NFL Week 14 winners and losers: New York Jets CB Sauce Gardner shuts down Buffalo's Stefon Diggs

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; New York Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner (1) looks on before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

As part of PFF's grading process, we chart every matchup on the football field, allowing us to take a detailed look at in-game battles and highlight the players who come out on top each week.

There can be obvious matchup victories, such as a wide receiver putting up 150 yards against a struggling cornerback or an edge rusher beating the same tackle to sack the quarterback repeatedly. But there can also be those hidden wins, such as a guard quietly beating his opponent on every pass-block rep or a cornerback holding his receiver to zero targets over a game.

Here are the players who got the better of their matchups in Week 14.

EDGE Myles Garrett, Cleveland Browns vs. LT Jonah Williams, Cincinnati Bengals

Garrett lined up against Williams 31 times and was double-teamed 14 times. However, he still won 36% of his pass-rush reps and racked up six pressures, including two sacks.

EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, Cleveland Browns vs. RT La’el Collins, Cincinnati Bengals

The Browns defense played relatively well against the Bengals, especially in the first half. The reason? Finally, another pass-rusher stepped up next to Myles Garrett. Clowney won 37% of his pass-rush reps and generated five pressures.

EDGE Maxx Crosby, Las Vegas Raiders vs. RT Rob Havenstein, Los Angeles Rams

Crosby is a repeat fixture of this column. Across 32 pass-rush snaps against Havenstein in Week 14, he won eight times and recorded six pressures, including two sacks.

EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants vs. LT Jordan Mailata, Philadelphia Eagles

Thibodeaux continues his impressive rookie season. The Philadelphia Eagles' passing game is arguably the league's hardest to rush, yet Thibodeaux racked up four pressures across only 15 pass-rush snaps against Mailata.

LT Jack Conklin, Cleveland Browns vs. EDGE Sam Hubbard, Cincinnati Bengals

If the Browns had a passing offense that targeted receivers in structure, Sam Hubbard would have had a long day because Conklin didn’t lose a single pass-block rep on Sunday. The fact that the Bengals edge rusher was able to rack up six pressures is a mixture of his willingness to play to the whistle and QB Deshaun Watson not getting rid of the football.

WR Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos vs. CB Joshua Williams, Kansas City Chiefs

Jeudy ran just eight routes against Williams, and he earned a positive grade on six of these. Williams might be lucky that Jeudy was only targeted twice for 32 yards and a touchdown in his coverage.

WR Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos vs. CB Trent McDuffie, Kansas City Chiefs

McDuffie couldn’t cover Jeudy, either, as the Broncos receiver caught 45 yards, two first downs and a touchdown across only 11 snaps against him.

WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings vs. CB Mike Hughes, Detroit Lions

We knew that Jefferson would be the better player in this matchup, but the Vikings wideout left zero doubt about that on Sunday. He caught 79 yards and three first downs against Hughes on 11 routes.

WR Ja’Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals vs. CB Denzel Ward, Cleveland Browns

Ward lined up across Chase almost all day, as they met on 28 snaps, and he was graded negatively in coverage on 11 of these. Chase ended up being targeted 12 times, recording five first downs, 107 receiving yards and a touchdown against Ward.

CB L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City Chiefs vs. WR Brandon Johnson, Denver Broncos

Sneed covered Johnson for eight snaps and kept a perfectly clean sheet — zero negatively graded coverage snaps and zero targets allowed.

CB Sauce Gardner, New York Jets vs. WR Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills

Gardner did what no other cornerback has done against Stefon Diggs this season: He covered him for 10 or more snaps (11), he didn’t give up a single target, and he didn't receive a single downgrade. It was a perfect day for the Jets' first-round pick.

CB Sauce Gardner, New York Jets vs. WR Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills

As if dominating Diggs wasn’t enough, Gardner also almost completely blanketed Gabriel Davis, who saw one target for 6 yards and no first downs against the DROY candidate.

CB Charvarius Ward, San Francisco 49ers vs. WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ward covered Evans for 20 snaps and was negatively graded only once, giving up just one target for 12 yards.


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