Week 14 should have been listed as a backflow weatherization based on the multiple blowouts that occurred. Atlanta dismantled LA, Cincinnati beat down Cleveland, and Carolina forced five turnovers by San Diego. Sure, there were a few close games, but the majority weren’t remotely competitive. At least they were fun to watch.
The Raiders and Chiefs Thursday night battle featured two former Oregon State players in Steven Nelson and DJ Alexander, so it’s the perfect jumping off point for discussion. First, let’s recap which former players are on practice squads or injured reserve.
Practice Squad Players/Injured Reserve Players:
Jordan Poyer - S Cleveland Browns - Jordan Poyer is on Injured Reserve with a lacerated kidney.
Scott Crichton - DE/DT Minnesota Vikings - Scott Crichton is currently on Injured Reserve.
Kyle Peko - DT Denver Broncos - Kyle Peko is currently on the Broncos Practice Squad.
Dylan Wynn - DT Cleveland Browns - Dylan Wynn is on the Injured Reserve
Obum Gwacham - DE New Orleans Saints - Obum Gwacham is on Injured Reserve with an undisclosed ailment.
Connor Hamlett - TE Cleveland Browns - Connor Hamlett is on the Browns practice squad.
Markus Wheaton - WR Pittsburgh Steelers -Markus Wheaton is on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury.
Beavers on Bye: None
Steven Nelson - CB Chiefs - Kansas City had a huge win over the division rival Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, and Steven Nelson played a big role. The former Beavers corner lined up against Seth Roberts, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree at different points throughout the game and didn’t allow any true big plays. In fact, Nelson made his presence felt early with a big turnover.
The Raiders were driving towards a score early when Derek Carr hit Amari Cooper on a slant route. Nelson was right there for the tackle to limit the gain. However, replay showed that the corner actually dragged Cooper down on top of himself and knocked the ball away for a fumble. The play was so quick that a review was required to confirm the fumble. Nelson’s key play stopped a long Raiders drive and gave the ball back to his offense.
Nelson also helped bail out his offense during a mistake-filled sequence of plays. Immediately after Alex Smith threw an interception to start the second half, the Raiders attempted a first down fade to the end zone. Carr’s pass to Seth Roberts appeared to be a sure touchdown, but Nelson came flying in at the last second to knock the ball away. Two plays later, the Raiders were held to a field goal attempt.
Nelson played a solid game on Thursday night with two tackles, but he did miss a big stop on fourth down and committed a pass interference penalty late in the fourth quarter to give the Raiders a first down. Granted, this penalty was debatable at best as Nelson arrived at the same time as the ball, but the play unfortunately hurt his defense.
D.J. Alexander - LB - Chiefs - Thursday night, D.J. Alexander played primarily on special teams, but he also logged a couple snaps on defense after Derrick Johnson left with a gruesome Achilles injury. The big linebacker tallied one assisted tackle during his limited time on defense, but what really matters is that Alexander played a big role on a punt return.
After a holding penalty forced a second Raiders punt in a row, Marquette King launched the ball deep to Chiefs return ace Tyreek Hill. The speedy returner ran straight up the middle of the field and almost ran into a Raiders special teamer. Alexander came up and took the would-be tackler out of play, clearing the path for Hill en route to a 78-yard punt return touchdown.
Johnny Hekker - P LA Rams - The Rams offense was dreadful on Sunday, failing to move the ball for long stretches of action and committing five turnovers. LA couldn’t even generate points until the Falcons started inserting backups into the game.
Of course, this lack of production also meant that Johnny Hekker was frequently involved, and he didn’t disappoint. Hekker punted seven times during the game, landing six of them inside the 20-yard line. One of these punts even pinned the Falcons on their own five-yard line!
Atlanta may have put up huge numbers against the Rams, but Hekker didn’t make it easy on them. The average drive started inside the 20 because of the perfectly placed punts. Too bad his effort was wasted.
Sean Mannion - QB LA Rams - Sean Mannion was inactive against the Falcons while Case Keenum served as Jared Goff’s backup.
Terron Ward - RB Atlanta Falcons - With both Mohamed Sanu and Julio Jones sitting out injured, Terron Ward was actually active on Sunday against the Rams. Ward was busy on kickoffs and punts, notching two tackles against Mike Thomas and Tavon Austin. He even logged some snaps at running back.
Sunday was actually the perfect game for those of us who wanted to see Ward in action. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense put up 42 points, so Dan Quinn started replacing his starters with some backups. Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman all took the entire fourth quarter off, so Matt Schaub and Ward were entrusted with burning the clock and keeping the Rams offense off the field.
On his first three carries, Ward churned out some tough yards against a very good run defense and gained a first down. The rest of his attempts went for fewer yards against the stout defensive line, especially after the Rams realized that Schaub wasn’t going to attempt any passes. Ward finished his day with 10 carries for 24 yards.
Andy Levitre - Guard Falcons - As mentioned earlier, the Falcons were phenomenal on Sunday as they put up 42 points against the LA Rams in only three quarters of action. One major reason for this production was the protection provided by Andy Levitre and the offensive line.
LA has some stellar defensive linemen that make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks, but they were held at bay for most of Sunday. Matt Ryan was kept clean for the most part, with only two defenders getting to him for sacks.
Levitre would have had a stellar game if not for a mistake late in the second quarter. The Falcons were driving for a field goal with only seconds remaining in the first half. Not wanting to give up even more points, the Rams sent a jailbreak blitz right at Ryan. Levitre chose to block the wrong defender and opened up a lane for the sack.
Matt Moore - QB Miami Dolphins - Normally, Matt Moore wouldn’t even sniff the field, but Sunday was a different set of circumstances. Starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill was hit very low while throwing a pass, and he left with what looked to be a brutal injury.
Moore came into the game and handed off three straight times before the Dolphins punted. His first two passes were incomplete, although one was a bad drop by Devante Parker. The other was an overthrow that showed that his chemistry with the receivers was off.
At first, the Dolphins were content to avoid having Moore throw given that they were winning 23-15 in the fourth quarter. However, their defense gave up another touchdown to the Cardinals, so Moore needed to lead his team to victory.
During this final drive, Moore was flat out money. He started with a 12-yard toss to Kenny Stills for a first down and followed that up with a huge 29-yard completion to Stills (again) to set the Dolphins up at the one-yard line. The most impressive part of this throw is that Moore took a vicious shot and still managed to toss an accurate pass down the field. After a couple running plays to burn some time off the clock, the Dolphins kicked the winning field goal with one second left to keep the playoff hopes alive.
Ryan Tannehill is facing ACL and MCL sprains in his left knee, so we will be seeing a lot of Matt Moore during the final three games. It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins respond with a chance at the playoffs on the line, especially if Tannehill can’t return to action.
Mike Remmers - T Carolina Panthers - The final score may not reflect the fact, but the Carolina Panthers absolutely demolished the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. The defense caused five turnovers and a safety, and the offense easily moved up and down the field behind the road grading Mike Remmers. The Panthers loved to pull Remmers off the line and have him lead the way for Jonathan Stewart on runs to both sides of the field. Most of these plays were very successful, and they served as a bonus to his pass protection.
Finally looking comfortable at left tackle, Remmers played very well against the Chargers pass rushers in Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. He only gave up on sack on the day, but this negative play should be attributed to Cam Newton. Protection was great on the play, but Newton decided to run straight ahead into the waiting arms of rookie Chris Landrum instead of taking the wide open field on the left hash.
The only true negatives of the day for Remmers were a false start penalty on first-and-goal and a declined holding penalty as Newton scrambled around endlessly looking for an open receiver.
Derek Anderson - QB Carolina Panthers - Derek Anderson didn’t see the field as Cam Newton stayed healthy, and the Panthers rolled to an easy victory.
Jacquizz Rodgers - RB Tampa Bay Buccaneers - It’s hard to trust coaches in the NFL. After a strong performance last week, Dirk Koetter said that Jacquizz Rodgers would be getting more snaps. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case as Doug Martin saw a lot of action with 23 carries and a finally healthy Charles Sims returned to action with four carries of his own.
Quizz only carried the ball twice for zero yards and failed to record his weekly catch for 21 yards. He did have a special teams tackle and was the primary pass protector during the third quarter but didn’t have the opportunities as a rusher.
Brandin Cooks - WR - Saints - Sunday’s loss to the Bucs was another quiet affair for Brandin Cooks. Granted, the lack of action was based on Drew Brees playing very poorly. Cooks could have had a huge day if not for some bad throws.
On one play in particular, Cooks torched the Bucs secondary and ran free toward the end zone. Brees launched the ball in his direction but missed by a good five yards. He also sent a wormburner in Cooks’ general direction that would have been a sure first down if the pass was on target.
Unfortunately, Cooks also made a mistake of his own and dropped a surprisingly accurate pass that was originally ruled a touchdown. Replay showed that the ball actually hit the ground for an incompletion.
On a very poor day for the Saints offense, Cooks caught five passes for 61 yards.
Isaac Seumalo - G Philadelphia Eagles - Unfortunately, Brandon Brooks was inactive once again with a gameday illness so Isaac Seumalo was promoted to starter. The former Beavers guard was the right side starter, and he played quite well. Seumalo kept the pass rushers at bay all game and opened up rushing lanes for Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles. One such run was a 21-yarder by Matthews that went right behind Seumalo’s block.
The Eagles offense struggled at times with pass protection, but Seumalo was superb against the defensive line. He didn’t give up any sacks on the day and avoided committing any penalties.
Josh Andrews - G Philadelphia Eagles - With Brooks missing Sunday’s game and Seumalo starting at right guard, Josh Andrews was active once again. Andrews spent the game in reserve as a secondary option in case another offensive lineman left with injury.
Stephen Paea - DL Browns - Surprisingly, Stephen Paea was on the field more than usual during a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Browns coaching staff normally plays the big defensive tackle on rare occasions in the first half before unleashing him in the second. Sunday, however, was fairly different as Paea was very active throughout the entire game. The former Beaver played fairly well and totaled three assisted tackles and half a sack while Andy Dalton was scrambling around looking for receivers.
Paea’s best play of the day actually didn’t show up on the stat sheet. As Dalton dropped back to throw a screen pass toward Jeremy Hill, Paea came flying straight up the middle and disrupted the play. Dalton’s pass fell harmlessly to the turf instead of landing in Hill’s arms.
Week 15 of the NFL season starts tonight with a battle between the Seattle Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams. BeaverBlitz will keep you updated as the week progresses.