By Anthony McClean, Editor-In-Chief Emeritus
In an NFL week that started on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit and ended before another small gathering in Pittsburgh, it seemed like we saw all the aspects of what has been a truly bizarre season in pro football.
From the continued greatness of the reigning Super Bowl MVP to the resurfacing of a Heisman Trophy winner, another chapter in the story of the Field Generals was written as well.
While all of this was going on, we’re also starting to see more jockeying for playoff positions as well. Before we get ready for Week No. 13, let’s take a look back at the NFL’s version of the mini-series otherwise disguised as Week No. 12.
Deshaun Watson, Houston (Win at Detroit)
To say No. 4 had his way with the Lions on Turkey Day, would be quite the understatement. Watson riddled Detroit’s defense for four touchdown passes, and completed 17-of-25 attempts for 318 yards in the 41-25 romp. Six different times he hit a receiver for a completion of 27 yards or more. His passer rating on the day was 150.4. He’s now gone six straight games without throwing an interception, as he was last picked off in a home win over the Jaguars on October 11. In that same span, he’s thrown 15 touchdowns and eclipsed the 300-yard mark in four of those contests. The 41 points the Texans scored were the most since scoring 53 against the Atlanta Falcons in week five of 2019.
Kyler Murray, Arizona (Loss at New England)
On a normal day, forcing the opposing quarterback into a 23.6 passer rating would be plenty for the win, but the Cardinals’ offense and special teams struggled in the 20-17 loss. As for Mr. Murray, he threw for only 170 yards and no touchdowns, as well as five carries for 31 yards. The Cardinals, who have lost three of four (and the win coming on The Hail Murray), had a season-low 298 yards of offense yet still out gained the Patriots (5-6) by more than 100 yards. However, it was not enough to overcome a very painful loss.
Cam Newton, New England (Win vs. Arizona)
It was not pretty by any means, but New England was able to hang out long enough to get the win. No. 1 finished the game 9-of-18 passing for 84 yards with a pair of interceptions. Overall, the Pats’ offense had far from their best day with just 179 yards total, but made the plays they had to when it counted. The Patriots record improves to 5-6 on the season, as they overcame some late mistakes and made just enough clutch plays to pull out the 20-17 win.
Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina (Win at Minnesota)
It was another case of close, but no cigar for Carolina. As for Teddy B, he finished 19-of-36 for 267 yards, with a touchdown and the pick, and his 74.7 passer rating was a reliable indicator of how uneven his day was. Ironically, the Panthers and Vikings were nearly even in total yards (387-374), third-down conversions (both were 6-of-14) and time of possession (31:13-28:47). Sunday was Carolina’s eighth game decided by eight points or fewer. The Panthers are 2-6 in those eight games.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win at Tampa)
Sunday’s victory at Tampa adds another chapter to No. 15’s impressive resume. Mahomes put up some incredible numbers throughout the first 30 minutes, tallying 359 passing yards and two scores. It marked the most first-half passing yards in a regular season game since at least 1991. Additionally, Sunday’s performance marked the fifth time a quarterback threw for 300+ yards in the first half of a game since 2018. Remarkably, Mahomes is responsible for three of those occurrences. He also extended his touchdown streak to 21 consecutive games — the longest active streak in the NFL
Russell Wilson, Seattle (Win at Philadelphia)
In the Emerald City, they’re selling “Let Russ Cook” aprons for the holidays. After Monday night’s win, he could have sold a few more in the City of Brotherly Love. No. 3 completed 22 of 31 attempts for 230 yards, one touchdown and no turnovers. It was his second straight game without an interception or lost fumble after he committed 10 turnovers in Weeks 7 through 10, the most in any four-game stretch of his career. With the win, Wilson is 6-0 against the Eagles and the Seahawks have won seven in a row in the series.
Robert Griffin III, Baltimore (Loss at Pittsburgh)
With Lamar Jackson and others under COVID-19 quarantine, another Heisman Trophy winner would step under center for the Ravens. In his second start in four seasons, Robert Griffin III was 7-of-12 for 33 yards, the fewest of his 44 NFL starts. Griffin led the Ravens with 68 yards rushing, even though he injured his left hamstring in the second quarter. He was pulled midway in the fourth quarter and had his left hamstring heavily wrapped. The Ravens (6-5) have now lost three straight games for the first time since midway through the 2018 season.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 37 of 49 attempts (75.5 percent) for 462 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions for a 124.7 rating in the Chiefs’ 27-24 win over Tampa Bay. Mahomes is the first player with at least 30 completions and 300 passing yards in four consecutive games in league annals.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.