jaunt, in the Broncos' first game since waiving fumble-prone Melvin Gordon.
There's not much. ...
On the injury front. ... According to Associated Press sports writer Arnie Stapleton, receivers Jerry Jeudy (ankle) and K.J. Hamler (hamstring), who are showing by their absences how much the Broncos need them, have a fighting chance to return this week, although Jeudy was not scheduled to practice Wednesday.
In addition, the running back corps could receive reinforcements soon, as Hackett said Monday that Mike Boone could be close to returning to practice. The fifth-year running back was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 24 after suffering an ankle injury during the Broncos' Week 7 game against the Jets.
"The plan right now is, we're hoping to get Mike Boone [to] start his clock," Hackett said.
In fact, Boone was on the field Wednesday.
Under the NFL's protocol for returning players from injured reserve, the Broncos must designate Boone to return to start a 21-day window for him to join the team at practice. During that time, the Broncos would be able to evaluate Boone's status before deciding whether to activate him or keep him on IR.
Boone's return might have been foreshadowed when the Broncos waived running back Devine Ozigbo on Monday. ...
Hackett also added that fullback/tight end Andrew Beck is day to day with a hamstring injury. ...
One last note here regarding the injuries. ... According to Legwold, it becomes clearer with each dismal showing on offense that with a league-leading number of players on injured reserve, the Broncos continue to call plays for the team they wish they had on the field instead of the one actually in uniform.
In Carolina, when the game was still in the balance, they continued to play with the formation wide open, as if their left tackle and starting center aren't on injured reserve -- and as if three of the receivers in uniform aren't undrafted players, with two being rookies.
Those are coaching-related issues.
Plenty of Broncos fans are hoping that a change will be made at the coaching position, sooner than later.
As Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio noted on Sunday, as best we can tell, that's currently very unlikely.
Florio went on to note the Wal-Mart moguls who bought the team in August have kept their cards very close to the vest. They are very smart. They are very methodical. They are not panicking.
And there's really no reason to.
Other than today, every game was close. Injuries have depleted the roster. The players continue to play hard.
On Monday, Hackett was asked by reporters what his message would be to fans who are sufficiently frustrated to want him out.
"Nobody is as frustrated as I am," Hackett said. "This is not where we wanted to be at this time in the season. None of us thought it was going to be like this and that responsibility is fully on me. I want to be the one that can do everything to help this football team because we, as a group, have to come together and find a way to win a football game. We can't play the way that we played yesterday and expect to win a football game. It starts with me from practice preparation and every single thing that we do. I'm the most frustrated. I think that our fans are great. They want to win, just like we all do. I don't blame them for being frustrated. For me, all I know is to work and put my head down with our staff. I believe in this staff, and I believe in these players. We have to get better plays and better execution across the board."
They have six more games to show that they can get it done. As Florio explained, it's highly unlikely that Hackett will be fired before the season ends. After Week 18, however, all bets are off.
You can access complete stats for the Broncos Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Russell Wilson, Jarrett Stidham
RBs: Javonte Williams, Jaleel McLaughlin, Samaje Perine
WRs: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Marvin Mims Jr., Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Brandon Johnson
TEs: Adam Trautman, Chris Manhertz, Greg Dulcich
Detroit LionsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As Associated Press sports writer Dana Gauruder suggested, the Detroit Lions may have earned more acclaim nationally in a loss than they did during their three-game winning streak this month.
They stood toe-to-toe with one of the NFL's elite teams, the Bills, during their annual Thanksgiving Day game before succumbing 28-25 on Tyler Bass' 45-yard field goal with 2 seconds remaining.
Offensive tackle Taylor Decker said this isn't the same old Lions, perennial laughingstocks that haven't won a playoff game since 1991.
"We're going to go out there and we're going to get our respect, and we're going to earn that respect," Decker said.
The Lions (4-7) certainly didn't look overmatched. They held a three-point lead for most of the fourth quarter, then drove for a tying field goal with 23 seconds remaining after Buffalo scored a go-ahead touchdown.
"We belong and they should know that and they do know that," head coach Dan Campbell said. "They knew they had an opportunity, which they earned that opportunity, and we just didn't close it out. And those guys made the plays and it's a credit to them over there. But I do feel growth from our team and I feel us getting better."
The Lions have a reputation of self-destructing with penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes. For the most part, they minimized those issues on Thursday.
They committed three penalties and have been whistled for just 10 infractions over the last three games. They had a pair of turnovers, but one came on the final desperation play. During the winning streak, they gave away the ball just once.
The Lions still need to run the table to have any realistic hope for a wild-card playoff berth, but no one's laughing at them now.
"I think over the last four weeks, we just are such a different team, it's such a different feel," quarterback Jared Goff said. "We know we can beat anybody. We know we can play with anybody. We know we can really dominate anybody, and that was a really good team out there, but we did a lot of good things."
The combination of Goff and second-year receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been clicking during the last three games. St. Brown has 26 receptions for 317 yards during that span, including a nine-catch, 122-yard outing against Buffalo. St. Brown also scored his first TD since the second week of the season.
St. Brown now has 65 receptions on the year for 716 yards and four touchdowns. He should easily surpass 1,000 receiving yards in his second season with six games remaining, and he just passed Gail Cogdill (1,598) for the third most receiving yards a Lions player has produced in his first two NFL seasons.
St. Brown now has 1,614 receiving yards through two seasons. He's caught 26 of his 29 targets the last three games alone.
"He's one of the top guys in the league at this point, and certainly, as good as anybody in the slot right now," Goff said of St. Brown.
"He helps us a lot when he's up and rolling and healthy, and having those guys back around (him) certainly helped too. Just getting guys that can stretch the field, and other targets that are potent in their own right."
It was the first time the Lions had St. Brown, D.J. Chark and Josh Reynolds, their top three receivers to start the season, on the field together since Week 3.
The Lions should also get rookie Jameson Williams back on the field in the coming weeks, and that should open things up even more for St. Brown to operate in the middle of the field.
It's clear St. Brown has become the No. 1 receiver for Goff, but it's time to talk about him being one of the better receivers in the entire league.
Beyond that, Jamaal Williams scored his league-leading 13th touchdown during the first half. That ties him with Barry Sanders (1990) and Billy Sims (1980, 1981) for the third-most single-season TDs in franchise history.
All of Williams' TDs have come on the ground. The sixth-year player's previous season high in rushing TDs was four.
However people feel about the team's performance against the Bills, Campbell and the team are on to Jacksonville, who comes into Ford Field this week fresh off their best win of the season Sunday over Baltimore.
"Our whole focus has got to be on this team that's right in front of us right now and understand what's walking in here," Campbell said. "It's very much a mirror image of us."
Campbell said Jacksonville is a young team hungry for success with a ton of talent. They're coming off their best win of the season Sunday, and Campbell thinks that's dangerous.
"We have to understand what's going to be coming into Ford Field on Sunday," Campbell said. "If we don't, then we don't have a chance. ..."
Back to Jameson Williams. ... As noted above, the first-round pick is eligible to return and could quickly become a big-play source.
But will that happen this week?
It seems unlikely, but Campbell didn't rule it out completely.
"I think that would be a tall order," he said of either guy playing Sunday. "I think we need to see them be able to pull quite a few reps with high intensity and contact. I won't say it wouldn't happen, but it would take a lot."
Williams returned to practice last week after rehabbing a torn ACL suffered in January. According to Tim Twentyman of the team's official website, it sounds like Detroit's Dec. 11 contest against Minnesota at home could be a realistic target for both players to return to game action.
And when will D'Andre Swift return to action?
Oh wait. ... Swift is healthy and playing. He's just not playing much.
He ran five times for 19 yards with a two-point conversion while catching four of eight targets for 24 yards during the loss to the Bills as Jamaal Williams continues to get the bulk of the rushing workload.
Looking for positives, Swift has seen at least three targets in every game this year while logging a modest uptick in snaps (32 percent on Thursday) for the fourth consecutive contest.
As CBSSports.com noted, while fantasy managers would still like to see more after he opened the season seeing two-thirds of the offensive snaps, Swift is at least getting some goal-line carries -- including a potential touchdown that was called back last Thursday -- and it is possible that Swift's snap share could continue to trend upward the further he distances himself from his shoulder and ankle injuries.
His receiving chops could be highly utilized against a Jaguars defense that has been better against the run than the pass this year. ...
Elsewhere on the injury front. .. Cornerback Jerry Jacobs departed in the second half after feeling light-headed and could be placed in the concussion protocol. ... LG Jonah Jackson (concussion), RG Evan Brown (ankle), DEs Josh Paschal (knee) and Charles Harris (groin) and CB Jeff Okudah (concussion) were inactive.
One last note here, also from Gauruder. ... Campbell may be a fiery orator but the messages he's giving to his team at halftime aren't producing results. The Lions have been shut out in the third quarter in six of the last seven games. The only exception was a touchdown against the New York Giants last Sunday.
They'll hope to reverse that against the Jaguars. ...
You can access complete stats for the Lions Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jared Goff, Teddy Bridgewater
RBs: David Montgomery, Jahmyr Gibbs, Craig Reynolds, Zonovan Knight
WRs: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, Jameson Williams, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Antoine Green
TEs: Sam LaPorta, Brock Wright, James Mitchell
Green Bay PackersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky laid it out: "An Aaron Rodgers rib injury, infinitesimal playoff hopes and the Jordan Love factor.
"The Green Bay Packers were left to deal with it all on their way out of town Sunday night. ..."
Rodgers exited Green Bay's 40-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the third quarter with what the quarterback said afterward was a rib injury and an initial fear of a punctured lung.
He was in enough pain after the game -- the Packers' seventh loss in their past eight -- that a team staff member carried Rodgers' suitcase out of the visitors locker room at Lincoln Financial Field.
That left Love to finish the game -- and nearly rally the Packers to victory almost 15 years to the day that Rodgers filled in for an injured Brett Favre on Nov. 29, 2007, at Dallas and almost did the same thing.
Both backup quarterbacks fell short, with Love never getting a shot at a tying drive because the Packers' defense couldn't get a stop in the final minute. While Rodgers' fill-in duty in his third year as a backup served as a sign he was ready to replace Favre, no one was ready to say Love did the same Sunday.
But it was his most impressive showing in his three NFL seasons and left questions about whether he should finish out the year.
But Rodgers wasn't ready to concede anything post game, not even Sunday's game at the Chicago Bears.
"As long as I check out fine tomorrow, I expect to play this weekend," Rodgers said Sunday night.
He was more definitive after further examinations on Monday came out clean.
During his weekly appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said on Tuesday that he should be good to go.
"I got good news with the scans yesterday, so I plan on playing this week," said Rodgers.
"We'll go to one of my favorite places down in Chicago and hopefully get a big win, get into the bye week and get healthy," he said.
He got no argument from his head coach.
"Aaron's the starting quarterback," Matt LaFleur said. "He's battled through a lot throughout the course of his career. It's pretty well documented and I think he's been able to play at a pretty high level through a lot of different situations. So again, we'll take it one game at a time and make the best decision moving forward."
For the record, LaFleur told reporters on Wednesday that Rodgers would not practice to open the week, but he reiterated Rodgers will play Sunday.
Remember, it's not just the ribs.
Earlier last week, Rodgers revealed the thumb injury he has been playing with since Week 5 is actually a broken bone. He maintained after the game that surgery on his thumb would not be necessary either immediately or after the season, and in fact said it was "definitely better than it was last week."
Rodgers had completed 11 of 16 passes for 140 yards with two touchdowns before he left the field. He also threw two first-half interceptions for the second time in four weeks; he also had two in the first half of Green Bay's Week 9 loss at Detroit. It upped his interception total for the season to nine, already the most he has thrown in a season since 2010 (when he had 11).
Love, the Packers' 2020 first-round pick and possible heir apparent to Rodgers, entered the game with 11:11 left in the fourth quarter and the Packers trailing 37-23. He promptly threw a 63-yard, catch-and-run touchdown to rookie receiver Christian Watson with 9 minutes left to make it a one-score game. He led another drive that ended with a field goal with 1:08 to play.
At that point, the Packers had all three of their timeouts remaining, so Love thought he might get another possession. But just like what happened all game, the Eagles ran out the clock. They rushed for 363 yards (157 by quarterback Jalen Hurts and 143 by running back Miles Sanders), the most rushing yards the Packers have allowed in a game since 1977.
Love finished 6-of-9 passing for 113 yards, and both of his possessions resulted in points for the Packers. They had not converted a third down until Love hit Allen Lazard for 7 yards on third-and-5 from their own 30-yard line. On the next play, Love threw a slant to Watson, who turned it into a 63-yard touchdown.
Rodgers dismissed any thought of shutting it down for the season -- at least as long as the Packers still have a chance to make the playoffs. At 4-8, they're still technically not out of it, but ESPN Analytics gives the Packers just a 2 percent chance to reach the postseason.
"We've got to win all five and probably need a little bit of help," Rodgers said.
As for what will happen if or when the Packers are eliminated from postseason contention, Rodgers said: "There's obviously a lot of other conversations that come into play once you're eliminated, and I'll be open to all those conversations. Pride comes to mind. Love of the game. But there's other factors that, obviously, would come into play should we be mathematically eliminated."
One of those factors, of course, is Love.
"Obviously I want to be on the field, but the situation is what the situation is," Love said. "The toughest thing is trying to stay mentally prepared and stay locked in because you never know what might happen.
"I just go out there and try and make the most of the opportunity. Who knows what happens in the future? As long as I do my best and make the most of my opportunity, who knows what happens?"
Other than injuries to Rodgers and safety Darnell Savage (foot), LB De'Vondre Campbell (knee) missed a fourth straight game and WR Romeo Doubs (ankle) sat out a third consecutive game.
Also worth noting Aaron Jones (shin, glute) and A.J. Dillon (quad) were both limited Wednesday. Jones played through the same issues last weekend.
Stay tuned. ... I'll obviously have more on Rodgers, Jones, Dillon and Doubs, who was on the practice field Wednesday, via Late-Breaking Update in as the week progresses. ...
In what might be a related item. ... The Packers brought in a quarterback for a workout Tuesday.
James Morgan, a 2020 fourth-round draft pick of the Jets who has also spent time with the Panthers, Steelers and Colts, worked out in Green Bay.
The Packers also worked out five tight ends: Nick Guggemos, Austin Allen, Michael Jacobson, Briley Moore and Mark Vital. Guggemos signed to the Packers' practice squad after the tryout.
It's unclear whether the Packers are planning to sign another backup quarterback in the event that Rodgers' rib injury limits his ability to practice or play, or if they primarily wanted to work out some tight ends and needed Morgan to pass to them at the workout.
Morgan was born and raised in the Green Bay area and may have been the most convenient nearby quarterback for the Packers to call up when they want someone to throw passes to tight ends.
Love is the only quarterback besides Rodgers on the Packers' active roster. They also have quarterback Danny Etling on the practice squad. ...
Other notes of interest. ... Aaron Jones rushed 12 times for 43 yards and caught three of four targets for 56 yards and a touchdown.
As CBSSports.com notes, Jones flashed his skills as a receiver when he ran a crisp route to the back of the end zone and made a leaping grab over a defender for a touchdown in this offensive shootout. A.J. Dillon chipped in 84 yards and a touchdown of his own on 11 touches as the veteran back duo continues to shoulder the offensive load for a young, improving receiving unit.
The Packers gained over 5 yards per carry. ...
Watson caught four passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. The rookie second-round pick from North Dakota State has six touchdown catches over his last three games. ...
Sammy Watkins played just four offensive snaps and wasn't targeted, the second straight game in which he didn't catch a pass.
You can access complete stats for the Packers Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jordan Love, Sean Clifford
RBs: Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, Patrick Taylor
WRs: Jayden Reed, Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, Dontayvion Wicks, Samori Toure, Malik Heath
TEs: Tucker Kraft, Ben Sims, Josiah Deguara, Luke Musgrave
Houston TexansCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
The Texans benched Davis Mills for Kyle Allen with head coach Lovie Smith saying the switch gave them their best chance to win against the Miami Dolphins.
Instead, as Associated Press sports writer Kristie Rieken wrote, "It led to yet another embarrassing loss in a season full of them to keep the Texans (1-9-1) stuck on just one win."
Allen threw for 215 yards with two interceptions in his first game this season as the Dolphins raced to a 30-point halftime lead in a 30-15 victory Sunday.
"We as an offense can't allow that to happen," Smith said of the terrible first half. "And our quarterback starts it all. So, Kyle didn't start, and the offense didn't start the way we needed to."
Despite his awful performance, Allen will start again Sunday against Cleveland, with Smith saying it wouldn't be fair to give him the job and then yank him after one game.
"We want to see him," Smith said. "We've got to eliminate those turnovers. But I thought he did some good things throughout the game. But we're not quite there yet as a team."
Allen, who is in his fifth NFL season but has mostly served as a backup, remains confident that he can help the team improve.
"I know I'm a much better player than what I showed (Sunday)," he said. "Every team is still building, especially us. We have one win. We're trying to just get a win every week. So, we've just got to keep pushing."
Smith saw it as a positive sign that his team fought back in the second half to cut the deficit after falling into the huge early hole. But veteran receiver Brandin Cooks said that didn't matter.
"No positives," he said "We lost 30-0 at half. We got to beat bad, so no."
The Texans hoped Allen would take better care of the ball following the benching of Mills after he threw an NFL-high 11 interceptions 10 games this season. Instead, his two interceptions Sunday were a big factor in the team's sixth straight loss.
Houston had a season-high three turnovers Sunday.
Along with Allen's two interceptions, Jordan Akins fumbled after a reception in the second quarter. The ball was recovered by Miami and returned for a touchdown that made it 27-0.
So there's are plenty of issues to deal with.
But first and foremost, the Texans must find a way to get their running game going again if they hope to even be competitive the rest of this season. Houston had just 36 yards rushing Sunday for the second-worst rushing performance of the season after finishing with a season-low 21 yards rushing last weekend.
Rookie Dameon Pierce, who had 772 yards rushing after nine games, has managed just 8 yards rushing in each of the past two games to keep the running game stalled.
"We're in the dump right now," Pierce said. "But we're going to figure something out and we're going to get our thing back on track and going where we need to be moving forward."
Further frustrating fantasy managers, Dare Ogunbowale had a 3-yard touchdown in the third quarter Sunday. It was his first score since Dec. 26 of last season with the Jaguars.
This week, the Texans will search for ways to improve this week before hosting a Cleveland team that will start former Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson in his season debut after serving an 11-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations.
Houston selected Watson 12th overall in 2017 and he started four seasons before demanding a trade before last season and refusing to play for the Texans. He was traded to the Browns in March. ...
On the injury front. ... The Texans placed veteran running back Rex Burkhead into the concussion protocol, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.
Burkhead was injured against the Dolphins and diagnosed with a concussion. The 32-year-old Burkhead has operated primarily as a third-down back this season with 83 rushing yards, 163 receiving yards, and one touchdown in 11 games.
If Burkhead, who did not practice Wednesday, is unable to suit up on Sunday, Eno Benjamin will likely see his first playing time with the Texans.
And finally. ... As ESPN.com's DJ Bien-Aime asked on Sunday: "Will Lovie Smith be one-and-done as head coach?"
The Texans looked worse than last week against the Washington Commanders when they had only 5 yards at half. Against the Dolphins, the Texans barely had more yards (32) in the first half than the Dolphins had points (30).
The Texans' schedule doesn't get any easier. After they take on Watson and the Browns on Sunday, they face the Cowboys, Chiefs, Jaguars, Titans and Colts to finish the season.
If Smith finishes 2-14-1 or 3-13-1, it's not guaranteed he will return.
You can access complete stats for the Texans Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: C.J. Stroud, Davis Mills, Case Keenum
RBs: Devin Singletary, Dameon Pierce, Mike Boone, Dare Ogunbowale
WRs: Nico Collins, Tank Dell, Robert Woods, Noah Brown, John Metchie III, Xavier Hutchinson
TEs: Dalton Schultz, Brevin Jordan
Indianapolis ColtsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
The Colts suffered their seventh defeat of the season on Monday night with a second-half rally that came up short in a 24-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, dropping to 4-7-1, and 1-2 under interim coach Jeff Saturday.
"It's frustrating. There's no doubt about it," Colts quarterback Matt Ryan said after the loss. "… It's one thing one week, it's another thing another week, it's another thing another week, and that part has been frustrating for sure. I think all of us in the building feel that way and are disappointed with where we're at."
This week, it was an abomination of a first half in which the Colts netted zero first-quarter yards, just 71 total through two quarters, including an anemic 36 yards passing from Ryan.
Indy battled back in the second half to briefly take the lead but stubbed their toe again with Saturday's mismanaged end-of-game scenario, which the interim coach brushed off after the game.
Ryan's poor first-half play and continually missing throws by a tick underscored the Colts' struggles under center. Even when things start to click, one pass rush gets home against a struggling O-line, Ryan gets dumped, and everything blows up.
Saturday confirmed Ryan would continue to start (following Sam Ehlinger's performances, there is no real choice in Indy at this point).
"Matt's going to continue to be the guy," Saturday said. "We're going to keep moving forward, keep pressing forward with what we got. I tell the guys in the locker room, we've got the players in the locker room to do it. We've got the plays to do it. We gotta figure out how to execute in moments that matter. That's really what we have to focus in on and hone in on."
Even as bad as Indy played for long stretches, they had a chance to win in primetime. Instead, they dropped the ball. Again.
"Everything about it is frustrating," wideout Michael Pittman said. "I think for me, it's like the first half. I mean, I played like absolute dogs--- in the first half. It comes down to me. Because if I played like the way I know I can play, I mean we're not even down. So, I've just got to do better in the first half and gotta make more plays in the second half. It's really on me to be honest with you."
Meanwhile, in the immediate aftermath of Monday's loss to the Steelers, Saturday said he felt like the offense had plenty of time on its final drive and "wasn't too concerned" about not utilizing a timeout.
Upon further review, Saturday's opinion has changed.
"I wish I had that third down back and in all honestly, wish I would have called a timeout," Saturday said, via Stephen Holder of ESPN. "Looking at the film, you could tell we were in disarray."
After taking a strip-sack on first down -- which Indianapolis recovered -- Ryan scrambled for 14 yards to set up third-and-3. There were 59 seconds on the clock when Ryan got the snap on second down. That ran down to 34 by the time the Colts got their third-down snap off, which was stuffed for no gain.
Finally, the Colts took their first timeout with 30 seconds left before fourth-and-3. Ryan's pass to Parris Campbell was incomplete, which sealed the Steelers' victory.
Saturday called the situation a learning experience and said he's holding himself accountable.
"Listen, all my coaches, whether it was Tony [Dungy], Jim Caldwell, those guys were always very transparent with the team, whether it was public or not. I believe in that," Saturday said, via Zak Keefer of The Athletic, adding that he'll tell the players he should've done something differently. "Inside, I wanna make sure everybody feels that you own whatever portion is yours."
As Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio suggested, given Saturday's lack of coaching experience, it's not entirely a surprise something like this happened in that situation. But in fairness, coaches with a lot more experience also routinely make clock-management mistakes.
We'll see what happens if another situation like this comes up for Saturday over the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, Associated Press sports writer Michael Marot suggests it's hard to know where they go from here.
The Colts now have a short week before visiting Dallas and Minnesota with a bye in between games. They're not home again until the Monday night game after Christmas and any momentum they had from Saturday's hiring has faded. ...
But there were positives.
Jonathan Taylor rushed 20 times for 86 yards and a touchdown while catching three of four targets for 12 yards.
Taylor had nearly as many rushing yards on six first-half carries (34) as Ryan had passing yards on 13 attempts (36), and Taylor was responsible for 11 of those yards as well.
The Colts went into the locker room trailing 16-3, but an 89-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter put them in scoring position, and Taylor capitalized with a two-yard touchdown. Later in the third, Ryan and Taylor botched a handoff on Pittsburgh's one-yard line, leading to a Ryan fumble recovered by the Steelers.
That play turned out to be a big one in a game that the Colts ultimately lost by a touchdown.
Beyond that, when Ryan was completing passes Monday night, it was largely because Jelani Woods and Mo Alie-Cox were on the receiving end.
Ryan was 22 of 34 with 199 yards and Woods and Cox combined for 10 receptions and 112 yards.
After missing the previous two games due to a shoulder injury, Woods logged career-highs in receptions (eight) and receiving yards (98) in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football.
After a key drop early in the contest, Woods was able to knock off the rust to turn in the best all-around performance of his young career.
Woods (shoulder/quad) did not practice Wednesday. Fellow tight end Kylen Granson (illness) was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. Granson missed Monday night's game with the same illness.
With the Steelers bracketing the Colts' outside receivers -- particularly Pittman, Alec Pierce, and Parris Campbell -- that left opportunities for quarterback Ryan to feed the ball to his tight ends. While the Indy offense struggled in all areas to start the game, the unit began to get into a bit of a rhythm over the final two quarters.
Pierce, Indy's second-round pick, appears to have hit the rookie wall.
Ryan only threw two balls to him Monday and he finished no catches. In four November games, he had four catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns.
You can access complete stats for the Colts Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Gardner Minshew, Sam Ehlinger, Kellen Mond, Anthony Richardson
RBs: Zack Moss, Trey Sermon, Jonathan Taylor, Evan Hull
WRs: Michael Pittman Jr., Josh Downs, Alec Pierce, Isaiah McKenzie
TEs: Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Will Mallory, Andrew Ogletree, Jelani Woods
Jacksonville JaguarsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco framed it, "An incompletion and a sack-fumble for a 14-yard loss is not exactly the way you want to start a potential game-winning drive.
"But Trevor Lawrence made up for it. ..."
Lawrence led the Jacksonville Jaguars 75 yards for a touchdown and two-point conversion with 14 seconds to play to give them a 28-27 victory over the Baltimore Ravens at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.
DiRocco added, "The drive put the stamp on the game as a defining moment in his career."
"Tremendous job at the helm, just staying cool, being smart with where he is going with the ball," receiver Christian Kirk said. "And like I said, whenever 16's rolling, we're all rolling."
Lawrence was rolling backward after a second-down sack by Calais Campbell put the Jaguars in a third-and-21 situation, but he hit Kirk for 16 yards and then Marvin Jones Jr. for 10. After an incompletion to Zay Jones, Lawrence completed five in a row: Seventeen yards to Kirk. Eight to Zay Jones. One to JaMycal Hasty (after a false start). Twenty-nine to Zay Jones.
And then 10 yards to Marvin Jones in the end zone -- where Jones managed to get one foot and his shin in bounds.
Instead of kicking a game-tying extra-point, Lawrence threw a quick pass to Zay Jones, caught 11 passes for 145 yards(both career highs), for the two-point conversion. The win was the first in franchise history when the team was trailing by seven or more points in the final minute of regulation. The Jaguars had been 0-175 in that situation before Sunday, according to Elias Sports.
"Trevor today was lights out," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He played extremely well. That throw, that catch with the two-point [conversion] was a thing of beauty."
Lawrence completed 15 of 19 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter -- including a 27-yard completion to Zay Jones on a fourth down on an earlier touchdown drive.
It was the best performance of Lawrence's career.
He threw for 321 yards and three touchdowns and his 129.8 passer rating was the best in franchise history among quarterbacks who had at least 37 pass attempts.
"He's always showed big poise," Marvin Jones said of Lawrence. "Especially for him being so young, he's always been poised in situations. If it goes bad or good he's going to be the same guy. And I think you need to be like that in order to have success. He didn't bat an eye when we needed it."
DiRocco pointed out that one of Lawrence's biggest issues has been his lack of consistency and Pederson has stressed that Lawrence's improvement would come when he eliminated the ups and downs. He's now played three consecutive games in which he has completed more than 70 percent of his passes and had a passer rating of more than 100.
Lawrence now has five of those games this season after having only one as a rookie in 2021.
"I would say these last three games he really has done a really nice job with our system and our offense," Pederson said. "He's heading in the right direction and it's just one step in where we want to go."
As for Lawrence, he was pretty even-keeled about the way he played against the Ravens. He's maintained his confidence even when things haven't gone well and he's not letting what happened on Sunday impact it, either.
"I'm really, really proud of this group," Lawrence said. "I'm proud of myself. We've been through a lot here in the past two years, and just battled through the adversity. It's a good feeling. But I've said it before: I'm the same guy. I've always been this guy.
"I haven't always played my best every week, and that's going to happen sometimes, but I really love the direction that this offense, this team is heading, and we feel really good about who we are."
For the record, Sunday's game marked Lawrence's second fourth-quarter comeback, game-winning drive in 2022 (Week 9 vs. Raiders), and the third of his career.
With three consecutive passer ratings above 100, Lawrence can become the first Jaguars QB since David Garrard in 2007 to accomplish the feat in four straight games when Jacksonville plays at Detroit (4-7) on Sunday.
"We said it's a new season once we got back from the bye week," Lawrence said. "You can't win seven games (in a row) until you win one. We had to start today. Obviously there was some adversity and we had to battle through it, and we just found a way. It was incredible."
"Sometimes it's the difference between what we see in Trevor and sometimes what the fan might see or what y'all might see," Pederson said. "This guy throws an incredibly good football and he's smart and he sees the field, and he can make all the throws. You're just seeing that. You're just seeing that execution with him and that maturity with him."
Associated Press sports writer Mark Long agreed.
"Lawrence finally looks like the generational quarterback the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in 2021," Long wrote. "He no longer is making progress or showing flashes or offering glimpses. The former Clemson star has emerged as the team's primary playmaker, the ultimate centerpiece for a franchise that spent the last two decades longing for one.
"He's THE guy now, someone who makes everyone around him better."
As NFL.com's Kevin Patra put it, "With Pederson at the helm and Lawrence continuing to develop, the Jags have the makings of a fun squad for years to come. ..."
For the record, Jacksonville has a chance to end two skids over the next two weeks. First up is the NFC losing streak against the Lions and then the Jaguars play at Tennessee, where they last won in 2013. The Titans have won eight in a row against Jacksonville in Nashville. ...
Other notes of interest. ... The Jaguars used 18 fourth quarter points to beat the Ravens on Sunday and they picked them up without the help of running back Travis Etienne Jr.
Etienne left the game in the second quarter after hurting his foot and did not return. After the game, Pederson said that the team held him out of precaution rather than because Etienne had been ruled out of returning.
"We didn't rule him out," Pederson said, via the team's website. "We thought he could go. We've got to get more information tonight and check him out. He was walking around the sideline, and he felt fine. I just don't want to risk it with him right now. It was just my decision to keep him out, but we'll check him out tonight and have probably a better update tomorrow."
Etienne missed his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury and has 133 carries for 728 yards and four touchdowns this season.
Pederson was asked in his Wednesday press conference how he felt about Etienne’s chances to play in Week 13 and replied, “I feel good.”
“It’s going to be day-to-day with him,” Pederson said. “But, I want to make sure that he’s 100 percent before we stick him out there. He’ll go through some of the walk-through portions of practice today.”
In addition, Zay Jones (chest) was limited in practice on Wednesday.
I'll obviously be watching Etienne's progress closely in coming days (he practiced on a limited basis Wednesday) as well as Jones'; check the Late-Breaking Updates section for more. ...
But it's worth noting the fear when the team traded James Robinson on Oct. 25 was what happens if Etienne gets hurt?
JaMycal Hasty hadn't done much -- 24 yards on 13 touches since the trade -- and Snoop Conner had played just two snaps. However, Hasty came up big after Etienne went down in the first half against the Ravens, accounting for 95 total yards and a touchdown.
He showed against a good defense that he can be an effective role player and the situation gets better once Darrell Henderson Jr., claimed off waivers last week, gets up to speed, especially if Etienne is out for any period of time.
“He’s a veteran guy. He’s played,” Pederson said of Henderson. “It’s just a matter of understanding a little terminology. We won’t throw the whole thing at him but give him a series of plays that he’s comfortable with.”
You can access complete stats for the Jaguars Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Trevor Lawrence, C.J. Beathard, Nathan Rourke
RBs: Travis Etienne Jr., Tank Bigsby, D'Ernest Johnson
WRs: Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Jamal Agnew, Parker Washington, Tim Jones, Kendric Pryor
TEs: Evan Engram, Brenton Strange, Luke Farrell, Elijah Cooks
Kansas City ChiefsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As Profootballtalk.com's Myles Simmons noted, the Chiefs soundly beat the Rams 26-10 on Sunday, maintaining their hold on the AFC's No. 1 seed entering Week 13.
But quarterback Patrick Mahomes was lamenting the team's missed opportunities after the game.
Kansas City scored a touchdown on just one of its six red-zone possessions.
That came in the third quarter when running back Isiah Pacheco powered his way into the paint from 3-yards out.
But other than that, Los Angeles' defense stood firm inside the 20. The Chiefs settled for four field goals from that point on the field and Mahomes threw a bad interception to safety Nick Scott that ostensibly kept the Rams in the game for a little bit longer midway through the fourth quarter.
"[E]specially in the red zone, we got to execute at a higher level," Mahomes said in his postgame press conference. "I got to execute at a higher level, and I got to take out like the one dumb play I make every game it seems like so if I can take that out, I think we'll be alright."
Mahomes said on his pick, he was going to try to throw to tight end Travis Kelce but then failed when he attempted to pull the ball down.
"I threw it directly into the dude's stomach, so just got to make sure that I don't do that, especially in the red zone because those are ones that kill you in big games," Mahomes said. "So obviously you like to win, but we've got a lot to get better at offensively, especially starting with me."
A prime MVP candidate, Mahomes still finished 27-of-42 for 320 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 36 rushing yards.
Mahomes has high standards for himself and the rest of the offensive unit. With a road matchup against Cincinnati on tap for Week 13, the quarterback is right that Kansas City has to have better offensive execution in the red zone.
But he can't do much about special teams issues.
And, as Associated Press sports writer Dave Skretta reported, it was another rough day for coordinator Dave Toub, who watched Skyy Moore fumble a punt for the third time this season, then watched the Rams execute a fake punt that kept another drive alive.
Those two miscues didn't cost the Chiefs any points, thanks mostly to the fact that the Rams were missing quarterback Matthew Stafford, wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson II and two starting offensive linemen. But against just about any other NFL team, including the Bengals this coming weekend, that sort of execution isn't going to cut it.
"We had the fake on us this time -- it's the second time we've had one -- which is true, obviously, but we anticipated that happening and worked on it and they just got us," head coach Andy Reid said Monday.
"I think one great learning place for the players, especially the young players, is to put them on special teams, and then you just continually progress and get better as the season goes on," Reid continued. "There are going to be some early issues as we go here and you hope it picks up as we go forward. That's where we're at right now."
It's not early in the season, though. The Chiefs (9-2) are well past the halfway point, and despite all the special teams mishaps this season, they are in first place in the AFC. The stakes couldn't be a whole lot higher over the final six games, the first three of them on the road -- after the Bengals, who rallied to beat them in last year's AFC title game and deny Kansas City a third straight Super Bowl appearance, the Chiefs then head to Denver and Houston before finally returning home on Christmas Eve to face the Seahawks, as they try to secure the No. 1 seed and lone first-round playoff bye.
Other notes of interest. ... Take away some nice scrambles by Mahomes and the Chiefs only averaged about 3 yards per carry. They were hard yards, too, and Isiah Pacheco and Ronald Jones fought for every one. So it falls upon the offensive line, which gave up just two QB hits and no sacks, to create some better holes for the running game.
That might explain why Melvin Gordon, waived by the Broncos last week, was signed to the Chiefs practice squad on Monday.
The Chiefs and Broncos meet twice this season, in Week 14 in Denver and Week 17 in Kansas City.
Gordon, 29, is a two-time Pro Bowler in his eighth NFL season. He played five seasons for the Chargers and the last 2½ with the Broncos. He has rushed for 6,462 yards and 55 touchdowns and caught 309 passes with 14 touchdowns over his career, with his best year in 2017 with the Chargers.
This season, he rushed for 318 yards and caught 25 passes in 10 games. But he fumbled five times and the Broncos released him after his final one in Week 11 against the Raiders.
Pacheco leads the Chiefs with 455 rushing yards. Another running back, Jerick McKinnon, is fourth on the team with 29 catches. Jones made his season debut for the Chiefs in Sunday's win over the Rams and caught one pass for 22 yards while rushing four times for 12 yards.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who began the season as the starting running back, is on the injured reserve list with a high ankle sprain but had lost much of his playing time to Pacheco before the injury. ...
According to ESPN.com's Adam Teicher, the Chiefs can't be tempted to use Moore as their punt returner again. The rookie wideout's fumble, his third on a punt return this season, didn't cost the Chiefs in their win over the Rams. But turnovers are one thing that can bring the Chiefs down, so they can't afford to risk it with Moore again.
The Chiefs have some adequate options as their punt returner, including Justin Watson and, when he returns from injured reserve later this season, Mecole Hardman. ...
There were no new injuries against the Rams.
The bigger question is whether Kadarius Toney, who missed the game with a hamstring injury, will return this week.
His history of injuries is one reason the Giants were willing to trade him.
Reid said on Monday that the team will monitor things this week because they don't want to bring Toney back too soon.
"Yeah, so he's working hard at getting back and we are being cautious with it," Reid said, via Charles Goldman of USA Today. "We'll see how he does this week as we go forward with it. We're going to try not to bring him back and then have any setbacks after that. We don't want to go through that."
Toney had a hamstring earlier this season as well and only played two games for the Giants this season before being traded to the Chiefs. His new team will be hoping that his availability improves in the weeks to come.
No surprise then to learn that Toney wouldn't practice Wednesday. A bit more surprising that Reid announced that wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and running back Jerick McKinnon would join Toney as nonparticipants to open the week. Smith-Schuster is dealing with an illness McKinnon, like Toney, is dealing with a hamstring injury.
I'll have more on all three via Late-Breaking Update as the week progresses.
You can access complete stats for the Chiefs Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Patrick Mahomes, Blaine Gabbert
RBs: Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WRs: Rashee Rice, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson, Skyy Moore, Kadarius Toney, Richie James, Justyn Ross, Mecole Hardman
TEs: Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, Blake Bell, Jody Fortson
Las Vegas RaidersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez reported, Josh Jacobs wasn't sure he'd play Sunday until about two hours before kickoff.
The Las Vegas Raiders' fourth-year running back had to test out the left calf he tweaked in a noncontact drill in Friday practice.
And after he aggravated it late in regulation on the Lumen Field artificial turf -- "It doesn't give," he said -- the Raiders' coaching staff wanted to sit him for the remainder of the game.
"I kind of convinced them I could go," Jacobs said. "And, you know, the biggest play of the game happened after that."
Jacobs burst through a big hole on the right side of the line and was gone, untouched, for a walk-off 86-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes, 20 seconds to play in the extra period to give the Raiders a 40-34 overtime win against the Seattle Seahawks.
As such, Jacobs finished with franchise single-game records for all-purpose yards (303) and rushing (229). He also became just the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to finish with at least 300 all-purpose yards and two TDs in a game, joining Stephone Paige (1985), Priest Holmes (2002) and Adrian Peterson (2007).
Not surprisingly, Jacobs was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week on Wednesday.
"That mentality that [Jacobs] brings and that mindset, the way he runs and the way he, over and over and over again, is finishing, running through people, he's always finishing forward," said quarterback Derek Carr, who celebrated his 13th career walk-off win Sunday, the third most of any starting quarterback since 1950, behind only Drew Brees (21) and Ben Roethlisberger (14).
"Him bringing that mindset, man, how hard he's worked, all those things, I said it at the beginning of the year ... the happiest person in the building, besides me, is Josh Jacobs. And we're seeing the fruits of that now."
Jacobs, a first-round draft pick of the Raiders out of Alabama in 2019, did not have his fifth-year option picked up this offseason by Las Vegas' new regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels. And Jacobs, a Pro Bowler in 2020, is having his finest season yet.
With six games remaining in this contract year, he is already up to 1,159 rushing yards, the fifth-highest total in franchise history, trailing Marcus Allen (1,759 in 1985), Napoleon Kaufman (1,294 in 1997), Mark van Eeghen (1,273 in 1977) and Allen (1,168 in 1984).
And with his third 1,000-yard rushing season, Jacobs has tied Allen and van Eeghen for most such seasons in Raiders history.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said some of Jacobs' production was a function of all the attention Seattle paid to Raiders All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who had been on a tear with 413 receiving yards and five TDs in his past three games but finished with seven catches for 74 yards in Seattle.
"We didn't tackle [Jacobs] as well as we needed to," Carroll said, "and we didn't scheme it as well as we needed to."
McDaniels, meanwhile, said he was "running out of superlatives" to describe his running back.
"He's a football player," McDaniels said. "I mean, that's probably the greatest compliment I could give him, and he comes up big.
"It's not just what he does on the field; it's how he practices, what he does in preparation, how attentive he is in the meetings, what he's like in the walk-throughs, how much he wants to win. He wants to win. He does everything he can to help us."
For the Raiders, it was their second straight OT victory on a walk-off touchdown. They are just the third team to accomplish that feat since the NFL instituted OT in 1974, along with the 2017 Green Bay Packers and the 2001 Chicago Bears.
Remember: The Raiders looked like they were falling apart two weeks ago.
They had just lost at home to the Indianapolis Colts and a coach who was hired out of ESPN's studios. Carr became emotional in the postgame news conference, saying not all his teammates were fully committed. Adams made similar comments.
And McDaniels' job status was called into question -- until owner Mark Davis said the next day his coach wasn't going anywhere.
The Raiders (4-7) remain well out of playoff position, but they responded to that loss with consecutive road victories over the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. The team is coming together behind Carr, Adams and Jacobs.
"I think that part of the process is how you handle adversity," McDaniels said Monday. "And I think it's probably one of the things that I've matured in the most over many, many years ... is just understanding how you have to respond to that and what you need to say and how you need to act in the moment. The temperature inside the building never really changed."
The Raiders will finish with four of their final six games in Las Vegas, beginning Sunday against the AFC West rival Los Angeles Chargers. As Associated Press sports writer Mark Anderson suggests, maybe they will carry over into this closing stretch what they accomplished the past two weeks.
"Obviously, it tastes better when you win, to listen and learn and correct things," McDaniels said. "We're all human, I think we would rather win and learn from that than lose. But I think some of the biggest lessons we've learned have come from the games that we haven't been able to finish. ..."
As for Jacobs' health coming out of Sunday's game?
Jacobs is not expected to practice much, if at all this week because of his calf strain, sources tell NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. He'll get around-the-clock treatment in hopes of playing Sunday against the Chargers.
I'll obviously be following up on a daily basis via Late-Breaking Update. ...
Other notes of interest. ... While the focus of fantasy managers is rightly on Jacobs and Adams, others are viable plays.
Foster Moreau caught three of seven targets for 33 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win.
As CBSSports.com noted, the tight end had trouble converting his opportunities early, but Moreau came through when it counted, hauling in a five-yard toss from Carr in the back of the end zone with just under two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to send the game to OT.
Moreau has two touchdowns on the season, both coming in the last three games, and with Darren Waller (hamstring) out for at least one more week, he'll head up the depth chart once again in Week 13 against the Chargers.
Mack Hollins caught four passes (on five targets) for 63 yards and a touchdown in Seattle.
As NBCSportsEdge.com noted, Hollins picked up 36 yards and a touchdown on a flea flicker in the first half. Carr was nearly sacked on the play but delivered the ball to an uncovered Hollins. With the only members of the Seattle secondary not fooled by the trickery covering Adams on the play, Hollins walked into the end zone with no one near him.
He is operating as the Raiders' second receiver but will need to keep breaking long plays to push for WR3 numbers. ...
Finally. ... Ameer Abdullah caught three passes for 39 yards and a touchdown against Seattle, adding three carries for 16 yards.
Jacobs has been close to a three-down back all year but touched the ball 39 times in this game, so it made sense for the Raiders to give him a break on some passing downs. One of those downs saw Abdullah come out of the backfield on a wheel route and beat Seattle safety Quandre Diggs for a touchdown.
Go ahead and consider Abdullah as an outlier until or unless we have reason to believe Jacobs will miss time. And even then, Zamir White and Brandon Bolden would likely mix in. ...
Finally. ... Jacobs hit 20.43 miles per hour on that 86-yard touchdown run in overtime, according to Next Gen Stats. It was the fastest of his career.
You can access complete stats for the Raiders Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Aidan O'Connell, Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer
RBs: Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden
WRs: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Tre Tucker, Hunter Renfrow, DeAndre Carter, Kristian Wilkerson
TEs: Michael Mayer, Austin Hooper, Jesper Horsted
Los Angeles ChargersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Lindsey Thiry framed it: "Inside a lively State Farm Stadium on Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers' season teetered on the brink, but coach Brandon Staley did not flinch. ..."
Thiry went on to recount that trailing the Arizona Cardinals 24-17, quarterback Justin Herbert completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to running back Austin Ekeler to pull the Bolts within a point, 24-23, with 15 seconds remaining.
Following the score, Staley could have elected to kick an extra point and likely send the game to overtime.
Instead, the offense remained on the field and Herbert converted a 2-point play to tight end Gerald Everett to lift the Chargers to a 25-24 win.
"We came here to win," Staley said of his decision. "We're just living week to week. It was about this game for us and pouring into this game and doing what we felt like was going to win us the football game."
High risk, high reward.
"We don't come to lose. We don't come to tie," said wide receiver Keenan Allen. "Let's win."
The win keeps the Chargers (6-5) in the hunt for an AFC playoff spot. A loss would have sent their chance of a postseason berth spiraling.
"At this point, all games for us are like a must-win," Ekeler said. "You see the rest of the AFC winning games. ... We got to catch up a few."
The victory improved the Bolts' chances of earning their first playoff berth since 2018 to 60 percent, according to ESPN analytics. A loss would have dropped their chances to 36 percent.
"I imagined that we were going to go for it because that's just how aggressive we play," said Herbert, who completed 35 of 47 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns, despite taking four sacks. "I love that about our coach."
ESPN's analytics agreed with Staley's decision to go for the 2-point play. The Chargers had a 45.2 percent chance to win kicking the extra point, and a 45.6 percent chance to win going for two.
The offense struggled throughout the game to develop a consistent rhythm as the team fell behind in the first half by double digits for a sixth time this season.
After punting on the first three possessions, Herbert led back-to-back scoring drives and the Chargers went into halftime trailing 17-14.
Out of the break, kicker Cameron Dicker made a 26-yard field goal to tie the game at 17, but quarterback Kyler Murray put the Cardinals ahead in the fourth quarter 24-17 on a 6-yard touchdown pass to James Conner.
Three of the Chargers' five second-half possessions resulted in punts before Herbert put together the game-winning drive, something he failed to do in back-to-back losses the past two weeks against the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs, when he threw interceptions to end both games.
But on Sunday, following a 20-yard punt return from DeAndre Carter, Herbert put together a seven-play, 38-yard drive that resulted in Ekeler reaching the pylon on a short pass.
"He made a lot of winning plays on that two-minute drive," Staley said. "When we really needed him in the clutch, he delivered."
Staley said he knew early in the drive that they would go for a 2-point play to win and that the play call would be to Everett.
"Smooth like chocolate milk," Staley said in describing the play, which found Everett wide open across the goal line.
"No one wanted it more than me. I was just excited when [Herbert] actually called it in the huddle," said Everett, who had four catches for 18 yards. "I just gave Justin that look and he knew. I trusted him and he trusted me."
"Everybody knew the ball was going to Gerald," said Allen, who caught his first touchdown pass of the season in the first half. "He had to be big time right there."
The Chargers' season depended on it.
The Chargers conclude a stretch of four road games in five weeks against Las Vegas. The Raiders have a two-game winning streak after Sunday's 40-34 overtime victory at Seattle in which Josh Jacobs had 303 scrimmage yards, including 229 rushing. ...
The Chargers have become synonymous with slow starts, digging themselves into a double-digit hole in six games this season but managing to go 4-2 in such instances. The Bolts still face an uphill battle to make the postseason, with games remaining against the Dolphins (8-3) and Titans (7-4), and must find a way to eliminate their inconsistent starts if they want to make a run down the stretch.
Other notes of interest. ...
As Associated press sports writer Joe Reedy notes, Herbert has not had his full arsenal of receivers this season, but has managed to adjust. Allen has played the last two games after missing most of the season with a strained hamstring, but with Mike Williams continuing to deal with an ankle injury, Herbert has not been able to go downfield as much as he did during his first two seasons.
But the quarterback is figuring it out.
Ekeler had 11 catches against the Cardinals and has 80 this season, the most by an NFL running back through 11 games. He has three games with double-digit receptions and is tied for the AFC lead with 12 scrimmage touchdowns.
In addition, Carter set career highs with seven receptions for 73 yards, including a 33-yard TD in the second quarter. Carter also had a 20-yard punt return that set up the Chargers' go-ahead score. He has 19 catches for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the past four games.
Meanwhile, Staley did not say on Monday whether Williams (ankle) would be able to practice this week. I'll be watching for more and will report back via Late-Breaking Update in coming days.
You can access complete stats for the Chargers Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Justin Herbert, Easton Stick
RBs: Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson
WRs: Keenan Allen, Quentin Johnston, Jalen Guyton, Derius Davis, Josh Palmer, Mike Williams
TEs: Gerald Everett, Donald Parham, Stone Smartt
Los Angeles RamsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
The injuries keep coming for the Los Angeles Rams, who will be without wide receiver Allen Robinson for the rest of the season as he needs foot surgery.
According to head coach Sean McVay, Robinson was having "some soreness in his foot" during the week. After an injection to "see if he could push through," a CT scan revealed a stress fracture on the navicular bone in one foot.
The Rams officially ended Robinson's season Tuesday, placing him on injured reserve.
ESPN.com's Sarah Barshop notes that Robinson made the trip to Kansas City for Sunday's game against the Chiefs but was inactive in the 26-10 loss.
"It's unfortunate, but we didn't find that out until Friday after practice when he ended up getting that CT scan," McVay said following Sunday's game. "And that's another tough loss for us."
Robinson, who signed a three-year, $46.5 million contract with the Rams in March, has 33 catches for 339 yards and three touchdowns this season.
The Rams were already without wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who is on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. Quarterback Matthew Stafford, who reamins in the concussion protocol (as of Wednesday) and dealing with a neck injury, did not play against the Chiefs.
The Rams have also dealt with significant injuries to their offensive line. According to Elias Sports Bureau data, Los Angeles is the only team in the Super Bowl era (since 1966) to use a different starting five-man offensive line combination in each of its first 11 games of a season.
Rookie seventh-round pick A.J. Arcuri made his NFL debut as the Rams' fourth starting left tackle of the season, and he was frequently overwhelmed by the Chiefs' rush. Veteran in-season signee Matt Skura also didn't excel at left guard.
The Rams can't function without a functioning line, but McVay said there's a chance center Brian Allen could return from his thumb injury this week.
McVay was quick to add, however, because of the injuries the Rams are dealing with, "it's hard to say that you're running anything that resembles anything close to what. ... You envisioned [your offense] to be able to be."
"There's a lot of challenges just based on, all right, what do guys know?" McVay said. "What do we want to try to be able to do with them based on the skill sets? And so it's very, very different. Very different."
As if things couldn't get worse for the Rams, All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald injured his ankle against the Chiefs.
After some additional testing, McVay announced on Wednesday that Donald will not play due to a high sprain.
McVay, via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, said the Rams have not ruled out shutting down Donald, Kupp or Stafford.
Receiver Lance McCutcheon has an AC sprain and is day-to-day, McVay said, and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis has a bulging disc in his back that limited him Sunday.
Also. ... McVay also took a hard hit early in Sunday's game when Rams tight end Roger Carter Jr. ran into him on the sideline. Carter's shoulder pad hit McVay in the jaw as he ran onto the field.
"I took a good shot," McVay said. "Roger ran right into me. It was a good shot, but I'm OK."
Carter said after that game that he hadn't talked to McVay and didn't realize what had happened until he came back to the sideline and was told. Carter said he "felt bad" for the hit.
McVay was asked what was going through his mind when he was hit by Carter.
"I was just thinking, 'Have a little awareness running by me.' I mean, oh my gosh. It's one of those deals, it's not that big a deal. I think it probably looked worse when you end up replaying it. ... I don't think I broke my jaw, so I'll be fine.
"As long as it's not [hurting] my ability to think and to be able to talk, we'll be fine."
Fine, of course, is a relative thing.
As Associated Press sports writer Greg Beacham notes, the last time the Rams started a season worse than 3-8. General manager Les Snead took over the following season.
Next up, the Rams have two home games in five days, starting with their first meeting of the season with the Seahawks.
Los Angeles has won eight of 10 over Seattle, but the Rams are significant home underdogs. ...
Third-string quarterback Bryce Perkins passed for 100 yards and ran for 44 in his NFL debut, but the Rams scored only three points on their first five full drives before Perkins threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter.
McVay said he doesn't know whether Perkins or second-stringer John Wolford will play Sunday against Seattle, indicating he might use both quarterbacks.
The inept rushing game is showing signs of improvement over the past two weeks, although Perkins gave it the biggest boost with his legs, adding a dimension the Rams didn't have earlier this season. Kyren Williams led the Rams with 11 carries in Kansas City, but managed just 35 yards.
The Rams entered the game with a 0.9 percent chance to make the playoffs, so Barshop contends their focus going forward should be to see if players such as Williams or wide receivers Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell and Brandon Powell can have roles going forward.
You can access complete stats for the Rams Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz, Stetson Bennett
RBs: Kyren Williams, Royce Freeman, Zach Evans, Ronnie Rivers
WRs: Cooper Kupp, Puka Nacua, Tutu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, Demarcus Robinson
TEs: Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Hunter Long, Davis Allen
Miami DolphinsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As Profootballtalk.com's Josh Alper reported it, the Dolphins returned from their bye week on Sunday to win their fifth straight game and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa remained a big part of their success.
He was 22-of-36 for 299 yards and two touchdowns before exiting the game with the Dolphins comfortably ahead of the Texans in the second half. After the game was over, Tagovailoa did an interview with CBS's Aditi Kinkhabwala on the field and discussed what first-year head coach Mike McDaniel has meant to his success.
"Having someone that first off believes in you makes all the difference," Tagovailoa said. "Having someone that calls me randomly just telling me how much I mean to him and the things that he's trying to accomplish and we're trying to accomplish as a team. It's cool. I've never had that, I've never experienced that. This is my first time experiencing that kind of relationship with someone that is the head coach of an organization -- just love that guy."
In his press conference, McDaniel was asked about Tagovailoa's comments and said he perceived that confidence was lacking when he met the quarterback.
That made building it back up a key part of his first months on the job.
"This was just using intuition, that getting beat up and having your existence be completely tainted by people saying that you aren't X, Y or Z, and then on top of that, from my vantage point, I felt like he was put behind the 8-ball in a way with the -- basically his strengths, he couldn't play to," McDaniel said. "It was intuition, and it started seeing him every practice once he started getting a little bit more confidence each and every day.
"You could see his personality evolve and that's when I learned kind of how deep it was, because I'm learning his personality -- the first day I meet him is who I know him as, and then you fast forward a month and a half, and he's a different guy. Then retroactively, like wow, that was real."
The process started immediately. McDaniel compiled a highlight reel of about 700 of Tagovailoa's best plays in an attempt to boost his young quarterback's self-assurance.
"Anybody that's drafted as a quarterback in the top 10, top five, they want to be good," McDaniel said. "To be drafted super high and then fall short of the franchise's expectations, that is a tough place to live in. That was the motivating factor behind everything."
In Year 3, Tagovailoa has more support than he's ever had in his pro career. And that has made a difference in his play. He has led the Dolphins to an 8-3 record and has the NFL's best passer rating (115.7).
"I think anyone here can attest to someone believing in them," Tagovailoa said, "and how that changes how they see themselves but also things around them, so perspective."
As Associated Press sports writer Alanis Thames put it, "The process has paid off handsomely for the Dolphins thus far and there's plenty of reason to believe that confidence in Tagovailoa, McDaniel, and the rest of the team will continue to surge in the final weeks of the regular season."
Indeed, Tagovailoa is 14-2 in his past 16 starts. His .875 winning percentage since Nov. 21, 2021 is the best by any starting quarterback in the NFL.
Before being pulled in the third quarter of Sunday's game, which the Dolphins led 30-0 at halftime, Tagovailoa completed 20 of 34 passes for 278 yards and one TD, pushing his streak without an interception to five games.
He has posted a passer rating of at least 90 in each of his past six home starts.
"He had the stuff on the tape. I think that's a credit to him," McDaniel said. "To his credit, he's really listened, taken the coaching that he's good. Said 'OK, Coach, I believe you.' And I think you guys have seen the residuals up close and personal for a while."
Meanwhile, they Dolphins have needed Tua's consistent output as a passer, because the running game has been inconsistent for most of the season.
It was trending upward since the Dolphins acquired Jeff Wilson at the trade deadline. With Raheem Mostert inactive because of a knee injury, Wilson had 13 carries for 39 yards Sunday, his fewest since joining the team -- a performance that came with the most favorable matchup and circumstance possible.
Next up, Miami will begin a three-game road stretch against San Francisco in Week 13. After that, the Dolphins will face the Los Angeles Charges and Buffalo Bills before returning home to play Green Bay on Christmas Day. As ESPN.com's Marcel Louis-Jacques notes, Miami has recently been spoken of as one of the best teams in both the AFC and NFL -- this final stretch could remove all doubt.
Of course, McDaniel spent 2017-2021 working for the 49ers and even longer alongside Kyle Shanahan at his previous stops in Atlanta, Cleveland and Washington.
But now McDaniel will coach against Shanahan.
When asked about going against his former employer, McDaniel insisted that this upcoming matchup is not about him.
"I will do everything in my power to make it another game, because I think that should be the objective of any head coach is that you make it about the players," McDaniel said in his Monday press conference. "I really stray away from making anything about me. I just don't believe in it. I have a very high opinion of the 49ers franchise and players, coaches, staff members.
"I have a lot of love for anybody that I worked with, especially for that extended period of time. So those relationships and people will always matter to me.
"But in terms of this week, it will be odd for a second, for sure, to be in a different locker room, or pulling up on the bus in a weird area, or being on a different sideline for a second, I'm assuming -- just odd as in abnormal. But after that, my obligation is to serve each and every player and coach and try to get the best out of them. Nowhere in that equation has anything to do with my past history and travels, so that's why I don't -- when I say it's not about me, I really, really mean it."
As for facing Shanahan, McDaniel said -- much like he did when the Dolphins played Bill Belichick and the Patriots -- that he's not going to be doing an Oklahoma drill against the 49ers' head coach.
"I don't really look across the sidelines that much at opposing coaches. So I don't think, on the field, I will feel anything different than any other game in regard to him," McDaniel said. "I owe a lot to him in general. I will be forever grateful, and I think he's always been one of the best, if not the best, offensive coaches and head coaches that I've ever had experience being around.
"It's a tough test, and that's the bigger deal -- No. 1 defense in the league, an offense that does a great job getting yards, getting it to all their unbelievable talented skill position players and a special teams [unit] that has definitely -- Ray-Ray McCloud is an issue that you have to handle.
"So that's the bigger thing is that we've been progressing week by week, and in the NFL, if you're aspiring to do big things, you have to play big time football in December and January against big time teams. So that's something that I think our team will be excited for, and I know the 49ers will be excited to play football like they always are each and every week."
The Dolphins enter the game No. 3 in yards and No. 6 in points scored, having put up at least 30 points in their last four games. The 49ers are No. 1 in yards allowed and points allowed, surrendering 16 points or fewer in their last four games.
As PFT's Myles Simmons put it, "Something has got to give and based on the relationships between the coaching staffs, Sunday should be a fascinating chess match."
Other notes of interest. ... Speaking to local media Monday, McDaniel said he is confident tackle Terron Armstead will play again this season after he sustained a pectoral injury during Sunday's game.
Armstead left the game shortly before halftime and did not return. McDaniel said after the game that he wouldn't have been able to return that day regardless of the score; Miami led Houston 30-0 at halftime.
The 10-year veteran has played through a toe injury since Week 1 but McDaniel didn't put a timetable on Armstead's return from this pectoral injury. He did say that he "wouldn't put it past" the lineman to come back within two or three weeks.
McDaniel said the team is also still gathering information on offensive tackle Austin Jackson, who reinjured an ankle during the win Sunday -- the first game he'd played in since Week 1.
In the wake of injuries to both tackles, the Dolphins signed offensive lineman Kendall Lamm, who most recently spent time on the Detroit Lions' practice squad earlier this year.
Beyond that, I'll be watching for more on Mostert's availability in coming days.
It's encouraging to note, however, that McDaniels told reporters on Wednesday that Mostert is in a good spot to return against the 49ers; watch the Late-Breaking Updates section for the latest.
You can access complete stats for the Dolphins Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Tua Tagovailoa, Mike White, Skylar Thompson
RBs: Raheem Mostert, De'Von Achane, Jeff Wilson, Salvon Ahmed, Christopher Brooks
WRs: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Braxton Berrios, Cedrick Wilson, Chase Claypool, River Cracraft
TEs: Durham Smythe, Julian Hill, Tyler Kroft
Minnesota VikingsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
According to ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, throughout the best NFL season he has been a part of since he came into the league in 2012, Kirk Cousins keeps saying the strangest thing: He insists he's not playing well.
The mantra began in September and it reached an apex Thursday night after the quarterback finished one of the most efficient games ever against a New England Patriots defense under head coach Bill Belichick.
Cousins completed 30 of 37 passes for 299 yards three touchdowns, and compiling a season-high 84.8 Total Quarterback Rating in a 33-26 win. Then he opened a window into his unique mix of anguish and relief during a postgame meeting with reporters.
"It's funny because we're winning, so I feel like talking to you guys has been a lot easier this year," he said. "But I'm not playing any better. If anything, I'm coming to these press conferences trying to smile, having to work to smile, because I'm thinking to myself, 'Man, I've got to play better.' I appreciate winning because it does make this a little easier."
The Vikings are 9-2 (.818 win percentage), the best record for any NFL team Cousins has been on through 11 games.
His cumulative season statistics are nowhere near his career high through 12 weeks (he had a career-high 68.5 QBR through 11 games in 2016 with Washington), and he did throw a bad interception in the first quarter last Thursday night -- a floater off his back foot that led to a Patriots field goal. But Cousins also made a series of on-the-money throws -- the type he has made to win games all season -- including a 36-yard dime to receiver Justin Jefferson in the fourth quarter that set up a 15-yard toss to receiver Adam Thielen for the touchdown that gave the Vikings the lead for good.
In the end, the Vikings' 81.6 percent team completion percentage was the second-highest ever against a Belichick-led Patriots defense.
But when asked if he truly thought he should have played better, Cousins rattled off a list of imperfect throws. One was to receiver K.J. Osborn that fell a bit short, and another toward Jefferson that was off the mark and could have been intercepted.
"This is the way I am, man," he said. "I'm kind of hard on myself. I go back there and think of all the ways I need to be better."
In truth, the 2022 season isn't close to the best of Cousins' career from an individual standpoint. His 49.8 QBR this season is actually the worst it's ever been through 12 weeks of the season. His nine interceptions are the second-worst, as is his 65 percent completion rate. But the throws he has made to win games are what his teammates and coaches want him to focus on.
Cousins, whose teams are now 11-18 when playing in prime time, was asked if he would ever allow himself to say he had played a great game.
"No," he said. "I don't know. I probably drive myself crazy, my family crazy being this way. It's s just the way I am wired. I'm an improver. I'm kind of obsessed with improvement. Even when things are good, my mind goes to how can they be better. You kind of torture yourself that way."
Seifert noted the Vikings didn't beat the Patriots solely on the strength of Cousins' arm.
Kene Nwangwu's 97-yard kickoff return in the third quarter provided a big emotional swing. Their pass protection improved dramatically one week after Cousins was buried by seven sacks in a 40-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Their own pass rush came alive in the fourth quarter to sack Patriots quarterback Mac Jones twice, and the NFL's replay review system reversed a third-quarter touchdown pass to Patriots tight end Hunter Henry, forcing a Patriots field goal.
But Cousins divulged that Thielen pulled him aside before Thursday's game and "shared an encouraging word." Thielen didn't specifically address that conversation in speaking with reporters Thursday night, but he said it is important for Cousins not to feel like he's "carrying the weight of the team on him.
"I think that's something that we continually try to talk to him about," Thielen added. "Just go out there and play football. You're a dang-good football player and you prove that week in and week out. You show how tough you are. You show how prepared you are. When he does that -- and he did it tonight -- he's one of the best in the league."
Jefferson, meanwhile, lauded Cousins' growing confidence in throwing him the kind of "50-50" balls that have led him to score three red-zone touchdowns in the past four games, as well as haul in deeper passes of 37 and 36 yards Thursday night.
"Ever since I've been here I've been asking him to do it," Jefferson said. "I feel like every single week he's getting more and more confident to give me those types of footballs. I just love going up and making a play."
According to Seifert, Cousins has been genuinely moved by such encouragement, as well as the unwavering confidence head coach Kevin O'Connell has displayed since joining the organization in February.
O'Connell made special mention of Cousins and his performance on the prime-time stage against a vaunted defense in his postgame speech to the players in the locker room.
"You don't play like he did tonight without really starting to develop some ownership of our offense," O'Connell told reporters.
But Cousins obviously had help.
As Associated Press sports writer Dave Campbell notes, after Cousins was sacked a career-most seven times by the Cowboys, his time to throw was vastly increased despite the absence of left tackle Christian Darrisaw.
O'Connell was at his play-calling best with quicker throws and shorter drops for Cousins, ample help for Darrisaw's sub, Blake Brandel, and a commitment to the run despite a lack of production that allowed the Vikings to stay in their play-action passing attack. Cousins was sacked only once.
"We used a lot of different techniques on the edges to try to condense that rush, try to let Kirk have some clean pockets," O'Connell said.
Next up, the Vikings can clinch the NFC North by beating the New York Jets. The Packers loss to Philadelphia put the Vikings in control of their destiny.
More important for the Vikings, given the state of the division beneath them, is their place in the NFC. Their loss to the Eagles (10-1) looms large as a potential tiebreaker for the first-round bye. They have a two-game edge in the loss column on NFC West co-leaders San Francisco and Seattle for the No. 2 seed that would come with home games in the first two rounds.
Other notes of interest. ... Is there anything the Vikings can't do with Jefferson? Thursday night, he caught nine of the 11 passes thrown his way for 139 yards and a touchdown against a defense that mixed its coverages against him as well as any opponent this season.
Cousins said the Patriots were changing up the type of double teams they used against him and only occasionally left him in true single coverage. ...
Greg Joseph has five missed extra points, the most in the NFL this year. Including his 2018 season with Cleveland, Joseph has an 87.9 percent cumulative conversion rate on extra points that is the worst among kickers over the last five years with more than 35 attempts, according to Sportradar data. Joseph is 94 for 107, with four misses in 2021. ...
Nwangwu's TD propelled the Vikings to a victory and was one of five returns for the game-breaker, who had 166 kickoff return yards in total. On Wednesday, he was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. ...
Finally. ... Cornerback Andrew Booth's rookie season is over.
Booth had knee surgery on Monday and word was that his recovery timeline would be determined once doctors decided what kind of procedure he needed to repair his injury. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that they determined he needed an operation that will not allow him to return before the year is out.
He was officially placed on injured reserve on Wednesday.
Booth was a second-round pick this year and missed time earlier in the season with a quad injury. He played his first defensive snaps in Week 11 and made his first start against the Patriots last Thursday. He recorded 12 tackles in six overall appearances.
The Vikings hope to get Cam Dantzler back from injured reserve in December. Until then, they'll have Patrick Peterson, Chandon Sullivan, Akayleb Evans, Kris Boyd and Duke Shelley as their available corners.
The team filled Booth's spot on the roster by activating tight end Ben Ellefson off of injured reserve.
Ellefson has been out since Week 4 with a groin injury and he caught three passes for 26 yards in those appearances.
You can access complete stats for the Vikings Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Josh Dobbs, Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall, Kirk Cousins
RBs: Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, C.J. Ham, Kene Nwangwu, Cam Akers
WRs: Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, Brandon Powell, Jalen Nailor
TEs: T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse
New England PatriotsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
For weeks, concerns about the Patriots have centered on the offense, which has struggled since Mac Jones returned from an ankle injury that forced him to miss three games.
Those worries were mostly assuaged last Thursday night at Minnesota.
Jones threw multiple touchdown passes for the first time this season and went 28 of 39 for a career-high 382 yards and a season-best 119.8 passer rating.
As ESPN.com's Mike Reiss suggested, "For the first time this season, he looked like the 2021 version of Mac Jones."
"I think he played really well," receiver Jakobi Meyers said. "It was a loud environment, a hard place to play. But also a great place to play. I feel like he did a really good job commanding the huddle, commanding the offense."
Jones' 382 passing yards established a career high and showed the potential of the passing game when he's given time in the pocket.
His first seven throws of 10-plus yards downfield were completed. In all, he was 9 of 12 for 220 yards and two touchdowns on passes of 10-plus air yards, which tied his most such completions and passing touchdowns on those throws.
"I didn't feel pressure at all, hardly. They did a great job," Jones said of the offensive line. "If we can just continue to do that, then I think a lot of things will go our way."
Jones liked the attitude, effort and toughness with which the offense played, while also lamenting missed opportunities (0-for-3 in the red zone, 3-of-10 on third down) and a fourth-quarter fade.
"The result wasn't what we wanted, but I think there were some good things there," he said.
Quarterbacks coach Joe Judge added that the raucous environment tested the offense and felt the way Jones and Co. responded to that "was a step in the right direction and showed the maturity of the [unit] start to take place."
Specific to Jones, he said: "Mac played the other day the way he prepared. He had a really good week of preparation and it showed up in how he performed."
But it still added up to a 33-26 loss, largely because New England still had issues finishing drives, going 3 of 10 on third down and 0 for 3 in the red zone.
The Patriots remain 31st in the NFL in efficiency inside the 20-yard line, converting on 38.7 percent of their chances (12 of 31) this season. Entering Week 12 games, only the Broncos have a lower touchdown percentage.
Jones acknowledged that trend can't continue.
"We've got some good opponents coming up in our division, and just got to look at the film and try and get better," Jones said. "Definitely not the result we wanted, but there's no time to kind of drag and feel sorry for ourselves."
Jones and his teammates will have a full week to prepare for their Thursday night matchup with AFC East-leading Buffalo, the team that blew out the Patriots 47-17 in the wild-card round of the playoffs last season. Bills quarterback Josh Allen is tied with the NFL lead in interceptions with 11 and will face a New England defense looking to bounce back from allowing Kirk Cousins to pass for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
On the injury front. ... Running back Damien Harris, who is dealing with a thigh injury, has been ruled out against the Bills.
e's considered week-to-week going forward, an indication he'll miss some time.
As Reiss reminded his readers, the last time the Patriots were in a similar situation this season, they turned to J.J. Taylor -- not rookies Pierre Strong Jr. and Kevin Harris -- as the top backup to Rhamondre Stevenson, who will obviously remain the lead back.
In addition, Meyers played a season-low 16 snaps Thursday night after injuring his right shoulder on the team's first offensive play -- a diving 26-yard catch. He initially went to the pop-up medical tent on the sideline before retreating to the locker room for further evaluation.
"Just landed in a weird position, had my arm trapped a little bit," he explained. "I started to feel better throughout the game, so they gave me the green light to go back. I appreciate them for that. When anything threatens your job, you kind of go into a little bit of shock mode, but I have good teammates and coaches who rallied around me and kept me calm."
As for if the injury might affect him in the weeks to come, he said simply: "I haven't heard otherwise. They will have to sit me down for me not to go."
Both Meyers and DeVante Parker, who has been dealing with an ongoing knee issue, were limited Monday, but Parker was upgraded to full participation on Tuesday and he avoided injury designation.
Meyers, however, is questionable.
I'll have more on his status via Late-Breaking Update in advance of Thursday night's kickoff. ...
Parker had four catches for 80 yards, including a 40-yard grab in the third quarter to set up the Patriots' go-ahead field goal.
Other notes of interest. ... According to Associated Press sports writer Kyle Hightower, if the Patriots are going to make the playoffs, they will have to be much better in situational football than they were on Thursday.
Trailing 16-13 late in the first half, the offense made two mistakes that contributed to New England setting for a field goal.
Hunter Henry failed to get out of bounds after a 22-yard catch along the sideline, forcing New England to use its second timeout. After two long passes to Parker, the ball was in the red zone when Jones began to scramble up the middle and took a sack. That necessitated the Patriots' final timeout of the half. ...
If the Patriots couldn't stop Justin Jefferson, what will they do against Stefon Diggs this week?
As Devin McCourty said after the game, "We play like that against No. 1 guys, it's going to be a long year." The Patriots' defense stepped up in class, facing quarterback Kirk Cousins and Jefferson, and the results looked a lot different from the prior weeks against less-threatening offenses.
They will be facing a lot of offensive firepower the rest of the way -- starting with Buffalo this week.
You can access complete stats for the Patriots Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe
RBs: Rhamondre Stevenson, Ezekiel Elliott, JaMycal Hasty
WRs: DeVante Parker, Demario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyquan Thornton, Kayshon Boutte, Matt Slater, Kendrick Bourne
TEs: Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki, Pharaoh Brown
New Orleans SaintsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As difficult as Dennis Allen's first year as the Saints' coach has been, New Orleans could climb right back into the NFC South race by winning its next game.
Just don't expect Allen to be touting that fact this week.
While technically accurate, it's not necessarily representative of the product the Saints (4-8) have put on the field.
"I don't think we can pay attention to the standings too much," Allen said Monday after reviewing video of yet another loss this season in which his team was plagued by botched execution at critical moments.
Two turnovers, untimely penalties and a missed field goal during a 13-0 loss at San Francisco on Sunday provided the latest examples of the mistake-prone play that has plagued the Saints much of this season.
"It's frustrating because (those mistakes) keep you from winning games and we as a coaching staff and us as players, we've got to at some point take the accountability and get it fixed if we want to start winning games," Allen said. "I think we have a team that's got the capability of winning some of these games as we go down this stretch."
Alvin Kamara fumbled near midfield on the Saints' opening possession, leading to a 49ers field goal. He lost a second fumble in the second half near the Niners' goal line. One Saints defensive penalty wiped out what could have been a momentum-changing interception.
A pre-snap penalty on a fourth-and-5 play in Niners territory prompted the Saints to take their offense off the field in favor of a 48-yard field goal attempt, which Wil Lutz pulled wide left.
Asked if responsibility for such errors falls more on players or coaches, Allen responded, "You got to look at it as it's a combination of both.
"We've got to do a better job as players in that area and we've got to do a better job of demanding it as coaches," Allen continued. "That's where we're at as a team and it's not good enough."
On a positive note, the Saints' defense benefited from the return of several prominent players and put forth one of its best performances of the season by holding the Niners to one touchdown and fewer than 100 yards rushing. The Saints' defensive front also stopped San Francisco on a fourth-and-goal play in the first half.
"We did a nice job defensively against a really good offensive team," Allen said.
But as Associated Press sports writer Brett Martel notes, New Orleans continues to struggle with ball security as well as taking the ball away.
Compounding the Saints' two lost fumbles was a penalty called on defensive back Chris Harris that wiped out rookie Alontae Taylor's interception return to the San Francisco 8. The Saints' NFL-worst turnover differential dropped to minus-14. No other team was worse than minus-8 through Sunday's games.
For fantasy managers, Sunday's game was another poor outing for Kamara.
As ESPN.com's Katherine Terrell noted, it was clear the Saints were going to have trouble running the ball against the 49ers' rush defense, but the outcome was even worse than expected, with quarterback Andy Dalton leading New Orleans with 21 yards.
The Saints have only amassed more than 100 net rushing yards once in the past six games.
While he has been arguably the Saints' best offensive player for the past half decade, Kamara could wind up having his worst season statistically this year.
He has lost four fumbles and has scored three touchdowns. He was held to 50 total yards from scrimmage by San Francisco -- on the low side for player who often surpasses 100 scrimmage yards in a game.
But it wasn't just Kamara.
The Saints ran 16 plays between the San Francisco 30- and 1-yard lines, including the missed field goal, before being shut out for the first time in 332 games -- a streak dating to the end of the 2001 season.
The Saints travel to Tampa Bay for a Monday night game that could prove pivotal in the race for the anemic NFC South. A victory would pull the Saints within a half-game of the first-place Buccaneers (5-6) with four games to play.
"I do think we've got guys that are willing to fight in that locker room and I think our guys go out there and play hard," Allen said. "We just got to do a better job of executing."
Worth noting. ... It wasn't all horrible.
Chris Olave hauled in five of nine targets for 62 yards in Sunday's loss.
New Orleans' offense sputtered as a whole, but Olave was able to produce against a tough defense. As CBSSports.com suggested, the standout rookie could have had a bigger game had his quarterback not struggled, as he almost made two circus catches on poorly-thrown balls that would have resulted in an additional 30-plus yards and a touchdown.
It was still a productive fantasy line from the 22-year-old, who now boasts a 56/822/3 receiving line through 11 contests.
Olave remains the Saints' clear No. 1 wideout heading into next Monday's pivotal division matchup against the Bucs.
In addition, undrafted rookie Rashid Shaheed continues to show promise when given chances on offense. While he was targeted just three times, he caught two passes for 53 yards and his 35-yard catch was New Orleans' longest against San Francisco's league-leading defense. He also gained 6 yards on his lone run.
You can access complete stats for the Saints Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Jake Haener
RBs: Alvin Kamara, Jamaal Williams, Kendre Miller
WRs: Chris Olave, Rashid Shaheed, A.T. Perry, Michael Thomas
TEs: Juwan Johnson, Taysom Hill, Foster Moreau, Jimmy Graham
New York GiantsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As Associated Press sports writer Tom Canavan noted, the Giants are on their first losing streak under coach Brian Daboll and their hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 2016 have taken a hit.
A couple of weeks ago, the Giants were in the driver's seat for one of the NFC's three wild-card berths. Things are getting iffy following losses to Detroit and Dallas.
Heading into the weekend, Philadelphia (10-1), Minnesota (9-2), Tampa Bay (5-6) and San Francisco (7-4) lead their divisions and have the top four seeds.
The Cowboys are 8-3 after beating the Giants 28-20 on Thursday to sweep the season series and secure the head-to-head tiebreaker over New York.
The Giants (7-4) are in position for the second wild card, a game ahead of Seattle (6-5), which beat New York earlier this season.
The up-and-coming team is the Washington Commanders (7-5). They have won six of seven games after beating the Falcons on Sunday.
The next three games will be crucial for the banged-up Giants. They have home games against the Commanders on Dec. 4 and the Eagles a week later. They play at Washington the following week.
Daboll is looking for consistency from his team, which is what he has preached all season. It has been the Giants' best characteristic and has helped them find ways to win tight games.
"It's easy to get down on yourself or get down as a team," Daboll said Friday. "I think the important thing is to just keep the main thing the main thing."
Daboll said there isn't an NFL team that doesn't think about making the playoffs in training camp. He added the ones that do are those that can focus week to week on the short-term goals that led to winning.
The former Buffalo offensive coordinator noted the Bills were 7-6 last season and won their last four to win the AFC East.
"We have a long way to go," the rookie head coach said. "Obviously, the rest of December here and the early part of January. So, we have to focus on getting ready to play Washington, but you're sitting at 7-4. You put yourself in a position to play meaningful games in December, which is important."
So what does this team have going for them?
As Canavan noted: "Daboll's coaching."
He refused to let the injuries be an excuse on Thanksgiving. His staff got the backups ready and the Giants were competitive for three quarters against the Cowboys. The team might be a little down but it will be ready for Washington, no matter who plays.
It will help if the rushing attack comes back to life.
Saquon Barkley carried the Giants' offense for the first nine weeks of the season. In the losses to the Lions and Cowboys, New York rushed for 89 and 90 yards, respectively. Barkley, who was leading the league with 931 rushing yards heading into the Lions game, was held to a total of 61 yards in the two losses. He is still 8 yards shy of 1,000.
It would also help if they could get healthier.
New York was without TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), RT Evan Neal (knee), C Jon Feliciano (neck), LG Josh Ezeudu (neck), CB Adoree Jackson (knee), CB Fabian Moreau (oblique) and LB Azeez Ojulari (calf-injured reserve). A few should be ready to return against the Commanders.
In particular, Daboll expressed optimism about Bellinger, who was able to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
"Trending in the right direction. ... Optimistic for Belly," he said.
Beyond that, receiver Richie James (knee) did not practice Wednesday.
As NBCSportsEdge.com notes, James played through the knee issue last week and was on the field for the Giants' final offensive play, a one-yard touchdown pass that James was on the receiving end of.
I'll be watching for more on that in coming days; check the Late-Breaking Updates section for more. ...
You can access complete stats for the Giants Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Tommy DeVito, Tyrod Taylor, Daniel Jones
RBs: Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, Eric Gray
WRs: Darius Slayton, Wan'Dale Robinson, Jalin Hyatt, Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, Sterling Shepard
TEs: Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager, Chris Myarick, Darren Waller
New York JetsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Rich Cimini noted this week, Mike White delivered one of the best passing days in New York Jets history on Sunday, but it wasn't enough to alter the team's plan at quarterback.
Head coach Robert Saleh reiterated Monday that he still hopes to play demoted starter Zach Wilson, setting the stage for a weekly quarterback soap opera as the Jets (7-4) bid to end their 11-year playoff drought.
"It's exactly what I talked about last week in my press conference," Saleh said. "It's a week-to-week deal. The full intent is to get Zach ready to play football again. I'll make that decision when I'm ready. While we're going through this process, it's Mike White's opportunity to take advantage of every last play he gets.
"I'm going to leave it at that. We're going to figure it out as we go."
The Jets called Wilson's benching a "reset," a chance to sharpen his fundamentals as the scout-team quarterback in practice. The 2021 No. 2 overall pick was inactive in Sunday's 31-10 win over the Chicago Bears, watching from the sideline as White -- in his season debut -- passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns on 22-for-28 efficiency.
The home fans chanted his name and teammates sang his praises, but the organization isn't ready to cast aside Wilson -- at least not publicly.
Saleh declined to speculate on what it would take for White to secure the position.
"Mike's got an opportunity to stack another great day up this week," Saleh said. "When we feel like Zach is ready to roll, he's going to roll."
Last year, White started three games.
According to Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio, the lessons he learned in that trio of contests helped prepare him his start against the Bears.
"I think the biggest thing I've learned just from my playing experiences last year was how to handle success because the Cincinnati game, my first start, went so well," White told Florio by phone after Sunday's win. "And then Indy, I had the injury and then Buffalo did not go so well. It's learning from the Buffalo game, mainly it's just not trying to play 'hero' ball. Not trying to win the game with every throw and just playing within the offense with whatever the play call is, whatever the defense is dictating, I have to do with the ball and just let the rest kind of take care of itself."
White suffered a forearm injury against the Colts on a Thursday night, exiting after throwing only 11 passes.
He returned the following weekend, for a 45-17 loss to the Bills, in which he threw 44 passes -- and four interceptions.
White's realization that he needs to not try to win the game with every throw sounds a lot like the lesson the Jets want Wilson to learn as he presses the reset button on his career.
"I think that's what any young quarterback has to learn and especially in the NFL when guys are so talented and this is the best of the best," White said. "You can get away with that in college, but in the NFL, not so much."
White also addressed balancing being a good teammate with being a fierce competitor. He praised Wilson for how he has handled the situation of being sent to the bench.
"I look at Zach as my friend before my teammate, and he's been awesome," White said. "I can't speak highly enough of him and his attitude and how he's approached this. He's been 100 percent supportive through and through, there for whatever needs. He's always there and he's like, 'Hey, when I was running this and this kind of happened in the game,' and just little things like that, and he's been awesome. He's attacked it with a great mindset, and that's just the type of guy he is and the type of teammate he is."
But White emphasized that Wilson isn't conceding the job to White.
"I definitely don't want to make it sound like he isn't a competitor because he is trying to get back on the field just like any of us," White said. "Everyone in this locker room is fighting like hell to get to get on the field because that's why we do this. We play this game to go out on Sundays and be able to perform. He's doing a great job of balancing both."
This week, the Jets travel to the face the Minnesota Vikings (9-2), who rank 20th in scoring defense and 30th in total yards allowed. With White at quarterback, the Jets enjoyed their most prolific offensive day in years, amassing 466 total yards. White finished with a 149.3 passer rating, the highest by a Jets quarterback since Geno Smith's perfect 158.3 in 2014.
Saleh said White delivered the ball quickly and made subtle movements in the pocket to avoid pressure. He did "a really, really good job," Saleh said.
Players praised White's poise, how he was able to step into a pressure situation without flinching. It had been a full calendar year since his last regular-season appearance. He galvanized a team that was reeling from a last-second loss to the New England Patriots.
"He was a smooth operator," running back Ty Johnson said. "He was just doing Mike White things, you know what I'm saying?"
Can Elijah Moore be an X factor for the playoff push?
Absolutely. It took a while, but this was Moore's breakout game of the season, with two catches for 64 yards and his first touchdown.
Moore, who requested a trade in October because he was unhappy with his usage, was an absolute nonfactor with Wilson at quarterback. We're talking only two catches for 17 yards in his previous four games. He came alive with White, who sees the field better than Wilson and gets everyone involved.
Meanwhile, the Jets might face the Vikings this Sunday with a new look in the backfield.
Running back Michael Carter (low-ankle sprain) is a question mark as the Jets prepare for the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. He left Sunday's game and didn't return; he's considered day-to-day. They lost top back Breece Hall to a season-ending knee injury in Week 7, leaving Johnson, James Robinson and rookie Zonovan Knight available if Carter can't play.
Robinson, acquired in a recent trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was a healthy scratch against the Bears. He was replaced by Knight, who rushed for 69 yards -- the most by a Jets player in his debut since Matt Snell's 82 yards in 1964.
Knight and Johnson rushed for a combined 131 yards, with Johnson scoring on a 32-yard run.
As for Robinson?
He had minimal impact -- 75 yards on 25 carries in three games -- before being among the inactives Sunday.
"He's still learning our system," Saleh said after the game. "There are still things he is getting comfortable with. No one has seen the last of him."
But The Athletic's Zack Rosenblatt contends that whether Carter plays against the Vikings or not, Knight has earned a role in the offense going forward — even ahead of Robinson.
“He was juicy as a runner, getting north and south,” Saleh said. “He’s a one-cut runner, which is kind of the staple of our scheme, and he played fast, he played physical.”
I'll have a close eye on the Carter, who was scheduled to practice Wednesday, and the rest of the backfield via Late-Breaking Update as the week progresses. ...
You can access complete stats for the Jets Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Tim Boyle, Trevor Siemian, Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers
RBs: Breece Hall, Dalvin Cook, Israel Abanikanda
WRs: Garrett Wilson, Xavier Gipson, Jason Brownlee, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, Charles Irvin
TEs: Tyler Conklin, Jeremy Ruckert, C.J. Uzomah, Kenny Yeboah
Philadelphia EaglesCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
Aaron Rodgers entered the Packers' game against the Eagles as the reigning two-time NFL MVP. Jalen Hurts showed in the head-to-head matchup why he could be the one to take the award from Rodgers.
Hurts cemented his status as a top MVP candidate with a game that goes down as one of the greatest for a QB in Eagles' history. Yes, even for a franchise that boasts Donovan McNabb, Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham, Hurts topped them all in the rushing department.
Hurts put up a record performance with his legs in Sunday night's 40-33 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
Hurts dashed for 157 yards on 17 carries and added 153 passing yards and two TDs through the air as the Eagles offense mauled Green Bay for 363 rushing yards in the victory.
Hurts became the first QB since at least 1950 with 150-plus rushing yards, 150-plus passing yards and two-plus passing TDs in a single game, per NFL Research.
His 157 yards rushing set a franchise record, breaking the mark set by Vick in 2010 (130 in Week 15 vs. Giants). In fact, Hurts credited Vick, McNabb and Cunningham for inspiring his performance.
"It means everything," Hurts said of passing Vick's record. "I have a great deal of respect for those guys. The guys that have come before me. Randall, Mike, McNabb. Just the way they played the game. I always talk about how I admire the way they played the game. And to be thrusted into that category and different things is a blessing. It's a blessing. And it's a lot of hard work going into it. I have a ton of respect for them and their support. And they don't even know how they've affected me, impacted me in my time here.
"It's an understatement to say how much I appreciate them. Because I do. And they've guided me in more ways than they don't even know. So, I appreciate them and I appreciate this team."
Hurts, who on Wednesday was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week, gashed the Packers with his legs from the start, rumbling for 24 yards on the game's third play. He generated 103 rushing yards before the end of the first quarter.
The 24-year-old put it succinctly when asked how he rushed for so many yards.
"I ran and they couldn't get me," he said.
Hurts' ability to churn out yards makes the Eagles a dangerous force. With the defense required to account for the QB every play, it opens up the rest of the offense. At this point in the season, everything just looks easy for Nick Sirianni's offense.
As NFL.com's Kevin Patra advised his readers, ignore those who say Hurts is merely a running back playing quarterback.
When required, he can burn the defense with his arm, too. Hurts has averaged 54.3 rushing YPG and has a 105.6 passer rating in 2022. The only other QB in NFL history to average 50-plus rushing YPG and have a 105-plus passer rating in a season was Lamar Jackson in 2019, when he was the league's unanimous MVP.
Hurts gave credit to the Eagles' offensive line, which blasted open holes for the entire ground game. The 363 rush yards were the most in a game by the Eagles since earning 376 in 1948.
"This offensive line, this team enjoys doing whatever needs to be done to win," Hurts said. "This team enjoys the feeling of winning and like I said we've put this work in and we've talked about some of these things. Execution fuels emotion."
The Eagles offense executed with ease Sunday night.
The nightmare scenario for the Eagles is a dazzling outing from Hurts and a sack-happy defense leading the team to the brink of a playoff victory until the effort is derailed by special teams.
The unit has largely been disaster, especially on coverage, and it crumbled against the Packers. Keisean Nixon had a 38-yard kickoff return to set up Green Bay's first touchdown, he opened the second half with a 52-yard kickoff return and then had a stunning 53-yard kickoff return with 2:09 left in a 10-point game.
Even kicker Jake Elliott missed an extra point that would have put the final at 41-33 -- yes, the final score of the Eagles' lone Super Bowl championship. Special teams coach Michael Clay has been on the hot seat for most of the season because of a glaring weakness that has yet to get corrected and could cost Philadelphia a shot at a second Super Bowl win.
A.J. Brown missed practice and lost weight because of an illness that he couldn't shake on game day.
Yet even the usually sure-handed Brown would not make excuses for a second straight game with a lost fumble (he had three total over his first three seasons) and a dropped pass. Hurts showed his faith in the No. 1 target and hit him with a 6-yard TD in the third quarter for a 14-point lead, but ball security is suddenly an issue with Brown.
"I wouldn't change how aggressive I am with the ball in my hand because that's who I am," Brown said. "But I've just got to do a better job with the details and protecting the ball."
Brown gets his first shot at his old team when the Eagles host the Titans on Sunday. Brown had wanted a new deal that the Titans were unwilling to pay, so they traded him to the Eagles. The Eagles gave him a $100 million, four-year contract with $57 million guaranteed upon completing the trade. ...
Other notes of interest. ... As Associated Press sports writer Dan Gelston asked, how often does a player rush for 143 yards and still not lead the team?
Put Miles Sanders on that list.
He had a career-best outing for yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. He had a long run of 28 yards and averaged 6.8 yards on 21 carries. Hurts and Sanders became the first teammates to run for at least 125 yards apiece since San Francisco's Frank Gore (158) and Colin Kaepernick (151) on Dec. 20, 2014.
According to NBCSports.com's Dave Zangaro, Dallas Goedert says he’s doing well in recovery from his shoulder injury. Hoping to be off injured reserve as soon as he’s eligible, which would be Week 15. It's something to watch as we begin to dial our rosters in for fantasy playoffs. ...
On the injury front. ... DeVonta Smith (groin) was limited in Wednesday's practice, something I'll follow up on via Late-Breaking Update in coming days.
In addition, the NFL's interception leader will miss time, but isn't expected to be sidelined for the rest of the 2022 campaign.
Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson suffered a lacerated kidney in Sunday's win over the Green Bay Packers, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Monday, per sources informed of the situation.
Pelissero added that it's a non-surgical injury, and there is no timetable as testing continues, but it's not expected to be season-ending.
It's a blow to the Eagles' defense, where undrafted rookie Reed Blankenship stepped in Sunday.
But the news wasn't all bad for the defense.
Rookie defensive tackle Jordan Davis is set to start working his way back into the lineup.
The Eagles announced that the first-round pick has been designated to return from injured reserve. Davis can begin practicing with the team on Wednesday and could be activated to play against the Titans this weekend.
As Profootballtalk.com notes, Davis has missed the last four games with an ankle injury. He started five of the first seven games of the season and has 14 tackles on the year.
The Eagles defensive line looks very different than it did when Davis was placed on injured reserve. Veterans Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh have joined Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, and Milton Williams to give them enviable depth on the interior.
In addition to the Davis move, the Eagles announced they have released defensive tackle Marvin Wilson from the practice squad and signed wide receiver Auden Tate, wide receiver Kawaan Baker, and offensive lineman Tyrese Robinson to the practice squad.
You can access complete stats for the Eagles Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jalen Hurts, Marcus Mariota, Tanner McKee
RBs: D'Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, Rashaad Penny
WRs: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Julio Jones, Olamide Zaccheaus, Quez Watkins
TEs: Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, Albert Okwuegbunam
Pittsburgh SteelersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
Addressing the media just 12 hours after his team defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 24-17, Monday night, head coach Mike Tomlin didn't have much in the way of injury updates.
He also hadn't gotten much in terms of sleep.
But Tomlin wasn't losing sleep because of the uncertainty surrounding the status of injured running back Najee Harris, who left Monday night's game in the second quarter with an abdominal injury. The contributions of Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland Jr. against the Colts helped alleviate some of those concerns.
As Dale Lolley wrote for the team's official website, Snell, who did not have a carry this season prior to Monday night's game despite being active for all 10 of the team's previous games, had 12 carries for 62 yards and a touchdown. McFarland, meanwhile, was called up off the practice squad for the first time this season and contributed six rushing attempts for 30 yards.
"I thought they stayed within their skillset," Tomlin said. "Benny is a deliberate, one-cut, downhill runner. (McFarland) is bursty and explosive and good in space. I thought they leaned on their strengths."
Those 18 combined carries for 92 yards were a significant factor in the Steelers getting a win to improve to 4-7 heading into next Sunday's game at Atlanta (5-7).
"It doesn't happen solely in the stadium. This is not a patient man's business," Tomlin said. "We never ask those guys to be patient. We ask them simply to work while they wait for the opportunity. Their work shows when they get the opportunity."
The opportunity came when Harris left the game shortly after scoring the Steelers' first touchdown of the game in the second quarter on a 6-yard run. Harris got just one more carry after that, gaining 2 yards before being shut down for the remainder of the game.
Despite not having their lead rusher, the Steelers gained 172 yards on 36 rushing attempts, with Harris contributing 35 of that on 10 carries.
Tomlin said he doesn't believe Harris' injury is a long-term issue and wouldn't rule him out from playing against the Falcons.
"I don't have an update yet on Naj and his abdomen and what that might mean," Tomlin said. "There's just not enough time since we landed and getting that looked at. As always, his participation and the quality of that participation will be our guide in terms of developing a role for him and what that might look like."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport's sources also tell him Harris did not suffer a major injury. His status this week is up in the air, and he'll be reevaluated as the practice week goes on. But no significant injury is good news.
What practice might look like on Wednesday will be quite different from a normal Wednesday as the Steelers recover from playing a Monday night road game and prepare to travel to Atlanta on Sunday.
That likely means Wednesday's practice won't be all that demanding physically, but more so mentally not just for Harris but for some others nursing bumps and bruises coming out of the game against the Colts. That could include linebackers T.J. Watt and Myles Jack, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi.
"I may do some things globally, particularly with how we work on a Wednesday, for example, in an effort to be inclusive to bring the preparation to some of those guys who are less than ready to start the physical work," Tomlin said.
But that wouldn't include Snell and McFarland, who showed they can get the job done despite not having been major pieces offensively -- at least not to the level to which they had been accustomed in previous seasons.
With the emergence of rookie Jaylen Warren as Harris' primary backup, Snell and McFarland had seen their roles decrease significantly. But not only was Harris injured in Monday night's game, Warren didn't dress because of a hamstring injury he suffered two weeks ago in a loss to the Bengals.
The Steelers could get Warren back this week -- he told reporters on Wednesday that doctors have cleared him to return and he expects to be able to play Sunday, but Snell and McFarland showed they can be capable contributors when called upon.
"We always acknowledge that roles never stay the same," Tomlin said. "They're ever-changing. Sometimes, it's positive. Sometimes, it's negative. This is football at its highest level. I think all guys know and understand that. That's why they walk into the building with the spirit that they do every day. You've got to earn it daily. ..."
Stay tuned. I'll obviously have more on Harris, who did not practice Wednesday, Warren and the rest of the backfield via Late-Breaking Update as the week progresses. ...
Meanwhile, Associated Press sports writer Will Graves acknowledges Kenny Pickett is not going to blow opponents away with arm strength.
Or speed. Or stature. Or flawless decision-making. Or a quick release.
The rookie quarterback's greatest strength may be his ability to be greater than the sum of his parts, a trait that was on full display during Monday night's win.
Pickett is at the point in his nascent career where he doesn't have to be strong for the Steelers to succeed, just strong enough. He doesn't need to be fast, just fast enough. Not quick, just quick enough.
Tomlin does not expect Pickett to morph into the "Kenny Perfect" persona he cultivated during his college days on the other side of the building the Steelers share with the University of Pittsburgh.
All Tomlin wants out of Pickett in 2022 is progress.
Pickett provided it in a sturdy if not spectacular performance while orchestrating his first NFL fourth-quarter comeback.
Sure, Pittsburgh only trailed by a point when the offense took over 16 seconds into the final frame.
Yet in a season in which the Steelers have had a volatile relationship with success, what happened over the next 11 plays offered a glimpse of the Pickett the Steelers hope he can become on a regular basis.
There were no big plays, just a series of little ones, namely a third-down laser to George Pickens on a crossing route, a pass Pickett made despite getting hit high by Colts linebacker E.J. Speed. Pickett also convinced offensive coordinator Matt Canada to call the running play that Benny Snell converted into a 2-yard touchdown and he bought enough time with his legs on the 2-point conversion to find Pickens in the back corner of the end zone to push Pittsburgh's advantage to seven.
It was enough to breathe some much-needed life into a season that threatened to spin out of control, at least for now.
"Right now we're a four-win team right now," said Pickett, who completed 20 of 28 for 174 yards. "We have to own that and chip away and get back to winning, and this definitely was a start."
One Pittsburgh hopes it can build on down the stretch. The playoffs are a long shot at best for a team that hasn't won consecutive games all season.
While the Steelers are attempting to still focus on the present, the reality is 2023 and beyond began the moment Tomlin handed Pickett the keys at halftime of what became a Week 4 loss to the New York Jets.
Pickett knew it was going to be a roller coaster. Yet there are signs things are starting to smooth out. He hasn't thrown an interception in three straight starts after tossing eight across in his first five appearances.
He got wide receiver Diontae Johnson involved more than he had in recent weeks and he displayed the kind of tenacity that is hard to measure, but readily apparent every time the ball is in his hands.
For now, it's enough.
"We're all believing in what we're doing and showing up every day to work, and every guy in that locker room wants to win, and we're doing everything it takes to go out there and win and leaving it all out there," Pickett said. "I think if you have that, you got a shot."
In particular, Pickens focused on the late rally as a sign that things are starting to fall into place after a rough start to the season.
"I feel like we're coming together," Pickens said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We've got a few more games left and we're starting to get some rhythm."
Next up, the Steelers will try to string back-to-back wins together for the first time since January when they visit Atlanta Sunday. The Steelers have dominated the series through the years and are 14-2-1 all-time against the Falcons.
You can access complete stats for the Steelers Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph
RBs: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.
WRs: George Pickens, Diontae Johnson, Allen Robinson, Calvin Austin III, Miles Boykin
TEs: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington
San Francisco 49ersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
Immediately after Sunday's win against the New Orleans Saints, the San Francisco 49ers were disappointed that running back Elijah Mitchell sprained his left knee but optimistic it wouldn't be serious enough to keep him out for long.
As ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner noted, that optimism vanished Monday when further testing on Mitchell's knee revealed a sprained MCL strikingly similar to the one he sustained in his right knee in Week 1. Which is to say Mitchell will again miss six to eight weeks and land on the injured reserve list.
"It wasn't the news we were looking for," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He's pretty disappointed. Everyone knows how good Elijah has been, how hard he worked to get back from his last one, how good he's been playing since he came back, and to kind of be right back there, I know he was real down on it. It's unfortunate for him. He's just had some real bad luck."
Mitchell suffered a right knee sprain in a Week 1 loss to the Chicago Bears and returned in Week 10 against the Los Angeles Chargers after he was activated from injured reserve. Under league rules, players who have been on injured reserve and brought back can go through the process again in the same season.
The Niners hope that they can extend their season long enough for Mitchell to return again.
"He knows what's ahead of him," Shanahan said. "He's just going to have about six weeks of frustration, but hopefully we can do our job here so when he comes back, we're still playing."
Mitchell suffered the injury early in the third quarter when he got rolled up on. He attempted to continue playing but soon had to exit the game and was ruled out. He departed with seven carries for 35 yards and two catches for 8 yards.
Mitchell isn't the only Niners running back dealing with a knee issue coming out of Sunday's game. Starter Christian McCaffrey has what Shanahan is calling "irritation" in his left knee and will have to be managed throughout this week of practice before Sunday's meeting with the Miami Dolphins.
Those issues leave rookies Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price as the only healthy running backs on San Francisco's active roster. Mason closed out the game Sunday with five carries for 25 yards.
"It was really impressive," Shanahan said. "I think you could feel him like you did in the preseason when he got those carries. I know we could from the sidelines ... That was real encouraging, and it's going to open up some opportunities for him and also for Ty to get a chance to get back out there."
That said, The Athletic's Matt Barrow advised his readers to never underestimate Shanahan's fondness for veteran Tevin Coleman, who is on the practice squad but had a pivotal role in the Week 5 win in Carolina.
Right guard Spencer Burford (sprained right ankle) was the only other 49ers injury of note Sunday. Shanahan said Burford could return to practice as soon as late this week.
In better injury news, the 49ers avoided any significant problems with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was in pain after Sunday's game from a hit he took to his lower left leg and knee.
"It was a relief that no serious injuries came up," Shanahan said. "I know he's pretty sore today and stuff. So, hopefully he'll work that out by Wednesday but nothing serious."
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel was also nicked during the game, but he returned to action.
The Niners could also welcome back a key defensive player this week as defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who has been out since Week 4 with foot and ankle injuries, is expected to practice Wednesday after rejoining the team last Friday.
San Francisco also made a notable roster move Monday, signing veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins to the practice squad. In 10 NFL seasons, Jenkins has played in 142 games with 575 tackles, 124 passes defended and 27 interceptions.
"To have a veteran who can play and get him on our practice squad, we love that," Shanahan said. "We felt Janoris fell right into that line. If he would have done it earlier, we would have done it (a while) ago."
I will, of course, be following the progress of McCaffrey, who did not practice Wednesday, Samuel, who was limited Wednesday, Garoppolo and the general approach at running back with Mitchell out via Late-Breaking Update as the week progresses. ...
While the other playmakers on San Francisco's offense get the attention, receiver Jauan Jennings is always a reliable target in key spots. Jennings had four catches on third down Sunday as well as a touchdown on first down. Over the past two seasons, Jennings has turned 21 of his 32 targets on third down into first downs or touchdowns.
"Jauan's clutch for us and he kept us out on the field a couple times and got us those points," coach Kyle Shanahan said.
Meanwhile, the 49ers again struggled to finish drives, settling for a field goal on the opening possession after driving to the 5 and getting stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the second quarter. San Francisco ranks 30th in the league, scoring TDs on 56.5 percent of goal-to-go drives.
The 49ers' offense was asleep for most of Sunday's game, which was easy to see coming thanks to a short holiday week following a long stay in Colorado and Mexico City.
But the defense dominated, and the Niners got their fourth win in a row and first shutout since October 2019. It was enough to get the job done against New Orleans, but San Francisco can't afford such a flat offensive performance next week with old friend Mike McDaniel and the Dolphins coming to town.
You can access complete stats for the 49ers Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen
RBs: Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Price, Kyle Juszczyk
WRs: Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Ronnie Bell, Danny Gray
TEs: George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Brayden Willis, Ross Dwelley, Cameron Latu
Seattle SeahawksCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
As Associated Press sports writer Tim Booth reported, it was a feel-good story for a while surrounding the Seattle Seahawks.
But then came expectations as that story got better and a team most believed would struggle to win five games suddenly surged to the top of the NFC West.
Now, the next stage has arrived: concern and worry after two straight losses that have left Seattle on the outside of the playoff picture along with issues from earlier in the season that seemed solved resurfacing in a troubling way.
The second straight loss came on Sunday when the Seahawks were run over by the Las Vegas Raiders in a 40-34 overtime loss that was capped by Josh Jacobs' 86-yard game-winning TD dash.
The Seahawks allowed 283 yards rushing -- a franchise record -- and 576 total yards to a talented Las Vegas team that had underachieved through the first half of the season.
"We didn't come out of the bye as sharp as we would like to," head coach Pete Carroll said Monday. "I have no idea if that had to do with the bye or not, but we just didn't play well enough upfront and that's where our focus will be here."
Geno Smith said the Seahawks need to be ready to face an opponent's best effort each week.
"Reality is that we're going from the hunter to the hunted," Smith said after the game. "People want to play us. As a young team, we've got to learn to be able to go out there and win those games. That's our next step in the evolution as a really young team. We got to understand the moment, capture the moments, take advantage. I feel like we had plenty of opportunities to go out there and win that game, finish it late, and we just didn't get it done."
This Seahawks team was always going to play with a thin margin where one major deficiency in a game was going to be difficult to overcome.
That was the case on Sunday. Seattle's run defense was obviously putrid watching Jacobs run wild.
And even though Smith threw for more than 300 yards, the Seahawks failed to have any successful run game of their own and committed a pair of turnovers, including a fumble at the Las Vegas 23-yard-line early in the fourth quarter.
While the balance of the offense was not what Seattle wanted, Smith continues to show he can handle the load if the Seahawks need to lean on the pass game. Smith threw for 328 yards, his third game this season with at least 300 yards passing. Smith also was able to escape pressure and make a few key plays with his feet.
But the problems with the run game left Seattle in a lot of third-and-long situations and led to the Seahawks going 3 for 9 on third downs.
Booth went on to explain Seattle's offensive line struggled in the loss with both rookie tackles having moments where they looked like first-year players. The Seahawks never fully established their run game and rushed for only 65 yards with 22 of those coming from Smith.
Kenneth Walker III rushed for touchdowns of 12 and 14 yards, and his other 12 carries netted zero yards.
Smith also was sacked three times and the Raiders had 10 quarterback hits led by six from Maxx Crosby.
Next up, the Seahawks will jump back into division play against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Seattle has lost each of its past four trips to Los Angeles, but won at SoFi Stadium earlier this season in beating the Chargers.
Also of interest. ... Pete Carroll admired the leadership Smith showed after the Seahawks' OT loss by directing blame at himself, perhaps more than was warranted:
"I think it's exactly what you hope you'll get. He couldn't be more willing to hold himself accountable."
Carroll said Smith's interception was partly the result of a route-running error, but the QB took responsibility for that and other Seahawks miscues.
Carroll also liked the wisdom in his comment about how they've gone from hunters to the hunted.
You can access complete stats for the Seahawks Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Geno Smith, Drew Lock
RBs: Kenneth Walker III, Zach Charbonnet, DeeJay Dallas, Kenny McIntosh
WRs: DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jake Bobo, Cody Thompson, Dareke Young
TEs: Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
Tom Brady experienced another first in his illustrious 23-year NFL career on Sunday. Unfortunately, this time it was one he'd rather have avoided.
The Cleveland Browns scored a game-tying touchdown with 32 seconds left in regulation, then earned the 23-17 win over Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime. It marked the first time in the quarterback's career in which his team held a seven-point lead in the final minute of the fourth quarter and lost the game, per Elias Sports. Brady had been 218-0 in such situations, including the postseason.
Once again, the Bucs offense sputtered. Brady completed 29 of 43 passes for 246 yards and two TDs. With a late lead, Tampa couldn't get anything going, and, along with several conservative coaching decisions by Todd Bowles, allowed the Browns to hang around and eventually earn the OT win.
"Seventeen points isn't going to do it," Brady said. "That's basically what we've been doing all year. It's like the same thing. ... We had our chances. Just didn't make the plays and they did."
The Bucs punted nine times in Week 12 against a Browns defense that had been gashed this season. It's the most punts by a Brady-led team since Week 4, 2019, versus Buffalo.
Outside of Chris Godwin's big day -- 12 catches, 110 yards and a touchdown, the Tampa offense was a muddled mess. They failed to gain 100 yards rushing for the ninth time in 11 games, and Mike Evans extended his seven-game streak without a TD, the longest drought of his career.
In a few related notes. ... Playing a game in Cleveland that Tampa Bay should have won and losing it is, to Brady, better than the alternative.
"Look, losing is hard for all of us, but I'd rather lose and play than not play at all," Brady said on the latest episode of his Let's Go! podcast, via JoeBucsFan.com.
"I love playing. I love competing. I love trying to be a little bit better every day. I love going out there with a sense of purpose to try to get better. And ultimately, I love trying to play at a championship level for my teammates. ... And obviously there's challenges every year. Everybody has unique challenges, you know, on and off the field. You work as hard as you can with the circumstances that are presented before you. We're just going to keep fighting 'til the end and we'll be measured by, again, by what happens over the course of a long season."
Luckily for the Buccaneers, they play in the NFC South, where they continue to lead the division despite a 5-6 record, including three consecutive road losses to Pittsburgh, Carolina and Cleveland.
Next on the docket is a Monday night date with the 4-8 Saints in Tampa.
Then, it's a short-week, long trip to San Francisco. After that, the Bucs host the Bengals.
Even if they lose two or three of those, it may not keep them from ultimately winning the division. And all that matters, if they get there, is where they are as of the wild-card round.
Meanwhile, the news coming out of another disappointing loss to an opponent with a losing record was not as bad as it could have been.
An injury suffered by All-Pro offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs is not as serious as the team initially feared.
"He's got a high ankle sprain," head coach Todd Bowles said Monday, adding that while Wirfs is almost certain to sit out Monday's home game against New Orleans, the third-year pro could be in play to return at some point down the stretch.
"So we'll see how it goes week to week," Bowles said.
The injury is the latest blow to an offensive line that has a drastically different look from the unit that protected Brady the past two seasons.
With Wirfs out, the Bucs are down to one starter remaining from a year ago -- left tackle Donovan Smith.
Left guard Ali Marpet retired last winter, right guard Alex Cappa left via free agency and center Ryan Jensen, a Pro Bowl selection for the first time in 2021, has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury the first week of training camp.
In addition to struggling to getting the ball in the end zone, the Brady-led offense ranks last in the NFL in rushing.
The Bucs took a 17-10 lead into the fourth quarter Sunday, but failed to score on their final seven possessions.
As Associated Press sports writer Fred Goodell noted, with Leonard Fournette inactive because of a hip injury, Rachaad White made his first pro start on the heels of rushing for a career-best 115 yards in a win over Seattle. The rookie had a 35-yard run and finished with 64 rushing on 14 attempts. White also had nine receptions for 45 yards.
As noted above, Godwin was busy and productive. Conversely, on a day when he joined Jerry Rice, Calvin Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss and Larry Fitzgerald as the only players in NFL history with 10,000 yards receiving -- along with 75-plus TD catches -- in the first nine years of a career, Evans was half of that.
He was targeted nine times but had just two receptions.
That has to change, Bowles said, if the Bucs are going to solve their offensive woes.
He caught 10 passes in the two previous games, but they covered just 94 yards and that led to a question for Bowles about why the Evans and Brady aren't in the groove they've been in for most of the last few years.
"It's a good question," Bowles said, via Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times. "Some of them were defensive calls, some of them we just missed it here and there. We've got to get that fixed, we've got to get them back on the same page."
On the injury front, in addition to Fournette and Russell Gage (hamstring) both missed this one; I'll be following up on their chances of returning this week via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
You can access complete stats for the Buccaneers Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask
RBs: Rachaad White, Chase Edmonds, Sean Tucker, Ke'Shawn Vaughn
WRs: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer, Kaylon Geiger, Deven Thompkins, Rakim Jarrett, Russell Gage
TEs: Cade Otton, Ko Kieft, Payne Durham
Tennessee TitansCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
According to Associated Press sports writer Teresa M. Walker, the Titans must work through some offensive issues to relieve the pressure on both two-time NFL rushing champ Derrick Henry and one of the league's stingiest defenses.
A team that has been one of the NFL's best under coach Mike Vrabel scoring touchdowns inside the red zone had to settle for field goals instead of TDs on three chances in a 20-16 loss to Cincinnati.
Worse, the Titans (7-4) have a much bigger problem.
Entering Monday, only six NFL teams score fewer points than Tennessee's average of 19 a game, and all six below the Titans all have losing records.
Luckily for Tennessee, two of those teams -- Indianapolis and Houston -- reside in the AFC South where the Titans still sit atop looking for a third straight division title.
"We know that we have to be much better in those opportunities, and we have been, there's evidence for many years of us doing that this year, Last year," Vrabel said Monday.
"The only thing that matters is what we're going to do against Philly moving forward."
The Titans have to better counter opponents focused on shutting down Henry. Blocking better for both Henry and Ryan Tannehill would help.
"I would say the shots are there," said veteran wide receiver Robert Woods who caught two of six passes thrown to him. "I mean, we just got to click on them."
Still, their lone touchdown came off a fumble recovered in the end zone by rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks after Henry was stripped of the ball after a 69-yard catch-and-run.
Henry, the first running back in the NFL to reach 1,000 yards this season, was held to his second-lowest rushing total with 38 yards and a 2.2-yard average. He had the best receiving game of his career with 79 yards.
Tannehill completed passes to seven of the eight receivers he threw to, one a costly drop by tight end Geoff Swaim on Tennessee's first play inside the Cincinnati 20. Burks, who had the longest catch of the game at 51 yards to set up a tying field goal late in the third, was blocking on that play.
Remember, the Titans scored a season-high 27 points in their best offensive performance this season in a 27-17 win at Green Bay on Nov. 17. Offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested hours later on charges of speeding and driving under the influence.
Downing continuing to work during the NFL's investigation and the pending legal process leaves the coordinator's play-calling, and the Titans, open to criticism.
That can start with the team's work in the red zone.
The Titans entered the contest ranked second in the NFL in red zone TD percentage (74.1 percent).
But the Titans weren't very good when it mattered most on Sunday, as they went 0-for-3, scoring their only touchdown of the game on a fumble recovery in the end zone after a long catch and run by Henry.
When the Titans reached the Bengals 15 in the second quarter, they settled for a short field goal. At the end of the first half, when they reached the Cincinnati 17, they settled for another field goal that was missed.
The Titans settled for two field goals in the second half, and in the end, their lack of productivity here came back to haunt them.
"We have to be cleaner in the red zone," Tannehill said. "It's something we pride ourselves on, we and put a lot of importance and focus on. And today we didn't execute well enough."
So the goal this week is to fix some mistakes and find a way to defend the run better. A unit that had been the NFL's best in winning seven of eight allowed a league-low 60.4 yards rushing in that span. Now the Titans visit the NFL's best team with Philadelphia (10-1) having just rushed for 363 yards in the Eagles' latest win. ...
Looking for positives?
Burks followed up his best game as a pro with another solid performance.
The rookie wideout caught four passes for 70 yards, including an acrobatic 51-yard grab when he went up high to catch a pass downfield with Bengals defensive back Cam Taylor-Britt on his hip. As noted above, Burks also came up big on third down, and he was in the right place at the right time after Henry fumbled as he approached the end zone after his 69-yard catch and run on a screen pass.
"Coach Vrabel harps on effort and finish -- finish longer than the guy with the ball, and that's what we all do," Burks said. "It just so happened I was in the right place at the right time. ... I just did my best to make plays for the team"
As ESPN.com's Turron Davenport suggests, Burks' emergence is timely considering Tennessee will face former Titans No. 1 receiver A.J. Brown this week.
One last note here. ... Vrabel said they'll see if rookie WR Kyle Philips (hamstring) can start practicing in an attempt to return from injured reserve.
You can access complete stats for the Titans Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Will Levis, Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis
RBs: Derrick Henry, Tyjae Spears, Julius Chestnut
WRs: DeAndre Hopkins, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook_Ikhine, Kyle Philips, Colton Dowell, Chris Moore
TEs: Chigoziem Okonkwo, Josh Whyle, Trevon Wesco
Washington CommandersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 29 November 2022
According to Associated Press sports writer Stephen Whyno, when the subject of Taylor Heinicke 's quarterback play came up after the latest Washington Commanders win, head coach Ron Rivera summed it up pretty succinctly.
"Taylor," Rivera said with a chuckle. "I mean, it's what we're expecting: Make some plays, do a couple things that, you know -- ugh. But then come around and make that play that's going to ignite things."
Heinicke was his normal self in making some great passes and throwing an inexplicable interception in a 19-13 victory against Atlanta on Sunday. It's a winning recipe for Washington because of the one-two running back punch of Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson that keeps defenses off balance on the ground and has the team 7-5 and sitting in playoff position with five games to go.
Robinson had the biggest day of his brief NFL career on Sunday.
Robinson ran for a season-high 105 yards and scored his first career receiving touchdown on a first quarter pass from Heinicke. After the 19-13 win against the Falcons was in the books, Robinson addressed his teammates and said he "couldn't be more thankful for everyone in this room" for showing him "unconditional love" after he was shot twice during a robbery attempt in August.
Robinson called it a "special moment" to share those feelings with the rest of the team and tackle Charles Leno said Robinson's teammates share his warm feelings.
"He had a speech for us today. We're so happy and so proud of him for what he's gone through and the type of person he is," Leno said, via Ethan Cadeaux of NBCSportsWashington.com. "Football alone, we know he's a good football player. But the person that he is, he's an amazing person, an amazing human being. I love everything about him."
The Commanders roll into an NFC East showdown at the 7-4 New York Giants with a lot of things clicking, from the running game that racked up 176 yards with five different ball carriers in the Falcons game to the defense that made the last-minute interception to preserve the victory.
Heinicke factors into that even if he's not the No. 1 reason they're 5-1 since he took over for Carson Wentz as the starter. He has thrown for seven touchdowns and five interceptions, and the biggest key to Washington keeping this run going is for Heinicke to avoid repeating errant throws or decisions that can prove costly.
"The biggest thing for quarterbacks is you've got to have a short memory span, so when we do make a mistake, let's not compound it with another one," Heinicke said.
That said, the team is far from perfect.
On one hand, the Commanders have gotten good at winning close games. On the other, Rivera would prefer for every game not to be a nail-biter and believes consistency is the next step.
"Instead of winning games by one score, maybe you win a few more by two or three scores," Rivera said Monday. "That's the next evolution, and it's about the consistency of play and then putting a few more points up and taking a few more points off."
Despite having a winning record for the first time during Rivera's tenure (and overall since 2018), Washington has a minus-3 point differential this season.
Next up, as Leno put it, the Commanders are "going to have to bring our lunch pail and our hard hats" to the Meadowlands to face the Giants for the first of two games against them sandwiched around their bye week. FanDuel Sportsbook lists Washington as a 1½-point favorite. ...
On the injury front. ... Returning from reconstructive knee surgery, defensive end Chase Young was limited on Wednesday. Young was activated to the 53-man roster last week but did not play in the win over Atlanta after being listed as questionable for the contest.
Whether Young plays in Sunday’s game against the Giants remains to be seen.
Gibson was also limited on Wednesday with a foot injury. He had nine carries for 32 yards in the Week 12 victory over Atlanta, also catching three passes for 22 yards. Gibson leads the club with 476 yards rushing this year.
Receiver Dax Milne (foot), cornerback Benjamin St.-Juste (ankle), and guard Tray Turner (knee/ankle) did not practice on Wednesday.
Center Tyler Larsen (shoulder) and tight end Logan Thomas (rib) were also limited.
More on all involved via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
Worth noting. ... It's becoming apparent it will take an injury to Heinicke, and perhaps more, for Wentz to earn the starting QB job back. Heinicke did not run at all against the Falcons with Sam Howell backing him up, and it's not clear if Wentz will be in uniform at the Giants after practicing last week.
You can access complete stats for the Commanders Week 12 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett
RBs: Brian Robinson Jr., Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez
WRs: Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Jamison Crowder, Byron Pringle, Mitchell Tinsley
TEs: Logan Thomas, Cole Turner, John Bates