Things we learned in Week 15
Compiled by Thomas Harrigan, Jesse Pantuosco, and Steve Schwarz

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - If at first you DO succeed, try, try again is a great strategy on offense and was the motto for the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

On the first play of the game, the screen pass to Jamaal Charles went just as designed - for a 49-yard touchdown. So the Chiefs kept running it and it kept on working. A 39-yarder for a score came on the very next series and for a third touchdown on the screen to the left side in the second quarter. It worked so well that by half-time Charles was already the leading candidate for TSN Fantasy Player on the Week.

Below are a few more things we observed on Sunday afternoon.

Washington at Atlanta

The Redskins turnover woes were not solved by putting Robert Griffin III on the bench. Kirk Cousins threw two interceptions and lost a fumble and Santana Moss and Alfred Morris lost two apiece.

Cousins picked up 381 yards and three touchdowns through the air, but missed a two-point conversion with 22 seconds left that would have put Washington ahead by one.

Cousins did help Pierre Garcon post his first 100-yard game and touchdown since Nov. 7. Garcon was targeted at least 10 times for the eighth consecutive game and had 129 yards on seven catches.

Steven Jackson isn't much different than Michael Turner was last season. He's a touchdown-or-bust fantasy option, and Sunday he happened to have two.

If this really is Tony Gonzalez' last season, he's going out with a bang, at least in fantasy. The Falcons are 4-10, but Gonzalez has scored a touchdown in three straight games.

Chicago at Cleveland

Having four weeks off only made Jay Cutler's fondness for Brandon Marshall grow stronger. He threw toward Marshall 13 times and completed six for 95 yards and a touchdown. Everyone else had a combined 18 targets.

It was a typical Cutler game in many ways. The quarterback had two interceptions on high throws, but he also threw for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

Cutler was helped out by Alshon Jeffery on the QB's second touchdown -- he underthrew Jeffery on a 45-yard bomb, but Jeffery somehow maintained concentration between two defenders and pulled in the ball over his shoulder.

Jeffery seems to make at least one eye-popping catch per week and has pulled in four touchdowns over his last three games.

Josh Gordon had zero catches on one target in the first half and was held to two catches for 24 yards in the first 58:58, but he somehow got behind Chicago's prevent defense for a 43-yard touchdown in garbage time to save fantasy owners.

With Willis McGahee out due to a concussion, the Browns two leading rushers were a player making his NFL debut and the third-string tight end. Edwin Baker, who was signed off Houston's practice squad on Dec. 10, had 38 yards and a touchdown on eight carries, while MarQueis Gray, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound former college QB, had 30 yards on two wildcat runs. Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker combined for six carries and eight yards.

Houston at Indianapolis

Donald Brown suffered a stinger and never returned after rushing for 38 yards, so the Colts had to give Trent Richardson the ball more than they would have liked.

Richardson's line -- 64 rushing yards on 19 carries -- is unexciting, but it was a nice comeback effort for the second-year back. He had 49 yards on his last six carries of the game after running for 15 on his first 13 carries. Richardson also added 38 yards through the air and his nine-yard receiving touchdown was his first score since Week 4.

The Colts telegraphed Case Keenum's tendency to force the ball to Andre Johnson and picked off two of Johnson's 10 targets. Johnson only had four catches for 18 yards after putting up more than 120 in each of the previous two weeks.

Indianapolis got off to a good start for a change and didn't have to throw it much in the second half. Andrew Luck finished with 180 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on 19-of-32 passing while the Colts ran it 36 times.

Luck's 41-yard completion to T.Y. Hilton was the duo's first hookup of longer than 20 yards since Week 10.

Buffalo at Jacksonville

With Cecil Shorts out, Chad Henne spread the ball around, targeting six players at least three times. Marcedes Lewis had a team-high 54 yards and caught one of Henne's two touchdowns (Ace Sanders had the other).

There was no timeshare in the backfield, however, with Maurice Jones-Drew also sidelined. Jordan Todman carried 25 times for 109 yards and had 44 receiving yards on four catches (eight targets).

Lewis has reeled in a TD in three straight games and could be an option for tight-end-needy teams in Week 16.

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller split the workload 17-13, and both rushed for at least 4.7 yards per carry. E.J. Manuel had the lone rushing touchdown on an eight-yard QB keeper and actually had three touchdowns on the day for the first time in his career.

New England at Miami

No Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Dobson or Kenbrell Thompkins ... no problem for Tom Brady - at least for fantasy owners. Brady threw for 364 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but the Pats came up four points short.

Shane Vereen was a non-factor today. Not sure whether it was by choice or the defense forced Bill Belichick to go elsewhere.

Julian Edelman (13-139-1) and Danny Amendola (10-131-0) did most of the damage.

Now that's what we expected out of Mike Wallace when he opted to leave Pittsburgh for South Beach (6-105-1).

Ryan Tannehill was every bit as good as Brady going 25-of-37 for 312 yards and three scores.

Philadelphia at Minnesota

The Eagles moved the ball well in the first 30 minutes, but had just three field goals to show for it. You don't win football games that way, or fantasy matchups.

Philadelphia put it in the end zone three times after the break, but couldn't catch up to Minnesota because their defense let them down. Nick Foles threw for 393 yards and three scores, so his fantasy owners will be happy as will DeSean Jackson's owners (10-195-1).

Matt Asiata and Joe Banyard ... who are these guys? Answer: The top-two Vikings' running backs on their active depth chart in Week 15. Asiata got all of the work and racked up 51 rushing yards and three short scores.

If they ask Greg Jennings, he'll definitely say Matt Cassel should be the Vikings' starting quarterback. Just check his numbers with Cassel under center after Sunday's 11-catch, 163-yard, one-TD effort versus Christian Ponder or Josh Freeman.

Cassel threw for 382 yards in the victory.

Seattle at New York Giants

It clearly showed on his 2-yard touchdown blast - Marshawn Lynch just "wanted it" more than the guys on the other side of the ball.

In a rare display, Lynch had more passing receiving yards than rushing yards as he totaled 120 yards from scrimmage.

Another solid game from Russell Wilson passing for 206 yards and a score. He rushed for 50 more. He may not be a great fantasy option, but he's perfect for this Seahawks' offense.

Eli Manning stats -- 18-of-31 for 156 yards and FIVE interceptions. That ties his career high with 25 picks. No wonder the Giants were shut out today and are 5-9 this season. Curtis Painter finished up.

San Francisco at Tampa Bay

Colin Kaepernick had it going today, running when he needed to and passing to his three top receivers - Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. This is what the team envisioned when they added Boldin to the receiving corps in the offseason.

Well, that and the stout defense the 49ers put on display. San Francisco's defense yielded just 183 yards.

Vincent Jackson's only catch of the first half was an 11-yard TD catch with 29 seconds remaining. He did catch four more balls in the second half, but totaled just 58 yards.

New York Jets at Carolina

The Jets offense may just be the most boring in the NFL. The running options are mediocre, yet they are better then the receiving choices. Faced with a strong Panthers' defense, fantasy owners hopefully stayed completely away from the Jets side of the ball.

Newton didn't run much, but that's because almost everything he tried in the air worked. He passed for 224 yards and a score at the half. The biggest play was a 72-yard TD hookup with DeAngelo Williams.

Williams put together his best overall day of the season, combining for more than 160 yards and a touchdown.

Kansas City at Oakland

Charles is right up there with LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte fighting for the title of "best receiving back in the NFL." Sunday, Charles went for 49 and 39 yards with his first two receptions - both for touchdowns. he added a third touchdown catch and earned the 100-yard bonus in the second quarter on his way to a 41 fantasy points ... in the first half.

Charles caught a fourth touchdown pass in the third quarter to become the only running back to ever accomplish the feat. It was nice of him to save this 58- point day for the fantasy playoffs.

Although they did return an interception for a touchdown, the Chiefs' defense isn't playing anywhere near as well as it did at the beginning of the season.

Rashad Jennings was healthy again (concussion) and rewarded his fantasy owners with two short first-half touchdown runs.

Sorry Oakland, neither Matt McGloin or Terrelle Pryor is the answer to your QB problems.

Green Bay at Dallas

Green Bay's defense was clueless in stopping the Cowboys offense.

The Packers offense, without Aaron Rodgers, was also a mess in the first half, but got it going after the break, scoring 34 points in the final 30 minutes.

Eddie Lacy looked healthy and received his full complement of carries despite the Packers playing from behind (21-141-1). It's a great sign for the future, that the team thinks he's so explosive they will continue to run him even down double-digits.

DeMarco Murray has now put together back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time since his rookie season to earn "must-start" status.

Dez Bryant has three consecutive games with a touchdown catch and produced his first 100-yard receiving effort since Week 7. Good time for it.

Another December collapse from Tony Romo with two bad interceptions in the final quarter of this one. For fantasy owners however, Romo was still good with 358 yards and two touchdowns to go along with the pair of interceptions.

New Orleans at St. Louis

Brees was picked off twice in his first six passes. He had thrown 519 passes this season heading into the game and been intercepted just eight times.

Brees also lost a fumble. Needless to say it was not his finest game, which is funny to think about since he also threw for 393 yards and a touchdown. We have such high standards for him.

Sunday was the first time this season the Saints had not put a touchdown on the board in the first half.

When Zac Stacy is running well (28-133-1) and the defensive pass rush is playing as it did today (four sacks) the Rams can play with almost anyone.

Arizona at Tennessee

The Cardinals coaching staff continues to split the workload between Andre Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall fairly evenly. Neither is a great play under these condition, but both guys will give you low-end value. Ellington is the more explosive, but Mendenhall gets the goal line work. Sunday was a good day for both as they each cracked the 15-point mark.

Chris Johnson remained the only consistent option in the Titans lineup. Delanie Walker and Kendall Wright have their moments, but only CJ can be started every week regardless of opponent.

Playing from behind in the second half, Ryan Fitzpatrick ended up with a solid afternoon - 402 yards, four touchdowns, two interceptions. Unfortunately, it was his first multiple touchdown game this month. Fantasy owners need more consistency from you Ryan.

Yes, that was Jake Ballard with the Cardinals only touchdown catch of the day. It was his first score of the season.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

Powered by The Sports Network.