What We Saw: Week 17

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

Dolphins @ Bills

 

This was a bloodbath. Buffalo started slow but turned on the gas in the 2nd quarter and never looked back. Josh Allen threw for three TDs and Isaiah McKenzie had the game of his life, putting the game out of reach by halftime and clinching the two-seed in the AFC. Miami needed a win to clinch a playoff spot but ended up missing the playoffs after wins by Baltimore, Cleveland, and Indianapolis on Sunday. After this game, they honestly didn’t deserve to get in. Buffalo won the game 56-26.

 

Miami Dolphins

 

Quarterback

 

Tua Tagovailoa: 35/58, 361 yards, TD, 3 INT, sack | 6 carries, 28 yards

 

With Ryan Fitzpatrick out due to a positive COVID-19 test, the Dolphins’ playoff hopes came down to Tua Tagovailoa against one of the best teams in the NFL. It was tough test for the rookie QB, and he failed miserable. Yes, 361 passing yards is nice, but that is simply due to volume and garbage time late in the 2nd half.

Tua was 12/19 for 89 yards in the 1st half and looked like nothing more than an overhyped game manager. The Dolphins did nothing offensively and really struggled to move the ball. Near the end of the 1st half, already down 21-3, Tua short-hopped a pass to DeVante Parker on 3rd and goal and the Dolphins were forced to kick a field goal. Buffalo then went down and scored in four plays to effectively end the game right before the half, which meant the 2nd half would be all Tua.

That wasn’t a good thing for Miami. First, there was the Pick-6 by Josh Norman that wasn’t entirely Tua’s fault, but put the Dolphins in an even bigger hole.

 

 

Tua was nearly picked again on the next drive, but the defender dropped it. He was forced to take more risks in the 2nd half due to the large deficit but he simply wasn’t up to the task. Here’s Tua’s 2nd interception of the day on a ball that was overthrown and tipped by the receiver.

 

 

This ball should have been placed in front of the receiver, but it was just straight up a bad pass. I can’t find a GIF of Tua’s third interception, but it was easily 10-15 yards over the head of the intended receiver right into the safety’s hands. A terrible, terrible pass that probably shouldn’t have even been thrown.

He was lucky to get away with only three picks in this game, as he was consistently throwing the ball into tight windows and could have tallied up more turnovers. His only touchdown of the day was to Malcolm Perry with just over two minutes left in the game, which was nice for his stats but it was already too late for the Dolphins. There will be questions about Tua’s future heading into 2021, and he will need to make a significant jump in his sophomore season or else Miami may decide to move on.

 

Running Backs

 

Myles Gaskin: 7 carries, 20 yards, TD | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 57 yards

Salvon Ahmed: 6 carries, 29 yards, TD | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards

 

Miami got behind in the 2nd quarter so the game script wasn’t great for the running game. Myles Gaskin‘s TD was on the Dolphins’ 1st drive of 2nd half, but it almost didn’t come about. Miami failed on a third-down conversion in the red zone but got bailed out by a ticky-tack pass interference penalty. That led to this:

 

 

Gaskin was effective on the few screen plays he was involved on, and he was on the receiving end of a pass from Lynn Bowden Jr. on a trick play in the 2nd quarter that ended up going for 32 yards.

 

 

The rushing TD made up for the lack of volume on the ground, but it really wasn’t enough from a guy who has been so good all year.

Salvon Ahmed pretty much took over in the backfield late in the 2nd half and scored a touchdown of his own. He looked good this year in his limited work and he will likely be on fantasy radars once again in 2021.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

DeVante Parker: 14 targets, 7 receptions, 116 yards

Mike Gesicki: 10 targets, 5 receptions, 47 yards

Lynn Bowden Jr.: 12 targets, 8 receptions, 44 yards | 1 carry, -7 yards | 1/1, 32 yards

Isaiah Ford: 7 targets, 3 receptions, 37 yards

Malcolm Perry: 1 target, 1 reception, 25 yards, TD

Durham Smythe: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 23 yards

Adam Shaheen: 3 targets, 1 reception, 22 yards

Mack Hollins: 1 target, 1 reception, 3 yards, fumble lost

 

DeVante Parker made his return to the lineup in a must-win Week 17 matchup and he made an impact. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, that impact wasn’t felt until the 2nd half when the game was already over. Parker had only three targets in the 1st half, while Lynn Bowden Jr. led the team with seven. On the first drive of the 2nd half, however, Parker was targeted six times, including twice in the end zone. He caught four of those six, but unfortunately, the two he didn’t catch were both of his end zone targets. Ultimately his numbers were fantastic, and he’s shown that he can have success in this offense despite Tua’s ineffectiveness.

As Tua dumped it off early and often, he looked forย Bowden a lot. Bowden had 22 targets in Miami’s final three games this season, and it will be interesting to see where he fits into the offense next year if Preston Williams, Albert Wilson, and Jakeem Grant all return to Miami. It’s also clear that Mike Gesicki has a place in this offense but he may not quite be a fit for the offense Miami will run for Tua. Gesicki is great at running down the seam and catching passes while opening up the middle of the field for other guys, but Tua doesn’t do a very good job of getting the ball to him in those situations. Miami is also dead set on getting their other two TEs involved, so while Gesicki is an athletic freak and has the talent to be one of the best TEs in the league, he’s getting held back by his offense. It’s unfortunate but who knows what will happen in 2021.

 

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Quarterback

 

Josh Allen: 18/25, 224 yards, 3 TDs, INT | 2 carries, 3 yards

Matt Barkley: 6/13, 164 yards, TD, INT | 3 carries, -3 yards

 

Josh Allen only played the first half in this one and, despite throwing an interception in the 1st quarter, he still had a fantastic day from a fantasy standpoint after throwing three touchdowns in the 2nd quarter. In fact, the interception was mostly just a fantastic play by Byron Jones, who dragged his foot on the sideline for a pick that was initially ruled incomplete.

 

 

Allen completed two touchdown passes to Isaiah McKenzie and one to John Brown before getting pulled in what ended up being a runaway game for Buffalo. It’s exactly what we expected out of him.

 

 

Meanwhile, Matt Barkley started in the 2nd half and wasn’t completely terrible. He connected with Gabriel Davis for two long receptions, including a touchdown, but he did throw an interception to Xavien Howard later in the game that probably shouldn’t have been thrown in the first place.

 

Running Backs

 

Devin Singletary: 3 carries, 7 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 6 yards

Zack Moss: 3 carries, 8 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 13 yards

Antonio Williams: 12 carries, 63 yards, 2 TD | 1 target, 1 reception, 20 yards

 

Devin Singletary and Zack Moss were nonfactors in this one. Buffalo chose to air it out and get out to a big lead in the 1st half, leaving them without much opportunity to make a difference. They were both benched at halftime, paving the way for Antonio Williams to get some run in the 2nd half, and boy did he run. The undrafted rookie looked great in his NFL debut, running with power and making some good cuts on his way to 63 yards and two TDs. He’s buried on the depth chart, but keep an eye on this guy as we may hear his name again in 2021.

 

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Stefon Diggs: 8 targets, 7 receptions, 76 yards

Gabriel Davis: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 107 yards, TD

John Brown: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 72 yards, TD

Isaiah McKenzie: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 65 yards, 2 TD | 2 carries | Punt Return TD

Dawson Knox: 8 targets, 2 receptions, 29 yards

 

After injuring his knee in Week 16, Cole Beasley missed this week but we did see the return of John Brown. Brown did score a touchdown in this one, but the story of the game was none other than Isaiah McKenzie. First, he connected with Josh Allen on an out route to give Buffalo their first lead of the game.

 

 

That would be the only lead Buffalo needed, and on their very next drive, Allen found McKenzie again in the back of the end zone for their 2nd TD connection of the game.

 

 

Finally, McKenzie put the game on ice with a punt return TD just a few minutes later.

 

 

It was a career day for the young receiver, and he’s a fantastic fit in this offense as the shifty slot guy with playmaking ability.

Stefon Diggs had a pedestrian day by his standards, but he still caught seven passes for 76 yards, returning solid Flex value if that’s where you started him. He also gave the rest of us a lesson in dental hygiene.

 

 

 

Gabriel Davis made two fantastic catches in this one, and anyone who took a risk on him ended up seeing it pay off in garbage time. I’ll let the two plays speak for themselves here.

 

 

 

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

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