This Week in the NFL – Week 12, 2021

Hey everyone, Tyler Arthur here, welcome to my weekly NFL column.

I am going to be using this space to keep all of you guys up to date with what you may have missed in the NFL, the biggest takeaways and stats, and then preview the upcoming week and what I think you need to be watching next.

Thanks for reading, now let’s get into this week’s column.

Well, first things first, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. Whether you celebrate it or not, we can all be thankful for the football we got to watch this week – it had everything! We saw low-scoring games settled in the final minutes and we saw high-scoring games that were concluded in the final minutes (or even overtime)!

There were close, intense matches between well-matched opponents, and there were absolute blowouts, too. We had some great performances and some awful ones, that’s for damn sure.

This week was as wild as any other, and some absolutely incredible games are waiting for you if you missed out on them live.

Without further delay, let’s take a look back at what happened This Week in the NFL.

Upset of the Week

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals

Let me first preface this – I don’t consider this an upset in terms of the final result heading to the home team. I thought that the Bengals would win this game, with Pittsburgh struggling lately. But, dear God, I did not expect this type of decimation job.

They destroyed their division rivals 41-10, and now sit in second place in the AFC North behind a shaky Ravens team. Also, it’s worth noting that the one touchdown the Steelers mustered was a garbage time TD right toward the end with the Bengals in cruise control. This was an incredibly impressive win.

I don’t think this was a huge upset (although it was very upsetting for Steelers fans), but the sheer dominance and final scoreline were way more drastic than I expected. Cincinnati are hosting the Chargers next week, that one could get a little crazy.

Winners and Losers


Chicago Bears (4-7)

Las Vegas Raiders (6-5)

Buffalo Bills (7-4)

Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-3)

Miami Dolphins (5-7)

New England Patriots (8-4)

New York Giants (4-7)

Atlanta Falcons (5-6)

New York Jets (3-8)

Denver Broncos (6-5)

Green Bay Packers (9-3)

San Francisco 49ers (6-5)

Baltimore Ravens (8-3)


Detroit Lions (0-10-1)

Dallas Cowboys (7-4)

New Orleans Saints (5-6)

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-5-1)

Indianapolis Colts (6-6)

Carolina Panthers (5-7)

Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Philadelphia Eagles (5-7)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9)

Houston Texans (2-9)

Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

Minnesota Vikings (5-6)

Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Bye Weeks

Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)

Arizona Cardinals (9-2)

Standout Individual Performers

Leonard FOURnette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

17 carries 100 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 4 total TD’s.

Playoff Lenny. Super Bowl Lenny. Now, Leonard Four-nette. This guy just can’t be stopped. I have a lot of respect for Fournette, who has shown himself to be an incredible asset for the Buccaneers after an unusual start to his career. He is only 26 years old and yet he has somehow already experienced the feeling of being amazing for one team, then getting cut and then going to a new team and becoming amazing again. All of that in four years. Four is the magic number this week.

In a huge performance in Indianapolis, Fournette rushed the ball 17 times for 100 yards and 3 TD’s, while also adding 31 more yards on 7 receptions and another score through the air. This week was by far the best of his career, and he appears to be getting better with every touch the Bucs give him. You can Tell Tom Brady loves him and he’s established a genuinely solid workload, which he has earned, that’s for damn sure.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

28 carries, 165 rushing yards and 2 TD’s.

Let’s just stick with the RB’s at the top here. Leonard Fournette may have locked up the top spot, but we had some phenomenal performances on the ground this week. None more dominant than Joe Mixon. The Bengals rout of their division rivals was largely thanks to his effortless production, storming through a pretty tough run defense. He carried the ball 28 times, the third most carries he’s had this year, and turned those into 165 rushing yards, scoring twice. That is now two consecutive big weeks, with 120+ yards and a brace both times. Look out next week, Chargers fans, he will likely be looking for a potential hat-trick.

Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers

27 carries, 168 scrimmage yards and a TD.

The San Francisco offense goes through phases, to say the least. When they’re doing their thing at the highest level, it’s so hard to stop. If it isn’t clicking, they’re noticeably off the pace. This week, they seemed to make it work, to put it lightly. Elijah Mitchell played a huge part in that, touching the ball a career-high 32 times. The rookie turned 27 carries into 133 rushing yards and caught 5 of his 6 targets for a further 35 yards. Mitchell has quietly put up four 100-yard performances in just 8 games.

Mac Jones, New England Patriots

72% completion rate, 310 yards, 2 TD’s.

As we transition to quarterbacks, we have to talk about Patriots rookie Mac Jones. He has very quietly played insanely well in multiple games this year. Okay, it’s not that quiet – as the Patriots are officially the hottest team in the NFL right now, on a six-game win streak! – but it’s quieter than I feel it should be. This week, he headed to Tennessee and had yet another awesome game. He completed 23 of his 32 pass attempts for 310 yards and 2 TD’s against a very good defense. I am very excited for their matchup next week in a date with the boys in Buffalo.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

82% completion rate, 260 passing yards, 4 TD’s.

Speak of the devil. The Buffalo Bills are having quite a rollercoaster of a season. In Week 2 and 4 they had 35-0 and 40-0 shutouts, followed by a win over the Chiefs in Week 5. Then, in Week 9 they lost 6-9 to the Jags. Then last week they got destroyed by the Colts. On any given week, it’s difficult to know just what the result will be. One thing you can know is that Josh Allen will do his best to carry this team.

This week he did just that. He threw 28 pass attempts – tied for the second-fewest in any game this year – but he was efficient with 23 completions. He’ll be disappointed with his pair of INT’s, but he more than made up for them with 260 passing yards and 4 touchdowns against the Saints on TNF. He also rushed for 43 yards, on top of his productive passing work.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

68% completion rate, 375 passing yards and 2 TD’s.

The Cowboys couldn’t quite get it done in their epic Thanksgiving battle with the Raiders, but it wasn’t for the lack of Dak Prescott’s production. He threw the ball a whopping 47 times, connecting on 32 of those attempts, for 375 yards. The Comeback Player of the Year frontrunner also tossed two TD’s in the overtime loss. They didn’t have their two best wide receivers, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb, but Dak still went crazy. If they’d have won the game, this performance would be higher in my ratings, but he still deserves recognition for a huge day in a tight game.

Jaylen Waddle, Miami Dolphins

9 receptions for 137 yards and a TD.

One of the highest-upside young receivers in the NFL right now, Jaylen Waddle showed up in a big way this week. He was targeted 10 times and converted 9 of those into 137 yards, as the Dolphins hosted the Panthers. As Tua returns from injury and gets acclimated again, he will surely continue to target his Alabama teammate. Tagovailoa completed 27 passes in total and Waddle secured a third of those. If Waddle can get good volume, he can break a big play as well as anyone in the league, and it’s a blast to watch.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

6 receptions for 114 yards and a TD.

We mentioned the absolutely dominant performance of the Bengals, and how Joe Mixon was instrumental in it, but Tee Higgins played a large part, too. He hauled in 6 of his 8 targets and turned them into 114 yards and an impressive, Randy Moss-esque touchdown grab. In an offense that has Ja’Marr Chase, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd also featuring heavily, it’s not easy to stand out, but this week Higgins did just that.

Hunter Renfrow, Las Vegas Raiders

8 receptions for 134 yards

Guys, it’s finally time. The moment has arrived for me to tell you all that my favourite player in the NFL had an amazing game. That player is Hunter Renfrow. Also known as ‘Third and Renfrow’. This week, he hauled in 8 receptions and burned the Cowboys for a career-high 134 yards. With Darren Waller getting banged up during the first half and missing a lot of the game, the star slot receiver had to step up and he did. With growing responsibility falling on number 13, he proves week in and week out that he is one of the most reliable targets the Raiders have had in recent years, especially on that pesky third down.

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7 receptions for 123 yards

With all the love for the flashy positions, it’s time to shoutout a tight end for a second. This week, Rob Gronkowski had his best regular season game as a Buccaneer and his highest yardage since Week 1 of 2018. He caught 7 of his 10 targets and recorded 123 yards. A 32-year old Gronk is still Gronk, and he was a serious handful for the Colts.

Patrick Surtain II, Denver Broncos

5 combined tackles and 2 INT’s, including a 70-yard pick-six.

The Denver Broncos won on Sunday against a very tough Chargers offense, with their defense holding LA to just 13 points. This impressive feat was punctuated by the fantastic effort of rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II, who made 5 tackles and intercepted Justin Herbert twice. These two interceptions came on back-to-back drives, and truly changed the game. His first interception came inside the end zone, when the score was 14-7 to Denver, after which they drove 80 yards and scored, and then on the next drive he got a 70-yard pick-six. That means within the space of three drives, the score went from 14-7 to 28-7. Surtain dominated the fourth quarter and completely took the game out of LA’s reach, single-handedly.

John Franklin-Myers, New York Jets

2 sacks and an INT from defensive end.

I love nothing more than the idea of telling the people who read this column that someone who they’ve never heard of had a standout performance. So here you go! John Franklin-Myers, a defensive end from the Jets, had himself a fantastic day this week. Not only did he record two sacks, he also managed to record an interception on an awesome play. The Texans tried to run a screen and Franklin-Myers recognised the threat, batted the ball up and then caught it and returned it 32 yards.

Rasul Douglas, Green Bay Packers

6 combined tackles and 4 passes defended, including one INT for a pick-six.

There are fewer more intimidating matchups than the LA Rams, but if there’s any team that won’t be scared of them is the Packers, especially at Lambeau Field. They held out in a tough game and defended their home field, with a strong defensive performance. The face of that defensive performance was undoubtedly Rasul Douglas. He made 6 tackles and recorded four passes defended, including a 33-yard pick-six.

Jaelan Phillips, Miami Dolphins

4 combined tackles and 3 sacks.

The interceptions and pass breakups are awesome, but let’s not ignore this rookie’s big game. Jaelan Phillips, the young pass-rushing star-in-the-making for the Dolphins made 4 tackles this week and three of them were sacks. He was one of the many benefactors of an incredibly flat Panthers offense. He even threw in a pass knockdown just for good measure.

Games to watch back

Raiders @ Cowboys

Buccaneers @ Colts

Vikings @ 49ers

Rams @ Packers

Stat Leaders through Week 12

Passing Yards – Derek Carr, 3414

Passing TD’s – Tom Brady, 30

Rushing Yards – Jonathan Taylor, 1205

Rushing TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 14

Receiving Yards – Cooper Kupp, 1237

Receiving TD’s – Mike Evans, Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, 10

Total TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 16

Tackles (combined) – Bobby Wagner, 128

Sacks – Myles Garrett, 14.0

Interceptions – Trevon Diggs, 8

Week 13 Preview – What to watch

Week 13 Best Games

Chargers @ Bengals

Ravens @ Steelers

Patriots @ Bills

Week 13 Storylines and what to watch

Can Dallas bounce back in their second consecutive Thursday game? Cowboys @ Saints, TNF

Kyler Murray’s return to action, Cardinals @ Bears

Incredible matchup between two AFC playoff hopefuls, Chargers @ Bengals

The Football Team’s last chance to regain momentum, at the expense of a playoff-chasing Vegas, Washington @ Raiders

AFC North rivals battle it out, Ravens @ Steelers

Can Kansas City take a stranglehold on the AFC West? Broncos @ Chiefs

Can the hottest team in football stay undefeated on the road in their toughest visit yet? Patriots @ Bills