The 2020 NFL regular season continues to wind down, as several former Terps look toward the playoffs. Another week in the NFL means another week of Maryland football alumni making noise at the next level.
Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage Jr. played the best game of his career in Week 16 on Sunday Night Football in the snow at Lambeau Field against the Titans.
Savage recorded a career-high three pass deflections, his team-leading fourth interception of the season and five total tackles. The second-year safety had five total pass deflections in his entire rookie season last year and already has 12 pass deflections in 2020.
He picked off a pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill early in the second quarter of Sunday’s game, which gave him his team-leading fourth interception of the season and another career-high. His four interceptions is good for fifth in the NFL behind Xavien Howard (9), fellow former Terp J.C. Jackson (8), Tyrann Mathieu (6) and Quandre Diggs (5).
Savage nearly had another interception later in the game, which he would’ve likely returned for a touchdown, but he could not hold on and instead deflected the pass.
He continues to have a phenomenal season and is turning into one of the elite safeties in the league. Quarterbacks are 3-for-16 with 57 passing yards, zero touchdowns, four interceptions, have had six passes broken up and have a passer rating of 2.3 when targeting Savage, since Week 10.
During that span, Savage is Pro Football Focus’ No. 1-ranked safety in the entire NFL with a 90.2 overall grade.
Savage has turned into a difference maker for the NFC leading 12-3 Green Bay Packers’ defense.
Here are some of his highlight’s from Sunday’s game.
Green Bay will travel to Chicago in Week 17 and with a win over the Bears, the Packers would clinch the No. 1-seed in the NFC and the first round bye in the playoffs.
On Monday Night Football, in primetime, Buffalo Bills wideout Stefon Diggs continued to cement himself among the league’s best. Diggs finished the game with nine receptions for 145 yards and three touchdowns, en route to a 38-9 rout of New England. This was the first multi-touchdown game of the season for Diggs and his 145 yards were the third most he’s recorded in a game this year.
This was just the second time in Diggs’ career that he scored three touchdowns in a game. The first time was in Week 6 of the 2019 season against Philadelphia when Diggs was with the Vikings. He has now plotted at least 130 receiving yards in each of the last three contests.
Diggs is back at the top of the NFL in receptions (120) and receiving yards (1,459) heading into the final game of the regular season. A Bills player has never led the league in either category. He also broke the record for most receptions by a Bills player in a single season last week, and on Monday night he broke the franchise record for receiving yards in a single-season.
Diggs’ 1,459 receiving yards are his career-high, with the season still not over. The fifth-year receiver now has eight touchdowns, which ties his second-most in a season from 2017. His career-high in touchdowns is nine, which he set in 2018, and he'll look to break that next week.
Buffalo currently holds the No. 2-seed in the AFC and will host the Miami Dolphins next Sunday to try and clinch that spot in the conference.
- Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson recorded two total tackles, including a sack and tackle for loss against New England on Monday Night Football. He got to former MVP quarterback Cam Newton on third and seven, which forced the Patriots to punt. This was Jefferson’s third sack of the season and his first since Week 8. He set his career-high of 3.5 sacks last season with Seattle and will look to break that against Miami next week.
- Panthers linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr. recovered a fumble for the first time in his career on Sunday and returned it 19 yards. He additionally recorded two total tackles, which were both solo tackles in the victory. Carter has started in every game since Week 11 and has appeared in every game this season. He’s gotten significantly better as the season has progressed. Carolina will host the Saints next week.
Oh he got a piece of that pic.twitter.com/xkAohbSLhD— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) December 27, 2020
- Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore turned in a solid performance against the Washington Football Team. He caught five passes for 37 total yards and was third on the team in catches and receiving yards behind Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson. Moore helped the Panthers defeat Washington, 20-17. Moore remains 10th in the NFL in receiving yards with 1,092 yards. Additionally, in 14 games played, he has 61 receptions and four touchdowns.
- New England cornerback J.C. Jackson turned in another successful game with five total tackles, all solo, which tied a single game season-high from Week 3 and Week 8. Jackson continues his career-best season and sits second in the entire NFL with eight interceptions. New England will conclude its season against the Jets next week.
- After putting on a show last week, Baltimore Ravens defensive end Yannick Ngakoue only recorded one total tackle in the win the Giants. Ngakoue played about 50% of the team’s defensive snaps against New York. Ngakoue and the Ravens will look to clinch a playoff berth as they take on the Bengals in Cincinnati next week.
- After having a sensational game last week, running back Ty Johnson was severely overshadowed by veteran Frank Gore in the Jets’ backfield this week. Johnson ran just twice for 13 total yards and did not catch a pass. He had the fourth most carries on the team behind Gore (14), La’Mical Perine (9) and Sam Darnold (7). Johnson was fifth on the team in this game in rushing yards behind the aforementioned ball carriers and Jamison Crowder, who had a 14 yard run. The Jets won their second consecutive game and have clinched the No. 2 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. New York will conclude its season against New England in Week 17.
- Chicago Bears linebacker Josh Woods recored two total tackles in Sunday’s dominant win over Jacksonville, 41-17. Woods contributed on defense and special teams for the Bears, but primarily has been a special teams participant this year.
- Patriots defensive lineman Byron Cowart recorded just one tackle in Monday’s game against Buffalo. The second-year lineman has been consistent in picking up tackles this season. In 13 games played this season, Cowart has recorded a tackle in 11 games.
- Rookie linebacker Keandre Jones made his NFL debut on Sunday after the Cincinnati Bengals elevated him from the practice squad to the active roster. Jones made his first career tackle on special teams in the Bengals’ 37-31 win over Houston. He played more than half of the team’s special team snaps on Sunday.
- Pittsburgh rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr. was questionable for Sunday’s game against the Colts all week and was ruled out with an illness. He likely wouldn’t have seen a large role in the game with James Conner, Benny Snell and Jaylen Samuels all healthy this week.
- Steelers safety Sean Davis did not record a stat and was only a special teams participant in Sunday’s contest.
- Steelers rookie safety Antoine Brooks Jr. and running back Trey Edmunds were both inactive on Sunday against Indianapolis. The Steelers clinched the AFC North with their win over the Colts.
- Offensive lineman Derwin Gray was released by the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday. The Jacksonville Jaguars claimed the former seventh round pick off of waivers on Monday afternoon.
- Running back Javon Leake remained on the Washington Football Team’s practice squad this week as the team lost to Carolina, which has a chance to clinch the NFC East with a win over Philadelphia next week.