As the NFL enters its final stretch of games in the regular season, the league is in a fun spot for fans where only three teams have been eliminated from playoff contention. For everyone else, anything can still happen. This week was an interesting one for Red and Blue alumni, as former teammates faced off against each other in a much anticipated divisional game. It’s time to check back in on how the Quakers are doing in the NFL after Week 12.
Justin Watson — Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
By his standards, Watson had a very rough outing, finishing with just one catch for three yards against the Las Vegas Raiders. However, his one catch was quarterback Patrick Mahomes' first touchdown of the game, and came with just 25 seconds left in the first half. Despite seeing very little action throughout the rest of the game — finishing the game with just three targets — Watson’s catch was crucial in giving his team momentum on offense. The score tied up the contest entering the break and jumpstarted the offense into putting up 17 more points through the remainder of regulation.
The touchdown catch itself was not an easy one. Right off the snap, Watson was absolutely leveled by Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane. But Watson bounced right up to get wide open and catch Mahomes' pass in the endzone. After he scored, Watson was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, as he got into a brief and heated argument with Spillane. While coach Andy Reid was upset with the unnecessary penalty, he was complimentary of the fire and passion, which Watson displayed in that particular play.
This marks the second straight week in which Watson has recorded a touchdown. Watson’s next game will be in the limelight as the Chiefs will take on the Packers on Sunday Night Football this upcoming weekend.
Greg Van Roten — Guard, Las Vegas Raiders
Van Roten has quietly become a staple on the Raiders offensive line. On the losing end of the Raiders-Chiefs matchup, Van Roten played a team-leading 99.73% of offensive snaps. He is currently the fifth-ranked guard in the league according to PFF after starting the season unranked. Through 12 weeks, Van Roten has committed zero penalties while only letting up three sacks — an impressive feat considering how often he is on the field.
With the loss and a Broncos win, the Raiders are now sitting at third in the division with a record of 5-7. While they are currently out of the playoffs, if they were to start today, the Raiders would still be very much in the playoff hunt.
The road ahead of them to get there is tough. The upcoming bye week will be much appreciated for the team to recuperate and prepare for the last few games, but there will be no room for error if the Raiders hope to make a playoff appearance.
Kevin Stefanski — Head Coach, Cleveland Browns
After losing Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury in the team’s come-from-behind victory against the currently AFC-leading Ravens in Week 10, the team’s chances of making the playoffs seemingly vanished. However, under the command of an absolutely dominating defense, Stefanski’s team has surprised many and still seems poised to make a playoff appearance.
But this past week was one to forget as the Browns would lose 29-12 to the Broncos. The even bigger news that could potentially have a huge impact on the team’s performance in the near future is whether or not the shoulder injury that Myles Garrett picked up will prevent him from playing up to his full capabilities. As the heart and soul of the team’s defense, Garrett’s ability to disrupt has been a large part in all of the team’s wins.
The Browns are currently 7-4, which would be a good enough record to be second place in six other divisions. Unfortunately for them, they are playing in a stacked AFC North Division and are sitting in third place behind the Ravens and Steelers. Next week’s matchup against the Rams will be a crucial one for Stefanski and his team to show that they are still playoff contenders, despite all the injuries that the team has endured.