What We Saw: Week 15

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season.

Buccaneers @ Falcons


Tell me if you’ve heard this one before – Tom Brady trails against the Falcons and leads a comeback for the victory. The Bucs trailed 17-0 at the half but scored on their next 5 possessions to win 31-27. For Atlanta, Calvin Ridley had a monster game on his 26th birthday. Let’s dive in and see what we can take away from this game.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers




Tom Brady: 31/45, 390 yards, 2 TDs, 3 sacks | 2 carries, -2 yards


Tom Brady had himself a tail of two halves against the Falcons. After the 1st Half the Bucs offense had piled up a measly 61 yards and four consecutive drives that ended with punts. Even when Brady was able to string together a couple of plays, the Falcons’ defense would come up with a sack to end the threat.

Brady must’ve had one of his patented TB12 Avacado Shakes at half time because he came out playing like the Brady of 2007. The Bucs received the 2nd half kickoff and put up 31 points over their next 5 drives. It started with a 20-yard completion to Antonio Brown before connecting with Cameron Brate. Three plays later, Brady hooked up with Mike Evans for 32-yards down to the 1-yard line. Evans was shaken up on the hit but would return. Fournette took it in for the score on the next play.

The Bucs got the ball following a Falcons’ touchdown and went right back to work. On 3rd and 5, Brady hit Evans on a 26-yard catch and run. The next play Brady found Fournette for a 16-yard catch. Two plays later, Brady connected with Evans again for 24 yards down to the 4.



Two plays later, Brady hit Chris Godwin and the Bucs were back in the end zone.



The Falcons went 3-and-out and the Bucs took over and started rolling again. This time, a pass interference penalty combined with a face mask penalty moved the Bucs 28 yards and into the red zone. Brady connected with Fournette and Brown to get the ball back down to the 1-yard line. Fournette finished off the drive with another 1-yard touchdown plunge, making it a 24-21 game.

A Falcons 3-and-out together with a 21-yard Kenjon Barner punt return gave the Bucs the ball at midfield to start the next possession. On 3rd and 5, Brady connected with Evans for 11 yards and a new set of downs. He then hit Godwin and Brown to head into the red zone. The drive stalled at the 9-yard line and the Bucs settled for a field goal that tied the game.

Following a Falcons’ field goal, Brady took over down 3. Brady connected with Brate over the middle for 18 yards and Godwin for 13 yards to head into Falcons’ territory. On the very next play, Brady hooked up with Antonio Brown deep to give the Bucs their first lead of the game.



The teams exchanged punts and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs. The Bucs ran the clock out for the victory. We’ll get to the 4th quarter drama next when we talk about Fournette.


Running Backs


Leonard Fournette: 14 carries, 49 yards, 2 TDs | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards

Ke’Shawn Vaughn: 2 carries, 4 yards | 1 target

LeSean McCoy: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards


Out of 68 offensive snaps, Leonard Fournette led the way playing on 45 snaps. LeSean McCoy (12) and Ke’Shawn Vaughn (10) split backup duties and Kenjon Barner saw one snap.

With Ronald Jones hitting the COVID list earlier in the week, Fournette was the lead back. There was a little chatter about Vaughn stepping in more, but seeing as he received just 3 opportunities, this was the Fournette show.

Fournette certainly didn’t light the world on fire, as he had just 3 carries of 6 yards or more, but handled the ball 6 times in the red zone, scoring twice from the 1-yard line. Here’s the first touchdown.



Alright, here’s the little drama at the end. After the Falcons turned the ball over on downs, the Bucs took over with 2 minutes to play. On 3rd and 2, Fournette took a handoff and appeared to be short of the 1st down. Here’s the chain, which they called a 1st down.



And here’s a view of the ref moving the ball up some. Listen, most likely, the Bucs would’ve kicked a short field goal and the game would’ve been over, but the Falcons didn’t even have a chance.




Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Mike Evans: 7 targets, 6 receptions, 110 yards

Antonio Brown: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 93 yards, TD

Cameron Brate: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 54 yards

Chris Godwin: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 36 yards, TD, 1 fumble

Rob Gronkowski: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

Scotty Miller: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards

Tyler Johnson: 1 target


Mike Evans is the man. He left the game in the 3rd quarter on the Bucs’ first touchdown drive after taking a big hit but returned to the game. There was also footage of him on the sideline throwing up. In spite of that, Evans played on 55 of the teams’ snaps. Evans caught 2 deep balls that went down to the 1 and 4-yard lines and only finding the end zone would’ve made it a better day.

As the weeks move on, Antonio Brown’s chemistry with Brady grows and each week, I’m reminded of the play-maker that he is. Brown played on 32 of 68 snaps and in addition to his huge touchdown reception, he had a reception that took him down to the 1-yard line.

Chris Godwin led the Bucs wideouts with 60 snaps but has taken a back seat to Evans and Brown. All Godwin’s targets were short and he saw just one target in the red zone – his touchdown.

Cameron Brate was out-snapped by Rob Gronkowski 62 to 23, but Brate continues to be a target for Brady in the middle of the field and in the red zone. Today, Brate saw no targets in the red zone but did see a deep target that he caught. Gronkowski saw just short targets today but did have three red-zone targets. One of his red-zone targets came on a 1st and Goal from the 1 and resulted in a pass interference penalty.


Atlanta Falcons




Matt Ryan: 34/49, 356 yards, 3 TDs, 3 sacks | 1 carry, 16 yards


Matt Ryan started the game off with a great drive. On 3rd and 9, he completed a pass to Todd Gurley for a 1st down. Two plays later, on 3rd and 1, he hit Calvin Ridley on a catch and run that went for 23 yards. He then hit Russell Gage on a deep pass for 32-yards that went down to the 5-yard line. Gage was rewarded on the very next play.




On the next drive, Ryan had a nice 16-yard run on 3rd and 6. Ultimately, the drive stalled and the Falcons punted. They also went 3-and-out on the next drive, but following the third Bucs’ punt, the Falcons took back over with points on their mind. One of the key plays came on 4th and 2 from the Falcons’ 46-yard line as Ryan connected with Gage for a 1st down. Three plays later, Ryan connected with Ridley for the touchdown.



Following another Bucs punt, Ryan led a 13 play, 75-yard drive that ended with a field goal. On the drive, he completed key 3rd down passes to Ridley and Gage. The Falcons’ had to be happy to head to the locker room with a 17 point lead.

The Bucs scored to open the half, so the next time Ryan touched the ball the Falcons led by 10. He picked up where he left off, completing a deep pass to Ridley for 28 yards. He then hit Gage and Ito Smith to lead the Falcons into the red zone. On 1st and Goal from the 7, Ryan hit Hayden Hurst for the touchdown.




The Falcons went 3-and-out twice, while the Bucs scored twice to make it a tie game. On the drive, Ryan connected with Ridley deep again for a 33 yard gain into Bucs territory. Two plays later, Ryan took a shot to the end zone for Ridley, but Antoine Winfield was just barely able to knock the pass away. The Falcons settled for a field goal.



Down 4, the Falcons went 3-and-out and then 4-and-out to lose the game.


Running Backs


Ito Smith: 6 carries, 24 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards

Todd Gurley: 1 carry, -1 yard | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards

Brian Hill: 5 carries, -2 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards

Keith Smith: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards


What a mess. Here’s the breakdown of the snaps: Ito Smith 31, Todd Gurley 16, Brian Hill 15. Honestly, there’s nothing to see here. Gurley’s lone carry came on the 1st play of the game, but Smith was the primary early-down back for the majority of the game. There were no red zone opportunities for any of the backs, so we’re just going to move on.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Calvin Ridley: 14 targets, 10 receptions, 163 yards, TD | 2 carries, 13 yards

Russell Gage: 10 targets, 5 receptions, 68 yards, TD

Hayden Hurst: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 21 yards, TD

Luke Stocker: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 21 yards

Laquon Treadwell: 1 target, 1 reception, 14 yards

Brandon Powell: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 5 yards

Christian Blake: 1 target, 1 reception, -1 yard


Happy Birthday, Calvin Ridley! The birthday boy had himself a day. He played on 58 snaps and saw a 28.5% target share. Ridley saw 5 deep targets and just 1 red zone target, although he did have an additional target in the end zone on a deep target. As long as Julio Jones is sidelined, Ridley should continue to see a monster workload. Here are some of the highlights from Ridley’s special day.





Russell Gage played 59 snaps and saw a big workload with Jones sidelined. He saw two deep targets and two red-zone targets. As long as Jones is on the shelf, Gage sets up as a high-floor play in PPR leagues.

Hayden Hurst played on 43 snaps. He saw one red-zone target which he caught for a touchdown.


— Rich Holman (@RichardoPL83 on Twitter)

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