There were some huge surprises in the NFL’s Week 12 games.
Some players shocked us with stellar personal performances while others churned out rather disturbing outings that would have been better off swept under the rug and forgotten.
Therefore, here is a look at some select players who either made us smile or want to cover our eyes in Week 12.
Matthew Stafford returns to prime form
After all of the bashing Stafford has been endured this season due to several underwhelming performances, the quarterback finally made heads turn in an outstanding Thanksgiving Day performance against the Philadelphia Eagles.
In a clean, five-touchdown game, Stafford completed 71.05 percent of his passes for 337 yards and achieved a 137.8 quarterback rating. There was no stopping the gunslinging quarterback who we all hoped would show up sometime this season.
Helping lead the Lions to a 45-14 massacre against a terribly porous Eagles defense, Stafford connected with his trusty veteran receiver Calvin Johnson for three touchdowns, and with Golden Tate and Theo Riddick for his other two scores.
This victory for the Lions marks its third in a row since the firing of the team’s former president and general manager. And, speaking on Stafford’s magnificent output, head coach Jim Caldwell shared this, via ESPN.
“Our quarterback is comfortable in this offense. And when that happens, it gives you opportunities for your playmakers to do things.”
After Stafford’s stunning performance and the Lions current win streak, the team is finally evolving back into one worth watching again.
Todd Gurley’s scoring streak is no more
After scoring on the ground for his last five games in a row, Gurley surprisingly broke his touchdown streak in a blowout loss against the Cincinnati Bengals, (31-7).
Even more concerning is Gurley’s overall decline in production over the past few weeks. Long-gone are his four back-to-back games when he rushed for at least 128 yards per campaign during Weeks 4-8.
In Sunday’s road loss, Gurley carried the ball only nine times for 19 yards, managed a sluggish pace of 2.11 yards per attempt. Unfortunately tied to Gurley’s lack of success in Week 12 was Nick Foles’ horrendous quarterback play. With Foles constantly turning the ball over (three times to be exact on Sunday), he did not exactly provide a stable foundation for St. Louis to gain momentum in its run game.
Perhaps Gurley will rediscover his mojo in Week 13 in another matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who
Markus Wheaton steals Antonio Brown’s thunder
In a high-scoring shootout loss (39-30) to the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton turned heads with a jaw-dropping performance.
With Seahawks’ cornerback Richard Sherman blanketing Antonio Brown nearly all game long, Ben Roethlisberger targeted Wheaton 13 times, which resulted in nine catches for a massive 201 yards and one touchdown.
Why the Seahawks let Wheaton get away with this kind of yardage and didn’t switch to double-covering the third-year speedster remains the burning question of that game. Nevertheless, Wheaton enjoyed a monster, career-high day while nobody benefited from his fantasy points.
Congrats to the 0% of CBS Fantasy owners who started Markus Wheaton! pic.twitter.com/53bSdE1TNa
— Fantasy Football Today (@FFToday) November 30, 2015
Richard Sherman finally manages first interception
Speaking of the Seahawks/Steelers thriller of a game, cornerback Richard Sherman finally registered his first interception of the season.
To say things have been a little quiet for this Legion of Boom family member so far this season would be an understatement. Sherman’s first pick came when Ben Roethlisberger attempted a pass to Antonio Brown in the fourth quarter. After catching the ball, Sherman returned it for 26 yards until Brown tackled him down.
Sherman’s one interception pales in comparison to the eight he recorded in each of his 2012 and 2013 seasons. And, after dropping off in production last year to four interceptions, Sherman is on pace to finish this season with just 1.45 picks.
Aaron Rodgers embarrasses himself in mic’d up prime time performance
In a surprising home loss to the Chicago Bears (17-13) on Thanksgiving evening, Rodgers put up what was his second-worst performance of the season when he was mic’d up for sound for all the world to hear his murmurings.
In what was the most embarrassing moment of the evening, Rodgers let an “F-bomb” slip when he scrambled to recover a high snap that got away in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the botched snap was just one of the multitude of things that went south for the Packers on Thursday evening.
Rodgers struggled all game long to connect with his receivers, completing only 22-of-43 passes for 202 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The discord with his receivers, and in particular with Devonte Adams, was painfully obvious while the team tried string together its plays and maintain drives.
If moms were “horrified” by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s dancing a couple of games back, we can only imagine what type of hate mail will be filling Rodgers’ mailbox this week after his publicized “F-bomb” slip that is all over social media.
Who is Seth Roberts?
Undrafted Oakland Raiders wide receiver Seth Roberts, who spent all last season on the team’s practice squad, shined bright in Sunday’s narrow win (24-21) against the Tennessee Titans.
Flying mostly under the radar all season, Roberts was targeted by quarterback Derek Carr seven times, resulting in a career-high six catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
And, even better was that all of Roberts’ action was witnessed live in front of the 18 family and friends who came to Nissan Stadium to watch him in person.
“I had a vision, yes…I really did,” said Roberts, via raiders.com. “I just had a vision and wanted to ball on Sundays with the fellas, man. I wanted to see how it feels.”
“It’s an awesome feeling, just to have my family watching in the stands. It was a pretty great feeling and I just want to thank the guys for believing in me.”
After a stunning performance that saw Roberts snag a game-winning touchdown with only 1:27 left on the clock, we can be sure this is just the first of many eye-catching performances that the young slot receiver is on course to reward in his budding career.
Brock Osweiler erases Patriots’ undefeated season
The Sunday Night Football matchup between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots was certainly a nail-biter, which saw the game go into overtime with an eventual Broncos’ victory, 30-24.
What makes this game stand out even more is that Broncos’ second-string quarterback Brock Osweiler helped lead the team to knock the Patriots down from their undefeated status. Shaping up to be a promising future face of the franchise, Osweiler performed extremely well in the below-freezing conditions and snow that fell throughout the entire game.
Speaking about his first home-game starting experience and the nasty weather Mother Nature delivered, Osweiler said that it reminded him of being a kid and playing football in the snow when balls would be lost in the snowbanks, via ESPN.com.
“Fortunately, when you play in the NFL, there are guys on the sideline that dust off all the snow. But, yeah, it was fun.”
Obviously Osweiler’s fun was very one-sided if you ask the Patriots how their evening went. In the end, he should be commended for a tremendous overtime possession that led to a C.J. Anderson 48-yard game-winning touchdown versus Tom Brady’s three-and-out overtime attempt.
Von Miller gets personal with Tom Brady
After five seasons in the NFL, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller should know better than to go for a late hit on a quarterback who is already down.
So in somewhat of a surprising and boneheaded move, Miller tackled New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady when he was already down on the ground. It was clearly a premeditated decision to inflict a personal foul which drew a penalty.
Perhaps Miller, who had a quite successful performance overall that consisted of three tackles and one sack, figured he would get even with Brady who posted this picture (on the left) to his Facebook account prior to the game.
— Stadium (@Stadium) November 30, 2015
In the end, Miller ended up with the last laugh when the team dealt the Patriots its first loss of the season.