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NFL Week 15 recap: Jets stun Rams, Chiefs outlast Saints – The Athletic

The Browns (10-4) handled the Giants 20-6 on Sunday night, bringing Cleveland closer to its first playoff berth since 2002. The Colt McCoy-led Giants (5-9) managed just three points in three trips to the red zone — all in the first half  — while an efficient Baker Mayfield threw two for 297 yards and two touchdowns on 27-of-32 passing.

The Jets’ losing streak is finally over, but their chance at Trevor Lawrence may also be gone. With their stunning 23-20 victory over the Rams, the Jets (1-13) fell to No. 2 in the 2021 draft order, behind the Jaguars (1-13). New York finishes its season against the Browns and Patriots; Jacksonville against the Bears and Colts. If the teams finish with the same record, the Jaguars would hold the tiebreaker and get the first pick.

The Rams (9-5), meanwhile, lost their spot at the top of the NFC West to the Seahawks (10-4).

Drew Brees’ return for the Saints (10-4) got off to a slow start — he opened the game 0-5 with an interception — against the Chiefs (13-1). Kansas City beat the Saints 32-29, in a game where Patrick Mahomes threw for under 300 yards for the first time in six straight games, but rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire left the game with a serious-looking leg injury.

And Jalen Hurts and Kyler Murray put on a show in the Cardinals’ 33-26 win over the Eagles (4-9-1). Arizona is now 8-6, holding onto its spot as the No. 7 seed in the playoffs.

Earlier, the Dolphins (9-5) needed a win to stay in front of the Ravens in the AFC playoff race and got it when Tua Tagovailoa has led back-to-back scoring drives of 14 and 11 yards, covering a total of 165 yards in the second half and Miami beat New England, 22-12. The Patriots (6-8) will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008.

The Ravens (9-5) took care of the Jaguars, as expected, winning 40-14. The big news of the game: Dez Bryant scored his first touchdown since Dec. 10, 2017, when he played with the Cowboys. Lamar Jackson hit Bryant for an 11-yard score late in the first half.

In other key AFC matchups, Philip Rivers’ second touchdown pass to Zach Pascall — this one with 1:47 left in the game — and a late defensive stop by the defense was just enough for the Colts (10-4) to beat the Texans (4-10), 27-20. In Nashville, the Titans (10-4) pulled away from the Lions (5-9)in the fourth quarter and Derrick Henry has his ninth 100-yard rushing game of the season in Tennessee’s 46-25 win.

Three games are already in for Week 15: The Chargers (5-9) beat the Raiders (7-7) on Thursday night, while the Bills (11-3) clinched the AFC East on Saturday by defeating the Broncos (5-9)and the Packers (11-3) picked up an ugly win Saturday night against the Panthers (4-10). The Steelers (11-2) play the Bengals (2-10-1) on Monday night.

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Browns notch double-digit wins for first time since 2007

The 10-win Cleveland Browns play in the same stadium next Sunday vs. the Jets. Yes, 10 wins. — Zac Jackson

The Browns have two 95-yard touchdown drives. The Giants have no chance. — Zac Jackson

HALFTIME: Browns 13, Giants 3. The Browns got their second score on a 10-play, 95-yard drive capped by a Baker Mayfield to Jarvis Landry TD pass. Cody Parkey missed the PAT. The Giants have 3 points to show for their three trips inside the red zone. That’s awful football, and the Browns have taken advantage. — Zac Jackson

Chris Hubbard was injured on the Browns’ second play. Hubbard was starting at RG in place of the injured Wyatt Teller, so now we know the third option there is rookie Nick Harris. A fifth-round pick, Harris is a center but played some guard in college. — Zac Jackson

Chiefs beat Saints in Drew Brees’ return

The Saints will fall into a tie with Seattle at 10-4 after losing to the Chiefs 32-29. And they still don’t have the division wrapped up. —Larry Holder

The Saints still have a shot here after a strip sack of Patrick Mahomes gives them a short field with almost 10 minutes left. They trail 29-22. Trey Hendrickson has had himself an incredible game. —Katherine Terrell

Wow! A frustrated Cam Jordan throws a punch after appearing to get held, and not only is he penalized, he’s thrown out of the game. —Katherine Terrell

The Saints are running out of steam. The offense continues to stagnate now 1-9 on third down. The Chiefs countered with another TD drive, ending with a Le’Veon Bell run. This occurred one player after Cam Jordan was ejected for throwing a punch. Chiefs 29, Saints 15, 13:44 fourth quarter. —Larry Holder 

Seems like this is the type of game where injuries pile up. Andrus Peat returned but he is favoring his leg, Marcus Williams went to the locker room, Tre’Quan Smith has an ankle issue, PJ Williams is at safety and Drew Brees took a hard shot to the ribs. —Katherine Terrell

The Saints scratch and claw to take the lead. The Chiefs almost leisurely answer. Patrick Mahomes to Mecole Hardman for a TD and Kansas City is back on top 21-15. Kansas City is making offense look far more easy than the Saints so far. —Larry Holder

The Saints open up the second half with a wild drive that ended in a Latavius Murray 24-yard TD reception on a screen pass where Drew Brees looked like he was in major trouble. All of a sudden, the Saints lead the Chiefs 15-14, after New Orleans missed the two-point conversion. —Larry Holder 

Wowzers! Demarcus Robinson fumbled the punt, forced by Craig Robertson. The Saints tried to pounce on it. Alex Anzalone can’t hold onto it. But it’s a safety. Chiefs 14, Saints 9, :03 left in the half. —Larry Holder 

Just when you think the Saints offense is a dumpster fire, Drew Brees shows off his arm to set up New Orleans’ first TD. Brees hit Emmanuel Sanders for a 51-yard deep ball and Taysom Hill punch in a one-yard TD run to cut the Chiefs’ lead in half. —Larry Holder

No short field needed for the Chiefs on their next touchdown drive to jump ahead of the Saints 14-0. Patrick Mahomes made the Saints defense run around in circles literally on a third down before hitting Sammy Watkins for 23 yards. The drive ended on a forward option flip to Travis Kelce for a score. The Saints offense is moving nowhere. This could get ugly. —Larry Holder

Drew Brees has opened the game missing on all five of his passing attempts with an interception. The offense obviously doesn’t look right. —Larry Holder 

This is nowhere near the start Drew Brees and the Saints wanted. They started with a three and out. The next drive ends with a Brees interception on a rough throw by Brees to Lil’Jordan Humphrey. No crispness at all from Brees so far. —Larry Holder

I wondered how the Saints would deploy cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins. They switched sides of the field in the first drive, but didn’t necessarily shadow anyone. I’ll be curious to watch if they continues. —Larry Holder

Winless Jets upset Rams, fall behind Jags in draft order 

Do you know who is excited about the Jets’ win? Londoners. Assuming the Jaguars end up with Lawrence, London gets to see a generational quarterback in person as many as two times a season. Of course, Lawrence could solve the Jags home market issues that sent them to London. —Daniel Kaplan

The Rams are beating themselves. Penalties, third downs, puzzling calls, turnovers, whatever. This game has it all. Beating themselves. —Jourdan Rodrigue 

3rd & 6 for the Jets. Big decision for Adam Gase. He can put the ball in Darnold’s hands. Let him go win this. Or, hand it to Gore. Maybe he gets a first. Worst case: Down to two minutes. And … First down Jets. This one’s over. I can’t believe the Jets just won. —Connor Hughes

Third downs just killing the Rams defense today. Looked like Hill wanted to come across on that motion on third-and-2 and then saw something that stopped him about halfway. Now the Jets have another third down at the goal line. —Jourdan Rodrigue

Tom Brady hits Antonio Brown, Bucs rally past Falcons

Huge comeback for the Bucs, who rallied back from 17 down in the second half for a 31-27 win over the Falcons in Atlanta. Tom Brady threw a 46-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown for the winning margin, getting much of his 390 yards in the second half. Tampa Bay (9-5) moves closer to clinching its first playoff berth in 13 years. It matches the second biggest comeback in team history. — Greg Auman

Antonio Brown’s first touchdown with the Bucs is a huge one – 46 yards from Tom Brady to give Tampa Bay a 31-27 lead on the Falcons in the fourth quarter. The Bucs trailed 17-0 at halftime. They’ve scored on all five possessions in the second half. — Greg Auman

Didn’t think I would say this, but the Falcons are missing Isaiah Oliver. Tyler Hall on Antonio Brown is such a mismatch and the Bucs make the Falcons pay with a 46-yard TD pass. Tampa Bay takes the lead in Atlanta 31-27. — Tori McElhaney

If the Falcons don’t keep Koo on after this year it will be a travesty. He keeps the Falcons alive with a 52-yard field goal. Falcons 27, Bucs 24 — Tori McElhaney

Down 17 in the second half, the Bucs have rallied back to tie the Falcons at 24-24 in the fourth quarter in Atlanta. The latest drive stalled in the end zone, with Brady throwing incomplete on third down from the 9-yard line and Tampa Bay settling for a 27-yard Ryan Succop field goal with 11:11 left. — Greg Auman

With Isaiah Oliver shaken up on that last drive, the Falcons are playing with a very depleted secondary against Tom Brady. They hold on, though, and come up with a stop. Succop’s 27-yard FG is good and we’re tied at 24-all in Atlanta. — Tori McElhaney

The Bucs are very much back in the ballgame in Atlanta. Three touchdowns in the third quarter, two by Leonard Fournette, have turned a 17-0 deficit to just 24-21 with a full quarter left. Tom Brady threw for 188 yards in the third quarter alone. — Greg Auman

The Bucs offense has joined today’s game, with two long touchdown drives to open the second half. The Falcons still lead 24-14, but Tom Brady has thrown for a touchdown and 109 yards on the two drives, with Leonard Fournette getting one score and Chris Godwin catching the other. The defense gave up a touchdown in between, so if the Bucs are to rally, both sides need to step up. — Greg Auman

As the Bucs offense heats up, it may come down to the Falcons offense continuing to answer. Bucs score again with a touchdown pass from Brady to Godwin. Falcons 24, Bucs 14 — Tori McElhaney

The Falcons answer with a touchdown of their own. Ryan finds Hurst from seven yards out. Calvin Ridley also surpasses 100+ receiving yards on the day in that drive. Falcons up 24-7 over the Bucs. — Tori McElhaney

The Bucs offense showed up in the opening drive of the second half. Finally punched it in from one yard out. Falcons 17, Bucs 7 — Tori McElhaney

The Bucs have been dominated for a half in Atlanta, trailing the Falcons 17-0 and showing very little on either side of the ball. Another opposing quarterback is carving up the Bucs secondary and facing very little pressure — Matt Ryan is 23-for-31 for 235 yards and two touchdowns, while Tom Brady is just 10-for-16 for 70 yards. How well can the Bucs recover in the second half? — Greg Auman

Falcons strung together another good drive but they come up short in the red zone with 15 seconds left before half. Younghoe Koo connects from 32-yards out to increase Atlanta’s lead 17-0. — Tori McElhaney

Ryan to Ridley for the 12-yard TD. Great awareness by Ridley. Falcons up 14-0 after another quality drive in which the Falcons continued to use their deep arsenal of offensive weapons (finally). Ryan connected with guys like Keith Smith and Laquon Treadwell in that drive. — Tori McElhaney

Yet another slow start for the Bucs, who saw the Falcons march down the field on the opening drive and trail 7-0 in Atlanta in the second quarter. The Bucs are 1-for-4 on third downs and Matt Ryan has already thrown for 100-plus yards despite being without the injured Julio Jones. Will the Bucs offense wake up the same way its defense has with two straight three-and-outs? — Greg Auman

Well, I’d argue that’s one of the best opening drives the Falcons have executed all year. Dirk Koetter got everyone involved: Gurley, Ito, Ridley, Hurst and Gage. That’s what they’ve been missing this year. Matt Ryan caps off the drive with a touchdown to Gage in the corner. Falcons up 7-0. — Tori McElhaney

Jalen Hurts, Kyler Murray put on a show in Cardinals’ win

Looking for chunk plays? Jalen Hurts has seven completions of 20+ yards. Last time that happened? Nick Foles vs. Houston on Dec. 23, 2018. —Zach Berman

Jalen Hurts: 16 of 26 for 241 yards, 3 TDs; 8 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD. His passing TDs came on 3rd-and-20, 4th-and-3, 3rd-and-5. —Zach Berman

Eagles trail Arizona 26-20 at the half and are very much in the game thanks to Jalen Hurts, Quez Watkins and Michael Jacquet. “Playing to win” can still mean playing the young guys. Hurts, meanwhile, has been impressive after a slow start. The game script has been much tougher than last week and he’s still excelling – 177 yards, 3 TDs and a 138.2 rating, plus another impressive two-minute still. —Bo Wulf

Rams apparent personnel miscommunication leads McVay on a full-on sprint down the sideline to blow a time out, and the Jets punch it in on fourth down on the next play. Jets lead the Rams 20-3 with 8:30 left in the third quarter. —Jourdan Rodrigue 

Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins eliminate Patriots

Dolphins eliminate Patriots from playoffs with 22-12 victory in Miami’s final home game. Impressive performances by Tua Tagovailoa and running backs Salvon Ahmed and Matt Breida, who combined for 200-plus rushing yards. Miami’s record is 9-5. The Dolphins continue their playoff trek with back-to-back road games at Las Vegas & Buffalo to conclude the regular season. — Josh Tolentino

With 9:03 remaining, the Dolphins lead the Patriots 15-12. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, Tua Tagovailoa scrambled in for the touchdown and the Dolphins were successful on the ensuing two-point conversation. New England responded with its’ fourth field goal of the game. Will Tagovailoa and the Dolphins be able to pad their lead and also run out a good chunk of the clock this next drive? — Josh Tolentino

What a response from Miami’s offense out of the break. Dolphins open the third quarter with a 9-play, 72-yard scoring drive. Salvon Ahmed punches it in at the goal line. Tua Tagovailoa only threw one pass that drive. Dolphins lead 7-6 in the third quarter. — Josh Tolentino

Stephon Gilmore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a right knee injury in the second quarter and is doubtful to return. He got his cleat stuck in the grass as he changed direction while covering Mack Hollins, and Gilmore immediately went down and clutched his knee. He was helped by two trainers as he slowly walked to the locker room. It didn’t look good. — Jeff Howe

The Dolphins trail 6-0 at halftime. Jason Sanders misses a field goal attempt from 52 yards at the end of the first half. He’s missed a kick in back-to-back weeks. — Josh Tolentino

Tua completed his first seven passes before throwing the second interception of his career. The end-zone pick by J.C. Jackson stalled an impressive drive by the Dolphins, which began at their own 2-yard line. New England responds with a field goal. The Patriots lead 3-0 with less than nine minutes left in the first half. — Josh Tolentino

Seahawks hold on, clinch playoff spot

Thanks to 4 sacks by the defense, Seattle beats Washington 20-15 and clinches a playoff berth for 9th time in 11 seasons under Pete Carroll. The Seahawks are 10-4. — Michael-Shawn Dugar

The J.D. McKissic Revenge Game is on. The WFT running back scores on his old team and it’s 20-15, Seattle, here in the fourth quarter. — Michael-Shawn Dugar

Washington just went on a 96-yard scoring drive. Impressive, really. Seattle still leads by two scores, though. We’re at the start of the fourth quarter and it’s 20-9. — Michael-Shawn Dugar

The Seahawks are going to enter the half leading Washington 13-3. An ideal half for Seattle, which can clinch a playoff berth with a victory today. — Michael-Shawn Dugar

It’s 6-0 in favor of the Seahawks. DK Metcalf doesn’t have a target. Washington doing one hell of a job on him so far. — Michael-Shawn Dugar

Bears continue quest for NFC playoff spot

FINAL: Bears 33, Vikings 27 Sherrick McManis with the game-sealing interception. The Bears are now 7-7 and squarely in the hunt for the NFC’s No. 7 seed. Next up — the Jaguars, who lost 40-14 today.

The offense ended its third-quarter touchdown drought when David Montgomery powered it in from 11 yards out. He has a season-high 22 rushes for 117 yards. The run game and pass game are working hand-in-hand, but can the defense do its job? The Vikings scored 10 points in the third quarter. The goal-line stop could prove to be crucial. The Bears are driving with a 27-20 lead. — Kevin Fishbain

You’d think the Bears would gladly take 20 points in the first half on the road. But a couple misses on third-and-short forced them to settle for field goals. Montgomery? 12 carries for 65 yards. Trubisky? 10-of-14 for 109 yards. Dalvin Cook does have 79 yards rushing for the Vikings, and they get the ball to start the second half. Does the defense have a takeaway in them? Bears 20, Vikings 10 — Kevin Fishbain

Titans win, but defense still has major issues

The Lions have been eliminated from the playoffs, and in fitting fashion with their defense coughing up 463 yards and 46 points. Even at full strength, that defensive unit had significant issues and it’s just banged up beyond belief at the moment. Weeks 16 and 17 figure to be ugly, too. —Chris Burke

FINAL: Titans 46, Lions 25 Ryan Tannehill was 21 of 27 for 273 yards passing and five total touchdowns. Derrick Henry had 24 carries for 147 yards rushing. Corey Davis caught four passes for 110 yards. Tennessee is 10-4, guaranteeing its best record since the 13-3 season in 2008 and inching toward another playoff berth. There will not be a fifth consecutive 9-7 mark for the Titans. — Kyle Tucker

Titans 39, Lions 25, 6:23 4Q Don’t be fooled by the blowout. Tennessee’s defense is still horrid. Detroit backup Chase Daniel came in and carved up the Titans, marching the Lions 60 yards in six plays and under three minutes for a TD. Detroit is over 400 yards and, if not for one goal-line fumble and another in the red zone, this would very much be a game right now. This D is a real problem. — Kyle Tucker

It’s over now, an ill-fated Lions fake punt setting the Titans up for a short field and a short touchdown pass to A.J. Brown for a 39-18 lead with 9 minutes left. The work day is probably also over for Derrick Henry, and it hasn’t done enough for his bid for 2,000 yards. He’s at 22 carries for 141 yards. Imagine that as a disappointment! — Joe Rexrode

Titans 32, Lions 17, 14:30 4Q Tennessee badly needed to answer after Detroit got within six and did. Ryan Tannehill’s 20-yard strike on third-and-11, then Derrick Henry’s 33-yard run on third-and-1 set up a 3-yard Tannehill TD run. Henry entered the day needing to average 156 yards over his last three games to hit 2,000. He has 141 yards on 22 carries so far today. Keep feeding him, Mike Vrabel. — Kyle Tucker

Matt Prater from 53 is good, and it’s 24-18 Titans with 4:15 left in the third quarter. And it’s Derrick Henry time. — Joe Rexrode

Mike Vrabel threw the challenge flag after Detroit appeared to have a first down at the Titans’ 21, but replay showed Derick Roberson forced a fumble and Jeffery Simmons recovered it. Up 24-15, that was a massive swing for Tennessee, which had given up a third-and-13 on that opening drive of the second half. Had the play stood, Detroit would be 8 of 10 on third down. — Kyle Tucker

It’s 24-15 Titans at the half after a 38-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal at the horn. Derrick Henry has 14 carries for 80 yards and a score. Ryan Tannehill is 11 for 14 for 182 yards and a score. The Titans can do whatever they want on offense. Still, Matthew Stafford is here to play and gets the ball after the break. — Joe Rexrode

Titans 21, Lions 15, 1:02 2Q Adoree’ Jackson is back but Tennessee’s secondary still stinks. Matthew Stafford is carving them up, now 16 of 21 for 170 yards. He’s completed deep dimes of 44 and 39 yards on consecutive drives and this should be a 21-all game if not for the Lions’ goal-line fumble. Detroit is 6 of 8 on third down, of course. — Kyle Tucker

And just when the Titans had all the momentum … a Lions defensive play at the expense of the Titans’ offense? Yes, a sack of Ryan Tannehill and safety, with LT David Quessenberry getting hurdled on an attempted cut block. Now the Lions are down 21-9 with the ball, getting it after halftime, a chance to play some keep away and get back in the game. — Joe Rexrode

Well, the Titans may name their score and rack up some serious highlights. It’s 21-7 after a 17-yard Ryan Tannehill run, though the big moment was Derrick Henry stiff-arming Alex Myres, tossing him aside like a child. Henry has 12 carries for 70 yards. The only thing that can stop him today is the Titans getting so far ahead that Mike Vrabel sits him down. — Joe Rexrode

Titans 14, Lions 7, 1:22 1Q That was quick. First play after Detroit’s TD march, Ryan Tannehill uncorked a deep ball for Corey Davis, who’d run by his man, then shrugged off a tackle by his man after the catch, then juked his man to finish off the 75-yard touchdown. Tannehill is now 6 of 6 for 126 yards and a TD. That’ll do. And Corey Davis, by the way, is going to get very paid. — Kyle Tucker

Adoree’ Jackson did debut, but it didn’t matter. The Lions marched right down the field to tie the game, Matthew Stafford hitting Marvin Jones for a 2-yard touchdown. Stafford’s ability to play in this game makes it dangerous for the Titans. They provided very little resistance. — Joe Rexrode

Titans 7, Lions 0, 8:40 1Q Can’t do it much better than that on an opening drive. For Detroit, it was death by a thousand paper cuts. Tennessee was methodical: 12 plays, 75 yards, 7 runs, 5 passes. Ryan Tannehill 5 of 5, throwing darts, while Derrick Henry had seven carries, a catch and 3-yard TD rumble. This is what you’re supposed to do against average-to-bad teams as a contender. — Kyle Tucker

Dez Bryant gets first TD; Ravens win big

Lamar Jackson hits TE Mark Andrews for a 3-yard TD pass and that might be the last we see of Jackson today, at least it should be. Ravens lead 40-7 with just under 10 minutes to play. Sam Koch hasn’t punted yet today. — Jeff Zrebiec

Lamar Jackson waltzes in from 5 yards out and Ravens lead 33-7 with 4:35 left in third quarter. A defensive stop here and it might not be long before undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley takes his first NFL snap. — Jeff Zrebiec

Justin Tucker misses from 57 yards at the gun. Ravens go into halftime leading 26-0. They’ve out-gained the Jaguars 224-61. Jaguars are averaging 2.1 yards per play and Gardner Minshew has been sacked 4 times. — Jeff Zrebiec

Lamar Jackson hits Dez Bryant for an 11-yard TD. Bryant keeps the ball and gets a long. hug from Harbaugh as he gets to the sideline. That’s Bryant’s first TD since Dec. 10, 2017 in Cowboys’ 30-10 victory over Giants. Ravens now lead 26-0 over Jaguars late in second quarter. — Jeff Zrebiec

More scoring for Ravens and it was way too easy for rookie RB J.K. Dobbins. He runs it in untouched from two yards out for a TD. Jags were confused by pre-snap motion. Ravens up 16-0 with 14:14 left in 2nd quarter. So far, they are doing what a quality team should do to an overmatched squad playing out the string. — Jeff Zrebiec

Ravens all over a 1-win Jaguars team early. Miles Boykin goes up high to pull in a 4-yard TD pass from Lamar Jackson. Ravens up early on the Jaguars, 9-0, at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter. — Jeff Zrebiec

Colts force fumble, finish off Texans

The Texans’ two losses to the Colts, both ending on fumbles, show how luck has evened out for Houston this season.

RECORD WHEN TRAILING AT HALFTIME: 2019: 4-5 | 2020: 0-9

RECORD IN ONE-SCORE GAMES: 2019: 7-3 | 2020: 2-6

RECORD IN GAMES DECIDED BY 3 POINTS OR LESS: 2019: 5-1 |  2020: 1-1

—Aaron Reiss 

Unreal. For the second time in three weeks, the Colts’ defense forces a Houston fumble with the game on the line. This time, it’s Darius Leonard who punches it free from Texans WR Keke Coutee. Final: Colts 27, Texans 20. The Colts are 10-4. — Zak Keefer

When you need to beat the Texans, you throw it to T.Y. Hilton. The Colts’ star receiver hauls in a 41-yard pass to set his team up at the Houston 3-yard-line with 2:00 to go in a 20-20 game. — Zak Keefer

What a disastrous sequence that was. – Indy wins a challenge, making in third-and-inches instead of first-and-goal. – Texans called for a false start on the next play. – Colts hold on third down, forcing Houston to settle for FG. Indy up 17-13. — Aaron Reiss

Deshaun Watson was sacked 4 times, fumbled once, and the Colts are averaging 7.3 yards/play … yet the Texans are only down 14-10 at halftime. The reason? Watson is 15/21 for 199 yards (9.5 YPA) and 1 TD — Aaron Reiss

After making 5 catches in 101 yards vs. the Colts in his first game up from the practice squad, Chad Hansen is having another big day vs. Indy. Two catches for 55 yards and a TD on that drive to make it 14-7 Indy. — Aaron Reiss

Have I mentioned the Texans are down to just two healthy corners? Philip Rivers is carving Houston up in the first half, just as he did last time. He’s tossed two touchdowns already, and the first quarter isn’t even over. — Aaron Reiss

Cowboys hold off 49ers

Today’s odd loss to Dallas, full of 49ers turnovers, just underlines the theme of the roster decisions going into the offseason. They have good players, many of them were hurt this year, and they absolutely need more competition in their QB room. Obviously, Nick Mullens isn’t good enough to compete with Jimmy Garoppolo. And CJ Beathard isn’t competition for Mullens. Just an overall lack of push. —Tim Kawakami

Two forced fumbles (Dorance Armstrong, DeMarcus Lawrence) in the first quarter have been the difference. The Cowboys turned each into touchdowns (Tony Pollad, Michael Gallup). But the 17-14 halftime lead won’t hold if the Cowboys can’t get anything going on the ground. So far, 10 carries for only 28 yards. RB Tony Pollard has made a larger impact in the passing game (5 catches, 51 yards). — Jon Machota

Nick Mullens is having a very Nick Mullens game through the first half today, filled with errors and also some offensive movement. Which further proves one clear thing about this 49ers’ late-season effort: Even with the weekly errors, Kyle Shanahan believes Mullens is better than C.J. Beathard. He’s had several chances to go to Beathard and … nope. It’s understandable. — Tim Kawakami

(Photo: Joe Scarnici / Getty Images)

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