USC NFL Week 12 Roundup: Matt Barkley Gets First NFL Start

Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Matt Barkley (12) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Matt Barkley (12) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

USC NFL action in Week 12 featured a couple of firsts for Matt Barkley and standout days from a pair of defenders, plus more Projan highlights.

There was good news and bad news for Matt Barkley. The good news? He started for Chicago. The bad news? The Bears are bad news.

As it went for the former Trojan quarterback, the Thanksgiving weekend was a hit-and-miss proposition for USC alumni in the NFL.

Here’s how the Projans fared in Week 12 of the NFL season.

Three Stars of the Week

  1. Matt Barkley: With Jay Cutler out with a shoulder injury, Barkley made first NFL start and threw his first career touchdown — plus a pair more. In fact, Barkley was quite good for the Bears, throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns while leading Chicago to the brink of a comeback win. Unfortunately, receiver drops ended those hopes. Pro Football Focus pointed out the money stat: “Barkley managed a completion percentage of only 52.0, despite an adjusted completion percentage of 72.2, thanks to 11 drops by his receivers. Two of those drops came in the end zone with less than a minute to play, and with Chicago trailing by six.”
  2. Nickell Robey-Coleman: Robey-Coleman had just one tackle to go along with one pass deflections in the Buffalo victory over Jacksonville, but when it comes to being a defensive back, less stats can be a good thing. PFF rated the cornerback as the Bills top defender — and he was the second-highest rated player in the game.
  3. Clay Matthews: Matthews chipped in four tackles and a sack as the Packers bested the Eagles on Monday night, but a blindside block knocked him out of the game briefly with a shoulder injury. Head coach Mike McCarthy praised the linebacker for playing through the injury.

What Other Projans Did

  • Nelson Agholor: The Eagles had Agholor amongst the inactives on Monday night against the Packers. After a truly disastrous season for the second year pro, it looks like the coaches are taking him off the field to get his head straight — and take some much needed pressure off.
  • Buck Allen: Allen didn’t have any touches as the Ravens beat the Bengals.
  • Reggie Bush: Bush was active but didn’t touch the ball for the Bills agaisnt the Jaguars.
  • Jordan Cameron: Cameron is on season-ending IR due to a concussion.
  • Jurrell Casey: Casey had four tackles in Tennessee’s win over Chicago but had to leave the game with a sprained foot. Thanks to an upcoming bye week, he is unlikely to miss any time.
  • Matt Cassel: Cassel did not get into the game for the Titans against the Bears.
  • Su’a Cravens: Cravens had two tackles in Washington’s loss to Dallas.
  • Brian Cushing: Cushing had seven tackles, including a tackle for loss, and was graded among the Texans top defenders against the Chargers, though that wasn’t enough for a win.
  • Rhett Ellison: The Vikings tight end isn’t a regular receiving target, but he extended his streak of games with a catch to four on Thursday in a loss to the Lions, going up high on a fade for a 21-yard gain. Ellison was also Minnesota’s highest rated offensive player on the day, per PFF.
  • George Farmer: Farmer had been on the Seahawks practice squad, but was elevated to the official roster due to depth problems in Seattle at running back. He played 16 snaps agaisnt the Buccaneers, with two targets and a catch for four yards.
  • Everson Griffen: As the Vikings struggled in a loss to the lions, Griffen managed just one tackle in a quiet outing.
  • Xavier Grimble:

    Grimble remains out with a quad injury, missing the Steelers win over the Colts.

  • Wes Horton: Horton had one tackle as the Panthers lost to the Raiders.
  • Matt Kalil: The Vikings placed Kalil on IR, ending his season.
  • Ryan Kalil: Kalil joined his brother on IR this week with the shoulder injury which has held him out for a month.
  • Devon Kennard: Kennard was named a game day team captain for the Giants and went on to contribute three tackles and a tackle for loss as New York handed Cleveland another loss.
  • Cody Kessler: The Browns quarterback was inactive this week due to concussion. He is expected to be back this weekend.
  • Marqise Lee: It wasn’t a great day for the Jaguars offense, but Lee did his part, catching four balls for 37 yards and a touchdown, leading the team in all of those categories.
  • Marcus Martin: Martin remains a back up at center for the 49ers.
  • Rey Maualuga: Back in the lineup after being a coaches scratch last week, Maualuga had an interception and one tackle as Cincinatti fell to Baltimore.
  • T.J. McDonald: McDonald was active for the Rams defense against the Saints, logging seven tackles and one pass deflection in the loss. He was the third-highest graded player on defense for LA, per PFF.
  • Mike Morgan: Morgan has been on IR since Week 5, but he is expected to be activated this coming week.
  • Carson Palmer: Palmer’s Cardinals struggled against Atlanta, as the quarterback completed just 55 percent of his passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. As PFF pointed out, the issue appeared to be protection-based, Palmer’s passer rating when not pressured was 114.7. When pressured? 15.4.
  • Nick Perry: Perry increased his lead among Packers sack-leaders, adding a sack, three tackles and a pass deflection against the Eagles.
  • Hayes Pullard: Pullard didn’t have any stats for the Jaguars in their loss to the Bills.
  • Silas Redd: Redd remains indefinitely banned for a violation of the league’s substance policy.
  • Frostee Rucker: Rucker had three tackles during Arizona’s loss to Atlanta.
  • Mark Sanchez:

    The back up Cowboys quarterback remained an inactive this week.

    More from Reign of Troy

  • Kevon Seymour: Seymour matched his Trojan teammates’ stat line with one tackle and one pass deflection.
  • Josh Shaw: Despite being slowed by a hip injury, Shaw had six tackles in the Bengals loss to the Ravens.
  • Malcolm Smith: The Raiders linebacker had seven tackles to help the Raiders beat the Panthers.
  • Tyron Smith: Smith’s Cowboys remain on a roll, beating the Redskins on Thanksgiving.
  • Randall Telfer: Telfer hurt his thumb on Sunday and will be out a week after having surgery.
  • Max Tuerk: Tuerk remains a back up at center for the Chargers.
  • Leonard Williams: The Jets fell to the Patriots but Williams had a strong day, logging two tackles and earning the highest grade among Jets defensive lineman from PFF.
  • Robert Woods: The Bills receiver was inactive because of the sprained knee he suffered two weeks ago.
  • Shareece Wright: Wright had four tackles for Baltimore as they beat Cincinnati.