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Sam Fung’s Week 15 NFL POTW

Things just get tighter and tighter as we move down the home stretch of the season, and individual performances are more important than ever to spur a team to a crucial win. Luckily for some, this week’s Players of the Week understood the assignment.

Aidan O’Connell

You would think after losing 3-0 a team would continue to falter on offense. Aiden O’Connell and the Raiders very much proved otherwise. O’Connell, a rookie out of Purdue, completed 20/34 passes for 249 yards and a staggering 4 first-half touchdowns as the Raiders took their anger out on the hapless Chargers, winning 63-21. The destruction ultimately ended Brandon Staley’s Chargers tenure, as he was fired just the next day.

Jake Browning

Someone is in for a massive payday. Jake Browning once again led a comeback win for Cincinnati, passing for 249 yards and 2 touchdowns and leading Cincinnati from being down 17-3 against the Vikings to winning 27-24 in overtime.

Gardner Minshew

As is clear, teams need to lean on quarterbacks to show up in the home stretch to win those must-win games. Gardner Minshew has helped the Colts become contenders, and his 215-yard, 3-touchdown performance against the Steelers is exactly what teams need at this time of year. The Colts rode Minshew and their stingy defense to a 30-13 win.

Jared Goff

Another QB? Shocker. Jared Goff entered this game after navigating his sloppiest stretch of games so far this year and managed to put on a show. Goff passed for 278 yards and a whopping 5 touchdowns (3 of which went to Sam LaPorta) as the Lions humbled the high-flying Broncos at home 42-17 and improved their record to 10-4.

Xavier Woods

With under 8 minutes left and the Falcons driving, it looked as though the Panthers’ comeback bid would be quashed. That was until Xavier Woods stepped in. Complementing his 2 tackles for loss and one pass breakup, Woods intercepted a second-down pass on that Falcons drive. The Panthers took the ball and proceeded to drive down the field for the game-winning field goal. Carolina won 9-7, thanks to Xavier Woods.

Noah Brown

For two weeks, Noah Brown was silenced, held without a catch in two consecutive games on seven total targets. In Tennessee, he made his mark. Brown hauled in 8 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown as the Texans erased a 13-0 deficit to win in overtime 19-16, eliminating the Titans (and Jets) from the playoffs.

Raheem Mostert

Raheem Mostert made history against the Jets and broke two franchise records. By rushing for two touchdowns, Mostert set new Dolphins single-season records for rushing touchdowns (17, breaking a record set in 2002) and total touchdowns (20 touchdowns rushing and receiving, breaking a record set in 1984). The Dolphins rode those two Mostert touchdowns and a standout defensive performance to a 30-0 win over the Jets.

David Njoku

With the Bears up 17-7 in the fourth quarter, the Browns needed a spark. David Njoku provided that spark. Njoku hauled in ten passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. This included a 34-yard catch and run on a 3rd and 15 late in the fourth quarter that set up the game-winning field goal. Cleveland held on for a 20-17 win.

Baker Mayfield

When was the last time a quarterback posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating in the fortress that is Lambeau Field? Don’t remember? That’s alright, and probably because it rarely ever happens at all, let alone in the cold. Nevertheless, that is what Baker Mayfield did for Tampa Bay in week 15. Mayfield completed 22/28 passes for 381 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Bucs very comfortably defeated the Packers 34-28.

Derek Carr

The Saints were tied with Tampa Bay for the division lead going into their matchup against the high-flying Giants and remained so after defeating them 24-6. Derek Carr had one of his better games of the year, passing for 218 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Clyde Edwards-Helaire was a first-round pick in 2020, and his performance against the Patriots was evidence of that. C-E-H ran for 37 yards but had 64 yards as a receiver, including a spectacular touchdown catch. The Chiefs snapped their losing streak, winning 27-17 against the Patriots and dropping the Pats to 3-11.

Kyren Williams

Another day, another 150-yard outing for Kyren Williams. While the Notre Dame product is proving to be one of the best receiving backs in the NFL, he rushed for 152 of his 155 total yards against Washington, scoring a touchdown as well. Williams’ performance helped the Rams build a lead that proved insurmountable as they held on for a 28-20 win.

Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey has been a touchdown machine all year. Against Arizona, he racked up 187 yards from scrimmage, scored a rushing touchdown, and caught two passing touchdowns as the 49ers routed Arizona 45-29.

James Cook

The Bills sought another statement win and found it. Once again, James Cook was the center of it all. This time, Cook rushed for 179 yards and gained 42 more as a receiver. He scored two touchdowns in Buffalo’s unprecedented 31-10 demolition of Dallas.

Isaiah Likely

The Ravens clearly can put aside any and all worry regarding Mark Andrews’ injury impacting their offense. Isaiah Likely is a more-than-viable replacement. Likely hauled in five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown as the Ravens beat the Jaguars 23-7.

Julian Love

The Seahawks’ defense had to step up multiple times against a very strong Eagles offense, but it was Julian Love who made the crucial plays. With two fourth-quarter interceptions, Love helped revive Seattle’s chances of victory. They won 20-17, saving their season with a big defensive performance in the fourth quarter.

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