Dec
11
2020

Five Studs And Five Duds From Week 14 Thursday Night Football

The Rams took it to the Patriots on Thursday night, eventually walking away with a dominant 24-3 victory. They handled business from start to finish, opening the game with a 70-yard touchdown drive and never taking their foot off the gas pedal.

By halftime, it was 17-3 in favor of the Rams. After an early third-quarter touchdown to make it 24-3, the scoring was over for the night. The Rams continued to get after it defensively, though, and on the night they had several big-time performers. Here’s a look at Thursday Night Football’s Studs and Duds. First, a look at the Duds from TNF:

Duds

Cam Newton

Newton was benched early in the fourth quarter for Jarrett Stidham. While Stidham didn’t do much better, the writing was already on the wall at that point in the game. Newton was bad on Thursday night, and as a result, the entire Patriots offense was nonexistent.

Newton went 9-16 for 119 yards with one interception. On the ground, he added just 16 yards on 7 carries. Most detrimental to the team, he turned the ball over after his defense forced a Goff turnover to set up great field position when it was 10-0 in the second quarter. Not only was it a bad turnover, but it also went for a score the other way.

He finished the game with a QBR of 2.9. Cam never gave the Pats a chance in this one. He was hands down the biggest dud in the Patriots’ lackluster performance.

Patriots Offensive Line

Newton was the biggest letdown in this one, but it’s fair to mention he didn’t get the help needed from his big guys upfront. Newton was sacked four times before getting pulled, with Stidham taking an additional two sacks. Stidham’s should be taken with a grain of salt due to the circumstances and obvious passing situations he was put in.

It wasn’t just in the passing game that the line proved to be a dud, though. They failed to create running lanes for their running backs, leading to the team averaging 3.7 yards per carry on the night.

That, combined with the 10 QB hits registered against Pats QB’s, made a bad night miserable for the New England offense.

Robert Woods

Woods caught five of his eight targets on the night, taking those catches for just 32 yards. He failed to make use of any room he had after making catches, leading to his lowest receiving total since Week 7 against the Chicago Bears.

Over the last three weeks, he was really getting going, averaging 9.7 catches for 98.3 yards per game. He only had one touchdown over that stretch but was clearly a focal point of the team’s offense. His productive streak came crashing down this week. It wasn’t just him, though, as the entire passing offense of the Rams had a tough night.

Jared Goff

A win is a win, and Goff did all he needed to lead his team to a dominant win in prime time. That being said, he was certainly fortunate to be facing such a dismal offense given his lackluster performance on the night.

Goff went 16-25 for 137 yards, including one interception and one touchdown. It was more than being a game manager, he was really just trying his best to stay out of the way. A number of his completions and yards came on throws behind the line of scrimmage, but, fortunately, he didn’t need to be a threat in this one.

Josh McDaniels

The offensive guru for the Patriots is having a rocky 2020 season. He lacks weapons but also hasn’t maximized the talent he does have. This game proved to be another 60 minutes of the bad film for the Pats OC.

The offense had no rhythm, which is a trend this season. No receiver went over 50 yards, and the run game wasn’t very productive as previously noted. Furthermore, one of the team’s best offensive weapons, James White, saw just four touches in the game.

Everyone on the Patriots offense came out as a dud in this one, but it starts and ends with the coaches. McDaniels game plan and play calling was a major dud on Thursday Night football.

Studs

Cam Akers

Akers was hands down the most dominant and efficient offensive player in this game. He ran for a career-high 171 yards on 29 attempts, good for a 5.9-yard average. He tacked on two catches for 23 yards, as well. The receiving yards are also a new career-high for the rookie running back.

Akers continued his recent stretch of looking explosive out of the backfield. He was the entirety of the Rams offense in this one and has now run for over 70 yards in three straight games.

Akers ran for more yards than either team passed for, and he accounted for 91.9% of the Rams’ 186 rushing yards in the game. That defines a stud performance.

Kenny Young

The Rams linebacker made the crucial interception in the second quarter that gave the Rams a 17-0 lead. After securing the interception, Young ran it back 79 yards for the score.

It prevented the Patriots from capitalizing on a Goff interception while also adding to the lead. From that moment on, the Patriots never seemed to get back in the game.

Young’s first career pick not only stretched a lead, but it gave the Rams all the momentum needed to ride out a start to finish victory over the Patriots. If that wasn’t enough, he also picked up his first sack of the season later in the game.

Michael Brockers

Joining his defensive teammate in the stud category is veteran defensive end Michael Brockers. Brokers entered the game with three sacks on the season but added two on the night to bring his season total up to five.

His sacks came on the first and second drive of the second half, drives in which the Patriots needed to get some points out of if they wanted to come back. Brockers stepped up in the crucial moments of the game and helped his team continue an already dominant performance.

Aaron Donald

No surprise here. Pull tape on any Rams game and you’ll find evidence that Donald was an absolute stud one way or another. Thursday was no different.

Donald was crucial in stopping the Patriots’ run game, especially when it comes to the power run game. His need for attention from the O-line also allowed his teammates to eat up in their own matchups on the night. Donald finished the game with 1.5 sacks, giving him 12.5 on the season.

Jake Bailey

The lone Patriots player to make the studs list is punter Jake Bailey. Yes, a punter on a team that got demolished made the games stud performances. That’s partially due to the lack of big individual performances on the night, and partially due to him making the most of his time on the field.

Bailey did everything he could to help the Patriots put themselves in a position to win. Four of his six punts were downed inside the 20, giving the Rams long fields. Unfortunately, the defense didn’t step up following his big special teams’ plays.

His impressive day included a 71-yard punt that pinned the Rams on their own six-yard line. In total, he averaged 51.7 yards per punt in the game. If it weren’t for him slipping field position, this one could have been a lot uglier.