As part of PFF's grading process, we chart every matchup on the football field, allowing us to take a detailed look at the 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 repeatedly beating the same tackle to sack the quarterback. 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 15.
Heyward won eight of his 18 pass-rush reps against Christensen for two sacks and five total pressures. That’s a dominant day.
Bosa lined up opposite Cross 23 times and won 10 of those reps. He produced six pressures, including a sack.
It might not be obvious at first, as he was unable to come away with a sack, but Sweat decisively won his matchup with Neal. He won seven of his 18 pass-rush reps against him, racking up four pressures in the process.
O’Neill had the disadvantage of blocking for a trailing team the whole day yet lost only one of 44 pass-blocking snaps against Paye. Unfortunately, that one loss resulted in a sack, but that was out of O’Neill’s control.
Mailata kept a perfectly clean sheet against Robinson — no pass-block losses, no pressures allowed, and, of course, no sacks allowed.
Johnson and Taylor met just eight times on Sunday, but we graded Johnson positively and Taylor negatively on five of these routes. Johnson caught 34 yards and two first downs against him.
On nine routes against Gordon, Smith was positively graded five times and came away with 38 receiving yards.
Lamb was positively graded on seven of his 13 routes against Herndon. He put up 96 yards and four first downs on these plays.
Williams usually isn’t known for his ability to create separation, as he is stronger at the catch point than in the route-running phase. However, he was positively graded on five of his 11 routes against Mabin and recorded 43 yards and two first downs against him.
In a highly anticipated matchup between two stellar players, A.J. Brown ultimately got the better of Johnson, racking up 124 yards on 21 routes against him. Brown was positively graded on 10 of these routes.
Gilmore struggled somewhat against Justin Jefferson, but who doesn’t? However, he kept a clean sheet against Thielen: He wasn’t graded negatively once and didn’t give up a target.
Gardner covered Chark for 13 routes; he wasn’t downgraded in route coverage and didn’t give up a target. In fact, Gardner did exactly the same against all other Lions receivers, only on fewer snaps.
Jones was tasked with covering Andrews 10 times. He didn’t give up any separation and gave up only one yard on two targets.