The NFL certainly had an interesting roster of games in Week 12, including a record number of comebacks. Sunday was the first time in NFL history that four teams won by seven-plus points in the last two minutes of regulation. A total of five games have been decided by a winning score in the last two minutes of regulation or overtime this week.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Los Angeles Chargers scored the game-winning points by scoring two points in the last 15 seconds of the fourth quarter, the first time in NFL history that this happened on the same day (and only the third and fourth time). general). The league had the most comebacks in 12 weeks in history.
As the league moves into December, here’s one thing we learned about each team in week 12 as playoff races heat up.
Kyler Murray finally has DeAndre Hopkins and Marquis Brown: It only took the Cardinals until the last week of November to finally get the top two wide receivers on the roster. Hopkins and Brown combined 10 catches (on 14 targets) for 133 yards and a touchdown in the Chargers’ loss.
Even with both top receivers on the roster, Murray only averaged 6.6 yards per try (slightly above his season average of 6.4). The Cardinals also bowled out three balls from their last three possessions, targeting Brown and Hopkins only once. This is unacceptable.
Arizona added weapons to their offense, but the results remained the same.
Tackling remains a problem with tired defenses: The commanders ensured that the Falcons’ defense was on the field for most of the second half after the defeat on Sunday. The Commanders held the ball for 19:42 in the second half, exposing the problems that plagued the Falcons for most of the year.
Atlanta missed seven tackles against the run, and this was partly a result of being on the field for 60 games as the Commanders won the battle for possession in the second half. Atlanta didn’t stop the run all year (21st in the league), and part of the problem is missed tackles in run-stop situations.
The Falcons allow 27.9% of first downs from a rush, which is the third most in the league. Not good.
The red zone gives away part of another late game collapse: This crash can be entirely blamed on the defense, but let’s not overlook the fact that Baltimore went into the red 2-of-5 in Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars. In goal situations, Baltimore was 1 of 3 and Lamar Jackson was only 1 of 4 of 5 yards in those situations.
The Ravens rank 24th in the NFL in red zone offense (51.7%) and 20th in scoring (66.7%). Jackson completed just 46.4% of his passes in the red, although he has 13 touchdowns, but only six since Week 4.
If the Ravens score more touchdowns in the red zone, there may be fewer two-point collapses. That was part of the deal this week.
Welcome back, Tre’Davius White: In his first game of the season, White played 15 of the Bills’ 67 defensive snaps in the Thanksgiving victory over Detroit. The Bills have been waiting for their superstar cornerback to return from an ACL tear, and it finally happened.
In his first game back, White didn’t even hit the target in his seven coverage shots. He has already earned respect in the Lions offense, even in a game where he was at his most vulnerable.
White’s snap count will increase during the stretch, and the Bills’ pass defense could use him in the playoffs. Buffalo is 19th in passing yards per game and 13th in passing touchdowns allowed, so White is a more than welcome addition.
Brian Burns is one of the best pass rushers: Many in Carolina know how good Burts is, but the game is hardly talked about enough among the elite pass rushers in the game. Burns finished with eight presses, three quarterback hits and two sacks to lead the Carolina defense, which allowed the Broncos to score just three points in the first 57 minutes.
Burns has been terrorizing the quarterbacks all season as the Pro Bowler now has 10 sacks a year. He also has 53 pressing, 17 quarterback hits and a pressing ratio of 14.8%. Burns is fourth in the NFL in pressure and fifth in sacks. He is one of the best pass rushers in the game.
Maybe Carolina isn’t winning, which is why he isn’t talked about enough among the best in his position.
The attack should turn on Chase Claypool: Claypool had his best game in a short time with the Bears, finishing with two catches for 51 yards in a game Justin Fields didn’t play. With Darnell Mooney out for an extended period of time (maybe until the end of the year), it’s time for Claypool to step up.
51 receiving yards increased his scoring in his first three games. Claypool had just 5 catches for 32 yards in his first three games with the Bears (7 catches for 83 yards total). If the Bears are going to thrive when Fields returns, they need to focus more on Claypool and get him used to the offense.
There are two #1 wide receivers on this list: It didn’t take long to convince most people that Ty Higgins would perform in J’Marr Chase’s absence, but Higgins had the best record in the four games that Chase missed. Higgins had 26 catches for 371 yards and two touchdowns in his last four games, averaging 14.3 yards per catch.
He had 16 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown in his last two games (16.4 yards per catch), numbers similar to Chase. The Bengals will become even more dangerous when Chase returns, knowing that the enemy defense will also have to stop Higgins.
Jacoby Brisset gives the Browns a shot in 2022 with the return of Deshawn Watson: A 4-7 start may still be too big for the Browns to make the playoffs, but their playoff hopes would be dashed by a loss to the Buccaneers. Brisset wasn’t good in Sunday’s win (23 of 37, 216 yards, touchdown and interception), but he was 8 of 14 for 116 yards with a fourth-quarter touchdown and overtime (108.0 rating).
Brisset held the fort while Watson was suspended with an 89.1 passer rating in 11 games he played. With the Browns three games away from the playoffs and six to go, it might be too late. At least Brissette came out victorious and gave them a chance.
Hard ends are more dangerous than they show: Dalton Schultz looks back on himself in 2021 after catching two touchdowns against the Giants on Thanksgiving. Schultz threw his third touchdown in the last three weeks, during which time he threw 13 catches for 107 yards.
Peyton Hendershot also scored a touchdown on a reactive sweep, making him a threat in the red if the Cowboys wanted to play in two tight sets. This also includes the dangerous running back duo of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
The Cowboys have a lot of dangerous targets in the red zone, but now the defense has to take into account bottlenecks. Expect more usage in the coming weeks.
Patrick Surtain is in decline: Surten is one of the best cornermen in the game, but his last two games have been far from elite. In Sunday’s loss, Surtain was attacked five times and allowed three catches for 77 yards and a touchdown (104.2 rating on target). The touchdown was a five-yard pass for Moore.
The week before, Surten had allowed five catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns (118.8 rating). Those were the only two games in which Surtein allowed more than 80 passers in a year. Surten has thrown three touchdowns in the last two weeks (nil in the previous eight).
Surten is a great cornerback, but he’s been having problems lately.
Lions have a significant security problem: Injuries derailed the Lions in the Thanksgiving guard. In Detroit, there were 71 shots each by Kayode Avosik and Dan Skipper (plus four more by Logan Stenberg). Avosika and Skipper teamed up to allow four presses and two sacks as Jared Goff faced pressure in the center throughout the game.
The Bills also had seven loss tackles and 10 quarterback hits. The Lions were kept 3.4 yards away for a carry, but that’s to be expected with No. 5 and No. 6 defensemen starting. Jalapoulivati Waitai is likely over this year, with Tommy Kremer out since Week 7. Evan Brown (ankle) and Jonah Jackson (concussion) could be back this week, which will help.
Detroit has a good offensive line, but they need Brown and Jackson to get back on the winning track.
Green Bay Packers
The two-minute defense is still no good: In the last two minutes of the first half of this season, the Packers had a poor defense, scoring 60 points in 12 games played. That’s five points per game.
A two-minute defense resulted in an unsightly headline Sunday at the hands of the Eagles, when Philadelphia got the ball with 2:16 left and pulled nine plays for 66 yards and a touchdown that tore Green Bay’s defense in the process.
In Green Bay, the Eagles faced the 2nd and 10th from the Packers’ 30-yard line with 19 seconds left, but Jalen Hurts threw the ball for money to Kes Watkins, who made a spectacular touchdown tackle. Hurts was 5 for 6 for 73 yards on the drive and was fired twice.
The Packers just didn’t make it to the end of the first half, and they lost by four on Sunday.
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