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2021 What To Look For - Week 12

2021 What To Look For - Week 12

11/25/2021
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The NFL is filled with exciting, playmaking running backs. In Week 11, Jonathan Taylor and Austin Ekeler had game-changing performances as both recorded multi-touchdown games to lead their respective teams to victories.

Taylor and Ekeler, along with Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey, can reach personal milestones this week.

Continue reading to learn what other players have the chance to make history in Week 12:


ZEKE HUNGRY FOR YARDS: In four career games on Thanksgiving, Dallas running back EZEKIEL ELLIOTT has totaled 439 scrimmage yards (109.8 per game) and three rushing touchdowns. In three of those four games, he surpassed 100 scrimmage yards.

With at least 100 scrimmage yards on Thursday against Las Vegas (4:30 PM ET, CBS), Elliott will tie Pro Football Hall of Famers MICHAEL IRVIN (four games) and BARRY SANDERS (four) for the second-most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards on the holiday in league history. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer EMMITT SMITH (eight games) has more.

The players with the most games with at least 100 scrimmage yards on Thanksgiving in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

GAMES

Emmitt SmithHOF

Dallas

8

Michael IrvinHOF

Dallas

4

Barry SandersHOF

Detroit

4

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

3*

*Entering Thursday

 

 

 

Since entering the NFL in 2016, Elliott leads the league with 9,240 scrimmage yards and ranks tied for fourth with 64 scrimmage touchdowns. In 2021, he has totaled 899 scrimmage yards (695 rushing, 204 receiving) and eight touchdowns (seven rushing, one receiving).

With 101 scrimmage yards on Thursday, Elliott will become the fourth player with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in each of his first six seasons in NFL history, joining Pro Football Hall of Famers LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (first eight seasons) and EMMITT SMITH (first seven seasons) as well as ADRIAN PETERSON (first sevens seasons).

The players with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in the most seasons to begin their careers in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

SEASONS

LaDainian TomlinsonHOF

San Diego Chargers

8

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota

7

Emmitt SmithHOF

Dallas

7

 

 

 

Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas

5*

*Has 899 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns in sixth season

 


KINGS IN THE NORTH: Week 12 features two AFC North matchups, as the PITTSBURGH STEELERS (5-4-1) travel to play the CINCINNATI BENGALS (6-4) at Paul Brown Stadium (1:00 PM ET, CBS) and the BALTIMORE RAVENS (7-3) host the CLEVELAND BROWNS (6-5) on Sunday Night Football (8:20 PM ET, NBC).

With each team above .500 and within one game of a playoff position, this marks the fourth time since 1970 in which each team in one division has a winning record entering Week 12.

The divisions with each team having a winning record entering Week 12 since 1970:

DIVISION

SEASON

TEAMS

AFC North

2021

Baltimore (7-3), Cincinnati (6-4), Pittsburgh (5-4-1), Cleveland (6-5)

AFC North

2014

Cincinnati (6-3-1), Pittsburgh (7-4), Baltimore (6-4), Cleveland (6-4)

NFC East

2008

N.Y. Giants (9-1), Dallas (6-4), Washington (6-4), Philadelphia (5-4-1)

AFC Central

1977

Pittsburgh (7-4), Cincinnati (6-5), Cleveland (6-4), Houston Oilers (6-5)

 


TAYLOR VS. TAMPA: Last week, Indianapolis running back JONATHAN TAYLOR totaled 204 scrimmage yards (185 rushing, 19 receiving) and five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving), becoming the first player to record at least 175 rushing yards, four rushing touchdowns and one touchdown reception in a single game in NFL history.

That marked his eighth consecutive game with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown, tied for the longest such streak in league history. If he accomplishes the feat again on Sunday against Tampa Bay (1:00 PM ET, FOX), Taylor will become the first player ever with at least 100 scrimmage yards and a rushing touchdown in nine straight games.

Taylor enters Week 12 leading the league with 1,122 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns. On Sunday, he will be facing a Buccaneers defense that leads the league in stopping the run, allowing 78.4 rushing yards per game. Through 10 games, Tampa Bay has only allowed one 100-yard rusher this season (Chicago’s KHALIL HERBERT – 100 rushing yards in Week 7).

Sunday’s matchup will mark the fifth game since 2000 featuring the league’s leading rusher against the league’s top rushing defense in Week 12 or later.

The games featuring the league’s leading rusher against the league’s top rushing defense in Week 12 or later since 2000:

WEEK, SEASON

LEADING RUSHER

(TEAM)

  TOP RUSHING

  DEFENSE

PLAYER RUSHING STATS IN GAME

RESULT

Week 12, 2021

Jonathan Taylor (Indianapolis)

  Tampa Bay

???

???

Week 13, 2018

Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas)

  New Orleans

75 yards, 0 TDs

DAL 13, NO 10

Week 12, 2015

Adrian Peterson (Minnesota)

  Atlanta

158 yards, 2 TDs

MIN 20, ATL 10

Week 14, 2004

Curtis MartinHOF (N.Y. Jets)

  Pittsburgh

72 yards, 0 TDs

PIT 17, NYJ 6

Week 13, 2001

Curtis MartinHOF (N.Y. Jets)

  Pittsburgh

58 yards, 0 TDs

PIT 18, NYJ 7

 

 
Tampa Bay quarterback TOM BRADY enters the week leading the league with 29 touchdown passes. With a touchdown pass on Sunday, he will mark his ninth-career season with at least 30 touchdown passes tying Pro Football Hall of Famers BRETT FAVRE (nine seasons) and PEYTON MANNING (nine) for the second-most seasons ever with at least 30 touchdown passes. Only DREW BREES (10) has more.


GREATNESS IS IN THE AAR: Last week, Green Bay quarterback AARON RODGERS passed for 385 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions for a 148.4 rating. It marked his 13th career game with at least four touchdown passes and a passer rating of 140-or-higher, tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer PEYTON MANNING (13) for the third-most such games all-time. Only DREW BREES (15) and TOM BRADY (14) have more.

Rodgers, the 2020 Associated Press Most Valuable Player, enters the week ranking second in the league with a 106.6 rating.

Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman AARON DONALD, the 2020 Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year, has six sacks this season and has recorded a sack in two of his past three games. With two sacks at Green Bay on Sunday (4:25 PM ET, FOX), Donald will become the fourth player with at least eight sacks in each of his first eight seasons since 1982, when the individual sack became an official statistic.

The players with at least eight sacks in the most seasons to begin their careers since 1982

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

SEASONS

Reggie WhiteHOF

Philadelphia, Green Bay

14

Derrick ThomasHOF

Kansas City

10

DeMarcus Ware

Dallas

8

 

 

 

Aaron Donald

St. Louis/L.A. Rams

7*

*Has six sacks in eighth season

 

When Rodgers and Donald meet on Sunday, it will mark the sixth game since 2000 and first since 2011 featuring a reigning Most Valuable Player quarterback and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

The games featuring a reigning Most Valuable Player quarterback and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year since 2000:

WEEK, SEASON

MVP QUARTERBACK (TEAM)

  DEFENSIVE POY (TEAM)

RESULT

Week 12, 2021

Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay)

  Aaron Donald (L.A. Rams)

???

Week 8, 2011

Tom Brady (New England)

  Troy PolamaluHOF (Pittsburgh)

PIT 25, NE 17

Week 1, 2005

Peyton ManningHOF (Indianapolis)

  Ed ReedHOF (Baltimore)

IND 24, BAL 7

Week 15, 2004

Peyton ManningHOF (Indianapolis)

  Ray LewisHOF (Baltimore)

IND 20, BAL 10

Week 2, 2002

Kurt WarnerHOF (St. Louis Rams)

  Michael StrahanHOF (N.Y. Giants)

NYG 26, STL 21

Week 16, 2000

Kurt WarnerHOF (St. Louis Rams)

  Warren SappHOF (Tampa Bay)

TB 38, STL 35

 


CHARGED UP: Last season, Los Angeles Chargers quarterback JUSTIN HERBERT recorded 31 touchdown passes and 396 completions, both the most by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. In 2021, Herbert ranks third in the league with 261 completions and fourth with 22 touchdown passes.

With a touchdown pass at Denver on Sunday (4:05 PM ET, CBS), Herbert will surpass DEREK CARR (53 touchdown passes) for the second-most touchdown passes ever by a player in his first two seasons. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO (68) had more.

The players with the most touchdown passes in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

TOUCHDOWN PASSES

Dan MarinoHOF

Miami

68

Derek Carr

Oakland Raiders

53

Justin Herbert

L.A. Chargers

53*

*In second season

 

With 26 completions on Sunday, Herbert will surpass ANDREW LUCK (682 completions) for the third-most completions ever by a player in his first two seasons. Only KYLER MURRAY (724 completions) and Carr (698) had more.   

The players with the most completions in their first two seasons in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

COMPLETIONS

Kyler Murray

Arizona

724

Derek Carr

Oakland Raiders

698

Andrew Luck

Indianapolis

682

Justin Herbert

L.A. Chargers

657*

Peyton ManningHOF

Indianapolis

657

Jameis Winston

Tampa Bay

657

*In second season

 

Herbert’s top target this season has been wide receiver KEENAN ALLEN, who leads the team with 74 catches and 810 receiving yards. Allen has 698 receptions in 110 career games and his 14 games with at least 10 receptions are the fifth-most since he entered the league in 2013.

With two receptions on Sunday, Allen will tie ANTONIO BROWN (111 games) as the fastest player ever to reach 700 career receptions.

The players to reach 700 career receptions in the fewest games in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM

GAMES

Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh

111

Julio Jones

Atlanta

112

Marvin HarrisonHOF

Indianapolis

114

 

 

 

Keenan Allen

San Diego/L.A. Chargers

110*

*Has 698 receptions in 110 games

 

Last week, Chargers running back AUSTIN EKELER totaled 115 scrimmage yards (65 receiving, 50 rushing) and a career-high four touchdowns (two rushing, two receiving). He enters Week 12 with 978 scrimmage yards (573 rushing, 405 receiving) this season and is one of two players in the league (D’ANDRE SWIFT) with at least 500 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards.

Ekeler, who signed with the Chargers after going undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft, has 4,958 scrimmage yards in his career. With 42 scrimmage yards on Sunday, he will become the third undrafted player to reach 5,000 scrimmage yards in his first five seasons in the common-draft era, joining ARIAN FOSTER and WILLIE PARKER.

The undrafted players with at least 5,000 scrimmage yards in their first five seasons in the common-draft era:

PLAYER

TEAM

SCRIMMAGE YARDS

Arian Foster

Houston

6,777

Willie Parker

Pittsburgh

5,622

 

 

 

Austin Ekeler

San Diego/L.A. Chargers

4,958*

*In fifth season

 


RUN CMC: Last week, Carolina running back CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY recorded 119 scrimmage yards (60 receiving, 59 rushing), marking his 22nd career game with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards.

If he accomplishes the feat at Miami on Sunday (1:00 PM ET, FOX), McCaffrey will tie TIKI BARBER (23 games) and Pro Football Hall of Famer LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (23) for the second-most games ever with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer MARSHALL FAULK (41) has more.

The players with the most games with at least 50 rushing yards and 50 receiving yards in NFL history:

PLAYER

TEAM(S)

GAMES

Marshall FaulkHOF

Indianapolis, St. Louis Rams

41

Tiki Barber

N.Y. Giants

23

LaDainian TomlinsonHOF

San Diego Chargers, N.Y. Jets

23

Christian McCaffrey

Carolina

22

 

 
Since entering the NFL in 2017, McCaffrey has 357 career receptions, while New Orleans running back ALVIN KAMARA has 358. McCaffrey on Sunday and Kamara against Buffalo on Thanksgiving (8:20 PM ET, NBC), can each surpass ROGER CRAIG (358) for the most receptions by a running back in his first five seasons in NFL history.

 
The Pro Football Hall of Fame will recognize individual and team “Milestones” throughout the 2021 season. Joining the Hall in celebrating the year’s accomplishments will be 11 of the health systems that are network providers providing quality medical care and services across the country in partnership with Hall of Fame Health. They are Baylor Scott & WhiteVanderbilt University Medical CenterHonorHealthFlagler Health Tampa General HospitalOhioHealthNorthShore HealthSystemProvidence St. John’sHCA Gulf CoastUCSF Health and Array Behavioral Care
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