The NFL’s Thanksgiving Day slate kicked off with a pair of teams missing some key components on offense, so it should be no surprise that this matchup of NFC North foes was a low-scoring game with few offensive highlights. The odds were stacked against the Bears. Not only were they traveling to Detroit for the Lions’ annual turkey day game but they were doing so on one of the shortest rests in recent memory, having played on Sunday night. As if that wasn’t enough, the Bears were without their starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who was out with a shoulder injury. Chicago turned to backup QB Chase Daniel, who started his third career game and entered the day with one passing touchdown in his nine-year career.
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams reached halftime with Chicago leading 9-7 as both teams found the end zone. Daniel doubled his touchdown total when he hit RB Taquan Mizzell for a 10-yard score and Lions RB LeGarrette Blount scored his first of two touchdowns. Blount scored again in the third period and the Lions entered the fourth with the lead.
Daniel then found RB Tarik Cohen, who totaled 59 yards on the day and led the team in rushing with only 14 yards, for a 14-yard touchdown. The Lions tied up the game with a field goal and looked to be driving to take the lead when QB Matthew Stafford threw a costly pick-six to give the Bears a lead, 23-16. Detroit had another chance and put together a lengthy drive in the final minutes before Stafford threw another interception in the end zone, which basically sealed the Lions’ fate.
Daniel ended with a career-best 230 passing yards and two touchdowns, spreading the ball around to his pass-catchers. The Lions defense continued to show improvement, holding Cohen and RB Jordan Howard to a combined 27 rushing yards on 10 carries. WRs Taylor Gabriel (7/49), Anthony Miller (3/41) and Allen Robinson (2/37) all clearly missed Trubisky.
The Lions were also without some weapons on offense as veteran WR Marvin Jones (knee) missed another game and rookie RB Kerryon Johnson (knee) missed his first after leaving last week’s game early. The Bears had only allowed one rushing touchdown to RBs all season before Blount stung them for a pair, along with his 88 rushing yards. Stafford threw for 236 scoreless yards in another disappointing performance. As expected, WR Kenny Golladay led the team with 90 receiving yards on five catches.
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The outlook of this game and the rest of the season for NFC East rivals Dallas and Washington changed last week when Redskins veteran QB Alex Smith suffered a season-ending broken leg. Despite leading the division at that time, it was clear these two teams were headed in opposite directions and the suddenly hot Cowboys were actually in control. That is just how this game played out and new Redskins starting QB Colt McCoy might have been worse than imagined.
The game was close early on with the Cowboys leading 10-7 at the half before a third-quarter explosion blew the game wide open. After the Redskins took their first lead of the game on a touchdown by rookie WR Trey Quinn, Dallas scored three straight touchdowns, two coming on long receptions by WR Amari Cooper. The first was a 40-yarder and a few minutes later, Cooper broke a tackle and outran the defense for a 90-yard score, representing the longest reception of Cooper’s career. After throwing a pair of touchdowns, QB Dak Prescott added an amazing five-yard touchdown run early in the final quarter. This gave Dallas a 31-13 lead.
Prescott finished with a season-high 289 yards and the two scores and his rushing touchdown gives him four touchdowns on the ground in his past five games. RB Ezekiel Elliott had another productive game, totaling 143 yards and a touchdown but Cooper was the star of the show. He’s proven to be the clear WR1 the Cowboys have lacked and their trade to acquire the former first-round pick from the Raiders is looking better by the week. Cooper finished with eight receptions for 180 yards and the two scores.
With the loss, the Redskins and Cowboys are now tied for the division lead but as previously mentioned, Dallas is in prime position considering the quarterback situation. McCoy passed for 268 yards, two touchdowns and three picks. As he did when he entered the game last week, McCoy showed clear favor towards TE Jordan Reed, who caught six of eight targets for 75 yards. TE Vernon Davis posted a 2/73/1 line while WR Josh Doctson turned a team-high 10 targets into a devilish 6/66 box score. Rookie WR Trey Quinn played in place of injured slot WR Jamison Crowder for the second week in a row and caught his first career touchdown on five receptions for 26 yards.
New Orleans- 31
The most anticipated game of the day featured the league’s highest-scoring team, the Saints, as they looked to stretch their winning streak to 10 games against struggling division-rival Atlanta. The Falcons proved to be no match for QB Drew Brees and his band of no-name pass-catchers. That’s right, among Brees’ four passing touchdowns, none of them went to WR Michael Thomas, RB Alvin Kamara or even rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith, who enjoyed a breakout game a week ago only to be ruled out with a foot injury. Instead, Brees connected with WR Tommylee Lewis, WR Austin Carr, TE Dan Arnold and WR Keith Kirkwood for his four scores.
A trio of red zone turnovers by the Falcons not only destroyed any chance they had of upsetting the Saints but also led to short fields for multiple New Orleans scoring drives. That means that Brees only needed 171 passing yards to dispatch the Falcons. Arnold actually led the team with four grabs for 45 yards. Thomas (4/38) was a fantasy disappointment while Kamara totaled 98 scoreless yards. RB Mark Ingram managed 64 yards from scrimmage.
Playing in comeback mode all game, Atlanta QB Matt Ryan finished with 377 yards and two touchdowns and sadly led the team with 16 rushing yards. RB Tevin Coleman was ineffective on the ground early in the game and then the Falcons had to abandon the run altogether. Coleman finished with only six yards on eight carries but a 3/17/1 receiving line padded his fantasy stats. WR Julio Jones put up another monster game with 11 receptions for 147 yards, though his touchdown streak ended at three games. Rookie WR Calvin Ridley had a big game as well, catching eight balls for 93 yards and a score but the Alabama product could’ve had two scores if not for being stripped of the ball on the one-yard line late in the game.
With the loss, the Falcons fall to 4-7 and were officially eliminated from NFC South contention.
Texans HC Bill O’Brien took the blame for the slow start of new Houston WR Demaryius Thomas, who did not catch a ball last week. … The Jets and WR Quincy Enunwa have begun contract talks. Enunwa is currently scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the season.
Although he missed the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day game, it was reported that WR Marvin Jones “has a chance” to play in Week 13. … Similar news for Bears QB Mitch Trubisky (shoulder), who is expected to be back in the starting lineup in Week 13. … Bills rookie QB Josh Allen was a listed as a full participant in practice and is set to make his return to the lineup this week. … Panthers WR Devin Funchess (back) missed his second straight practice, putting his status for this week in doubt. … No surprise here but Jets rookie QB Sam Darnold (foot) did not practice. We’ll get another week of veteran QB Josh McCown barring a surprising recovery. … Jets’ leading receiver Robby Anderson (ankle) also missed practice. He too is expected to miss another game. … Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (groin) missed practice and could be in danger of sitting out the team’s game at Carolina. … Bengals WR A.J. Green (toe) sat out again and has yet to return to practice. Expect him to miss this week’s game. … Ravens HC John Harbaugh has essentially already announced that rookie QB Lamar Jackson would start in Week 12, so it is no surprise that veteran QB Joe Flacco (hip) remained sidelined during practice. … The Ravens were also without RB Alex Collins (foot) during practice. This is a story to watch during Friday’s practice. This could be huge news for rookie RB Gus Edwards…QB Marcus Mariota (neck) was limited in Thursday’s practice.
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