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Welcome to the Week 15 grades!

This was a good week for quarterbacks who are trying to revive their career. In Cleveland, the Browns beat the Bears 20-17 after Joe Flacco mustered some fourth-quarter magic out of nowhere. With the Browns trailing 17-7 in the fourth, Flacco responded by throwing for 212 yards in the FOURTH QUARTER alone.

If you're wondering how impressive that is: It's the most by any Browns QB in any quarter since at least 1991. AND it's the most by any player in the fourth quarter in any game this season. 

Drew Lock capped the big week for quarterbacks who came out of nowhere by beating the Eagles on Monday night with a game-winning 29-yard TD pass to Jaxson Smith-Njigba that came with just 28 seconds left in the game. Like Flacco, Lock had a huge fourth quarter. The Seahawks QB threw for more yards in the fourth (112) against the Eagles than he did in the first three quarters COMBINED (96).

With that in mind, let's get to this week's grades, starting with Monday's upset. 

Seattle 20-17 over Philadelphia (Monday)

On a night where he was battling an illness, Jalen Hurts had an erratic game. The Eagles quarterback struggled with his accuracy, and he was at his worst during a fourth quarter where the was picked off twice by the Seahawks, including a long pass that came with just six seconds left. With Hurts struggling through the air, he ended up doing most of his damage on the ground, rushing for a team-high 82 yards and two touchdowns. Even though the offense was erratic, the Eagles still almost pulled this win out. The Philly defense shut down the Seahawks for the first 58 minutes of the game before surrendering a 92-yard drive in the final two minutes. This was a shocking loss for an Eagles team that now might be staring at a wild-card berth instead of a division title.
With their season hanging in the balance, the Seahawks needed a win and got it in the most improbable way possible. After throwing for just 96 yards in the first three quarters, Drew Lock caught fire on a game-winning TD drive where he drove the Seahawks 92 yards in just 84 seconds. Lock threw for 92 yards on the drive, including a 29-yard TD pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Before the drive, Seattle's offense had mostly revolved around Kenneth Walker, who rushed for 86 yards and a TD on 19 carries. Defensively, the Seahawks played nearly perfect football during a fourth quarter where Julian Love picked off Jalen Hurts twice, including one that sealed the game with six seconds left. The Seahawks survived by the skin of their teeth, and because of that, they're very much alive in the NFC playoff race. 

Eagles-Seahawks grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Cleveland 20-17 over Chicago

No one is better at blowing a big lead than the Bears. For the third time this season, the Bears had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter, but still managed to lose. With a 17-7 lead in the fourth, the Bears probably could have put the game away with just one score, but instead, the offense imploded. They had a failed fourth down in the fourth quarter along with three punts. Justin Fields did almost complete a miracle Hail Mary on the final play, but the ball fell out of Darnell Mooney's hands. Defensively, the Bears played nearly perfect football for three quarters, but then they disappeared during a fourth quarter where the Browns piled up 215 of their 377 yards. The Bears have been on the cusp of getting several big wins this year, but they just haven't been able to close the deal.  
The Browns got the full Joe Flacco experience on Sunday. Flacco almost gave the game away with three interceptions, including a pick-six in the second half, but the Browns QB also came up with some fourth-quarter magic. Flacco threw for 212 yards and his huge quarter helped the Browns score 13 points, including Dustin Hopkins' game-winning field goal from 34 yards. Flacco seems to have quite the connection with David Njoku, who caught 10 passes for 104 yards and a TD. The Browns' defense also deserves a lot of credit for this win. Things could have gotten out of hand with Flacco's turnovers, but the defense made sure that didn't happen. Justin Fields was bottled up on a day where he got sacked three times while being held to under 200 yards of offense. This is a Browns team that has perfected the art of winning ugly, but they're winning and that's all that matters. 

Bears-Browns grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Houston 19-16 over Tennessee (OT)

C.J. Stroud didn't play, but the Texans were able to keep their playoff hopes alive, thanks to an impressive comeback win. Case Keenum wasn't perfect, but he got hot in the fourth quarter and overtime, throwing for 109 yards over the two periods. The Texans offense was working because Devin Singletary took a lot of pressure off Keenum by rushing for 121 yards on 26 carries. The Texans' defense also came up huge, especially during the second half. Steven Nelson set the tone with an interception on Tennessee's first offensive drive of the half. The pass rush also racked up SEVEN sacks with 2.5 of those coming from Jonathan Greenard. Overall, the Texans only surrendered 80 yards over the final two quarters plus overtime. It was an impressive win by a team that wasn't given much of a chance to pull out a victory this week. 
This was an embarrassing loss for a Titans team that blew a 13-0 lead to the undermanned Texans. After Elijah Molden came up with a pick-six in the second quarter, it looked like the Titans were going to run away with it, but then Tennessee did absolutely nothing after that. The offense disappeared in the second half, totaling just 80 yards, and that includes overtime. The defense came up with some big plays, but it got torched by Case Keenum in the fourth quarter. With their ninth loss, the Titans are now headed to their second straight losing season under Mike Vrabel. 

Texans-Titans grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

New Orleans 24-6 over N.Y. Giants

The Tommy DeVito ride was a fun one for the Giants, but it came to a crashing end in New Orleans. The Giants simply couldn't get anything going on offense and that's because DeVito, who got sacked six times, rarely had time to throw. The offense produced just 101 yards through the first three quarters before piling up some meaningless yardage in garbage time. The Giants also went just 1 of 13 on third down. The Giants held the Saints to just seven points in the first half, but then the defense got carved up by Derek Carr in the second half. With this loss, the Giants can probably start officially looking toward the offseason. 
This was a defensive masterpiece by the Saints. Not only did they hold the Giants out of the end zone, but Tanoh Kpassagnon (3 sacks) led a pass rush that beat up on Tommy DeVito to the tune of seven sacks. Offensively, Derek Carr had one of his most efficient games of the season, going 23 of 28 for 218 yards and three touchdowns. Carr threw for 116 yards during a third quarter where the Saints put the game away. Although Carr was good, it was Alvin Kamara who carried the offense with 110 yards one 21 touches. This win keeps the Saints in a dead heat with the Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South. 

Giants-Saints grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Carolina 9-7 over Atlanta

This was a total meltdown by the Falcons, who gave this game away with two ugly turnovers in the second half. The first one came on a fumble by Bijan Robinson that gave Carolina the ball at Atlanta's 24-yard line. The second one was even worse with Desmond Ridder throwing an interception after Atlanta had driven down inside of Carolina's 20-yard line. It was inexcusable mistake by a QB who's made a habit of making inexcusable mistakes this year. Falcons coach Arthur Smith also deserves some heat for not getting his most talented players involved as Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Bijan Robinson totaled just 72 yards. 
The Panthers had nothing to play for, but they were able to steal this game, thanks to an impressive defensive performance and a clutch showing from Bryce Young in the fourth quarter. The biggest play for the defense came when Xavier Woods picked off Desmond Ridder midway through the fourth quarter. After the interception, Young proceeded to go 5 of 5 for 68 yards to set up Eddy Pineiro's game-winning field goal. If you're the Panthers, this win had everything you'd want to see: They upset a division rival in a game where their franchise QB came played flawlessly down the stretch. 

Falcons-Panthers grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Tampa Bay 34-20 over Green Bay

Tampa Bay dictated the tempo of the game for its entirely. On offense, the Buccaneers enjoyed near-perfect balance with 28 passes and 27 runs. Defensively, Todd Bowles' unit made several big stands in the red zone that included a turnover on downs on the Packers' first possession. Really, though, this game came down to the Buccaneers' star players playing like stars, especially Baker Mayfield, who became the first visiting QB to post a perfect passer rating at Lambeau Field. Mayfield threw four touchdowns and completed 10 passes for 155 yards to Chris Godwin.
While they sacked him five times, Green Bay's defense could not stop Baker Mayfield and wasn't much better against Rachaad White, who ran for 89 yards and also had a touchdown reception. Offensively, the Packers' running game was nonexistent after some early success from Aaron Jones. Jordan Love was good, but he and his teammates were just 2 of 5 in the red zone, which was a key factor in the loss. Love's late fumble ended any hopes of a Green Bay comeback. On a positive note, the Packers received big games from rookie wideout Dontayvion Wicks and tight end Tucker Kraft. Kraft caught four passes that included the Packers' first touchdown. Wicks hauled in six passes for 97 yards.

Buccaneers-Saints grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Miami 30-0 over N.Y. Jets

The Jets' offensive line didn't allow the offense to do anything, and Zach Wilson was out of the game before halftime. The first half was brutal, as New York recorded four yards of total offense while being outscored 24-0. There's no way Aaron Rodgers comes back to play behind this line, right?
On a short week and shorthanded, this could have been a spot where the Dolphins let one slip. That did not happen, as Miami's defensive front dominated New York's offensive line all game, while Jaylen Waddle went off for 142 yards and a touchdown. 

Jets-Dolphins grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Kansas City 27-17 over New England

If Kansas City was playing a better team than the Patriots, there's a very good chance they lose this matchup. The wide receiver unit continued to make head-scratching mistakes, including a drop by Kadarius Toney that resulted in an interception. While Rashee Rice had a game-high 91 receiving yards, he nearly turned the ball over for the second time in as many weeks with a fumble (which was recovered by K.C.) in the second half. Skyy Moore also fumbled, but a New England penalty negated the turnover. Mahomes was able to orchestrate a 20-0 run sandwiched around halftime and was stellar on third down when he needed to be, which helped push the Chiefs in front. The defense also was able to apply pressure onto Bailey Zappe with regularity, which helped shut New England down in the second half. That said, if this were a more worthy opponent, the Chiefs may not have been so fortunate to snap this losing streak.
New England's defense deserves credit, which is why it doesn't drop any lower on the grading scale. The Patriots' defense was able to give Mahomes fits throughout the game and gave the offense every opportunity to hang in this game, creating turnovers and giving the unit short fields to work with. While Bailey Zappe and Co. were able to keep it close in the first half, the offense went largely silent for the bulk of the second half, which allowed the Chiefs to sprint out to a lead and never look back. Zappe had a key interception to begin the second half and the offense was abysmal on third down, converting just two of their 12 opportunities. Penalties also put this team behind the eight ball on a number of different occasions and negated a handful of potential game-altering plays. Hunter Henry (seven catches, 66 yards, and a touchdown) along with Christian Barmore (six tackles and a sack) were two of the bright spots in the losing effort.

Chiefs-Patriots grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Buffalo 31-10 over Dallas

Buffalo punched Dallas over and over and over again with its running game. Sunday marked the first time since Dan Quinn took over as defensive coordinator in 2021 that the Cowboys defense allowed over 250 rushing yards (266). They allowed James Cook to be the first player since 2017 to rack up over 200 scrimmage yards on them. Offensively, they struggled mightily to move the ball without All-Pro right guard Zack Martin, who left the game with a thigh injury in the first half. The Cowboys are at their best when they get an early lead, which then allows Micah Parsons and their defense to tee off on opposing quarterbacks. They allowed the Bills to score an opening drive touchdown, and they were never able to adjust to playing from behind.
Buffalo outgained Dallas 351 to 195, a gap of 156 yards made up of mostly the Bills' 266 yards on the ground. Running back James Cook did his best Thurman Thomas impersonation. The second-year, second-round pick totaled a career-high 179 rushing yards and a TD on 25 carries with a touchdown. Cook also tallied 42 yards receiving on two catches, including an 18-yard receiving score in the second quarter. That performance makes Cook the first Bills player with 200+ scrimmage yards (221), one or more rushing touchdown and one or more receiving touchdowns in a game since Thomas did so back in the 1991 season. The Bills had the football for over 10 minutes longer than the Cowboys (35:05 to 24:55) and doubled up Dallas in first downs (28 to 14). Quarterback Josh Allen only had seven completions and it didn't matter, the Bills still dominated. 

Cowboys-Bills grades by Garrett Podell (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

San Francisco 45-29 over Arizona

The 49ers offense continues to be an unstoppable machine and in this game, it was all thanks to Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy. On McCaffrey's part, he had another huge day, with 187 total yards and three touchdowns and he did all of that on just 23 touches. When McCaffrey wasn't terrorizing the Cardinals defense, Purdy was doing his part with 242 passing yards and four touchdowns. Defensively, Charvarius Ward came up with a 66-yard pick-six in the first half, but the 49ers aren't getting an "A+'" here because the defense struggled to stop the run on a day where it surrendered 234 yards on the ground. That didn't matter against an inferior team, but it's something that could hurt the 49ers against better competition. 
The Cardinals are probably going to have nightmares about Christian McCaffrey after this game. Arizona's defense had no answer for the 49ers running back, who rushed for 115 yards and a TD while adding another 72 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The 49ers only faced seven third downs in the entire game and that's because the Cardinals just couldn't stop San Francisco on first or second down. Offensively, the Cardinals were able to run the ball, but that's not something that really helps you when you're trailing by three touchdowns in the second half. This was a game where the Cardinals were just beaten by a much better team. 

49ers-Cardinals grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

L.A. Rams 28-20 over Washington

This game was an all-out disaster for Sam Howell. The Commanders QB got benched after an ugly performance that saw him complete just 11 of 26 passes for 102 yards. The performance was bad enough that the Commanders might start thinking about whether Howell is their QB of the future. Howell's failure to produce was made even worse by the fact that Jacoby Brissett put up solid numbers during just NINE minutes of action (He went 8 of 10 for 124 yards and two touchdowns). Besides Howell, the Commanders' other problem in this game is that their defense got streamrolled by a Rams offense that put up 445 yards. It's hard to imagine Ron Rivera returning after a 2023 season that keeps going from bad to worse. 
Well, well, well, look who's playing like a serious playoff contender. The Rams are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the league and a big reason for that is because their offense is firing on all cylinders. With Kyren Williams (152 yards) leading the way, the Rams have been getting some serious production out of their rushing attack, which has taken some pressure off of Matthew Stafford. The Rams QB was nearly perfect on Sunday, completing 75.8% of his passes for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Stafford's favorite target was Cooper Kupp, who topped 110 yards for the second week in a row. The Rams are playing so well that at this point, it would be a surprise if they DON'T make the playoffs.

Commanders-Rams grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Baltimore 23-7 over Jacksonville 

Lamar Jackson's numbers from this game won't wow anyone, but he had an impressive performance against the Jaguars. He threw for 171 yards and a lot that came on broken plays where Jackson simply scrambled around until someone came open. And if no one came open, then Jackson would take off, which is a big reason why he led the Ravens in rushing on Sunday night with 97 yards on 12 carries. Defensively, the Ravens did struggle some in the first half, but they clamped down in the second half, holding Trevor Lawrence to just 116 yards with 65 of that coming on one play. The Ravens weren't flashy, but they came away with the victory, and that's all that counts. 
This would have been a closer game and the Jags might have actually won if they didn't absolutely shoot themselves in the foot four different times in the first half. During the first two quarters, the Jags drove inside of Baltimore's 40-yard line four times, but they came away with zero points. They had two missed field goals, they watched Trevor Lawrence lose a fumble and they lost a shot at a short field goal after some embarrassing clock management to end the first half. If you do that against a bad team in the NFL, you might win, but if you do that against the best team in your conference, you're definitely going to lose. At 8-6, the Jaguars are no longer a lock to win the AFC South or to even make the playoffs. 

Ravens-Jaguars grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Cincinnati 27-24 over Minnesota in OT (Saturday)

The Vikings had some tremendous individual efforts from the likes of Ty Chandler (132 rushing yards, TD) and Jordan Addison (111 receiving yards, TD), but there were a number of head-scratching moments for this team as it dropped to .500. First off, Nick Mullens made two back-breaking interceptions in the red zone in the first half, which erased two scoring opportunities that would've created an even bigger first-half cushion for Minnesota. In overtime, head coach Kevin O'Connell inexplicably kept the ball out of Chandler's hands on back-to-back plays needing just a yard to move the chains. Instead of giving it to his back who was averaging over 5 yards per carry, O'Connell opted for a Mullens QB sneak, which he failed to convert twice in a row, which led to the defeat. While the defense played well for three quarters, 21 fourth-quarter points simply can't happen.
It wasn't perfect for Cincinnati, but the Bengals kept their playoff hopes alive after a miraculous fourth-quarter rally that featured strong play from Tee Higgins and Jake Browning down the stretch. In that final quarter, the Bengals outscored the Vikings 21-7 to force overtime, and some clutch short-yardage play by the defense helped stonewall Minnesota on third and fourth down to turn the ball over and set up a game-winning field goal. The defense was also clutch, forcing two red zone interceptions earlier in the game to keep the Vikings off the scoreboard. Browning completed passes to 11 different Bengals players in the win and while totaling three points in the first half isn't ideal, they were able to find the end zone when it counted

Vikings-Bengals grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Indianapolis 30-13 over Pittsburgh (Saturday)

The Steelers took a 13-0 lead and had a chance to put their foot down and pretty much end the game early in the second quarter. After scoring two touchdowns in two minutes, sandwiched around a blocked punt that they recovered on the 1-yard line, they were really rolling. Instead, they let the Colts walk down the field for a touchdown drive, something they did several times more through the rest of the game despite Indy hemorrhaging skill-position players. Their offense was frankly embarrassing for most of the final three quarters of the game, and they were out-scored 30-0 over the final 44 minutes of the contest. It doesn't get much worse than that.
The only thing keeping this from being a perfect A+ is that the Colts lost both Zack Moss and Michael Pittman Jr. to injuries in the second quarter. Otherwise, they could hardly have done anything better. They came back from a double-digit deficit, shutting Pittsburgh out after falling behind 13-0. Gardner Minshew was terrific. Running backs Trey Sermon and Tyler Goodson carried the load. Several pass-catchers made big plays. And the defense forced three turnovers. All of that combined to keep the Colts in playoff position heading into the home stretch

Steelers-Colts grades by Jared Dubin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Detroit 42-17 over Denver (Saturday)

This should give you a good idea of their night: The Broncos opened Saturday's game on offense with 1.) a fumble, 2.) a punt, 3.) a punt, 4.) a punt, 5.) a punt. Then halftime came, they pretended to flirt with a comeback, and it only got uglier. Yes, the Lions are tough at home, but this was supposed to be a winnable game for a resurgent Denver squad. Instead, Sean Payton's offense looked unprepared and undisciplined, completely unable to move the ball on the ground; and the defense was even worse, allowing Jared Goff to have his way from start to finish. The playoffs aren't totally out of reach, but this was no narrow defeat; it was a deflating kind of knockout from a much more well-rounded contender.
What could the Lions have done better, honestly? Everyone rightfully got a little skeptical of their prowess due to a recent string of tight games and turnovers, but they responded by picking apart Denver's defense, with Jared Goff spreading the ball around and effortlessly dominating the red zone by targeting Sam LaPorta and Amon-Ra St. Brown. Perhaps even better, Aaron Glenn's defense showed some real fight, getting after Russell Wilson early and completely swallowing up Denver's rushing attack. The 42-17 score shows a Lions blowout, but it was even more lopsided than that. Yes, they've still got hurdles to clear against superior foes come playoff time, but for now, this club is all the way back on track

Broncos-Lions grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)

Las Vegas 63-21 over L.A. Chargers (Thursday)

The Chargers were so bad in this game that it was almost like they were trying to get Brandon Staley coach fired. The Chargers looked totally unprepared and when that happens, that usually falls on the coach. A big reason the Raiders were able to score 63 points is because the Chargers turned the ball over five times, including a pick-six in the second half by Easton Stick. The other four turnovers were all fumbles. As for Stick, he seemed to be in way over his head. Although his numbers were decent (257 yards, three touchdowns), he produced almost all of that in garbage time. At this point, the Chargers might want to just wave the white flag on 2023 and start figuring out how they can make this team better in 2024
After getting shut out in Week 14, the Raiders responded by taking out all of their anger on the Chargers. The Raiders played a nearly perfect game on Thursday on both sides of the ball. The decision to stick with Aidan O'Connell paid off big time as the rookie QB threw four TD passes during a first half where Las Vegas shot out to a 42-0 lead. The Raiders had six different receivers catch at least two passes and four different receivers catch at least one TD. As good as the offense was, the reason this blowout happened is because of the defense. The Raiders forced five turnovers and they ended up scoring 35 points off those turnovers with the most impressive play coming from Jack Jones, who had a one-handed pick-six in the second half (You can see that here). Jones' TD came 29 seconds after John Jenkins returned a fumble for another defensive TD. The Raiders beat up on Easton Stick and they never let the Chargers get their ground game going. If Antonio Pierce is aiming to get the full-time head coaching job in Las Vegas, this might end up being the win that puts him over the top.

Chargers-Raiders grades by John Breech (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)