Former Maryland star safety Darnell Savage Jr. delivered a gift to Green Bay Packers fans on Christmas Day against the Cleveland Browns.
Savage made his 15th start of the season in Green Bay’s 15th game of the year, and he finished the contest with a season-high eight total tackles along with an interception and pass deflection.
The third-year safety dropped back in coverage and disguised himself perfectly in the middle of the defense. Savage sprinted back to intercept a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield that was intended for former Michigan wide receiver Donavan Peoples-Jones, whom Savage faced twice in college.
Merry Christmas more like Merry Pickmas @darnellsavage_ pic.twitter.com/yHgEFDtG02— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) December 25, 2021
The interception marked his second of the season and first since Week Six. Additionally, he recorded his ninth pass deflection of the season and first since Week 11. Savage has eight career interceptions and 26 pass deflections in 44 career regular season games.
The former first-round pick played in 100% of the Packers’ defensive snaps for the ninth straight game and the 13th time this season. Green Bay knocked off Cleveland, 24-22, and has now won four straight games to improve to 12-3 which leads the entire NFL.
The Packers clinched the NFC North title for the third time in Savage’s tenure. They will host Minnesota and travel to Detroit to close out the season as they seek to lock up the No. 1-seed in the NFC. Green Bay is looking to get over the hump as it has lost in the NFC Championship in each of the last two seasons.
- Buffalo Bills star wide receiver Stefon Diggs had one of his best performances of the 2021 season on Sunday. Diggs recorded seven catches for 85 yards and a touchdown on 13 targets. His 85 yards against New England was his most in a game since Week 10. After leading the NFL in receptions and receiving yards a season ago, the wide receiver now sits tied for sixth in the NFL in receiving touchdowns (9), seventh in targets (141), ninth in receiving yards (1,092), and 10th in receptions (89) this season. Just a few days after being named to the Pro Bowl for the second straight year, Diggs helped Buffalo win a crucial AFC East matchup against the Patriots and now both teams sit atop the division at 9-6. Buffalo will host Atlanta and the New York Jets to close out the season with the chance to win the division for the second straight time.
EVERYDAY CAN BE DIGGSMAS! pic.twitter.com/BOBb3SyrjM— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) December 26, 2021
- New England Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson continued his success as a ball hawk in Sunday’s loss to the Bills. Jackson finished the game with three tackles but added another pass deflection to hold onto his NFL lead with 21. Dallas’ Trevon Diggs has tied his total with 21 and leads Jackson by four with 11 interceptions for the league lead. Jackson has recorded at least one pass deflection in each of the last seven games and has a total of 11 in that span. This week, he was named to the NFL Pro Bowl for the first time in his career. New England will host Jacksonville and travel to Miami to close its season as it seeks a 23rd AFC East championship.
- Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore had to adjust to two quarterbacks on Sunday with Sam Darnold attempting 32 passes and Cam Newton attempting 13. Moore finished the game with five receptions for 55 yards on 11 targets. The Panthers failed to score a touchdown in the blowout loss to Tampa Bay. Moore currently sits in the top-15 in the NFL in targets (5th), receptions (T-13th), and receiving yards (14th).
- Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. totaled three tackles in the loss to the Buccaneers. This snapped a streak of nine straight games where Carter recorded at least five tackles in each game. He only played in 30% of the defensive snaps in the game, which tied for his lowest mark of the season when he also played in 30% of the snaps in Week Two.
- Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Quinton Jefferson made his 15th start of the season on Sunday. Jefferson made two total tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss and he also recorded a quarterback hit. Jefferson has a tackle for loss in three straight games and five total this season. Las Vegas beat Denver in a tight game at home, 17-13.
- Las Vegas Raiders defensive weapon Yannick Ngakoue recorded just one tackle on Sunday, but it was a tackle for loss. He also continued to disrupt the opposing quarterback and he had another quarterback hit in the game. He has at least one quarterback hit in all but two games this season. Ngakoue has seven tackles for losses and 19 quarterback hits this season.
- Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Michael Dunn made his second straight start and the third of his career on Saturday against Green Bay. Dunn played in all of the Browns’ offensive snaps for the second straight game and has been seeing an uptick in playing time over the last couple of weeks.
- Los Angeles Rams rookie running back Jake Funk reappeared on offense this week. Funk ran the ball one time for a loss of one yard and appeared in two offensive snaps. The rookie also appeared in over half of the Rams’ special teams snaps. Funk now has two career NFL carries.
- Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Keandre Jones made his third straight appearance on Sunday and played in 15 special teams snaps. The Bengals knocked off Baltimore, 41-21 in a critical divisional matchup.
- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Trey Edmunds was elevated to the active roster for the first time this season after several players were ruled out and placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Edmunds appeared in 11 special teams snaps for Pittsburgh and did not record a stat in his 2021 debut.
- New York Jets running back Ty Johnson only appeared in one offensive snap and two on special teams in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. It was the first time this season that Jackson did not record a statistic on offense in a game.
- Seattle Seahawks tight end Tyler Mabry was elevated back to the active roster on Christmas Day after several of his teammates were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Mabry appeared in two snaps offensively and 10 on special teams without recording a stat in Seattle’s 25-24 loss to Chicago.
- Antoine Brooks Jr. was activated off of the Reserve/COVID-19 list by the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 23 but did not play this week against Minnesota in the 30-23 win.
- Pittsburgh Steelers running back Anthony McFarland Jr. was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list and missed Sunday’s game against Kansas City.
- Detroit Lions linebacker Josh Woods was inactive for Sunday’s game with a neck injury. He was kept out of practice all week after suffering a neck injury in the first half of the Lions’ Week 15 contest against Arizona.
- Safety Sean Davis remained on the Patriots’ practice squad this week.
- Offensive lineman Derwin Gray remained on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad this week.
- Patriots defensive lineman Byron Cowart was designated to return by New England on Oct. 20. The Patriots had three weeks from then to activate him off the PUP or leave him there for the season.