Sun Nov 17 4:52pm ET
By DAVE CAMPBELL
AP Pro Football Writer
Players: Joe Flacco, Kirk Cousins, Kyle Rudolph, Brandon McManus, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Allen, Andy Janovich, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Troy Fumagalli, Tim Patrick, Courtland Sutton, Drew Lock, Noah Fant
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris (96) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph celebrates after catching a 32-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) celebrates with teammate Bisi Johnson, right, after catching a 54-yard touchdown pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) fumbles as he is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive tackle Shelby Harris (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. The Broncos recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Denver Broncos fullback Andy Janovich (32) scores on a 1-yard touchdown run in front of Minnesota Vikings middle linebacker Eric Kendricks, right, during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Vikings erased a 20-0 halftime deficit with touchdowns on each of their four drives in the second half, fending off the Denver Broncos by forcing three straight incomplete passes in the end zone over the final 10 seconds to preserve a 27-23 victory on Sunday.
This was the first time in five years - a span of 100 games including the playoffs - that an NFL team won after trailing by 20 or more points after two quarters.
Kirk Cousins went 29 for 35 for 319 yards and three scores for the Vikings (8-3), overcoming a system-wide failure in the first half that included a lost fumble of his during a sack that led to one of three field goals by Brandon McManus for the Broncos (3-7).
Cousins hit Stefon Diggs for a 54-yard touchdown pass that brought the crowd noise to a deafening level and cut the lead to 23-20. McManus went wide right from 41 yards on his fourth attempt, and Cousins found Kyle Rudolph wide open for a 32-yard score on the next possession with 6:10 left. Both of those throws by Cousins came off bootleg rollouts to his left, the type of passing play he has long thrived on.
Brandon Allen, the fill-in quarterback after the injury to Joe Flacco and the impending debut of rookie Drew Lock, admirably drove the Broncos to the cusp of a comeback of their own with a drive that included three fourth-down conversions.
With first-and-goal from the 4, but only 10 seconds and no timeouts remaining, Allen had three chances at the winner. Trae Waynes knocked down the first one, Jayron Kearse had a hand on the second one and the last try for Noah Fant sailed past the rookie tight end after he and Kearse tussled for position.
The Broncos have not scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter for six straight games. The last team guilty of such a severe second-half collapse was Atlanta on Oct. 26, 2014, when a 21-0 lead at home turned into a 22-21 victory for Detroit. According to Sportradar, this was only the 14th time in NFL history that a 20-plus-point halftime deficit turned into defeat.
The Vikings hardly could have played more poorly over the first two quarters. They punted on their first four possessions and already trailed 10-0 when they finally got a first down, finishing with just 47 total yards in the first half. With the deficit at 17-0, Cousins hit Diggs for a 34-yard gain that was wiped out by a holding penalty on left tackle Riley Reiff, who had a particularly difficult time against the pass rush.
The Broncos drove 90 yards for their first touchdown, a third-and-goal throw to tight end Troy Fumagalli for his first career score. They spiced up their play calling with repeated success, using a 38-yard reverse pass by Courtland Sutton to fellow wide receiver Tim Patrick. Sutton kept the ball on two more end-around plays during that drive, including a fourth-and-1 run from the 7 to set up their second touchdown.
One break went Minnesota's way, an ominous end to Denver's momentum. The kickoff after the field goal that followed the fumble by Cousins was fumbled and lost by Ameer Abdullah at the 17 by Josey Jewell with 60 seconds left. Allen's pass for Noah Fant on the next play was intercepted by Andrew Sendejo, preventing the Broncos from taking a four-score lead.
Broncos: FB Andy Janovich, who bulled his way into the end zone on a third-and-goal run from the 1 in the second quarter, hurt his elbow while being tackled at the end of a short reception and did not return.
Vikings: SS Harrison Smith hurt his hamstring in the fourth quarter and didn't return. LB Ben Gedeon suffered a concussion in the first quarter and was done for the day. Four other starters were already inactive: Adam Thielen, RG Josh Kline (concussion), NT Linval Joseph (knee) and FS Anthony Harris (groin).
Broncos: Facing a stretch of four road games in five weeks that began here in Minnesota, the Broncos play at Buffalo next Sunday. They've lost their last two road games against the Bills in 2017 and 2011.
Vikings: After the second-latest bye week on the schedule in team history - in 1991, they were off the weekend of Dec. 1 - the Vikings return to action on Dec. 2 at Seattle. This is their second straight year with a Monday night game on the road against the Seahawks in December.
Washington Redskins quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed 19 of 28 throws for 261 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's loss to the Eagles. For the first time in more than a month, Haskins completed over 60% of his passes. Sunday also marked a career-high for passing yards and was the second time the rookie threw multiple touchdowns. An otherwise mistake-free outing was upended on the last play of the game, when Haskins fumbled to give the Eagles a defensive touchdown. By and large, Haskins took a major step in the right direction with his Week 15 effort in a divisional game. We're looking for building blocks that may translate into a prominent fantasy status in 2020, and games like these help set the table for that possibility.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel earned three targets against the Falcons in Week 15 and managed just one catch for 29 yards. He also had an eight-yard rush in the game. Samuel had been on a hot streak coming into this game with either five-or-more catches or a touchdown in five straight games. Despite a favorable matchup against the Falcons, the 49ers offense struggled as a whole in this game. Samuel and the 49ers will look to get back on track against the Rams in Week 16.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was held to just two catches for nine yards on four targets in Week 15 against the Falcons. Sanders was coming off of a remarkable 157-yard performance against the Saints in Week 14, so it was surprising to see him struggle to make his mark against a very generous Falcons pass defense. Fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel only had one catch in this game and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only threw for 200 yards, so it was a rough day for the 49ers offense as a whole. Sanders will look to bounce back against the Rams in Week 16.
San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida had a rough game against the Falcons in Week 15. He fumbled twice, though only one was recovered by the Falcons. He had four carries in the game and managed just 11 yards and he caught both of his targets in the passing game for six yards. Raheem Mostert was the focal point of the 49ers' run game again this week. Mostert had 14 carries in the game. Breida was equalled in carries by Tevin Coleman, though Coleman outperformed him, gaining 40 yards on his four carries thanks to a 37-yard rush.
San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman rushed the ball four times for 40 yards in Week 15 against the Falcons. He had a 37-yard rush that was the team's biggest play from scrimmage on the day. This was the third straight game in which Coleman was held to five-or-fewer carries. Raheem Mostert has taken over as the No. 1 running back in San Francisco and he had 14 carries in this game. Coleman, meanwhile, is sharing No. 2 back duties with Matt Breida, though Coleman outperformed Breida in this game. Coleman is a drop candidate in any season-long league that ends in Week 16.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle had a monstrous game in Week 15 against the Falcons. He caught 13 of his 17 targets for a season-high 134 yards, his third 100-yard game of the year. This was the first time all year that Kittle had earned over 10 targets and also the first time that he'd had double-digit receptions. Kittle is a stud and an absolute must-start tight end. He'll look to stay hot as the team takes on the Rams in Week 16.
Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky completed 29-of-53 passes for 334 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Week 15 against the Green Bay Packers. He also ran for 29 yards.
Fantasy Spin: The Bears managed to do a little better offensively than Week 1 against the Packers, but they were still lacking. Trubisky remains more of a QB2 in most fantasy leagues heading into Week 16 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wasn't able to take advantage of a favorable home matchup against the Falcons in Week 15. He completed 22-of-34 passes for 200 yards and just one touchdown in the game. He didn't have any turnovers in the game, which makes his fantasy line passable, but the potential was there for a big, big game and Garoppolo wasn't able to deliver. He'll look to bounce back and get the team back in the win column against the Rams in Week 16.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert was the focus of the team's running game once again in Week 15 against the 49ers. He had a team-high 14 carries and rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown. He also added a five-yard reception and he lost a fumble. Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida had four carries each, so it's rather clear that Mostert is the guy to own in San Francisco right now. He figures to be an RB2 going forward. His next matchup is against the Rams in Week 16.
Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller caught eight of 10 targets for 122 yards in the team's 20-16 home loss to the Jaguars on Sunday. The 26-year-old dominated looks from Derek Carr once again, with five players finishing with three targets for the next most volume on the team. Waller now has 1,001 yards on 80 receptions during his breakout campaign, but has only found the end zone three times. His high-volume usage keeps him planted as a TE1, and should be treated as much versus the Chargers in Week 16.
Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper had a disappointing showing in Week 15 against the 49ers. He was targeted six times in the game, but wound up with just three catches for 20 yards. The Falcons leaned heavily on Julio Jones in this game. Jones was targeted 20 times and accounted for 134 of the team's 210 air yards. With Calvin Ridley (abdominal) out for the rest of the year, Hooper should have at least around six targets per game going forward and more often than not, he'll deliver solid starting tight end numbers with that target share. He'll look to bounce back against the Jaguars in Week 16.
Atlanta Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo only had one field goal attempt against the 49ers in Week 15, but he was able to connect on it. He hit a 43-yard field goal and he was also 2-for-2 on extra-point attempts. Koo is now 17-of-19 on field goals with the Falcons this year. He's a solid starting kicker option. He'd earned at least three field goal attempts in all of his previous five games this year.
The Green Bay Packers Defense posted three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. It was a strong performance in which they only allowed 13 points. The highlight of the day for Green Bay was an interception by 6-foot-6, 296-pound defensive lineman Dean Lowry. Green Bay will look to put up another solid stat line against the Minnesota Vikings next week.
The Falcons Defense was able to come through with a solid performance despite being in a tough spot on the road against the 49ers in Week 15. They recovered two fumbles in the game and held the 49ers to 22 points. The 49ers had scored over 35 points in three of their previous four games coming into this week. On the whole, the Falcons defense has had a rough year, but they've shown a few glimpses of hope here and there. They'll look to build off this solid performance against the Jaguars in Week 16.
Atlanta Falcons running back Brian Hill rushed the ball just one time for 16 yards against the 49ers in Week 15. It was a surprisingly low workload for Hill after he'd earned nine carries the previous week. The team didn't run the ball a ton in Week 15. Devonta Freeman led the way with 12 carries for 39 yards and Qadree Ollison had a one-yard touchdown run on his only carry. Hill isn't worth starting or even owning in most leagues as Freeman is the clear No. 1 back in this offense.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams broke his six-game scoreless drought by hitting a 40-yard score on the first drive of the game in the team's 20-16 loss to the Jaguars. He broke a sure-tackle about ten yards down the field and ran for the rest untouched for the touchdown. Williams failed to do much the rest of the way, adding just one catch for five yards the rest of the way as the offense as a whole sputtered in the second half. The veteran hasn't shown any consistency this season and is a risky play for the fantasy championship next week. Williams will be a TD-dependant WR4 in a road date with the Chargers who held him to 25 yards back in Week 10.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones dominated the 49ers in Week 15, delivering one of his biggest games of the year and ending his nine-game touchdown drought. Jones was targeted a whopping 20 times by Matt Ryan in the game and reeled in 13 receptions for 134 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan only had a total of 210 passing yards in a game, so Jones accounted for well over half of the team's air yardage. Jones is an absolute stud, even though the season as a whole has been slightly underwhelming by his lofty standards. He'll look to stay hot against the Jaguars in Week 16.
Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby made all three extra-point attempts in a 21-13 win over the Chicago Bears. The 35-year-old has relied on extra-points for the majority of his fantasy points, as he's only attempted 17 field goals this year. For that reason, he's more dependent on his offense being successful than other kickers. Crosby could be a better play next week in a potentially high scoring game next week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Russell Gage caught five of his six targets for 27 yards in Week 15 against the 49ers. He also added a six-yard rush. The Falcons came away with an impressive victory in the game and they leaned heavily on Julio Jones to get the win. Jones caught 13 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the contest. Gage has five-or-more receptions in three of his past four games now and is a viable WR3 or flex play in deep leagues, but his upside is limited as he's only topped 60 receiving yards once this year.
New York Giants WR Golden Tate had just one grab on four targets in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins, but it was good for a 51-yard touchdown.
Fantasy Spin: Despite the long touchdown, Tate is only worth a look as a WR5 in most fantasy leagues heading into Week 16 against the Washington Redskins.