DJ Hayden played through illness and helped the Lions beat Green Bay 35-11 to end the season. Hayden made 3 tackles and was credited with a pass defensed in the victory. For the second time in his career, Hayden played all 16 games making 35 tackles, 7 assists, .5 sack, 9 passes defensed, 2 fumble recoveries, and a TD. Hayden will be a free agent now and hopefully will find another situation that suits him after a pretty good year.
Joey Mbu was in on 11 snaps on defense and 5 snaps on special teams for the Colts during their 22-13 victory over the Texans. Joey wasn’t credited with a stat in the game, but the Colts defense held the Texans to just 209 yards on offense. On the year, Joey played in 7 games and made 2 tackles and 1 assist. Hopefully, Indianapolis will bring him into training camp and give him a shot next year.
Case Keenum continued to lead the formidable Vikings to victory as they beat the Bears 23-10 to wrap up the NFC 2nd seed and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. Case was 21-29 for 189 yards and a TD while rushing 3 times for 0 yards. This year, Case started 14 and played in 15 games which were career highs as well as setting career highs in completions (325), attempts (481), completion percentage (67.6%), yards (3547), TDs (22), and QBR (71.4 - 2nd in the NFL). He also set career highs in rushes (40) and rushing yards (160) while tying his career high with 1 rushing TD. Case also protected the ball as he only threw 7 interceptions compared to 11 the previous year. Case will be a free agent after the season, but first, he’ll try to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl…in Minnesota.
Elandon Roberts continued to make an impact as the Patriots beat the Jets 26-6 and wrapped up the top seed in the AFC again. Roberts made 2 tackles and shared a TFL with newly signed James Harrison. He did get banged up during the game, but was able to return before the end. Hopefully he can heal up during the bye week. On the year, Roberts started a career high 14 games and played in a career high 15. He also set career highs in tackles (44), and assists (23). He also racked up the first 2 sacks of his career, his first fumble recovery, and his first pass defense. He continues to be an integral part of the Patriots defense and we’ll see if he can lead them to a 2nd straight Super Bowl.
Derrick Mathews made his NFL debut in the Giants 18-10 victory over the Redskins. Mathews played 11 snaps on special teams and wasn’t credited with a stat. Big congrats to Mathews though for finally getting a shot and officially being on the field. Hopefully, New York will bring him into camp next year and he can land on a roster.
Wade Phillps was missing a number of guys as the Rams opted to rest players to get ready for the playoffs and lost to the 49ers 34-13 The Rams gave up 292 yards passing and 171 yards rushing while also allowing 4 touchdowns by the 49ers offense. On the year, the Rams were ranked 14th in yards allowed per game (339.6) and 21st in points allowed per game (20.6). Even with the loss, the Rams ended up as the 3rd seed in the NFC and will play the Atlanta Falcons this week.
Cameron Malveaux ended the season on a high note in the Dolphins 22-16 loss to the Bills. Malveaux made 2 tackles and was credited with the first sack of his career while playing 38 total snaps (season high). On the season, Cam played in 4 games and made 4 tackles, 1 assist and 1 sack. Coaches and media have been impressed with Malveaux and are predicting a bigger role next year if he continues to develop.
Charles Sims continued his primary role as 3rd down back as the Bucs upset the Saints 31-24 to end the season. Sims carried 1 time for 6 yards and was targeted once, but wasn’t able to make the catch. On the year, Sims played in all 16 games for the 2nd time in his 4 year career, rushed 21 times for 95 yards, made 35 receptions on 47 targets for 249 yards and 1 TD, and made 2 kick returns for 32 yards. Sims will be a free agent in the offseason.
William Jackson III played every defensive snap in the Bengals shocking 31-27 upset that knocked the Ravens out of the playoffs. Jackson made one tackle and was credited with a pass defensed while playing through a knee injury. In his first full year, Jackson has already put himself in position as one of the top lockdown cornerbacks in the league. On the season, he played in 15 games, started 5, made 19 tackles, 6 assists, 13 pass defenses, 1 interception which he returned 75 yards for a TD. The future is bright for Jackson III.
Brandon Wilson played 24 snaps on special teams, a season high, in the Bengals 31-27 win over the Ravens. Wilson wasn’t credited with a stat in the game. On the season, Wilson played in 133 snaps, all on special teams, and made 4 tackles and 1 assist. It’ll be interesting to see how the Bengals use Wilson going forward as he has a ton of versatility.
Tyus Bowser was limited in the Ravens stunning 31-27 loss to the Bengals. For the 2nd week in a row, Bowser played the least amount of defensive snaps on the season as he only got in on one snap this week. He also was in on 22 special teams snaps, but didn’t record a stat. On the season, Bowser had 7 tackles, 2 assists, 3 sacks, 3 pass defenses, and one interception that he returned for 27 yards. Coaches still say good things about Bowser, but he seems to be stuck behind veterans right now in Baltimore. Hopefully, we’ll see a bigger role for him next year.