While some teams were busy looking forward to the upcoming NFL playoffs and maybe even considering resting their respective key players in next week’s finale, three playoff contenders suffered brutal losses in Week Sixteen.
The Tennessee Titans needed a win over lowly Jacksonville to keep their playoff hopes alive. Not only were they unsuccessful on the field, losing to the Jaguars by three touchdowns, but Titans QB Marcus Mariota suffered a fractured fibula in the second half that will end his season. Mariota had already been struggling in the game, but the injury puts a huge dark cloud on what had been a promising season in the team’s first year under HC Mike Mularkey.
Next, the Raiders, who have already clinched a playoff berth, lost their QB Derek Carr in a similar fashion. Carr suffered a broken fibula and his season will end. The Raiders will turn to Matt McGloin, who has not started an NFL game in three years, for their upcoming playoff run.
Finally, the loss for the Seahawks was not quite as bad, considering it was not the QB position, but the broken leg suffered by WR Tyler Lockett was just as gruesome as he was tackled while making a catch near the goal line. Lockett impressively managed to hang onto the ball despite suffering the injury at the same time. Lockett’s season is done just as he was coming on and fully healthy from an injury early in the season.
In Other News:
Following last week’s loss, the Jacksonville Jaguars fired HC Gus Bradley and later named Doug Marrone as the interim head coach. That move paid off quickly as the Jags looked like a different team against Tennessee on Christmas Eve. QB Blake Bortles played one of his best games of the year, throwing for 325 yards and a touchdown and most importantly, no interceptions. Bortles also added 20 rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground. WR Allen Robinson has been one of the biggest busts of the season, but tried to make amends as he caught nine of his 12 targets for 147 yards, which is more yards than he had in his past five games combined.
Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi had gone on a bit of a cold streak since his amazing back-to-back 200-yard games back in Weeks Six and Seven against Pittsburgh and Buffalo. The Dolphins met the Bills again on Saturday and Ajayi did it again! Carrying the ball a career high 32 times, the former Boise State star racked up 206 yards as he willed his team to an overtime victory. Ajayi becomes the fourth player to accumulate three 200-yard games in one season, joining Tiki Barber, Earl Campbell and O.J. Simpson. Buffalo has now allowed the top three individual rushing performances this season, including Le’Veon Bell’s 236 yards and the pair of 200-yarders from Ajayi.
In what was called a coach’s decision, Buccaneers RB Doug Martin was inactive Sunday as Tampa used a combination of Jacquizz Rodgers and Charles Sims in their close loss to New Orleans. Martin has been struggling since returning from an injury, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry on the season. Martin signed a five-year deal with the team last off-season and his future with the team now has to be in question. Rodgers led the team with 63 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
The entire Titans offense looked out of sync against the Jaguars, including RB DeMarco Murray, who managed just 60 total yards on the day…Vikings QB Sam Bradford set new season highs with 382 passing yards and three scores and WR Adam Thielen, who failed to record a catch last week, did most of the damage. Thielen caught 12 of a career0high 15 targets for 202 yards and a pair of TDs…The Jets never stood a chance against the Patriots Saturday and that became more clear after QB Bryce Petty was forced to leave the game with an injury. Petty’s departure and the play of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick limited the upside of WR Robby Anderson, who was held without a catch after being the team’s leading receiver in recent weeks…While the Browns managed their first win of the season, they had to finish it off without QB Robert Griffin III, who left the game with a concussion. Griffin had 164 passing yards and 42 rushing yards before his exit…Amid rumors of his job being in danger, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor had one of his better games of the season, throwing for a career-high 329 yards and three TDs, along with adding 60 rushing yards…WR Julio Jones returned to the field for the Falcons after missing a pair of games with a turf toe injury. Jones caught four passes for 60 yards as the Falcons cruised to an easy win…Rookie RB Jordan Howard put up another 100+ yard game and went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season…With starter Latavius Murray (40 rushing yards) struggled, rookie DeAndre Washington wowed with 99 rushing yards on 12 carries, including a pair of 22-yard rushing scores…After it was reported that Cincinnati WR A.J. Green would play after a multiple week absence, team ownership apparently stepped in at the last minute and forced Green to sit. While this may not have been the best way to handle things, it seemed to be right decision given Green’s injury and the fact that the Bengals are out of playoff contention. TE Tyler Eifert also missed the game with an injury and both players could sit out next week, too…Seattle QB Russell Wilson put up huge numbers as he attempted to lead a comeback against the Cardinals. Wilson threw for 350 yards and four scores and rushed for 36 yards as well…The Rams lost again, this time to the 49ers and rookie QB Jared Goff managed just 90 passing yards for the game…After last week’s sideline outburst when he was pulled at the goal line, the Saints went back to RB Mark Ingram. He rushed for 90 yards and a pair of TDs against the Bucs…After RB Adrian Peterson returned to the field last week, he was out again this week with an injury. Jerick McKinnon started in his place and totaled 85 yards against the Packers…Jets RB Bilal Powell was a fantasy savior for many teams last week, but couldn’t replicate those numbers. He totaled 74 yards against the Pats…After a long slump, Browns RB Isaiah Crowell rushed for a pair of scores, accounting for all of the Browns trips to the end zone…Bills RB LeSean McCoy continued to rack up huge stats, totaling 145 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins…Panthers QB Cam Newton continued his poor play, totaling 198 passing yards and one touchdown, along with a pair of interceptions…With TE Jordan Reed out and slot WR Jamison Crowder mired in a three game slump, veteran WR DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon have come up big. The duo combined for nine catches for 208 yards against the Bears as QB Kirk Cousins threw for 270 yards and a score. Cousins also added a pair of rushing touchdowns and 30 yards…WR Donte Moncrief of the Colts and Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls were both forced to leave their respective games early due to shoulder injuries. Both players are in doubt for next week…Cardinals RB David Johnson once again went over 100 yards from scrimmage and he found the end zone three times against the Seahawks typically tight defense…Rams RB Todd Gurley had 87 total yards and a touchdown against the Niners…QB Drew Breees has us spoiled. His 299 yards and one passing score against the Bucs seemed like a let down compared to his typical numbers at home…The Packers combo of QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson dominated the Vikings defense. Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns and ran in another score, while Nelson caught nine of his 11 targets for 154 yards and two TDs…With RB Melvin Gordon again out for the Chargers, rookie Kenneth Farrow got another opportunity, but couldn’t make the most of the matchup with Cleveland. Farrow ran for 28 yards on nine carries and failed on a goal line attempt…Bills WR Sammy Watkins looked like his old self, catching seven passes for 154 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins subpar secondary…The Falcons offense was spread out to all key players against the Panthers, but RB Tevin Coleman racked up some garbage time yardage and ended the game with 135 total yards and a touchdown…Speaking of garbage time, that is what saved the fantasy day for Colts QB Andrew Luck, who finished with 288 yards and two scores after tossing a pair of early interceptions…After taking over for the benched Brock Osweiler a week ago, QB Tom Savage looked like he could be the answer. That wasn’t really the case in his first career start as Savage threw for 176 yards and no touchdowns, though Houston did pull out the win over the Bengals…Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin continues to be a late-season superstar, catching 13 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals…Bucs TE Cameron Brate managed just one reception, a touchdown, before exiting the game with a back injury…With Packers WR Randall Cobb out, it was rookie WRR Geronimo Allison who saw the big jump in playing time. He finished with four grabs for 66 yards and could be worth a look in dynast leagues…Chargers TE Antonio Gates is one step closer to the all-time TD record for TEs as he caught one from QB Philip Rivers. Gates finished with eight catches for 94 yards…Bills TE Charles Clay stayed hot, recording a pair of scores among his eight catches…With Green out, Bengals WR Brandon LaFell (6/130/1) and Cody Core (8/39) saw most of the attention…It is no surprise, but the Tampa Bay duo of QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans again combined for big performances. Winston threw for 277 yards and two scores, while Evans caught seven passes for 97 yards and a TD…Veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald was a disappointment yet again, posting a 4/31 stat line…Packers RB Ty Montgomery was another flop, totaling 40 yards after last week’s huge game…