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Monday night recap

Giants, Titans pull off upset wins

On a rare Monday night with two games on schedule, the underdogs made it memorable, with rookie quarterbacks helping to deliver upsets over playoff hopefuls. Tennessee defeated Miami via a late Derrick Henry touchdown. Likewise, the Giants prevailed over Green Bay with a last-second Randy Bullock field goal.

Both games were entertaining as they went down the wire. While it would take a string of miracles for the Titans and the Giants to make the playoffs, they have certainly spoiled their victim's postseason goals. Miami isn't out of the woods in the AFC East while Green Bay is holding to the final wild card in the NFC.

Quarterbacks

While Tua Tagovailoa had his moments, he finished with no touchdowns, the first time it has happened this season. He completed 70 percent of his passes, but he was a non-factor in their touchdown drives. He also had a first-quarter fumble that would have been costly without Zach Sieler's interception return for a touchdown. Tagovailoa could have done more, especially against an inferior opponent.

Meanwhile, Will Levis had his best game since his debut, completing 23 passes for 327 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He made a heads-up play during his only throwing score, scrambling out of the collapsing pocket before finding DeAndre Hopkins. Levis's mobility adds another dimension to the Titans offense that Ryan Tannehill couldn't generate. Therefore, a changing of the guard is happening and Levis will get better with more experience.

In the other Monday Night Football game, Jordan Love's stat line (218 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception) can be considered subpar compared to his performances during their three previous games. However, he gave the Packers a shot at victory by completing a touchdown to Malik Heath. While winning games in the NFL is tough, Love shows poise in leading the Packers offense. His consistency will be the key to Green Bay's push for a postseason berth.

Tommy DeVito was modest as a passer, with just 158 yards, but he added some timely runs, finishing with 71 yards on 10 scrambles. He’s mobile. He ran for 41 yards in a game earlier this year.

More importantly, his crucial pass to Wan'Dale Robinson helped Bullock convert the game-winning field goal from a manageable distance. There are flaws to DeVito's game, significantly when he drops back for long throws. However, he’s also won three in a row, which should keep him in the starting lineup for now.

Running backs

The Dolphins had Derrick Henry checked, limiting him to 34 rushing yards. However, he still found ways to score 2 touchdowns, including a score off the Wildcat formation. He’s has thrived over the last three games. After scoring just four touchdowns in their first three games, he's had six from Weeks 12 to 14. His resurgence is vital for the Titans' strong finish this season.

Like Henry, Raheem Mostert has been on a tear with 5 touchdowns in his last three games, including 2 against the Titans. While he's had some down games, the Dolphins' leading back has dominated most of the season. He has benefitted from Mike McDaniel's system, which puts a premium on a balanced run-pass attack. His 96 yards against Tennessee increases his total to 924, the 2nd-most among running backs through Week 14. He leads the league with 16 rushing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, AJ Dillon continues to help move the chains for Green Bay even if he isn't scoring. He finished their game against Green Bay with 15 carries for 53 yards. Unfortunately, his 3.5 yards per carry needs improvement. Patrick Taylor made the most of his carries, gaining 30 yards in 4 carries.

Finally, Saquon Barkley's 86-yard, two-touchdown performance would have been for nothing if the Packers escaped with the victory. His fumble after a 34-yard run gave Green Bay life as Carrington Valentine returned it 50 yards to the other direction. DeVito and Robinson bailed him out during the game-winning drive. His 2 rushing touchdowns are his first since Week 2 (though he's caught 3 TDs).

Wide receivers

Tyreek Hill suffered a setback in his quest for 2,000 yards after nursing an ankle injury that had him limping. Though he returned after getting treated, he finished with only 4 catches for 61 yards. Jaylen Waddle had more receptions (6) and receiving yards (79) than him. Their subpar production helped Tennessee stay in the game. His owners will closely monitor his injury, especially now that fantasy playoffs are fast approaching.

Meanwhile, Levis's solid game helped DeAndre Hopkins (7 catches, 124 yards, one touchdown) have an impressive outing. It's his first 100-yard game since Levis's debut. While it hasn't been all sunny for Hopkins this season, he has developed good chemistry with his young quarterback, leading to a touchdown catch in three of their last four games. Running back Tyjae Spears also helped Tennessee's cause with 6 catches for 89 yards.

With Christian Watson out of action due to a hamstring injury, the Packers' receivers lacked bite. Their leading receivers, Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed, combined for 12 catches for 59 yards. Malik Heath's lone reception was the 6-yard touchdown grab that gave them the lead. It's a consolation, though, that Reed scored a rushing touchdown thanks to the Packers' penchant for putting him in motion before the snap.

While Wan'Dale Robinson made the catch that brought the Giants to within Bullock's range, Isaiah Hodgins had a touchdown catch that gave them more cushion in the third quarter. The Giants (158) had fewer passing yards than the Packers (218). That's what you get from a dominating run game that picked Green Bay's defense apart for 209 yards. The Giants will continue to ride their running game as they close out the season, making their receivers non-factors fantasy football-wise.

Tight ends

Chigoziem Okonkwo's usage rate with the Titans has increased, finishing with 5 catches for 46 yards. That's his third straight game with at least 45 receiving yards and he never had more than 35 yards before the three-game stretch.

Conversely, Durham Smythe is a relative non-factor in Miami's offense, having 6 catches for 43 yards in his last three games. He had two catches for 16 yards against the Titans, continuing his disappointing trend lately. However, given their weapons on offense, the Dolphins have little use for his pass-catching.

Meanwhile, Tucker Kraft had the best game, collecting 4 catches for a team-leading 64 yards. Love may have found a reliable target in him, especially during third-down or short-yardage situations. Their Monday Night Football game against the Giants showed his ability to find the soft spots of opposing defenses.

Finally, Daniel Bellinger had 2 catches for 15 yards against Green Bay. He's had 23 yards over the last two games, making him a non-reliable fantasy option. As a consolation, he's only dropped two of his 17 targets this season. If only DeVito could find him more, mainly when their running game gets neutralized. However, given their offensive line woes, they use him more as an extra blocker.

Other observations

What's with Monday Night Football and slippery hands? The Titans lost two of their three fumbles while Tagovailoa dropped the ball twice. In the other game, Keisean Nixon and Bobby McCain muffed punt catches, accounting for two of the five fumbles by both teams.

Finally, rookie quarterbacks typically fold under primetime’s increased pressure. But Levis and DeVito impressed in their respective games. It's not often that we see two Monday Night Football games. It's even rarer to see two rookie play-callers leading their teams in simultaneous MNF games.

—Lance Fernandez

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