We wrap up the 15th Sunday of the NFL season by looking at a handful of players who exceeded expectations and a handful who failed to deliver.


Kirk Cousins, Redskins: In for the injured Robert Griffin III, the rookie fourth-round pick didn't look like he was making his first career start in Cleveland. The Michigan State product posted a triple-digit rating, leading the 'Skins to their fifth straight victory to move into first place in the NFC East.

Russell Wilson, Seahawks: Wilson accepts this honor on behalf of the entire Seahawks' offense, which put up 50 points for the second straight week. As good as Wilson's been this year, nobody expected the rookie to lead the offense like this. They're simply dominating, and Wilson had four touchdowns (three rushing) in a blowout victory over the Bills.

Harry Douglas, Falcons: With Roddy White and Julio Jones both healthy, few expected Douglas to be the Falcons' top receiver against the Giants. But the 83 yards he posted Sunday was his second-highest total since 2009.

Dennis Pitta, Ravens: Three years in the league and the tight end had never gone over the 73-yard mark in a game until Sunday. In a losing effort against Denver, though, he caught seven passes for 125 yards and two scores.

Rob Jackson, Redskins: Brian Orakpo's replacement was a force for the Redskins in the second half as they came back to beat the Browns. He had a sack, a pick and a forced fumble in Cleveland.


Eli Manning, Giants: The New York offense was completely out of sync in a flat effort in Atlanta, and Manning was the primary reason why. He completed just 13 passes and threw two interceptions in a blowout loss, and now the Giants are currently out of a playoff spot with two weeks remaining.

Matthew Stafford, Lions: Only 246 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions against the unbelievably bad Arizona Cardinals? How is this possible? Stafford's regressed.

Doug Martin, Buccaneers: The Bucs have completely collapsed and their rookie sensation running back has completely disappeared. Against one of the worst defenses in the NFL, Martin had just 16 rushing yards on nine carries vs. New Orleans.

Jamaal Charles, Chiefs: I understand that he's not getting a lot of support from the rest of that Kansas City offense, but Charles had just 10 yards on nine carries in Oakland. Pretty ridiculous, especially considering he had three 100-yard efforts in a row headed into that game.

Demaryius Thomas, Broncos: I'm sure Thomas couldn't care less because the Broncos won again, but fantasy owners have to be devastated that the 1,000-yard receiver had just 13 yards on four catches against Baltimore.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at, Deadspin,, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.