LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 20: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins celebrates after scoring a second quarter touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at FedExField on December 20, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)

Best and worst from Week 15 in the NFL

Week 15 of the 2015 NFL season saw an MVP-clinching performance, two incredible stat lines from potential postseason quarterbacks and a decisive win within one of the better positional matchups of the season.

The week also featured another dud in the AFC South and two uninspiring home losses from teams that played in a Super Bowl just a few years ago.

Here is the rest of the best and worst from Week 15:


QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

Newton finished engraving his name on the MVP trophy with another superlative Sunday. He threw for 340 yards and five touchdowns, rushed for 100 yards on eight attempts and led the Panthers on a game-winning drive after the Giants came back from 28 points down to tie the game.

Carolina stayed perfect at 14-0, and Newton became the first player to produce 300 or more passing yards, five passing touchdowns and 100 or more rushing yards in a single game. The MVP race is over.

QB Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater has the Vikings on the verge of a playoff berth after throwing for four touchdowns and running for another during Minnesota’s 38-17 drubbing of the Chicago Bears on Sunday. His four passing scores, five total touchdowns and 85.0 completion percentage (17 of 20) were all career highs for the Vikings’ second-year quarterback.

Bridgewater’s first touchdown on Sunday—which saw him drop a perfect rainbow into the waiting arms of Stefon Diggs on a deep fade route—was one of the best throws of Week 15. The Vikings could become scary quick if Bridgewater stays hot to end the season.

QB Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Cousins shredded Rex Ryan’s Buffalo defense, completing 22 of 28 passes for 319 yards and four touchdowns during Washington’s 35-25 win. His two touchdown passes to tight end Jordan Reed sandwiched his 13-yard rushing score in the first half, and he found DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon for touchdowns to finish off Buffalo in the second half.

Cousins has 15 total touchdowns over his last six games. Four wins over that stretch have the Redskins in a position to clinch the division with a victory next week.

Steelers WRs

The Broncos might possess the best trio of cornerbacks in the NFL, but they were completely outclassed in their showdown with Pittsburgh’s receivers on Sunday. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton combined to catch 32 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns.

Denver had no answer for Brown, who hauled in 16 of his 18 targets for 189 yards and two scores, including the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Steelers have a decent player pulling the trigger at quarterback, but Ben Roethlisberger remains as wealthy as any quarterback in the game in terms of weapons around him.

RB Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead became the first player this season and the first player since Jonas Gray last November to score four touchdowns in a single game. He caught three and rushed for one, helping the Chargers beat Miami in what could be the franchise’s last game in San Diego.

Not much has gone right for the Chargers this season, but Woodhead has been a bright spot. He now has nine total touchdowns, a new career high.


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens played as poorly as their choice of game pants. Now 4-10, Baltimore fell behind by 17 points in the second quarter to the visiting Kansas City Chiefs before losing by a 34-14 final at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Chiefs forced three Baltimore turnovers, including a fumble return for a touchdown by Tyvon Branch and a pick-six of Jimmy Clausen by rookie cornerback Marcus Peters. The Ravens have now lost 10 games for the first time since 2007, and there’s still a chance the team could match the franchise’s record for losses in a single season (12).

San Francisco 49ers

No one expected the 49ers to beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Still, no team wants to be uncompetitive at home, and that’s exactly what San Francisco was for most of the Bengals’ 24-14 win.

Blaine Gabbert threw three interceptions, Anquan Boldin lost a fumble and the 49ers offense converted just 2 of 14 third downs. Cincinnati held a 24-0 lead before the 49ers scored two touchdowns over the game’s final 18 minutes. At 4-10, San Francisco has clinched the worst record in the NFC West for 2015.

QB Matt Cassel, Dallas Cowboys

Cassel couldn’t even make it to half time of the Cowboys’ 19-16 loss to the New York Jets. After completing three of eight passes and tossing a terrible interception, Cassel was yanked in the second quarter in favor of Kellen Moore—the former Boise State star who hadn’t played in a regular-season game during his first four years in the NFL.

With two games left and the Cowboys now mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, there’s no reason for Dallas to play Cassel another snap. Moore wasn’t very good against the Jets, but there are still unknowns to his game. The book is finished on Cassel.

Indianapolis Colts

Sunday’s 16-10 loss to the Houston Texans in Indianapolis has put the fading Colts into catchup mode in the terrible AFC South. Houston scored the game’s final 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to send the Colts to their third straight loss and their first ever to the Texans in Indianapolis.

Backup Brandon Weeden came into the game for T.J. Yates and threw a touchdown, while Indianapolis managed just 190 total yards of offense. The 60 ugly minutes of football produced by these two teams Sunday mostly sums up the division they belong to this season.

Zach Kruse

About Zach Kruse

Zach is the associate editor at The Sports Daily. He also covers the NFL for Bleacher Report and CheeseheadTV.