Week 14 has come and gone in the NFL and former Hawks had another big week. Let’s go!
The headliner is George Kittle this week. The founder of Tight End University finished with 3 receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s 28-16 win over Seattle. His day was highlighted by the score, a 44-yarder that was the final touchdown of the day as the Niners seized the top seed in the NFC after Philadelphia’s loss in Dallas Sunday night.
The reception takes Kittle over 6,000 yards for his career, a mark he hit in just 95 career games.
On the other sideline, Noah Fant had 2 receptions for 35 yards. Seattle now sits at 6-7. San Francisco has run away with the NFC West and stand a good shot at snatching the top seed in the NFC.
In the NFC North, Sam LaPorta had 2 receptions for 23 yards in Detroit’s 28-13 loss to Chicago. Detroit still safely leads this division given Green Bay’s walk off loss to the New York Giants on Monday, but they look a little wobbly and is it actually that safe? They don’t get stops and Jarred Goff has turnover issues again. They still have to play Denver, Minnesota twice, and Dallas away sandwiched in the middle. That’s a tough close with Minnesota trailing by 2 games.
Lastly, TJ Hockenson finished Sunday’s win in Las Vegas with 5 receptions for 53 yards. I’m sorry to anyone that endured that game, a 3-0 Minnesota win. God bless you and yours.
AJ Epenesa and Micah Hyde
Epenesa had an abbreviated day in Buffalo’s 20-17 win in Kansas City. He didn’t record a tackle, but tipped a Patrick Mahomes pass to himself for an interception on Kansas City’s first drive.
MAHOMES TIPPED AND PICKED— Barstool Gambling (@stoolgambling) December 10, 2023
Unfortunately, Epenesa had to leave the game with a rib injury after this play and did not return. It wasn’t clear exactly when he was hurt on the play, but I’m guessing a giant 300+ pound man falling on your ribcage doesn’t feel great.
Micah Hyde finished with 5 tackles as the Bills moved to 7-6.
Jaleel Johnson and Amani Hooker
Jaleel! It’s been a tough season for the Titans as they went into Monday Night Football in Miami, but the Titans rallied late for a 28-27 upset of the Dolphins.
Johnson made one of the crucial plays of the game early on. On Miami’s first drive, the Dolphins drove all the way to the Tennessee 2. On 2nd and goal, Johnson picked up a sack as well as forced a fumble on Tua Tagovailoa after the Dolphins quarterback bobbled the snap. Tennessee recovered to keep points off the board (though the Dolphins had a pick-6 on the ensuing possession). Still, great play by Johnson.
Appreciate Jaleel Johnson’s hand-fighting on that Miami fumble. Redirects the hand to swim past the guard, swats the ball out of Tua’s hands, then wraps and grabs Tua’s left wrist to finish the play. Just textbook stuff. pic.twitter.com/4fBhSVieBo— Cody Goodwin (@codygoodwin) December 12, 2023
Hooker had 5 tackles (4 solo) as Tennessee moved to 5-8. They aren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention but they’re close.
Broncos Corner - Josey Jewell, Riley Moss, Ben Niemann, and Nick Niemann
Woah! A lot of Iowa guys in SoFi for the Broncos-Chargers game. Josey Jewell was the headliner here, as he finished with 9 tackles (4 solo), a sack, a tackle for loss, and a fumble recovery late as the Broncos hammered the absolutely awful Chargers. As Jewell recovered this I thought he had an easy stroll into the end zone but Austin Ekeler hustled back for the tackle.
Riley Moss finished with a tackle, as did Nick Niemann for the Chargers. Ben Niemann was inactive for Denver.
Denver is now in a massive 7-6 log jam for the final AFC playoff spots with Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Houston, Cincinnati, and Buffalo. That conference is a MESS this year.
Speaking of messes - the Los Angeles Chargers. WOOF. Bad coaching, under-achieving roster as always, an injured quarterback...this situation stinks.
Tyler Goodson remained on the active roster for the Colts in their 34-14 loss to the Bengals. He finished the day with 1 catch for -2 yards as the Colts and Bengals founds themselves in the aforementioned 7-6 morass in the AFC.
Anthony Nelson finished his day with 5 tackles (2 solo), while Kaevon Merriweather picked up 1 tackle in Tampa’s 29-25 win over Atlanta. The win vaulted the Bucs to the top of the NFC South with Atlanta and New Orleans. All three teams sit at 6-7. NFC and AFC South - both divisions stink out loud.
Speaking of the NFC South - Ihrim Smith-Marsette had 2 punt returns for 1 yard in Carolina’s 28-6 loss to New Orleans. He was also targeted once but had no receptions.
Oh - no CJ Beathard this week, as Trevor Lawrence apparently didn’t have a severe-enough injury to keep him out. Watching part of that game - Lawrence should’ve sat that one out.