Amari Cooper's massive day highlights Week 12

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Ah, Thanksgiving. Turkey, other choice meats (or fake meat, if you're a non-meat-consuming individual), green beans, mashed potatoes, corn, pie...oh, and stuffing.

Who could forget the stuffing? Then again, who could expect Amari Cooper to explode on the holiday?

He exploded (in a good way, unlike the belts pushed to their limits Thursday) for a huge day and an equally large victory for the Cowboys on a day celebrated for its excess. After all, what's a feast without feasting?

Unstoppable Performer


Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys


We've highlighted how Cooper has made an instant impact in the Cowboys' offense, even if the jump in production didn't appear next to his name in the box score. Cooper has allowed the Cowboys to deploy more three-receiver sets, which has spread opposing defenses out and made things easier for Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

But on Thanksgiving, it was Cooper making an impact with the ball. The wideout caught two touchdown passes of 40 or more yards, first by running an excellent route that shook Quinton Dunbar long enough for Cooper to catch the ball and turn on the jets. Forty yards later, he was in the end zone and the Cowboys had their first big play from the player they deemed worthy of a first-round pick.

The second touchdown, exactly 4:30 later and via Dallas' very next pass attempt, was the one that blew the lid off Cooper's Cowboys jar.

If that doesn't make sense, stick with me. Cooper caught this pass between three defenders and appeared to be bottled up, his path to the end zone sealed -- until it wasn't.

Cooper caught the pass, took a few steps right, planted his foot in the ground and burst out of it to the left, leaving Fabian Moreau and D.J. Swearinger in the dust and outrunning Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the pylon for another touchdown.

Between those two plays, Cooper accounted for 130 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with eight grabs for 180 yards and the two scores -- and his first marquee game as a Cowboy. What better time for that than Thanksgiving?

Also considered ...


Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers


Philip takes a decked-out Sprinter van up the freeway from the San Diego area to the Chargers' facility in Costa Mesa, California, each day of the work week. He's had plenty of time to study opposing film.

That, and the Chargers' offensive synergy, was on full display Sunday when the veteran opened his performance by completing his first 19 attempts. He flirted with the record books, first setting the mark for most consecutive completions to start a game in NFL history with 23, and then tying Ryan Tannehill for the record for most consecutive completions with 25. Tannehill did so over two games, while Rivers did it in one. You be the judge of which is more impressive.

In between, the Chargers dropped 45 points on the Cardinals, one of the league's worst teams but a squad that had played better defensively as of late. That wasn't the case against Rivers, who finished 28 for 29 for 259 yards and three touchdowns in a rout that seemed too easy to be an NFL game. Be careful when you call him an old man -- he might just go perfect on you.


Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns


Baker Mayfield made headlines (and T-shirts, shoutout to Cleveland's saturated screenprint industry) in Week 10 by telling reporters he "woke up feeling dangerous" before unleashing his best game as a pro on the Atlanta Falcons.

No word on whether he woke up in a Cincinnati hotel feeling like a bad, bad man, but he sure played like it. The quarterback torched the Bengals for 258 yards and four touchdowns on 19-of-26 passing in an effort that was almost entirely logged in the first half, as the Browns jumped out to a stunning 28-0 lead. Add in the bitterness associated with and extra motivation gained from facing his former head coach (who he went on to call "fake" in an Instagram comment Monday) and you get one of the more memorable Browns wins of the last 10 years. It could even serve as a landmark point for the franchise in retrospect years from now.

Or it could be a temporary blip on the radar of history. Either way, it was a heckuva game from a rookie quarterback who looks like he's played in this league for years and continues to improve as the season progresses. He just happened to be unstoppable Sunday.

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