What We Saw: Week 16

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 16 of the 2020 NFL season.

Colts @ Steelers


This was quite the game, as the Colts jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the 3rd quarter and looked like they were on their way to handing Pittsburgh its fourth straight loss. The Steelers deserve some credit though, as they didn’t give up and fought back to score three straight TDs in the 2nd half to win the game 28-24. The Steelers clinched an AFC North title with the win, their 24th division title since 1970 — the most by any team in that span.


Indianapolis Colts




Philip Rivers: 22/35, 270 yards, TD, INT, 5 sacks, fumble lost

Jacoby Brissett: 1 carry, 1 yard


The Colts have had a lot of success in recent weeks by running the ball effectively and limiting turnovers, especially by Philip Rivers. That was their road to victory in Week 16 as well, but a strip-sack in the 2nd quarter directly led to a Pittsburgh touchdown that ended up being the difference maker in this game.



Later in the game, after Pittsburgh scored their third straight TD to take the lead, Rivers threw a deep ball to Michael Pittman Jr. that was intercepted. It was a devastating blow to a Colts’ offense that has looked so good in their last three games, only to fall apart in the 2nd half of Sunday’s game.

The throw he made to Zach Pascal for the touchdown was absolutely perfect, and Rivers actually wasn’t afraid of throwing deep on the Pittsburgh defense for most of the game. Check out the shot Rivers took as he stepped up to deliver the beautiful pass:



The game ultimately ended on a 4th and 7 play in Pittsburgh territory where Rivers was pressured into throwing the ball a bit earlier than he wanted to. The ball sailed on him, and while Pascal was wide open for the conversion, it was just too high for him to come up with the catch. It was a tough ending for the Colts, as they probably should have won this game, but now they need a win and help next week in order to get into the playoffs.



Running Backs


Jonathan Taylor: 18 carries, 74 yards, 2 TD | 1 target

Nyheim Hines: 8 carries, 44 yards | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 20 yards


Thunder and Lightning once again struck this backfield, as Jonathan Taylor ground-and-pounded his way to two touchdowns, while Nyheim Hines once again flashed as a change of pace back. The dynamic duo have played wonderful complimentary football in recent weeks, and the Colts’ offensive play callers have done a fantastic job using both backs and bringing out the best of them. For fantasy purposes, Taylor has been the guy to play for fantasy purposes, but he wouldn’t be elevating to these heights if it weren’t for Hines setting him up to succeed after big plays. Hines had a really nice 11 yard scamper just a few plays before Taylor’s 1st touchdown.



Taylor then fought his way for another TD in the 2nd quarter.



Hines had another big play, a 68 yard catch and run that was called back by an illegal block in the back penalty. It would have set Indy up for another score right before the end of the 1st half. It was a weak call that probably shouldn’t have been penalized, but it ended up being crucial as it likely took points off the board.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


T.Y. Hilton: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 60 yards

Zach Pascal: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 64 yards, TD

Jack Doyle: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 50 yards

Michael Pittman Jr.: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 38 yards

Trey Burton: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 18 yards

Mo Allie-Cox: 1 target, 1 reception, 20 yards


There isn’t much to say here. T.Y. Hilton led the team in targets and had a really nice 21 yard catch and run down the sideline on their last drive of the game, but he once again came up short for fantasy purposes.

Zach Pascal scored his third touchdown in his last two games on a dime from Philip Rivers, but he didn’t make much of an impact otherwise. Michael Pittman Jr. could have had a much bigger game, but two overthrows on deep balls by Rivers led to an incompletion and an interception. And once again, Indy’s three tight ends were each productive but uninspiring, and if the three were combined into one player it would have been a TE1 day. An injury or two is the only thing keeping one of them from being a fantasy stud.


Pittsburgh Steelers




Ben Roethlisberger: 34/49, 342 yards, 3 TD, 1 sack | 2 carries, -2 yards


This game started out poorly from the get-go, as Steelers’ receivers were unable to haul in three very catchable passes on their first three plays. They weren’t perfect throws from Ben Roethlisberger, so they likely won’t all go down as drops, but it was not a good way to begin the game for the reeling Steelers’ offense. Big Ben was visibly frustrated early on as the offense simply couldn’t move the ball and his receivers couldn’t hold onto passes thrown their way.

Roethlisberger avoided turnovers in this one, but he was nearly picked off in the 2nd quarter on a pass that was thrown into triple coverage. The defender simply dropped it and Ben was bailed out.

With just over three minutes left in the 3rd quarter, Roethlisberger threw a dime to a leaping Diontae Johnson to get the Steelers within 10 points. They absolutely needed to score on the drive, and Ben wasted no time in getting them in the end zone.



Ben looked much better in the 2nd half of this one as he dinked and dunked, especially to James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster late. He led a comeback that was critical to reestablishing confidence in this offense, as they scored touchdowns on three straight possessions to ultimately win the game. Playoff seeding and momentum could be critical for this team, so expect Ben to come out slinging once again in their Week 17 matchup against the desperate Browns.


Running Backs


James Conner: 5 carries, 20 yards, TD | 5 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards

Benny Snell Jr.: 6 carries, 0 yards


The Steelers’ ground game went absolutely nowhere on Sunday, and Benny Snell Jr. was especially brutal, but James Conner found the end zone on the ground and finally received some passing down work where he actually looked really good. After Indy was gashed by David Johnson through the air in Week 15, the Steelers copied that blueprint in the 2nd half to finally get the offense moving. It was a long time coming and it worked out well, so hopefully we’ll see more Conner in the receiving game next week and in the playoffs.




Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


JuJu Smith-Schuster: 13 targets, 9 receptions, 96 yards, TD

Diontae Johnson: 14 targets, 8 receptions, 75 yards, TD

Chase Claypool: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 54 yards

Eric Ebron: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 47 yards, TD

James Washington: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards

Vance McDonald: 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards


Once again, Diontae Johnson led the team in targets but it was JuJu Smith-Schuster who was relied upon at the end of the game when the Steelers needed to keep the ball moving and chew some clock. With their running game nonexistent, Juju caught four straight short passes for just over 20 yards on their second to last possession of the game. It resulted in a quick 6.1 PPR point boost that turned his decent fantasy output into a stellar game, and showed that he may be Big Ben’s most trusted receiver moving forward. It was also nice to see that someone could be relied upon in this passing game, as it looked bleak earlier in the day.

Down 24-7 midway through the third quarter, the Steelers had 1st and goal at the Colts’ one yard line after Chase Claypool and Eric Ebron helped to get them in scoring position. Benny Snell Jr. was stuffed on 1st down, then a defender made a good play to knock away a touchdown that would have been caught by Eric Ebron. On third down, Claypool was unable to hold onto a Roethlisberger pass on a slant route, where his momentum would have carried him into the end zone for a touchdown. On fourth and goal, a pass to James Washington was broken up by a defender and the Steelers’ offense came away empty. The sequence of plays was a microcosm of the Steelers’ recent offensive woes, as they had plenty of good chances but simply were unable to come up with a play to score some points and get themselves back into the game.

That turned around on Diontae Johnson’s TD in the third quarter, and scores to both Ebron and Smith-Schuster followed on the next two drives. It gave the Steelers their first lead in their last 10 quarters of play, and it’s a lead their defense was able to hold.





Diontae Johnson did come up limping out of bounds on a punt return in the 4th quarter. He was targeted on their 1st play of the next drive, but was interfered with and the defender hit him in the ankle area. He got up gingerly. He did end up coming back into the game, but for a guy who has dealt with injuries for a majority of the season, Pittsburgh may take it slowly with him in a Week 17 game that isn’t super important.


— Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23 on Twitter, iamatechnician on Reddit)

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