Ryan McDowell

Football Daily Dose

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Dose: Week 16 Review

Monday, December 24, 2018

Atlanta- 24

Carolina- 10


This NFC South battle would normally be a key late-season game, but this time it featured a pair of non-contenders. Technically, the Panthers entered this game with paper-thin playoff chances but essentially waved the white flag following last week’s sixth consecutive loss. They shut down starting QB Cam Newton and handed the starting job for the final two weeks to backup QB Taylor Heinicke, who had thrown five career pass attempts. 


Heinicke began the game well, leading a scoring drive to take the early lead but that would prove to be the Panthers only touchdown of the game. Heinicke left the game with an injury in the second quarter. He would later return but was ineffective, throwing a trio of picks. As expected, RB Christian McCaffrey had a monster game, rushing for 101 yards and catching 12 passes for 77 more yards. McCaffrey also entered the record books, breaking Matt Forte’s record for single-season receptions by a running back. McCaffrey’s 11 catches gave him 106 for the season with one game remaining. CMC also became just the third back in league history to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 100 passes in the same season, joining Forte and former Chargers RB LaDainian Tomlinson


Little was expected of the Panthers pass catchers with Heinicke under center but passing volume led to some respectable final stat lines, including rookie TE Ian Thomas (4/48/1) and WR Curtis Samuel (7/41), though WR D.J. Moore (2/19) and Devin Funchess (2/23) were shut down.


The Falcons took control in the second half, outscoring the Panthers 14-0 after the break. QB Matt Ryan began the third quarter with a quick pass to rookie WR Calvin Ridley (3/90/1), who broke free and took it for a 75-yard score. Later in the third, Ryan connected with veteran WR Mohamed Sanu (5/81/1) for a 44-yard touchdown. Superstar WR Julio Jones was questionable to play in this game with multiple injuries. He was active in the first half before putting things on cruise control as the Falcons had the game in hand. Jones finished with four receptions for 28 yards and a touchdown. RB Tevin Coleman should’ve had the game to himself after rookie RB Ito Smith’s season ended early but the free agent to be managed 51 rushing yards while little-known RB Brian Hill rushed for 115 yards on only eight carries. Coleman did leave the game with a second-half injury and did not return. 


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Indianapolis- 28

New York Giants- 27


In one of the day’s biggest surprises, the Giants went into Indianapolis and led for nearly the entire game. Nearly. That is until Colts QB Andrew Luck led a late scoring drive, finding WR Chester Rogers for a one-yard score with under one minute remaining in the game. It was the Colts first lead of the game after trailing by as many as 14 points earlier in the contest. The win kept the playoff hopes alive for Indy and gave them a “win and in” scenario in Week 17 against the Titans.


Luck finished with 357 yards and two scores. The Colts were expected to follow a similar game script as last week when RB Marlon Mack carried the offense on his back but he couldn’t get it going, rushing for 34 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. As usual, WR T.Y. Hilton led the team with 138 yards on seven receptions. Secondary WRs Rogers (7/54/1) and Dontrelle Inman (4/46/1) also came up big. The Colts lost TE Eric Ebron to a concussion after only three catches for 28 yards. 


The Giants were without WR Odell Beckham for the third week in a row and this time, WR Sterling Shepard capitalized. Shepard caught six of seven targets for 113 yards and TE Evan Engram turned in his fourth straight TE1 game thanks to a 6/87 line. Rookie superstar RB Saquon Barkley was held below 100 total yards for the second straight game, managing 77 scoreless yards. Veteran QB Eli Manning posted his fourth 300-yard game of the season.


New England- 28

Buffalo- 12


The Patriots offense has struggled as of late and that didn’t figure to change Sunday against the Bills underrated defense. With the loss of WR Josh Gordon, suspended earlier in the week, and the season-long struggles of TE Rob Gronkowski, New England figured to lean on the running game in this AFC East matchup. That’s what happened as rookie RB Sony Michel rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown with RB James White adding 54 total yards and a score. WR Cordarrelle Patterson even rushed four times for 66 yards. 


Veteran QB Tom Brady’s recent play has many wondering if the end is near for him and the entire Patriots dynasty. That might be the case but New England moved into the second seed in the AFC playoff picture, positioning themselves for a first-round bye and advancing to the playoffs for the tenth straight season, the first NFL team to ever accomplish that. Brady passed for 126 yards and one score, along with a pair of interceptions. WR Julian Edelman caught six passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, scoring after defenders thought they had him tackled. Edelman never hit the ground, got up and finished off the scoring play. Neither Gronk nor WR Chris Hogan even recorded a catch in the game. 


The Bills offense has lived and died with the rushing ability of rookie QB Josh Allen. Despite the Patriots questionable defense, Allen found little running room, rushing five times for 30 yards. The Bills did have veteran RB LeSean McCoy back on the field though he didn’t start the game due to a reported discipline issue and managed just 19 yards on nine touches. WR Zay Jones broke free for a late-game 31-yard touchdown, boosting his box score to a 5/67/1 line. Rookie WR Robert Foster cooled down, catching four passes for 52 scoreless yards. Allen finished with 217 passing yards and one score. The yardage sadly represents Allen’s third-highest passing yardage total of the season, but he once again completed less than half of his pass attempts. Allen sports the worst competition percentage in the league. 


Philadelphia- 32

Houston- 30


The game of the day matched playoff contenders from each conference as the defending Super Bowl champions faced off with Houston in a back and forth battle. The Texans were hoping to clinch the AFC South while the Eagles needed a win just to keep their playoff hopes alive. For the second straight game, Philadelphia started QB Nick Foles in place of the injured QB Carson Wentz, who has reportedly been lobbying to return to the field. The two teams traded scores all game until the Eagles took a 13-point lead with an early fourth-quarter touchdown. QB Deshaun Watson led a pair of dramatic scoring drives with less than five minutes remaining in the game, giving Houston a 30-29 lead just before the two-minute warning. Foles wasn’t done though, leading a game-winning drive despite being forced to leave the game after a huge hit from Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney. Foles only missed one play and quickly got his team into field goal position. After some clock management, K Jake Elliott nailed a 35-yard kick to win the game as time expired.


Foles finished with an Eagles-record 471 passing yards, along with four touchdown passes. His fourth 400-yard passing game as an Eagle also set a franchise record. The quarterback wasn’t alone as TE Zach Ertz broke former Cowboys TE Jason Witten’s record for single-season receptions by a tight end. Ertz’s 12 catches gave him 113 for the season. He finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns. WRs Nelson Agholor (5/116/1) and Alshon Jeffery (3/82) also had big days. Veteran RB Darren Sproles totaled 108 yards and a touchdown, while rookie RB Josh Adams displayed his low fantasy floor, rushing 11 times for 21 yards.


Houston stayed in the game thanks to QB Deshaun Watson, who threw for 339 yards and two touchdowns and led the team with 49 rushing yards and two more scores. The Texans were without RB Lamar Miller and WR Keke Coutee and things would get worse as veteran WR Demaryius Thomas had to be carted off with an Achilles injury. Thomas’s former Broncos teammate Emmanuel Sanders suffered a torn Achilles just a few weeks ago and Thomas is one of the few players to ever successfully return from the serious leg injury. Speaking of Achilles, second-year RB D’Onta Foreman made his season debut after an Achilles tear late in the 2017 season. Foreman lost one yard on seven carries but did catch two passes for 28 yards and a touchdown. Superstar WR DeAndre Hopkins was uncertain to play with an ankle injury but finished with a team-high nine catches for 104 yards. With Thomas almost certainly done for the season and Coutee continuing to deal with a hamstring injury, the Texans are in trouble at the receiver position. That could lead to increased usage for young and unproven WRs DeAndre Carter and Vyncint Smith



Green Bay- 44

New York Jets- 38


Banged up and with his Packers out of the playoff hunt, many assumed QB Aaron Rodgers would sit out the season’s final two games. He didn’t. When the Jets got out to a 14-0 lead, many (myself included) suggest he should hit the showers. He didn’t. What he did was lead his Green Bay team to a comeback, overtime road victory thanks to a touchdown pass to WR Davante Adams. Amazingly, this was the Packers first road win of the season. 


Rodgers finished with 442 passing yards, matching his season high, and threw two scores. Despite his multiple nagging injuries, Rodgers also ran for a pair of touchdowns, only the second time he’s ever accomplished that. The Packers were without WR Randall Cobb, which led to more playing time for the team’s young wideouts. WR Equanimeous St. Brown (5/94) led the team, while WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5/75) chipped in. Adams saw a season-high 18 targets and finished with 11 catches for 71 yards, along with the game-winning catch. WR Jake Kumerow caught his first career touchdown among his three grabs for 61 yards. With RB Aaron Jones out, RB Jamaal Williams posted one of the best games of his young career, totaling 156 yards and a touchdown. 


Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold had his second consecutive huge game, passing for a new career-high 341 yards and three touchdowns. As expected, WR Robby Anderson served as Darnold’s top target, catching nine balls for 140 yards and a score. TE Chris Herndon (6/82/1) enjoyed another solid game and continues to be underrated, while RB Elijah McGuire totaled 85 yards and two scores. 



Jacksonville- 17

Miami- 7


The ugliest game of the day was undoubtedly the Jaguars and Dolphins matchup. Miami actually entered this game with a slight chance at a playoff berth, making their putrid showing even more embarrassing. This game was filled with mistakes, turnovers and penalties from both sides and was simply difficult to watch. 


The Jaguars started QB Cody Kessler but he was forced from the game with an injury, putting former first-rounder QB Blake Bortles back in the huddle. Kessler returned but was benched in the second half with the game tied at seven. Bortles led a scoring drive, with the Jags taking a 10-7 lead and the Jacksonville defense came up big with a pick-six of Miami QB Ryan Tannehill, getting the two teams to the final score.


Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette rushed for just 43 yards and a touchdown while veteran RB Carlos Hyde led the team with 47 yards. WR Dede Westbrook caught seven passes for 45 yards to lead the team. Jaguars HC Doug Marrone, who is now expected back for the 2019 season, declined to say which quarterback would start the season finale. It probably doesn’t really matter.


The Dolphins were somehow even worse. Tannehill passed for 146 yards and a touchdown and RB Kenyan Drake actually led the team in rushing with just 23 yards. Rookie RB Kalen Ballage was a popular option for fantasy players after his big game a week ago but he totaled just 49 yards on six touches. Veteran WR Danny Amendola (3/40/0) led the Miami pass catchers. 


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Ryan McDowell is a senior writer for You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMc23.
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