Best Week 15 rookie performances: Kareem Hunt makes push for ROY

Kareem Hunt on Saturday eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the sixth time this season. Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports

Here's a closer look at how some of the top rookies fared in Week 15:

Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt

Round drafted: 3

Statistics: 24 carries, 155 yards, TD; seven receptions, 51 yards, TD

Analysis: As in last week's win over the Raiders, Hunt was the beneficiary of some good work by his blockers against the Chargers. He was frequently given a path through the line of scrimmage, and even when he wasn't, he was often able to make his own hole. Hunt was also more effective than he'd been in recent weeks as a receiver. He benefited from the Chargers' attention on Tyreek Hill. Hunt has 1,201 rushing yards this season, setting a Chiefs rookie record. -- Adam Teicher

Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey

Round drafted: 1

Statistics: 12 rushes, 63 yards; six catches, 73 yards (including 7-yard TD)

Analysis: Aside from a muffed onside kick that gave Green Bay a chance to tie at the end, this may have been McCaffrey’s coming-out party. The Panthers made it clear on their first series the former Stanford star would be a big part of the offense against Green Bay. He had nine touches on 15 plays, including a 7-yard touchdown catch. He had seven rushes for 36 yards and six catches for 73 yards at halftime. His effort early set the tone for tight end Greg Olsen to become his usual force in the second half and opened running lanes for quarterback Cam Newton, who had 14 carries for 58 yards to go with four touchdown passes. -- David Newton

New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara

Round drafted: 3

Statistics: 12 carries, 44 yards; six receptions, 45 yards, TD

Analysis: Kamara has been so dynamic and dominant this season that this qualifies as a middle-of-the-road performance for him with "just" 89 yards from scrimmage and a TD. It should be enough to keep him atop the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year race, but he can't let up with Hunt back in peak form. Kamara scored on a 10-yard catch in the second quarter, easily cruising past linebacker Darron Lee in the middle of the field. Then he showed his leaping ability and creativity by launching into the stands to dance with the fans. Kamara has 652 rushing yards, 684 receiving yards and 12 total touchdowns on the season, putting him on pace for 1,527 total scrimmage yards and 14 TDs. -- Mike Triplett


Kamara goes to the stands to celebrate TD

Drew Brees connects with Alvin Kamara for a 10-yard touchdown and Kamara decides to celebrate his touchdown with the Saints fans in the stands.

New Orleans Saints CB Marshon Lattimore

Round drafted: 1

Statistics: One interception, three passes defensed, tackle for loss, five tackles

Analysis: Lattimore should have vaulted himself right back into contention for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award. His fourth interception of the season came on the final play of a 31-19 victory, so it wasn't necessarily a game-changer. But he did make enough plays earlier in the game while often shadowing the Jets' top receiver, Robby Anderson. Lattimore had two big third-down pass breakups against Anderson -- one of them in the end zone. He also made a great tackle for loss on a first down after the Saints had thrown an interception, which helped force New York to settle for a field goal. Lattimore's rematch against Atlanta's Julio Jones next week should make or break his award candidacy. -- Mike Triplett

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Keelan Cole

Round drafted: Undrafted

Statistics: Seven catches, 186 yards, TD

Analysis: The undrafted rookie from Kentucky Wesleyan had never caught more than three passes in a game, but the Jaguars needed him to come up big after Marqise Lee left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Cole responded with catches of 73, 42 and 31 yards. It's clear that quarterback Blake Bortles trusts him, too. In the past three games, Bortles is 13-of-15 with three touchdowns on passes targeting Cole, per ESPN Stats & Information. Cole wasn't supposed to have much of a role this season but was forced into action as the Jaguars' No. 3 receiver after Allen Robinson suffered a torn left ACL in the season opener. Twenty-four of his 32 catches have come in the past seven games. -- Michael DiRocco


Bortles finds an open Cole for TD

Despite the pressure, Blake Bortles throws a dime over the middle to Keelan Cole for a 9-yard touchdown that extends Jacksonville's lead over Houston.