For a lot of franchises Thanksgiving week marks the beginning of a new season in the NFL. Teams have now established who they are and what their aspirations will be in December and beyond. During this time rookies stop being rookies and become vital parts of possible playoff runs.
This season’s version of Thanksgiving Week was slightly different. The game week was stretched over six days, closing with a bizarre Wednesday afternoon match up of the Steelers and the Ravens. Covid delays and rescheduling is becoming a weekly event in College football and is now bleeding into the NFL. Just as we talk about hamstrings and ACL’s, we now included contact tracing and Covid symptoms. What a strange time we are living in right now.
TOP 5 ROOKIE PERFORMANCES WEEK 12
- S – Jeremy Chinn – 6’3” 221 – Southern Illinois – 2nd Round pick (64th Overall) vs. Minnesota Vikings (L, 28-27)
Game Day Stats: 13 tackles / 1 forced fumble / 2 fumble recoveries / 2 defensive touchdowns
It’s a shame they lost the game because this was a signature performance for the versatile, physical safety Jeremy Chinn. Chinn played at all three depths on defense today. He looks very comfortable playing deep safety, playing at linebacker depth, and especially on the line of scrimmage. In a matter of seconds Jeremy Chinn became Jeremy “Double” Chinn when he took consecutive fumble recoveries to the house. The first one was a textbook scoop and score from 17 yards away, and the second was an impressive strip of NFL’s leading All-Purpose back Dalvin Cook. Chinn took the second fumble scooped it, jumped over a Vikings player, and scored his second touchdown of the day. Chinn is a leading candidate for defensive rookie of the year and last week’s performance put him on a new level.
Performance Rating: 4.80
Next Game: Bye
2. RB – Antonio Gibson – 6’0” 228 – Memphis – 3rd round pick (66th overall) vs. Dallas Cowboys (W, 41-16)
Game Day Stats: 20 carries / 115 rushing yards / 3 rushing touchdowns / 5 Catches / 21 yards
The Washington Football team feasted on the Dallas Cowboys Thursday evening to the tune of a 182 rushing yards. Sitting at the head of the table was rookie running back Antonio Gibson carving up Dallas defense with 136 yards from scrimmage. Dallas has been Gibson’s favorite dinner guest this season. Gibson has gone over the century mark twice this year both coming at the expense of their rivals. Gibson continues his excellent rookie season scoring 3 touchdowns adding to his total of 11 rushing touchdowns on the season. The Washington offense line has been improving with each passing week as they start to develop a real “run first” mentality ala the Tennessee Titans. Gibson has taken advantage of this philosophy and helped his team stay in the mix for the division title.
Performance Rating: 4.60
Next Game: at Pittsburgh Steelers 5:00 Monday
3. RB – James Robinson – 5’10” 225 – Illinois State – Undrafted – vs. Cleveland Browns (L, 27-25)
Game Day Stats: 22 carries / 128 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdown / 5 receptions / 31 receiving yards
James Robinson tallied his 4th 100 yard plus rushing game of the season. He is currently 3rd in the NFL in rushing yards and 4th in the league in yards from scrimmage. What separates Robinson from the other rookie running backs is his ability to pass protect. The Jaguars offense gave up no sacks Sunday and Robinson is a huge part of that. The Jags have been through 3 quarterbacks this season, struggled offensively, but Robinson has been the one consistent. Robinson is also getting a lot of respect around the league as shown in his mic’d up segment in the NFL.
Performance Rating: 4.00
Next Game: at Minnesota Vikings 1:00pm Sunday
4. WR – Justin Jefferson – 6’1” 202 – LSU – 1st Round pick (22nd overall) vs. Carolina Panthers (L, 31-28)
Game day Stats: 7 receptions / 70 receiving yards / 2 touchdowns
This was one of those grinder type games for Jefferson. He had to make tough catches over the middle, catch some low passes, and break tackles after the catch. On his second touchdown, he plowed through the defense to get in the end zone. Jefferson added another layer to his resume and continues to move it on up for offensive rookie of the year.
Performance Rating: 3.85
Next Game: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00pm Sunday
5. LOS ANGELES RAMS
RB – Cam Akers– Florida State – 5’10” 217 – 2nd ROUND (52ND OVERALL) vs. San Francisco 49ers (L, 23-20)
Game Day Stats: 9 Carries / 84 rushing yards / 1 rushing touchdowns
Cam Akers has been used sparingly this season, but with Malcolm Brown losing a fumble and Darrell Henderson being ineffective, Sean McVay turned to Akers for a spark. The Florida State product showed a nice burst on his 61 yard run and ran with power on the goal line, scoring his first career rushing touchdown. It will be interesting to see if McVay uses Akers more down the stretch as the Rams position themselves for their playoff run.
Performance Rating: 3.75
Next Game: at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 Sunday
LOS ANGELES RAMS
5. S – Jordan Fuller – Ohio State – 6’2” 203 – 6th Round (199th Overall) vs San Francisco 49ers (L, 23-20)
Game day Stats: 4 total tackles / 1 interception / 1 PBU
In what can only be described as a glaring oversight, I owe Jordan Fuller a spot on this week’s TC56 Rookie Report. In week 11, Raymond James stadium was Fuller’s house picking off Tom Brady twice in a 27-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Bucs. Fuller like Brady was drafted in the 6th round 199 overall. After hauling in his first two picks of the season he followed it up with another one early in this past weeks game against the 49ers. Sorry Jordan, I will never leave you out again.
Performance Rating: 3.50
Next Game: at Arizona Cardinals 4:05pm Sunday
Week 12 2020 Draft Class Match up Results:
Atlanta Falcons CB – AJ Terrell vs. Las Vegas Raiders WR – Henry Ruggs
- AJ Terrell, after a up and down season so far is starting to find his footing. Carr was 3 for 7 when targeting receivers covered by Terrell. Ruggs is still struggling despite gaining the perfect amount of yards during the game (56). This pro edition of the Alabama/Clemson rivalry goes to AJ Terrell.
Week 13 2020 Draft Class Match up:
Rookie Leader rushing yards vs. Rookie leader receiving yards:
Jacksonville Jaguars RB – James Robinson vs. Minnesota Vikings WR – Justin Jefferson
- Both these player’s respective teams are on a different trajectory. Minnesota is trying to get into the playoff race while Jacksonville looks at a top 5 pick in the draft. All that being said, both of these players, along with Justin Herbert and Antonio Gibson, are battling for offensive rookie of the year. Jefferson has been a dynamic receiver this season and Robinson has been a consistent force in the Jags running game.
Week 12 Throwback Draft Class Match up results:
Best at their Position former 2ND Round picks:
Indianapolis Colts – LB – Darius Leonard ’18 vs. Tennessee Titans RB – Derrick Henry ‘16
- In the rematch from week 10, Derrick Henry went off. Henry had 178 yards on 27 carries and crossed the goal line 3 times proving once again why he is the best running back in the league. This win put the Titans in sole possession of 1st place in their division. Leonard was active as well recording 14 tackles and 1 sack but Henry was dominant. Winner: Derrick Henry
Week 13 Throwback Draft Class Battle:
Battle of #1 Pick Quarterbacks:
Los Angeles Rams Qb – Jarod Goff ’16 vs. Arizona Cardinals Qb – Kyler Murray’19
- These former #1 picks have battled in the NFC West since last year. Goff has had average season and is at the crossroads of his career. Murray is electric player who needs to find more consistency in his game. All this wrapped in the most competitive division in football.
2018 Draft Class SEC Rivalry:
Cleveland Browns RB – Nick Chubb vs. Tennessee Titans LB – Rashad Evans
- Anybody who loves me knows I love physical football. Nick Chubb has comeback from injury on a mission. Chubb has run his way to 3 straight 100 yard games. Tennessee will need to keep Chubb at bay and Evans will play a large role in that.
Rookie Play of the Week:
- Former South Carolina and current 49er defensive tackle 2020 first round pick Jevon Kinlaw hauled in his first career interception and ran it all way back for a his first career touchdown.
- 2020 #8 draft pick Isaiah Simmons recorded his second sack in as many weeks for the Arizona Cardinals.
- Wide Receiver Van Jefferson, 2nd round pick of the Rams, scored his first career touchdown on Monday Night Football. Van’s father Shawn Jefferson played 14 year in the NFL mostly with the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots.
- If you aren’t following the absolute duel this year’s rookie kickers are having you need to check your pulse to see if you are still alive. The Colts Rodrigo “rec specs” Blankenship and Bills Tyler “kick his ass” Bass have thrust themselves into a sprint to the finish line for TC56 kicker of the year award. Blankenship (96 points) has a slight lead on Bass (95 points). Both are key members of their franchises playoff push. Nothing would make me happier than a match up these two. Don’t adjust your phones, these aren’t two guys wanted for stealing kittens from a pet store……..These are future All-Pro kickers.
Rookie League Leaders:
TD Passes: Chargers – Justin Herbert – 23
Passing Yards: Chargers – Justin Herbert – 3015
Rushing TD: Washington – Antonio Gibson – 11
Rushing Yards: Jaguars – James Robinson – 890
Receiving TD: Steelers – Chase Claypool: 8
Receiving Yards: Vikings – Justin Jefferson: 918
Receptions: Cowboys – Cee Dee Lamb – 53
Total Touchdowns: Washington – Antonio Gibson – 11
Points Scored: Colts – Rodrigo Blankenship – 96
Total Tackles: Panthers – Jeremy Chinn – 87
Tackles for a Loss: Washington – Chase Young – 7
Sacks: Washington – Chase Young – 4.5
Interceptions: Rams – Jordan Fuller – 3