Cam Newton's finally producing, the Redskins narrowly avoid disaster, a Giants rookie shines and more in Scott Cullen's Week 14 NFL Recap.
Leading the Panthers to a win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, QB Cam Newton continued his strong play (23-for-35, 287 YDS, 2 TD, 116 YDS, 1 TD, 9 carries). In his last four games, Newton has completed 60.5% of his passes for 1077 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions, adding 286 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Coupled with Newton's impressive showing, Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams delivered a productive (112 YDS, 1 TD, 19 touches) day, evenly producing 56 yards both rushing and receiving.
Robert Griffin III got good news about his knee injury, suffered late in Sunday's comeback win against Baltimore. While the MRI indicated that there wasn't any structural damage, Griffin's knee is sprained, so that leaves his status questionable for Week 15.
When Griffin left, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins stepped in and steered the Redskins to a game-tying score, forcing overtime, where Washington won on a Kai Forbath field goal.
A fourth-round pick, Cousins hasn't seen much action, but has been adequate in limited duty, completing 7 of 11 passes for 137 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in his two appearances this season. If he starts at Cleveland next week, it may cause Redskins receivers to lose a little value, but their appeal has been spotty at best this season anyway.
WILSON GETS A CHANCE
Buried on the bench for most of the season, Giants RB David Wilson got a chance to play against New Orleans and he was productive (100 YDS, 2 TD, 13 carries). With Ahmad Bradshaw going for an MRI on his knee, there could be a big opportunity awaiting Wilson, the rookie speedster, who probably didn't deserve such harsh treatment for a fumble in his first NFL game, but once he was surpassed on the depth chart by Andre Brown, that's how the ball bounced for Wilson. Now, with Brown injured, Wilson has a chance to show why he was New York's first-round pick.
RUNNING OVER CARDS
Seattle had their way with Arizona, on the way to a 58-0 win, running at will against the Cardinals. Marshawn Lynch (128 YDS, 3 TD, 11 carries) and backup Robert Turbin (108 YDS, 20 carries) both crossed the 100-yard mark.
Lynch ranks second in the league with 97.9 rushing yards per game and is tied for fourth with nine rushing touchdowns.
ALL DAY, EVERYDAY
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (154 YDS, 2 TD, 31 carries) continued his amazing run, going over 100 yards rushing for the seventh consecutive game and over 150 yards rushing for the fifth time in the last seven games. Peterson is now aiming for for Eric Dickerson's single-season record of 2105 rushing yards, which will require 505 rushing yards in the last three games with a relatively difficult schedule (at St. Louis, at Houston and vs. Green Bay).
RAM IT HOME
Just when it looked like Chris Givens was emerging as the best option in Danny Amendola's absence, Brandon Gibson (6 REC, 100 YDS, 1 TD) was the more productive option against Buffalo. It was the first 100-yard receiving game of Gibson's career and a dramatic turn from recent weeks, as he had a total of zero catches on three targets in the previous two weeks.
EAGLES GO AIRBORNE
Riding an eight-game losing streak into Tampa Bay, the Philadelphia Eagles surprised the Buccaneeers, thanks in part to QB Nick Foles (32-for-51, 381 YDS, 2 TD, 27 YDS, 1 TD, three rushes) producing the best game of his career.
Reaping the rewards of Philadelphia's passing game going up against Tampa Bay's 32nd-ranked pass defence, wide receivers Jason Avant (7 REC, 133 YDS) and Jeremy Maclin (9 REC, 104 YDS, 1 TD) both went over 100 yards.
Playing true to the matchup, Tampa Bay's number one run defence locked down Eagles RB Bryce Brown (6 YDS, 12 carries), a far cry from Brown's previous two games, when he gained 347 yards on the ground.
KNOW IT ALL
In the Thursday nighter at Oakland, Denver put RB Knowshon Moreno to work and he produced in a big way (167 YDS, 1 TD, career-high 36 touches). Moreno had been a non-factor until Willis McGahee was injured and has now run for 273 yards in three starts.
For the second straight week, the Buffalo Bills steadfastly refused to get RB C.J. Spiller adequately involved in the offence (52 YDS, 8 touches), giving more touches to Fred Jackson (30 YDS, 14 touches, 1 fumble) again.
Jackson suffered a knee injury that should keep him out for the next month, however, so Spiller really ought to get the bulk of the carries next week unless the Bills stubbornly turn to Tashard Choice in an attempt to keep their most skilled playmaker under wraps.
JETS GROUND ATTACK
The Jets went to Jacksonville and worked the ground game for a win over the Jaguars. Backup Bilal Powell had a career-high rushing total (78 YDS, 1 TD, 19 carries) for the second straight week, while starter Shonn Greene also contributed (77 YDS, 1 TD, 20 carries) to the cause.
The Jets ran the ball of 42 of 61 offensive plays, the kind of split that may be required for Gang Green to finish the season somewhat successfully with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
Even though they lost, a couple of Jaguars reserves took advantage of opportunities afforded to them. RB Montell Owens (102 YDS, 1 TD, 15 touches) was very productive as the starting runner with Maurice Jones-Drew, Jalen Parmele and Rashad Jennings hurt.
WR Jordan Shipley, getting a chance with Cecil Shorts sidelined, had a solid showing (5 REC, 55 YDS). Shipley had 52 catches for 600 yards as a rookie in 2010 with Cincinnati, but missed most of last year after tearing up his knee. He's still trying to work his way back into a prominent role, so this production could be considered a reasonable starting point.
Enigmatic Titans WR Kenny Britt is the Titans' most talented receiver, but has had trouble staying in the lineup enough to generate consistent production. He did produce(8 REC, 143 YDS) at Indianapolis on Sunday, the second-highest yardage total of his career. Trouble is, even with a breakout performance like that, it's tough to recommend Britt for next week against the Jets because it's not an easy matchup and Britt's lack of consistency presents plenty of doubt.
The late-season surge for Chargers WR Danario Alexander continued (7 REC, 88 YDS, 2 TD) against Pittsburgh Sunday. Over the last four weeks, Alexander ranks fifth among wideouts with 494 receiving yards and is second with five touchdowns scored.
BIG BEN'S RETURN
On the other side of the ball in that Chargers-Steelers game, Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace had to be grateful to have Ben Roethlisberger back in the lineup. With a quarterback capable of throwing downfield, Wallace had his most productive game (7 REC, 112 YDS, 2 TD) of the season.
They may have been empty yards in a 30-7 loss, but Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles went over 100 yards rushing (165 YDS, 1 TD, 18 carries) for the third straight game.
Browns WR Josh Gordon is establishing his place as Brandon Weeden's preferred target for Cleveland. Against Kansas City, Gordon (8 REC, 86 YDS) was targeted a career-high 12 times and he'll face a struggling Washington secondary next week.
It wasn't an earth-shattering performance, but Dolphins RB Reggie Bush was impressive (103 YDS, 21 touches) against San Francisco's third-ranked run defence.
NEXT UP FOR LIONS
As the Lions' receiving corps has been depleted by injuries (Nate Burleson, Ryan Broyles) and attitude (Titus Young), Kris Durham emerged as the second wide receiver option behind Calvin Johnson. Against Green Bay, Durham was targeted nine times, catching four passes for 54 yards, not bad production in the first game for the 6-foot-6 rookie out of Georgia Tech.
Harrison Smith, SS, Minnesota (7 tackles, 56 YD INT TD)
Cassius Vaughn, CB, Indianapolis (8 tackles, 3 YD INT TD)
Stevie Brown, SS, N.Y. Giants (7 tackles, 2 INT, 1 FF)
Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle (1 tackle, 2 INT, 1 TD)
Anthony Spencer, OLB, Dallas (9 tackles, 2 sacks)
Will Witherspoon, OLB, Tennessee (5 tackles, 40 YD INT TD)
Michael Brockers, DT, St. Louis (7 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 FF)
Perry Riley, OLB, Washington (15 tackles)
Jasper Brinkley, MLB, Minnesota (12 tackles)
Bobby Wagner, MLB, Seattle (8 tackles, 2 INT)
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington (knee)
Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago (neck)
Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo (knee)
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City (ribs)
Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee (shoulder)
Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit (ankle)
Henry Melton, DT, Chicago (shoulder)
Craig Dahl, SS, St. Louis (concussion)
Koa Misi, OLB, Miami (ankle)
Marshal Yanda, RG, Baltimore (ankle)
Willie Colon, LG, Pittsburgh (knee)
Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.