Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Week 11 in the NFL wasn’t very pretty, for numerous reasons. From Myles Garrett … doing whatever Myles Garrett did on Thursday night, and two suspect quarterback performances on Sunday night from former lottery picks. Welcome to our debut recap of Week 11 in the NFL.
Thursday Night Football:
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The talk of the league Thursday night was Myles Garrett. Mason Rudolph is something that football has never seen before, ripping his helmet off and then using Rudoplh’s helmet and swinging it at his head. Myles Garrett has been suspended indefinitely. Marquis Pouncey was suspended 3 games for kicking Myles Garrett in the head in defense of his quarterback. Browns DL Larry Ogunjobi was suspended 1 game for pushing Mason Rudolph in the back after the swing had taken place.
Garrett has 10 sacks in 10 games, and the former #1 overall pick’s production will be tough to replace for a Browns team ,that his put together back-to -back wins for the first team all season. This was the Browns first win over the Steelers since 2014. What should have been a significant win for the Browns franchise and for Freddie Kitchens as a head coach is tarnished by Garrett acting out on a play at the end of the game. The defense intercepted Rudolph 4 times after holding the Bills to 16 points the week before. The Browns move to 4-6 hoping to run the table to sneak into the playoffs while the Steelers fall to 5-5 and take a big hit to their playoff chances. The Steelers defense can’t do it all every week and cover for an imcompetent quarterback.
Jets vs. Redskins
This was a game was significant for draft position. The Redskins somehow beat the Dolphins, but it is clear that they are the worst team in the league. Giants and Jets record has a combined record of 5-15, and two of their wins came against the hapless Redskins, with the New York teams outscoring Washington by a score of 58-20. On the brighter side for Redskin fans they got to see Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, and Terry McLaurin on the field at the same time for the first time all year. Haskins and Guice connected on a screen for 45 yards for one the Redskins touchdowns, however it was an overall ugly day for the rookie QB, highlighted by a clip on twitter of the QB in his second career start berating his offensive line. Not a great look for the kid.
The Jet’s defense that had 14 sacks as a team going into the Week 10 matchup against the Giants, they have put up 6 sacks in each of the last two weeks. That is impressive regardless of the team they played against. Jamal Adams has only added to his resume and making a lead wide statement that his the best safety in the NFL. Adams had 2 sacks against the Giants and had 3 against the Redskins. Sam Darnold looks the Quarterback he was in the last 4 weeks of the season last year. After concern about a potential regression.
49ers vs. Cardinals
In an ugly week for football games, this wasn’t very pretty for the NFC’s best team. The 49ers needed a game winning drive lead by Jimmy Garoppolo to take down the 3-7-1 Cardinals. Give credit to a young and scrappy Cardinals for giving the 49ers a tough test on the road. Kyler Murray threw for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns and ran for 87 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground. The #1 overall pick goes into the bye week with 2,703 yards, a 64.3 completion percentage along with 14 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Murray has ran for 67 times for 418 yards and 3 touchdowns. The rookie has looked good in the first 11 games. Something to note for the Cardinals is the usage of David Johnson with the arrival of Kenyan Drake. Drake had 61 snaps with 16 carries and 7 targets. Johnson had 9 snaps with no carries for targets. Johnson is guaranteed $10.2M for 2022 meanwhile Drake is a free agent after the year.
Garoppolo has had his two best games against the Cardinals this year, throwing for 741 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 2 interceptions with a completion percentage of 75.6%. Deebo Samuel has emerged as the main target for Jimmy G in his rookie year, as Samuel now has 2 consecutive games for 110 yards or more. The 49ers escape with a victory to improve to 9-1 and strengthen their stronghold on the NFC’s top playoff seed. The 49ers rebounded nicely after a crazy overtime loss to the Seahawks on Monday Night Football. With the Seahawks being 8-2, there is no margin for error for the 49ers as the gap from the one seed to the five seed is not very far apart.
Raiders vs. Bengals
Lets face it. We were all wrong about the Raiders. From Jon Gruden’s $100M dollar contract to the Antonio Brown saga, it’s been a mess. The Raiders stand at 6-4 and firmly entrenched in the AFC West race with the Chiefs. Josh Jacobs stayed on a roll rushing for 112 yards yards, improving his season total to 923 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jacobs was the first first round pick from the Khalil Mack trade that Mike Mayock made and he hit the nail on the head. Jacobs is firmly entrenched in the Offensive Rookie of the Year race and is a big part of why the Raiders have been so good this year. Fellow rookie and AFC Defensive Player of the Week Maxx Crosby had 4 sacks last week against the Bengals. 5th Round Pick Hunter Renfrow had 5 catches for 66 yards, and is ranked 8th by Pro Football Focus out of all rookies in the 2019 class. Did they only beat the Bengals by 7? Yes. But a win is a win for the Silver and Black.
The Bengals thought they were getting AJ Green back, but he was ruled out later in the week. 4th Round Pick Ryan Finley has struggled in his first two career starts replacing veteran Andy Dalton. Finley has thrown for 282 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions to the tune of 47.6% completion percentage and a 20.2 QBR. That is not very good. The Bengals are leading the race for the Number 1 overall pick with Joe Burrow, Chase Young, and Tua Tagovailoa as options. The Bengals are nothing short of pitiful this year, and hope to land a franchise cornerstone in the offseason.
Ravens vs. Texans
This game was hyped up to be the game of the week. Deshaun Watson vs. Lamar Jackson. These two men are helping redefine what a traditional quarterback is in the NFL. Instead of the classic pocket passer who can make every throw on the field, it is now an essential that your QB can survive behind a bad offensive line, extend plays with his legs, and keep the defense off balance with RPO’s. Deshaun Watson has been nothing short of sensational in his career with the Texans. Sunday was an abomination for Watson in co. Watson threw for 169 yards and 1 interception with an adjusted QBR of 10.6. Houston had a chance to make a statement to league and put themselves in an outright lead for the AFC South. As a team they struggled and look to right the ship next week on a short week for a battle of AFC South supremacy against the Colts.
Lamar Jackson. What more can be said about the kid. Every single time Jackson has the ball in his hands all eyes are glued to the TV. Jackson has put numerous defenders through the spin cycle and has found himself as the MVP frontrunner. Baltimore traded up into the First Round and drafted the Louisville product 32nd overall. A lot of experts loved the pick then, and most love it even more now. Jackson last week completed 70.4% of his passes and threw for 222 yards and 4 touchdowns, making a good Texans defense look silly. What has been one of the most underrated signing of the offseason has been Mark Ingram II. Ingram II has become fast friends with Jackson and has been a focal point of the Raven’s offense. Against the Texans the RB had 13 carries for 48 yards, and 3 receptions for 37 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Ravens move onto a Rams team in LA looking to build on a statement win.
Bills vs. Dolphins
In a game where for many years was a laughing stock for the rest of the league, and was more of a competition for the higher draft pick then the win itself, has become respectable. The Bills rolled, and Josh Allen had a good all-around game. The 2nd-Year QB out of Wyoming threw for 256 yards, had 3 touchdowns throwing, and had a completion percentage of 63.6%. Allen showed off his legs by running 7 times for 56 yards and 1 touchdown. Allen hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 5 and has developed a strong rapport with John Brown, who has at least 50 yards in every single game this year. Winning the AFC East with Patriots in it isn’t very reasonable, but the Bills are right in the thick of the race for the Wild Card. The Bills next week take on a Broncos team that blew a 20-0 at halftime to the Vikings.
The Dolphins were actually on a win streak. I cannot believe I wrote that sentence. After beating the Jets and surprising the Colts they have lost the race for the #1 overall pick and are now looking more at a top 5 pick. Dolphins management took a chance on Josh Rosen, somehow putting him in a worse situation then the one he just left in Arizona and didn’t play well at all. Ryan Fitzpatrick however played like the Fitzpatrick we are used to seeing on Sunday and the Dolphins lost and their miserable season goes on.
Colts vs. Jaguars
Jacoby Brissett has done a marvelous job after becoming starter after the sudden retirement of franchise cornerstone Andrew Luck. The Colts lost to the Dolphins mostly due the incompetence of Brian Hoyer. Brisset comes back and the offense hangs a 33 spot on a much better Jaguar’s defense. Brissett has 1797 yards, 15 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Marlon Mack had himself a heck of a day with 14 attempts 109 yards and 1 touchdown before leaving due to injury. The Colts have a short turnaround and try to build on a good win when facing a reeling Texans time on Thursday night.
Minshew Mania officially ended. The 6th Round Pick of Washington State did a fine job replacing Foles, and capturing the hearts of many around the nation. Foles came back and did fine, Foles was 33/47 with 296 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. The Colts shut down Leonard Fournette as the former lottery pick only had 8 carries for 23 yards and 7 catches for 34 yards. The Jaguars take on the Titans who are fresh off of a bye.
Cowboys vs. Lions
Most thought this would be a blowout without Matthew Stafford. Jeff Driskel did a good job as a backup QB. Not try and make too many plays, and don’t sit back and do nothing. Just be a game manager and give your team a chance. Driskel did just that on Sunday, as he had a completion percentage of 54.6% and threw for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Driskel extended plays with his legs as he ran for 51 yards on 8 carries and had a touchdown rushing. Marvin Jones Jr. has not seen his production go down one bit as he had caught 4 balls for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Lions however fall to 3-6-1 and are in the bottom the NFC North basement with the Redskins on the docket next week.
Dak Prescott had his best game of the season against the Lions last Sunday. The former 4th Round Pick had 444 yards with a 63% completion percentage and 3 touchdowns. The Mississippi State QB has been playing some of the best football of his career over the past month, and has found his favorite target in Amari Cooper. Cooper over his last 4 games has 23 receptions for 371 yards and 2 touchdowns. The pair hope to join Ezekiel Elliott in getting contract extensions from the Cowboy’s organization. With an Eagles loss on Sunday, the Cowboys improved to 6-4 and first in the NFC East, however they head up to foxborough to take on the New England Patriots in what will be the toughest test of the year for this team.
Falcons vs. Panthers
The Falcons made big adjustments over the bye week and upset the Saints last week and blew out Panthers on Sunday. With rumors swirling around Dan Quinn’s job status the Falcons have played with a passion. After beating the Eagles in an Week 2 overtime thriller it had been all downhill since then. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley had themselves a good week and have formed into an excellent WR duo. Jones had 6 receptions for 91 yards and Ridley had 8 catches for 143 yards and 1 touchdown. The Falcons improve to 3-7 and look to take on the Bucs at home.
With every loss likelihood of Cam Newton being traded goes down, especially if Kyle Allen continues to look like what he played like on Sunday. Allen was 31/50, 325 yards, and 4 interceptions. Allen went 5-1 in his first 6 starts this year putting the Panthers right in the playoff race. The Panthers have now dropped to 5-5 after an embarrassing loss to a Falcon’s team that looked lifeless 3 weeks ago. Carolina now has to go down to New Orleans and try and right the ship against an 8-2 Saints team.
Saints vs. Bucs
What if Jameis Winston could cut down on his turnovers? Bucs fans have been wondering this since the moment the 2015 #1 overall pick has stepped on the field. Winston has only three games where he hasn’t thrown an interception and has thrown 18 interceptions on the year. That is an average of 1.8 interceptions per game, just an unacceptable rate for a franchise that is looking to solidify Winston as the franchise QB. His top targets in the top 3 in the league lead in yards, behind only Michael Thomas. Mike Evans has 58 catches for 993 yards and 7 touchdowns while Chris Godwin has 63 catches for 887 yards and 7 touchdowns. Coach Bruce Arians has utilized 2018 3rd Round Pick Ronald Jones III more and the Bucs have a good tight end in OJ Howard. All they need is for Winston to cut down on the turnovers. So many of the Buc’s losses are only by one score and you have to think if Winston doesn’t turn the ball over as much that the Buc’s would have a much different record then 3-7.
Michael Thomas is incredible. The Ohio State receiver inked a 5 year contract extension over the offseason for $100M, and has been worth every penny. Michael Thomas has 94 catches on the year. The Eagles receiving group as a whole, only have 93. Against the Bucs Thomas did his thing, hauling in 8 passes for 114 yards and 1 touchdown. Alvin Kamara did what Alvin Kamara does as the former third round pick rushed for 75 yards and 13 attempts and caught 10 passes for 45 yards. Kamara and Thomas are one the best WR-RB duos in the league and the Saints hope that those two can take Drew Brees off into the sunset as a Super Bowl Champion. New Orleans will welcome a Carolina team that is on their heels next week.
Vikings vs. Broncos
The narrative was starting to change for Kirk Cousins. Instead of not being able to beat good teams, he can’t beat the bad teams. The Broncos were up 20-0 at halftime and frustration was mounting for Vikings fans as they needed to make sure they could stay within striking distance of the Packers. Cousins started turning it loose and taking shots to his star receiver Stefon Diggs. In the comeback victory Diggs brought in 5 passes for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. To take the lead about midway through the fourth quarter Cousins found Kyle Rudolph wide open as he strolled in for his 5th score in 4 weeks to take the lead late. The game came down to it’s last play as Brandon Allen led the Broncos down inside the 10 yard line, and the Viking defense held strong. The Vikings pick up a crucial victory and improve to 8-3 as they head into the bye.
The Broncos were looking for another upset victory after beating the Browns 24-19 last week in Allen’s first career start. They were well on their way to becoming 2-0 in the Brandon Allen era after being up 20-0 going into half. Then the 2nd half happened. All year the Broncos have struggled to hold leads late in the 4th quarter as their offense seems to play not to lose instead of playing to win. The aggressiveness on offense that was there in the first half was absent in the 2nd half, as they only scored 3 points after the intermission. The Broncos now fall to 3-7 after a tough loss with the Bills on deck.
Patriots vs. Eagles
This was a frustrating game for Eagles fans. The offense had multiple chances to put points on the board in the fourth quarter and fell short. Wentz threw an amazing pass to Nelson Agholor put himself in a tough position to catch the ball in the end zone on 4th down with about 2 and ½ minutes left in the game. The Eagles receivers all year have struggled to make big time catches, and some could argue if two or three more balls were caught this would be a very different season for the Eagles. The defense did their job Sunday, only giving up 17 points and giving their offense every chance to win the game. The Eagles welcome a very good Seahawks team into town as they fall to 5-5 and 2nd in the NFC East.
The Patriots defense comes up big again. For so many years Tom Brady has carried defences to titles and deep into the playoffs. The tide has flipped, as this defense has been carrying Brady all year, and that was the case again on Sunday. The only touchdown pass thrown for the Patriots was by Julian Edelman. This was New England’s first game since getting embarrassed on Sunday Night Football by the Ravens as they had a bye week last week. The Pat’s improve to 9-1 and take on the Cowboy’s next week.
Rams vs. Bears
Frustration is at a season high for Bears fans. This game was 10-7 for the longest time until a late touchdown made it 17-7. In the first quarter Eddy Pineiro missed two field goals, and Head Coach Matt Nagy didn’t trust him to kick it so they went for it on fourth down and failed. The Bears should’ve had 9 points at the end of the first quarter. After a stagnant night of offense where Mitch Trubisky wasn’t the problem. Matt Nagy pulled Mitch for Chase Daniel in the fourth quarter due to a ‘hip injury’. Conspiracy theories were flying on twitter. The Bears’ defense can’t do it all every week. Matt Nagy’s playcalling has been under scrutiny and he deserves a fair share of the blame. The Bears host the Giants who are fresh off the bye after losing to the Jets.
The Rams are in a similar situation as the Bears. Jared Goff frankly has not been himself last year. After leading the Rams to the Super Bowl on the backs of the most dynamic offense in football. Todd Gurley was an MVP candidate and Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods were an excellent WR duo. This year has been quite the opposite. The Rams defense has been carrying the offense. Goff and Gurley and regressed mightily. Todd Gurley had a good game Sunday Night but he has been held back by the arthritis in his knee all year. Cooks has had concussion issues. Sunday Night was won by their defense, which has been their strength. If Goff and Gurley don’t kick it back into gear the Rams are in trouble as they don’t have their next 5 first round picks. The Rams welcome the red-hot Ravens into town.
Monday Night Football
Chiefs vs. Chargers
Since 2004, there is nothing like Phillip Rivers on the 4:00 games trying to lead a fourth quarter comeback. Death, Taxes, and the Chargers down late in the 4th. This year should be the last year that Phillip Rivers is the starting quarterback. The Chargers have a good team and are being held back by an aging quarterback playing out his last career games. Rivers has thrown 7 interceptions in his last two games. The Chargers fall to 4-7 and head into the bye week with more questions than answers.
Even in an average game for Patrick Mahomes he still makes jaw-dropping throws. There is a good chance that he becomes the first $200M contract in football history. With Tyreek Hill having been on the shelf and injuring his hamstring in the Monday Night Football game, there isn’t much concern if Hill can’t play. Mahomes is good enough to elevate his receivers as long as he has Travis Kelce. The Chiefs go into the second half 7-4 and survived the Patrick Mahomes injury and are in the lead for the AFC West.