NFL Week 13 winners: Deebo Samuel, 49ers expose Eagles defense


With most of the Week 13 NFL schedule in the books, here are the players and coaches that delivered standout performances:

Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers: The All-Pro wideout spent the months following the NFC Championship game at the end of January telling anyone who would listen that the Philadelphia Eagles defense was highly overrated, crediting their Super Bowl appearance to having played against a 49ers team devoid its starting quarterback.

As it turns out, Samuel was right. In Sunday’s 41-19 win over the Eagles, the 27-year-old WR had his best game of the season, catching four passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns while also adding a rushing touchdown. 

San Francisco put up 456 yards of total offense and matched its season high point total as it handed the Eagles their worst loss since a 51-26 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18 of the 2021 season.

Brock Purdy, QB, San Francisco 49ers: Along with Samuel’s moment of vindication, Purdy also got to show what might have been in that NFC Championship game had he been fully healthy and played the entirety of it. The 23-year-old QB had his fourth 300-yard game of the season, passing for 314 yards and tying a career best four touchdowns while completing 70.4% of his passes with a passer rating of 148.8 — his fifth game this year with a rating over 130. 

Purdy took some heat for a few rocky performances against Cleveland, Cincinnati and Minnesota a few weeks ago, but his standout game against the Eagles, who many considered to be the top team in the NFL entering Sunday, shows that he’s more than capable of holding his own against the league’s elite.

Dom DiSandro, head of security, Philadelphia Eagles: Though the Eagles came out on the losing end, one good thing came out of Sunday’s defeat — DiSandro received an outpouring of love from Eagles fans on social media after he was ejected from the game for antagonizing 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw, which also led to his ejection as well.

DiSandro got in Greenlaw’s face after a hard/late hit on WR DeVonta Smith near Philly’s sideline. As he was leaving the sideline, DiSandro received a standing ovation from the crowd, and several began sharing their favorite DiSandro stories on X and Instagram. 

DiSandro’s job is to toss guests out of the stadium should they become unruly, and in a way, he kind of did that on Sunday.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins: The 2023 NFL MVP award is a wide-open race right now, and Tagovailoa’s performance in Sunday’s 45-15 win over the Washington Commanders may have solidified his case as one of the front-runners. He completed 75% of his passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns. It’s his seventh game this year with 250 or more passing yards and two or more touchdowns.

With Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson both having down weeks, the 25-year-old Tagovailoa, who entered the week with the fourth-best odds to win the MVP per BetMGM, may be right up there with Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes in voter’s eyes.

Shane Steichen, head coach, Indianapolis Colts: Steichen was mentioned as being in the Coach of the Year race during the week, which sounded a bit farfetched at first but may not be all that crazy after the Colts pulled out a 31-28 overtime win over the Tennessee Titans.

Sure, Tennessee wasn’t exactly a formidable opponent with its 4-8 record entering the game, but the fact that Steichen has the Colts at 7-5, sitting in second place in the AFC South (just 1.5 games behind the Jacksonville Jaguars) and riding a four-game win streak all with Gardner Minshew at quarterback is awfully impressive. 

There’s plenty of competition for the award this year (Detroit’s Dan Campbell, Denver’s Sean Payton, Houston’s DeMeco Ryans, Minnesota’s Kevin O’Connell), but Steichen has as good a case as any of them.

Sam LaPorta, TE, Detroit Lions: LaPorta has stepped right in and made the transition to the post-T.J. Hockenson era feel seamless. He hauled in a career-high nine receptions, 140 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s 33-28 win over the New Orleans Saints — his seventh game with five or more receptions and his first with 100 or more yards.

LaPorta is just 18 receptions and 398 yards away from breaking the single-season rookie records in both categories. He’s also four receptions, 45 yards and one touchdown away from topping Hockenson’s best season with the Lions.

Puka Nacua, WR, Los Angeles Rams: Nacua isn’t your typical fifth-round pick. He leads all rookie WRs in targets, receptions and yards, and he ranks in the top 10 in the league each of those categories as well.

Nacua’s four-reception, 105-yard, one-touchdown performance in Sunday’s 36-19 win over the Cleveland Browns wasn’t just impressive because it was his fifth 100-yard game of the season, not, it was because he did it against the No. 1-ranked defense in the NFL — one that allows the fewest passing yards per game in the league and allowed just two 100-yard receivers all season.

Trey McBride, TE, Arizona Cardinals: Zach Ertz’s surprising release earlier in the week signaled that the Cardinals were committed to McBride as their TE1 not just for the rest of this year but permanently. He rewarded the team with an eight-catch, 81-yard, one-touchdown outing in a 24-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McBride has been on a heater lately. He’s been targeted seven or more times in five of his last six games, and he’s topped 60 yards in four of them. Since Kyler Murray came back from an ACL injury, McBride has totaled 28 receptions on 34 targets, 323 yards and a touchdown. 

It’s safe to say he’s perhaps Murray’s most-trusted pass catcher, which bodes well for him heading into next season if the Cards keep Murray around. 

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