NFL Week 12: Biggest Takeaways from Sunday's Games

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonContributor INovember 28, 2022

NFL Week 12: Biggest Takeaways from Sunday's Games

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    Trevor Lawrence
    Mike Carlson/Getty Images

    In Week 12, quarterbacks took center stage in the early kickoffs, but a running back stole the show in the second wave of NFL games on Sunday.

    Bleacher Report analyst Gary Davenport took a deep dive into the New York Jets' 31-10 win over the Chicago Bears and how Mike White elevated Gang Green's offense. For now, we'll examine the impact of the Jets' victory on quarterback Zach Wilson's future, whom the team benched this week.

    Unlike his 2021 draft classmate in Wilson, quarterback Trevor Lawrence has a firm grip on the lead position under center. Moreover, his team clearly trusts himβ€”enough to rely on his arm in a crucial moment against a top-level AFC opponent. Head coach Doug Pederson showed a great deal of confidence in Lawrence, who's progressing well under his tutelage.

    Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs etched his name into franchise history books with an awe-inspiring performance, recording 303 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns. He may have officially extended his stay with the Silver and Black beyond an expiring rookie contract.

    Meanwhile, one playoff-contending squad took a couple of significant blows between a loss and a key injury. Another team has taken too many losses, which may add up to an abrupt exit for a first-year head coach.

    Let's go through our biggest takeaways from Sunday's Week 12 action.

Raiders Will Have a Tough Decision to Make on Josh Jacobs' Future in the Offseason

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    Josh Jacobs
    Jane Gershovich/Getty Images

    Josh Jacobs strapped the Las Vegas Raiders to his back and carried them to a 40-34 victory over the Seattle Seahawks with an 86-yard walk-off touchdown in overtime. Despite coming into the game with a calf injury, he had a career day.

    Jacobs racked up 303 yards from scrimmage, which is a Raiders franchise record, per CBS Sports. This season, he's topped 150 yards from scrimmage in five games, trailing only Hall of Famer Marcus Allen (seven) for most such contests with the team (h/t ESPN's Paul Gutierrez).

    As the workhorse in the Raiders' backfield, Jacobs has already reached a career-high in scrimmage yards (1,484), surpassing his previous high mark (1,316) in 11 games.

    This past offseason, the Raiders selected running back Zamir White in the fourth round of the 2022 draft and declined the fifth-year option in Jacobs' rookie contract, which signaled the potential end of the latter's tenure in Vegas.

    However, new head coach Josh McDaniels hasn't used a committee of running backs. Behind Jacobs, who has 216 carries, quarterback Derek Carr has the second-most rush attempts on the team with 17.

    Next offseason, Jacobs could command a top-dollar salary that averages more than 16 million annually. If he does, Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler, who joined the organization along with McDaniels, would have a tough decision to make before the new league year.

    Ziegler must weigh the pros and cons of re-signing Jacobs. The front-office executive may let him walk with a pivot to White and/or another cheaper option at running back.

    Jacobs may price himself out of Vegas with his production if Ziegler prefers to use more of his financial capital to strengthen a bottom-tier defense (24th in scoring and 27th in yards) than on a player at a position with a short shelf life.

Cardinals' Regression Raises Questions About Kliff Kingsbury's Future

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    Kliff Kingsbury
    AP Photo/Fernando Llano

    Within Kliff Kingsbury's first three seasons as an NFL head coach, the Arizona Cardinals steadily improved their win-loss record and advanced to the playoff last year.

    This year, the Cardinals have regressed, and they're in danger of missing the postseason following consecutive losses. At 4-8, Arizona's top-level decision-makers should contemplate Kingsbury's long-term future.

    Though the Cardinals have played through stretches without key playmakers in DeAndre Hopkins, James Conner and Marquise Brown, one can question whether the offense has reached its highest potential under Kingsbury, who's an offensive-minded head coach.

    Under Kingsbury, the Cardinals haven't ranked higher than 11th in scoring, which is a bit of an underachievement with Kyler Murray, who went No. 1 overall in the 2019 draft.

    Furthermore, Kingsbury has butted heads with Murray during this season. Even though players and coaches often have disagreements, the Cardinals signal-caller's frustration with his lead skipper could result in a significant change for an offense that's somewhat underperformed over the past few seasons.

    With midseason buzz about Kingsbury's job security or lack thereof, perhaps the noise seeps through the walls at Cardinals headquarters, and team brass calls in its head coach for a long discussion at the end of the 2022 campaign.

    That being said, Arizona may give Kingsbury another year after signing him to an extension last offseason. Murray's input may be crucial in that decision. After Sunday's 25-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, he openly criticized the team's schematic approach.

Zach Wilson Isn't Getting His Job Back in 2022, Mike White Elevates Jets Offense

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    Mike White
    AP Photo/John Minchillo

    The New York Jets thumped the Chicago Bears 31-10, scoring the most points in a game since their 40-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins in Week 5.

    More importantly, the Jets offense racked up a season-high 466 yards of total offense with Mike White under center. Furthermore, with him at the helm, Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore looked like a dynamic duo at wideout (seven catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns combined).

    Despite rainy conditions in East Rutherford, New Jersey, White threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, which included some deep strikes downfield. He finished with a 149.3 passer rating.

    This week, the Jets decided to bench Zach Wilson after his abysmal Week 11 performance (9-of-22 passing for 77 yards) and a postgame podium gaffe in which he didn't take accountability for a poor outing.

    According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, the Jets have lost confidence in Wilson, and he's lost assurance in himself. Per the NFL insider, Gang Green won't reinsert the second-year signal-caller into the starting lineup until he finds his groove again.

    As long as the Jets win games and move the ball on offense with White, though, Wilson isn't likely to get his starting position back this season. With a 7-4 squad and playoff-ready roster, head coach Robert Saleh has to start the best player at quarterback, and right now, White is far better than Wilson in terms of utilizing his playmakers.

Nathaniel Hackett Will Be a One-and-Done Head Coach

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    Russell Wilson (left) and Nathaniel Hackett (right)
    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    The Denver Broncos entered Week 12 with the league's lowest-scoring offense. They have scored more than 16 points twice in 11 games, logging 23 and 21 points in Weeks 4 and 8, respectively.

    As the Broncos dropped their third consecutive game, defensive tackle Mike Purcell had some choice words for quarterback Russell Wilson, who completed 19 of 35 pass attempts for 142 yards and a touchdown in a 23-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

    Last week, before a matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders, head coach Nathaniel Hackett ceded play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak. Denver has scored two touchdowns since the switch.

    With a defense that ranked in the top three in yards and points allowed going into Week 12 and a quarterback who just signed a five-year, $245 million extension with $165 million guaranteed, Hackett will likely become the scapegoat for Denver's issues, which have bubbled to surface.

    As a former offensive coordinator who no longer calls plays for a squad that seems ready to implode, Hackett will have to accept much of the blame for Denver's subpar results this season. When you toss in the Broncos' poor clock management and the club's league-leading 8.3 penalties per game going into Sunday, team brass has more than enough reason to fire him within the next couple of months.

Buccaneers' Midseason Turnaround Makes a Screeching Halt

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    Tristan Wirfs
    Nick Cammett/Getty Images

    Before their Week 11 bye, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gained some momentum, winning their last two games. They showed signs of a team that addressed its early-season struggles in time for a post-Thanksgiving run to the playoffs.

    Well, Tampa Bay took a step back in a 23-17 overtime loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Buccaneers led 17-10 heading into the fourth quarter, but they couldn't seal the deal, allowing a touchdown to tight David Njoku with 32 seconds left in regulation and a rushing score to Nick Chubb in the extra period.

    Though Tom Brady had a solid outing, throwing for 246 yards and two touchdowns, Tampa Bay gave up 189 yards and two scores on the ground. The Buccaneers' soft run defense plagued them in the first half of the season, and that issue factored into their loss on Sunday.

    On a positive note, rookie third-rounder Rachaad White looked the part of a lead running back as Leonard Fournette nursed a hip injury. He racked up 109 scrimmage yards, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

    Looking ahead though, the Buccaneers may have a problem winning in the trenches on both sides of the ball with an inconsistent run defense and right tackle Tristan Wirfs potentially out after he left Sunday's game on a cart with a leg injury.

Bengals, Titans Battle in Potential Playoff Preview

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    Ryan Tannehill (left) and Joe Burrow (right)
    AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

    The Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans played each other for the second time in about 10 months. Just like their 2021 divisional round matchup, the Bengals won by a slim margin (20-16).

    In a battle between AFC heavyweights, these squads went back and forth in a regular-season game that had a playoff atmosphere. Both clubs played a physical style, but the Bengals held running back Derrick Henry to 38 rushing yards, his second-lowest total on the ground this season. Meanwhile, the Bengals rushed for 108 yards and a score without starting running back Joe Mixon (concussion).

    The Bengals looked exceptionally impressive in this victory because they came out on top against a top-tier opponent without Mixon or star wideout Ja'Marr Chase (hip).

    After an 0-2 start, Cincinnati has won seven out of nine games, and the squad closely resembles last year's group that went on a tear late in the season, winning six out of seven contests starting from Week 15 and leading into Super Bowl LVI.

    Nonetheless, the Bengals may see the AFC South-leading Titans (7-4) again in January.

Trevor Lawrence's Signature Win over Ravens Bodes Well For His Development

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    Trevor Lawrence
    AP Photo/Gary McCullough

    Even though Trevor Lawrence has made moderate strides between his rookie and second seasons, he's continued to battle inconsistencies with turnovers and ball placement.

    In Week 4, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Lawrence threw an interception and lost three fumbles. Between Weeks 8 and 9, he gave away three possessions (two interceptions and a fumble). Before Week 12, the Jaguars signal-caller completed less than 59 percent of his passes in half of the team's games.

    But on Sunday, Lawrence had a strong outing against Baltimore, going 29-of-37 passing for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Head coach Doug Pederson showed the ultimate faith in his second-year quarterback, calling for a two-point conversion with the game on the line, and Lawrence connected with wideout Zay Jones for the go-ahead score.

    In addition to the Jaguars' quality 28-27 victory, Pederson's decision to put the ball in Lawrence's hands to win could go a long way in boosting the young quarterback's confidence following a shaky stretch before the bye week.

    At 4-7, the Jaguars have to make up a lot of ground to enter the playoff picture, but their triumph over the Ravens in dramatic fashion may lead them in the right direction for the remainder of the season.

    Maurice Moton covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @MoeMoton.