What We Saw: Week 14

The What We Saw team recaps all of the noteworthy action from Week 14

Raiders @ Rams

Final Score: Rams 17, Raiders 16

Senior Writer: Benjamin Haller (@benjaminhaller1 on Twitter)


In what could only be described as a playoff-chasing roster going up against a pre-season roster, an emerging Las Vegas Raiders team made it difficult for themselves against a hotchpotch Los Angeles Rams set of stand-ins in a miserable watch for the neutral on Thursday Night Football. Derek Carr has catapulted his side into contention in the AFC just a month after standing at a podium crying after a horrible loss to the Colts. Much of that has been thanks to his connection with Davante Adams. The Rams are a long way from the Super Bowl win with Matthew Stafford under center with Sean McVay down to waiver-wire pickup Baker Mayfield as his starter – the outcast Browns and Panthers quarterback arrived in L.A. to take part in just one training session. It was a mismatch on paper but the game stayed close for far too long.

The first half was a stop-start affair as both teams suffered with miscues and penalties after an impressive opening 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive from the Raiders. Adams made a sensational one-hand catch to get his team going early on.


Who else but Josh Jacobs running the ball in from inside the 5-yard line.


It was a quick three-and-out for John Wolford and on the next drive Mayfield took over for the rest of the game. His first pass found Van Jefferson for a nice gain. In fact his first three completions were for 20+ yards as he looked to provide a spark for this stuttering Rams offense.


However, as the game settled down the two teams could only exchange field goals at best as generally poor football on both sides of the ball took over the game. After the first five drives, we had to watch four punts, an interception, a lost fumble, and a missed field goal prior to the half ending. The Raiders held a slim 10-3 lead.

The second half was undoubtedly the worst half I have watched in some time – four straight punts was followed by yet another missed field goal. The Raiders stretched out their lead after Carr once again could not connect with Adams on third down and so Josh McDaniels settled for another field goal. McDaniels was horrendous with play-calling all game, a significant factor why this Las Vegas team could not pull over the line.

Cue, the unlikely comeback. Mayfield led a promising if not tedious nine-minute, 17-play, 75-yard drive for a touchdown that was aided by a couple of terrible offsides from the Raiders on a punt-attempt and a third-and-short. Out-of-favor running back Cam Akers driving the ball in after Mayfield converted on fourth down to his running back on the previous play.


And, after forcing an immediate three-and-out in which Bobby Wagner showed his class by stuffing Josh Jacobs at the line on 3rd & 1, Mayfield connected with Ben Skowronek down the sideline to setup a thrilling finish with less than a minute on the clock.


What a finish it was – the former number one overall pick conjuring some magic that showed why he was taken that high in the draft. Mayfield unleashed a perfect spiral to Van Jefferson in stride for the game-winning score. Holy horses!


Las Vegas Raiders




Derek Carr: 11/20, 137 Yards, 2 INT | 4 Carries, 11 Yards


Oh dear! A complete and total failure from Derek Carr and Josh McDaniels contributed to the Raiders’ worst loss of the season. It all looked so good after the opening drive but after that point Carr failed to hit his receivers at all levels and the run game was monotonous and predictable. Carr coughed up a fantasy disaster when his managers needed him the most, completing a season-low 11 passes and throwing two interceptions, the last one to end the game.

The first pick, which will compete for one of the worst red zone interceptions you will ever see, came at a time when the Raiders were looking to extend their lead at the end of the first half. The mistake sapped Carr’s confidence and the rest of the way was a simply horrific showing.


If you were sick of Carr’s unpredictability before this display he will most likely have put you off him for evermore with this dud in the final week of the fantasy regular season. Don’t trust him in your playoffs!


Running Back


Josh Jacobs: 27 Carries, 99 Yards, 1 TD | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 15 Yards

Zamir White: 3 Carries, 9 Yards

Ameer Abdullah: 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 17 Yards

Jakob Johnson: 1 Target, 1 Receptions, 1 Yard


Despite being contained for much of this game, with the Rams run defense limiting Josh Jacobs to a measly 3.6 yards per carry, fantasy managers were pleased early on by the soon-to-be free agent back ploughing in for an early score. However, that was as good as it got for the Raiders, who failed to convert in the red zone on three further trips.

Jacobs was his usual heavy workload but this was tempered by the offense failing to move the chains on third down and penalties taking away gains in the run game. Still, this was a solid fantasy day for Jacobs who narrowly missed his fourth consecutive 100+ yard rushing week.

It is worth noting that images of Jacobs’ hand after a drive in the second half were not promising. He left for x-rays on his pinky finger (which was confirmed to be broken post-game) before returning for the doomed fourth quarter. Jacobs was stuffed a couple of times trying to move the sticks and his longest run of the day, for 15 yards came on a draw play in the fourth quarter.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Davante Adams: 7 Targets, 3 Receptions, 71 Yards

Mack Hollins: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 22 Yards | 3 Carries, 40 Yards

Keelan Cole: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 1 Yard

Foster Moreau: 1 Target

DJ Turner: 1 Target | 1 Carry, 6 Yards


After hauling in an incredible one-handed catch for 32 yards on the opening drive of the game, Davante Adams criminally only caught two more balls the rest of the way as Carr’s struggles through the air hampered this receiving corps. Adams’ second catch was a basket grab late in the second quarter on third down to setup the Raiders for a chance to extend the lead. This 35-yard gain would be all-for-nothing after Carr’s terrible red zone interception.


It was a hugely disappointing night for Adams, who suffered from his quarterback’s lack of accuracy and bravery. He also fell foul of the game script as the Raiders held a sizeable but not unsurmountable lead for much of the second half. Adams was up against Jalen Ramsay but smoked him twice before being slowly ignored by Carr and McDaniels.

The rest of this receiving corps was toothless for much of the night aside from Mack Hollins who made a couple of nice plays and looked sharp and quick when given time to catch-and-run. He still has some merit as a flex play.


Los Angeles Rams




Baker Mayfield: 22/35, 230 Yards, 1 TD, 4 Sacks | 4 Carries, 10 Yards


Maybe not knowing the playbook is the best thing for Baker Mayfield? In one of the most surprising developments of the season, the former number one overall pick came from obscurity to light up this dismal Thursday night contest that on Monday was not even remotely on his radar. Mayfield seemed both focus and relaxed, attentive on the sidelines when chatting with Sean McVay and determined when trying to execute the offense with minimal knowledge and chemistry with his receivers.

It was impressive. I will sat that much. A perfect collaboration between opportunity and pragmatism. For much of this Baker tried to simply read the field on play action and pick the first, best options. And for much of the game it didn’t really work. But in the final few minutes something clicked and the confidence came flowing back.


Still, it was nowhere near accomplished. But when you manufacture two touchdown drives in the final three minutes to earn your team an unlikely come-from-behind win, you deserve some credit. Take that doubters! Baker’s a Ram now!


Running Back


Cam Akers: 12 Carries, 42 Yards, 1 TD, 1 Fumble (Lost) | 1 Target, 1 Reception, 1 Yard

Kyren Williams: 3 Carries, 19 Yards | 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 10 Yards

Malcolm Brown: 1 Carry, 5 Yards | 2 Targets, 2 Receptions, 12 Yards


It was a strange night for Cam Akers, who shrugged off a costly fumble in the red zone for which he spent time on the bench to bounce back and play a pivotal role in the Rams’ late comeback. The second quarter fumble dug the Rams depper into a hole and his coach was clearly annoyed by it when questioned at half time. Chandler Jones making a great play.


Still, Akers has returned to relevancy in the offense (mainly out of necessity) and now has 29 carries and three scores in two games, his best stretch of the season by a long way. What is encouraging is that Akers seemed to be enjoying himself out there, with a visible smile on his face after his touchdown score and at the end with the Rams completing the comeback.

He still has a long way to go to revive his fantasy reputation. The good thing for him is that both Malcolm Brown and Kyren Williams looked decidedly slower.


Wide Receiver/Tight End


Ben Skowronek: 8 Targets, 7 Receptions, 89 Yards

Tutu Atwell: 9 Targets, 5 Receptions, 50 Yards | 2 Carries, -5 Yards

Van Jefferson: 4 Targets, 2 Receptions, 44 Yards, 1 TD

Tyler Higbee: 3 Targets, 2 Receptions, 11 Yards

Brycen Hopkins: 1 Target, 1 Reception, 8 Yards

Austin Trammel: 2 Targets, 1 Reception, 5 Yards,

Brandon Powell: 1 Target


Cometh the hour, cometh…er, Ben Skowronek! The wideout is clearly limited in his skillset but going up for contested balls is one of his strengths and this was a deciding factor in the Rams’ win. Leading the team in catches and yards, Skowronek saw his highest target count of the season and made plays when the Rams needed them the most. Grabs of 32 yards and 8 yards on the final game-winning drive got the juices pumping for the neutral. A career game for the unheralded wideout.


It has been the lone bright spit in a dreadful Rams season watching Tutu Atwell finally emerge as a playmaker in the league. The diminutive receiver was all over the formation in this game, keeping busy and finding ways to make plays. His ability to get out to the edge in space and make defenses commit was a particular strength in this game.


Atwell also saw three opportunities in the red zone and that is an encouraging sign for the former first-round pick. His nine targets nearly doubled his previous season high of five, which came just last week against the Seahawks. Look for him to more involved both as a pass-catcher and a rusher out of the backfield. Promising!

After a quiet night with a new quarterback under center, Van Jefferson waited until the final curtain call to make his splash. Jefferson ran a perfect route against the rookie Raiders corner before keeping his concentration and hauling in a pinpoint throw from Mayfield to seal the Rams win. Despite possessing WR2 talent, Jefferson has failed to catch more than three passes in his last five games. He does has three touchdowns in that span, however and the hope is he continues to kick on in the absence of the Rams’ more established receivers.

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