This Week in the NFL – Week 13, 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, this season is really starting to heat up now, isn’t it.

As the playoff picture has begun to form and the end of the regular season is now just one month away, the tension is building. We have teams fighting tooth and nail for every yard and every victory.

This week saw plenty of drama, incuding four(!) games that were settled on the final play of the game… What a wild week of football.

With that being said, let’s break it down, what happened This Week in the NFL?

Upset of the Week

They finally did it!!!!

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

When I mentioned that multiple games came down to a final play, this was the most epic of them all. The 0-10-1 Detroit Lions were in a good position in this game for some time, but then they conceded a touchdown with 1:50 to go that put them down by four points. This meant that they had to execute a two-minute drill to score a touchdown against their division rivals.

They did just that.

Jared Goff and the winless Lions executed a 14-play, 75-yard final drive, which concluded with a walk-off touchdown pass to rookie receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. You can say what you want about Detroit being terrible and how this win means nothing but risking their first overall pick, but watching their celebrations at the end of the game shows how much these players and their coaches wanted to prove people wrong this week.

1-10-1, now onto the next one in Denver!

Winners and Losers


Dallas Cowboys (8-4)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-3)

Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

Los Angeles Chargers (7-5)

Detroit Lions (1-10-1)

Miami Dolphins (6-7)

Indianapolis Colts (7-6)

Washington Football Team (6-6)

Los Angeles Rams (8-4)

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5-1)

Seattle Seahawks (4-8)

Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

New England Patriots (9-4)


New Orleans Saints (5-7)

Atlanta Falcons (5-7)

Chicago Bears (4-8)

Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)

Minnesota Vikings (5-7)

New York Giants (4-8)

New York Jets (3-9)

Houston Texans (2-10)

Las Vegas Raiders (6-6)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10)

Baltimore Ravens (8-4)

San Francisco 49ers (6-6)

Denver Broncos (6-6)

Buffalo Bills (7-5)

Bye Weeks

Cleveland Browns (6-6)

Green Bay Packers (9-3)

Tennessee Titans (8-4)

Carolina Panthers (5-7)

Standout Individual Performers

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

51 pass attempts, 75% completion rate, 368 yards and 4 TD’s.

Wow. There’s a reason we call this guy the Greatest of All Time. At the age of 44, he threw 51 pass attempts this week (his second time with 50+ this year) and completed 38 of them for a 75% completion rate. These throws weren’t all just little checkdowns and small gains, though. He put up 368 passing yards and threw four touchdowns, as he tortured the Falcons defense. TB12 continues to defy the laws of physics, time and logic, while leading one of the best teams on the league into another playoff run. He’s the GOAT and he wants to make sure there’s no discussion to be had when all is said and done.

Justin Herbert, LA Chargers

74% completion rate, 317 passing yards, 3 TD’s and a receiving 2-pt conversion.

One of the most exciting young quarterbacks in the league, Justin Herbert of the Chargers, put the team on his shoulders this week and carried them to a victory against a very strong Bengals team. The injury to Joe Burrow in the first half definitely didn’t help Cincinnati’s cause, but nonetheless, Herbert played very well against their tough defense. He converted 26 of his 35 pass attempts for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns. One of those TD’s was succeeded by a ‘Philly Special’ 2-pt conversion, which resulted in Herbert catching the ball to extend their lead.

Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

73% completion rate, 182 total yards and 4 total TD’s.

This is a bit of a different one as far as QB standout performances go. Kyler Murray returned to action for a date with the Chicago Bears, after a full month of his absence. In his first game back, he threw the ball just 15 times and completed 11 of them, however he was efficient. He threw 123 passing yards including two touchdowns, and he also rushed for 59 yards and scored two more. This performance felt like he was saying sorry to those who haven’t been able to use him in fantasy football – throwing the ball just 15 times and somehow still balling out. His efficiency on the attempts he did make landed him a 136.9 QB rating.

Gardner Minshew, Philadelphia Eagles

80% completion rate, 242 yards, 2 TD’s and the best pre-game outfit.

Obviously I saved the best for last. While Tom Brady and co. had big performances, my favourite effort from any QB this week was that of Philadelphia Eagles backup Gardner Minshew. The cult icon that was born during his Jaguars tenure of 2019 returned to the limelight this week with Jalen Hurts injured. The man with the best moustache in football walked into New York (dressed like he should be starring in the next Top Gun), did his job, and then walked out a few hours later with a W. He threw 242 yards and 2 TD’s on 20/25 attempts. This landed him a 133.7 QB Rating in his first start for 12 months. Football just feels more fun when he’s playing it.

George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

9 receptions, 181 yards, 2 TD’s.

What a performance. Niners TE superstar George Kittle has had and up and down year, with an injury that took him out for a month and some general inconsistency in his volume and production, but this week he was back playing how I’d expect him to. He caught 9 of his 12 targets, and turned them into a frankly insane 181 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One of which was an insane sideline-hugging breakaway where he had to tightrope-walk his way past the Seattle defense. Kittle completely dominated, and their tough loss to the Seahawks was not for a lack of his effort. San Fran might have taken it to overtime or even won if Kyle Shanahan drew up a play for him at the end of the game on fourth and goal.

Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings

11 receptions, 182 yards and a TD.

We have already established that the Minnesota Vikings didn’t have the best week in Week 13. Losing to the 2021 Detroit Lions can put a dampener on anybody’s performance, but I still feel that Justin Jefferson deserves a shoutout. Yeah, he definitely deserves it. He pulled in 11 receptions on 14 targets and turned them into a whopping 182 yards and a Touchdown that should have won them the game, had their defense not failed to stop the worst team in the league driving 75 yards in 110 seconds.

Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals

9 receptions, 138 yards and an impressive TD.

We’re starting to recognise a pattern here, the best receiving performances all seemed to happen for players on the losing team? Tee Higgins really showed up this week – despite his QB having a dislocated finger on his throwing hand from the late second quarter. He was targeted 14 times and made a career-high 9 receptions for a career-high 138 receiving yards and a touchdown! His catch was an acrobatic high-point TD catch over the top of two defenders as he flew backwards into the end zone. While everyone has been gushing over Ja’Marr Chase, another Bengals wideout has very quietly continued to improve in his second year, all building towards the best game he’s had to date.

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

15 receptions for 143 yards.

Let’s at least finish off with a couple of receivers who actually took a W this week. In Tom Brady’s phenomenal performance, there were bound to be some great receiving lines, too (Mike Evans had 99 yards and Rob Gronkowski got 58 yards and scored twice on just 4 catches!). The best performance of the day, however, came from Chris Godwin. The Tampa Bay slot receiver was able to catch 15 of a whopping 17 targets (both of which were career-high volume) for 143 yards (his fourth-most ever). This performance was just one cog in the unstoppable machine that is the Brady-led Buccaneers passing game, as they start to really warm up down the stretch.

Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

8 receptions, 105 yards and 2 TD’s. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are having a subtly solid season right now. They tied with the Lions, which made them the laughing stock of the league for a week, but realistically they have done well this year. They beat the Bills in week one, have only lost games against a pre-controversy Raiders, the Bengals, Packers and Chargers. None of those losses are against bad teams. This week’s win over the Ravens reminded people that Pittsburgh are still a tough game. Diontae Johnson was the heart and soul of their offense in a very tightly fought AFC North game, pulling in 8 receptions for 105 yards and the team’s only two TD’s.

Javonte Williams, Denver Broncos

23 carries for 102 yards and 6 receptions for 76 yards and a TD.

The Denver Broncos drafted a very talented running back this year – and this week they might have actually become aware of that information! In Melvin Gordon’s absence, Javonte Williams got a game to really take the workload on for himself against the Chiefs on SNF. He had 29 touches, with 23 coming on the ground, and he rushed for 102 yards while converting his 6 receptions into 76 yards and a TD. This performance should be an indicator that Williams can step up into the alpha role in this offense, and I look forward to seeing him take on the Lions next week!

Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

32 carries, 143 yards rushing and 2 TD’s.

As per usual, let’s take a moment to respect the work off the Indianapolis bell cow RB. Jonathan Taylor struck again with his seventh 100-yard game in 13 weeks, dominating a pitiful Houston team in a 31-0 shut-out. JT carried the ball 32 times and put up 143 yards, scoring twice. He seems inevitable in this list nearly every week. It can only go on so long before the NFL have to look at him as the offensive player of the year.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

21 carries and 8 receptions for 141 scrimmage yards and a TD.

A running back whose praises we haven’t been able to sing as we might hope, David Montgomery is looking healthy again and had a great week against Arizona. He carried the ball 21 times, rushing for 90 yards and a TD. He also caught 8 of his 9 targets and added an extra 51 yards to his total. After missing four of their first 12 games, it’s good to see the Bears RB put in a nice performance. The Bears aspirations may be deflated after a tough year, but they’ll look to finish strong ahead of next season with a more experienced and healthy Justin Fields and Montgomery back at full health.

Sony Michel, LA Rams

24 carries, 121 yards and a TD.

Talk about a name I didn’t think I’d be putting in my column this season, how can we ignore Sony Michel’s big week. Darrell Henderson missed this week and the ex-Patriots RB decided to slot straight into the role and have a great game. He was handed the ball 24 times and rushed for a very respectable 121 yards as well as scoring in the Rams comfortable win over the Jags.

T.J. Watt, Pittsburgh Steelers

6 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Welcome back to where you belong T.J.. It takes a special football player to miss two games and still comfortably lead the league in sacks. Well, T.J. Watt is a special player. The Steelers superstar edge rusher absolutely dominated the Ravens offensive line this week. He made six total tackles and forced a fumble, while tormenting Lamar Jackson with 3.5 sacks. His big day puts his total on the year at an incredibly impressive 16.0 sacks in 10 games. I believe he should be the Defensive Player of the Year, and this week was a nice boost on his stock in that race.

Chris Wormley, Pittsburgh Steelers

5 combined tackles, including 2.5 sacks.

If you can’t be T.J. Watt, what is the next best thing? Being his teammate! Interior rusher, Chris Wormley had the game of his life this week, joining forces with Watt for one sack and earning two solo sacks of his own. He was drafted back in 2017 (by the Ravens!) and this week he took his career sack total from 6 to 8.5 in one win over his old team. What a night.

Jordan Hicks, Arizona Cardinals

13 combined tackles and 2 sacks.

The Chicago Bears offense hasn’t exactly been the scariest unit in the league this year, but they are a much better offense with David Montgomery healthy and they’re still scrapping. This week, Jordan Hicks of the Cardinals had his hands full but showed up in a big way with a 2-sack performance alongside an impressive 9 solo tackles and 4 more assisted stops.

Kamu Grugier-Hill, Houston Texans

TWENTY combined tackles and a sack.

I don’t know how many of you guys play fantasy football with individual defensive players (if you don’t, I recommend it), but if you don’t, it’s entirely possible this performance would go straight over your head. Yes, the Houston Texans got demolished 31-0 in an embarrassing walkover win. However, you have to respect the efforts of Kamu Grugier-Hill. The Texans’ 27-year old linebacker made 10 solo tackles and 10 assisted tackles, while also recording a sack. Naturally, being a Houston linebacker is a very busy job right now, but this was something else.

Games to watch back

Ravens @ Steelers

49ers @ Seahawks

Vikings @ Lions

Stat Leaders Through Week 13

Passing Yards – Tom Brady, 3771

Passing TD’s – Tom Brady, 34

Rushing Yards – Jonathan Taylor, 1348

Rushing TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 16

Receiving Yards – Cooper Kupp, 1366

Receiving TD’s – Cooper Kupp, 11

Total TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 18

Tackles (combined) – Bobby Wagner, 137

Sacks – T.J Watt, 16.0

Interceptions – Trevon Diggs, 9

Week 14 Preview – What to watch

Week 14 Best Games

Raiders @ Chiefs, 6pm

Bills @ Buccaneers, 9:25pm

Rams @ Cardinals, MNF

Week 14 Storylines and what to watch

Who wins out of the people who tied with Detroit and lost to Detroit? Steelers @ Vikings

The battle of two AFC North teams, one in the playoff spots, one on the edge looking in. Ravens @ Browns, 6pm

Can Las Vegas bounce back against a Kansas City team that is back on top? Raiders @ Chiefs, 6pm

Will Dallas be the stopping point for Washington’s four-game win streak? Cowboys @ Washington, 6pm

Will Detroit pick up momentum and ruin their draft pick? Lions @ Broncos, 9:05pm

How will Joe Burrow hold up with his dislocated finger? 49ers @ Bengals, 9:25pm

Potentially a Super Bowl matchup preview? Bills @ Buccaneers, 9:25pm

One of the oldest rivalries in the books – on primetime, Bears @ Packers, SNF

Two giants of the NFC face in a divisional matchup, Rams @ Cardinals, MNF