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Football Daily Dose

Dose: Week 15 Review

by Ryan McDowell
Updated On: December 17, 2018, 1:20 am ET

Washington- 16

Jacksonville- 13

 

Desperate for competent quarterback play and running out of healthy bodies, the Redskins turned to journeyman QB Josh Johnson to lead the way. Johnson entered the game with five career starts in 10 years in and out of the league. His team was winless in those five starts. Here’s how bad things were for the Redskins. The Jaguars, losers of eight of the past nine games entering this week, were favored by more than a touchdown over the Skins. 

 

Predictably lacking in scoring, the game’s lone offensive touchdown came in the fourth quarter when Johnson hit third-string TE Jeremy Sprinkle for a six-yard score. That tied the game and a few minutes later, the Redskins got a field goal from K Dustin Hopkins to win the game. Johnson passed for 151 yards and the score and added 49 rushing yards. RB Adrian Peterson led the team, barely, rushing for 51 yards on 19 carries. WR Jamison Crowder’s 4/46 led the pass catchers. RB Chris Thompson and WR Josh Doctson, both questionable entering the game, played but had little impact.

Jaguars WR Dede Westbrook broke a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown at the end of the first half and also led the team with only 21 receiving yards. His QB Cody Kessler only passed for 57 yards on the day but did lead the team with 68 rushing yards. Of course, that means bad things for RB Leonard Fournette, who managed only 64 total yards in the game. 

 

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Tennessee- 17

New York Giants- 0

 

For the second week in a row, the story of the Titans Offense was RB Derrick Henry. After setting a franchise record with 238 rushing yards in Week 14, Henry ran for 170 yards and scored twice.  Henry’s 33 carries set a new season-high across the league for carries in a game this year. Also, for the second straight game, the Giants were without WR Odell Beckham and unlike last week, the star’s absence was felt in this one.

 

The pass offense for both sides was nearly non-existent as Titans QB Marcus Mariota threw for only 88 yards while veteran QB Eli Manning of the Giants, now reportedly expected back on the roster in 2019, passed for 229 scoreless yards. The Titans were led by WR Corey Davis, but that only took 33 yards on three catches. Meanwhile, TE Evan Engram used a season-best 12 targets to post his 8/75 stat line. That’s back to back games of at least 75 yards after Engram hadn’t hit that number all season. 

 

The real disappointment for the Giants was rookie RB Saquon Barkley, who entered the game with a season-worst total of 94 yards from scrimmage, managing just 56 scoreless yards. Barkley had proven to overcome poor quarterback play and the generally frustrating offense but couldn’t get it done today. WR Sterling Shepard was again a bust, catching two of his nine targets for 37 yards. 

 

Bears- 24

Packers- 17

 

This game was expected to be bad news for QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers as they visited the Bears and their strong defense that most recently shut down the Rams' high-powered offense. While the Bears did eventually come out on top, this game was closer than most expected, especially given the injury issues for the Pack.

 

Early in the game, Packers RB Aaron Jones limped to the sidelines with a knee injury and would not return. As time expired in the first half, Rodgers launched a Hail Mary attempt that seemed to bother him. Rodgers admitted after the game he tweaked his groin on the pass and was bothered by the injury throughout the second half. Following the game, we learned that WR Randall Cobb was being evaluated for a concussion. The loss officially ends the Packers' playoff hopes and gave the Bears the division crown. That is notable after four straight last-place finishes for Chicago.

 

The Bears put together a balanced attack with QB Mitch Trubisky passing for 235 yards and two scores, RB Jordan Howard rushing for 60 yards and a touchdown and WR Allen Robinson leading the way with a 3/54 line. TE Trey Burton broke his cold streak, catching a touchdown among his four receptions for 36 yards. RB Tarik Cohen totaled only 52 yards but scored a touchdown. 

 

With Jones out for much of the game, RB Jamaal Williams totaled a season-high 97 yards and a touchdown, while the steady WR Davante Adams didn’t let Rodgers' quiet day or the Bears Defense stop him. He caught eight passes for 119 yards. 

 

Indianapolis- 23

Dallas- 0

 

This cross-conference matchup of two of the hottest teams in the league was being viewed as one of the top games of the day but proved to be an easy victory for the Colts as their defense stepped up and they ran all over the Cowboys. Dallas hadn’t been shut out since 2003 but the Colts set the tone early as they scored on their opening drive on a short run from RB Marlon Mack. It would prove to be a career-best day for Mack, who ran for 139 yards and two scores. 

 

With a strong running game and a shut-down defense, QB Andrew Luck didn’t have to do much, and he didn’t, passing for a scoreless 192 yards. WR T.Y. Hilton led the team with 85 yards on five receptions. Rookie RB Nyheim Hines added 64 yards on 10 touches. TE Eric Ebron was a major disappointment and a game-flow victim, catching one ball for eight yards.

 

The Cowboys continued to stubbornly hand the ball to RB Ezekiel Elliott even when trailing big late in the game. The led to 87 rushing yards and 128 total yards for Zeke and a pedestrian 206 scoreless passing yards for QB Dak Prescott. The Colts have been tough on opposing wideouts all season long, allowing only one WR1 game. That didn’t change in this game as they held WR Amari Cooper to 32 yards on four catches. 

 

Minnesota- 41

Miami- 17

 

These two teams, the Dolphins and Vikings, were each coming off very emotional games last week. While the Dolphins used an amazing final play to defeat the Patriots, the Vikings played so poorly on offense that they canned their offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. What a change a week made. Speculation all week was that the Vikings would feature RB Dalvin Cook even more than normal, which rang true. Cook rushed for over 100 yards for the first time this year, totaling 163 yards and scoring twice. 

 

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins played much better than last week as well, finishing with 215 yards and two scores, sending a team-high seven targets to WR Stefon Diggs, good for a 4/49/1 line. WR Adam Thielen was held to only two catches for 19 yards. 

 

There was very little to see from the Dolphins Offense as QB Ryan Tannehill managed just 108 scoreless passing yards. Veteran RB Frank Gore left the game with an ankle injury and was unable to return. Since the Dolphins clearly don’t trust RB Kenyan Drake in a lead back role, we saw the first extended look at rookie RB Kalen Ballage. On the first play of the second half, Ballage exploded for a 75-yard touchdown sprint and finished with 123 rushing yards on a dozen carries. We may have just witnessed a transition in the Dolphins backfield.

 

Atlanta- 40

Arizona- 14

 

It has been a miserable season for both the Cardinals and Falcons but the “battle of the birds” proved to be a total blowout. Atlanta used a 16-point second quarter to pull away as WR Julio Jones caught six passes for 82 yards and a score in the first half, and then took it easy after intermission. Jones took a hard hit to the ribs in the second half and then ended up sitting out for the remainder of the game as the Falcons held a big lead.

 

Falcons RB Tevin Coleman played his best game of the season, thanks to runs of 65 and 43 yards, with the latter resulting in a touchdown. Coleman finished with 145 rushing yards and the score on just 11 carries. TE Austin Hooper entered with a questionable tag and a knee injury and failed to catch a pass on just one target.

 

Cardinals RB David Johnson started the game well, with a 40-yard catch and run that eventually led to a one-yard score. He finished with 101 total yards and a touchdown. Veteran WR Larry Fitzgerald led the team with 82 yards on seven catches and rookie QB Josh Rosen threw for 132 scoreless yards. That’s the fifth time he’s failed to throw a touchdown and the fourth game he hasn’t reached 150 passing yards. 

 

Baltimore- 20

Tampa Bay- 12

 

Ravens rookie QB Lamar Jackson made his fifth start of the season but his first with veteran QB Joe Flacco also available. Flacco, who has missed time with a hip injury, was active for the first time in a month, but HC John Harbaugh announced earlier in the week that the team would stick with Jackson. A Sunday pre-game report suggested the team would part ways with Flacco this off-season, either through trade or release.

 

Jackson was once again more impressive as a runner (18/95) than he was as a passer (14/23, 131, 1) but those numbers were good for another borderline QB1 performance and most importantly, a Ravens win. Baltimore held a close lead at the break but Bucs QB Jameis Winston and his offense got nothing going against the Ravens tough defense, being held to only a field goal after halftime.

 

Rookie RB Gus Edwards responded to a previously declining role with 104 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while RB Kenneth Dixon chipped in with 50 total yards. WR Willie Snead led the team in receiving with 58 yards on five receptions.

 

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans caught four passes for 121 yards and RB Peyton Barber played one of his better game, rushing for 85 yards and a score on 19 rush attempts. Winston had a disappointing game given his recent hot streak, passing for 157 yards and an interception. WR Chris Godwin (0/0), TE Cameron Brate (1/9) and WR Adam Humphries (4/23) were all held below their expected production. 

 

Buffalo- 14

Detroit- 13

 

One team started well and has fallen apart and the other started poorly and has been competitive in recent weeks. Those types of games usually go one way and that is how it went when the Lions traveled to Buffalo. The Lions held a 13-7 halftime lead and that score held until early in the fourth quarter when Bills rookie QB hit red-hot rookie WR Robert Foster for a 42-yard touchdown. Foster caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. That’s his fourth game in the past five with at least 94 receiving yards. 

 

Allen was not as effective as a runner in this game, gaining 16 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. That is surprising given the Bills backfield situation. They entered the game without their top two backs as veterans LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory were both inactive with injuries. That left RB Marcus Murphy to carry the load, but he suffered an arm injury after 11 carries for 35 yards. The next man up was RB Keith Ford. When he suffered an injury, the team was left with FB Patrick DiMarco. Ultimately, Ford was able to return and led the team with 46 yards on 14 carries. 

 

QB Matthew Stafford was questionable to play in this game but was on the field and played much better than last week, though that’s not saying much. Stafford finished with 208 yards and a touchdown. WR Kenny Golladay, the last man standing in the Lions receiving corps, had a monster game, catching seven balls for 146 yards. With rookie RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) out for yet another game, pass-catching RB Theo Riddick led the team with 47 yards on eight carries. 

 

Cincinnati- 30

Oakland- 16

 

The Bengals had already lost starting QB Andy Dalton, starting TE Tyler Eifert, top WR A.J. Green and in this game, they lost breakout WR Tyler Boyd with a knee injury. That forced the home team to lean on RB Joe Mixon in an effort to break their month-long losing streak. Mixon responded with 130 total yards and two touchdowns, which was nearly enough to defeat the Raiders on his own. 

 

The Raiders never really put up much of a fight, though QB Derek Carr did finish with 263 passing yards and a touchdown. RB Doug Martin, facing the Bengals soft run defense, managed just 39 rushing yards after Oakland fell behind early. WR Jordy Nelson (6/88) and RB Jalen Richard (5/67) led the way for the Raiders pass catchers while TE Jared Cook’s 2/23 was a major disappointment. 

 

Before departing with the knee injury he would later claim was not serious, Boyd caught four passes for 38 yards and a touchdown. Other than TE C.J. Uzomah’s one grab for 37 yards, no other Bengals pass catchers had relevant box scores.

 

San Francisco- 26

Seattle- 23

 

The Seattle Seahawks had the opportunity to clinch an NFC Wild Card spot with a victory over the three-win 49ers but the game was closer than expected and Seattle needed 10 fourth-quarter points to force overtime. The Niners kicked a field goal after the Seahawks were forced to punt to pull off the surprise win, their first over Seattle since 2013. 

 

49ers QB Nick Mullens stayed hot with 275 passing yards and a touchdown and San Fran had RB Matt Breida back after missing last week and most of the previous game. Breida totaled 96 yards from scrimmage on 22 touches but did aggravate the ankle injury late in the game. His status for next week could be up in the air. Rookie WR Dante Pettis continues to establish himself as the team’s top wideout, leading the way with five catches for 83 yards. TE George Kittle was held in check, catching three passes for 51 yards. WR Marquise Goodwin, who broke out a year ago playing alongside QB Jimmy Garoppolo, has been a non-factor. In this one, he caught one pass for seven yards.

 

Each of Seattle’s two first-half touchdowns came from veteran WR Doug Baldwin, who led the team with four catches for 77 yards. WR Tyler Lockett (2/45) was a disappointment, as is usually the case when he doesn’t find the end zone. The Seahawks were without rookie RB Rashaad Penny and that led to a monster game from RB Chris Carson, who rushed for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown and also added 29 yards on six receptions. QB Russell Wilson passed for 237 yards and two scores.

 

Pittsburgh- 17

New England- 10

 

The game of the day featured a pair of AFC heavyweights and likely felt like a must-win for both teams. That’s especially true though for the Steelers, who entered the week with a three-game losing streak and a dwindling AFC North lead. The game looked like a potential barnburner early on as the Steelers opened the game with a long drive ending in a touchdown from QB Ben Roethlisberger to TE Vance McDonald. The Pats quickly answered as QB Tom Brady found WR Chris Hogan streaking down the sideline wide open, good for a 63-yard touchdown. 

 

The 7-7 tie held until late in the first half when Big Ben found his favorite target, WR Antonio Brown, for a 17-yard score. Offense was hard to come by for both teams after the break. Each team added a field goal, getting to the final score of 17-10. The Patriots had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes but were unable to convert on a fourth-down attempt, ending the Pittsburgh losing streak. 

 

Roethlisberger finished with 235 yards and two scores, as well as a pair of interceptions. Rookie WR James Washington actually led the receivers, catching three balls for 65 yards. Brown (4/49/1) and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (4/40) were mostly held in check but the Steelers' star of the game was rookie RB Jaylen Samuels. The North Carolina State product ran for 142 yards and added 30 more receiving yards and continually kept drives alive with first-down runs. Starting RB James Conner is expected to return to the lineup next week. 

 

Brady finished with 279 yards and a touchdown while WR Julian Edelman caught seven balls for 90 yards. Rookie RB Sony Michel rushed for 59 scoreless yards and RB James White continues to take a step back from his amazing early-season production. White totaled just 37 yards. TE Rob Gronkowski was held without a catch until early in the fourth quarter and finished with a frustrating 2/21 line. WR Josh Gordon was even worse, catching one pass for 19 yards on only two targets. Though it is little consolation, Brady became just the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach 70,000 passing yards, joining Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Brett Favre. Brady would pass both Manning and Favre if he plays next season. 

 

Philadelphia- 30

Los Angeles Rams- 23 

 

This game was expected to serve as a nice bounce back for the Los Angeles Rams, who were shut down by the Bears Defense last week. In this one, they were surely glad to be back home and facing the injury-riddled Eagles, who has pieced their secondary together with duct tape. A weird thing happened though. Every time the Rams scored in the first half, the Eagles, quarterbacked by veteran Nick Foles, had an answer. Starting QB Carson Wentz missed the game with a back injury and is likely to be shut down for the remainder of the season. After this game, some are actually questioning if the Eagles just upgraded their quarterback situation. 

 

After the break, the Eagles put up 17 unanswered points in the third quarter, including a pair of touchdowns by RB Wendell Smallwood, playing in place of an injured RB Josh Adams, who rushed for 27 yards and a score of his own before exiting. The fourth quarter belonged to the Rams, thanks to another touchdown from RB Todd Gurley, who finished with 124 total yards and two scores despite missing a chunk of the game with a knee injury. 

 

The Rams had a chance to tie the game but botched a punt return and the Eagles got the ball back and ultimately missed a long field goal that would’ve sealed the win. That gave the Rams another chance and while they got close, they couldn't get the job done, falling in a shocking loss at home to the defending Super Bowl champs.

 

Foles finished with 270 yards while Smallwood led the way with 48 rushing yards and the two scores after taking over for Adams. WR Alshon Jeffery played his best game of the season, catching all eight targets for 160 yards. WR Golden Tate (5/43) played well despite little history with Foles but TE Zach Ertz disappointed for the second straight game, catching three passes for 22 yards. 

 

Gurley led the Rams in rushing and receiving and came out of this game as the fantasy football RB1 for the week, thanks in large part to his 10 receptions. WR Robert Woods posted 93 total yards while WR Brandin Cooks (6/59) and WR Josh Reynolds (5/70) added productive lines as well.