Week 11 was a continuation in what we can all agree has been a tumultuous year for the NFL. More injuries and more bad calls. In between the dropped balls and missed calls, we did have some good football, though. We still have a pair of undefeated teams and saw some good games between division rivals. Let’s dig deeper.
Jacksonville Jaguars 19, Tennessee Titans 13
This was a showcase of the bottom of the barrel in the NFL. The AFC South boasts some of the league’s worst teams this year and it was on full display last Thursday night. It was also a continuation of the Color Rush jerseys – which may have been uglier than the game itself. Eventually, the Jaguars pulled this one out on the Blake Bortles to Allen Robinson connection as they vie for first place in the division.
Indianapolis Colts 24, Atlanta Falcons 21
The question everyone is thinking but might not feel comfortable saying out loud: Are the Colts better with Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback and Andrew Luck on the bench? Well, Hasselbeck is 3-0 this year when he starts. Devonta Freeman was knocked out of the game with a concussion and the Falcons failed to establish the running game with Tevin Coleman. It wasn’t pretty, but the Colts managed a much-needed W to maintain their lead in the AFC South.
Baltimore Ravens 16, St. Louis Rams 13
It’s not often you see a team lose their starting runningback and quarterback for the season in the same game. It’s even less often that they hang on to win the game, but that’s exactly what the Ravens did. While the Rams were busy making football look harder than nuclear physics, Joe Flacco gutted through a torn ACL and possible MCL for 4 plays to put Baltimore in position for a game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker.
Carolina Panthers 44, Washington Redskins 16
Well, what did you expect? The Panthers are the real deal this year and Cam Newton stepped his case for MVP this year by tossing 5 touchdowns this Sunday. The game was never in question as Carolina dominated from kickoff to the final whistle, reminding us all that they are very good and Washington is not. With just 6 games to go, the Panthers are edging closer to that undefeated season.
Denver Broncos 17, Chicago Bears 15
The Brock Osweiler Show is 1-0. Brock went 20-27 for 250 yards and 2 scores and the Broncos were able to run for over 150 yards on the ground. No, it was not a mirage. The Broncos really did have some offense this week. It was encouraging for Bronco’s fans as they beat a recently hot Chicago team. However, things will still have to get better as you won’t win many games only posting 17 points.
Detroit Lions 18, Oakland Raiders 13
Don’t look now, but the Lions have won back to back games. And just when the Raiders have you thinking that they’re on the cusp of being a contender, they go and lose to the Lions. It just goes to show you that can’t predict the NFL. For the second straight week, the Detroit defense was formidable and gave the Raiders fits on Sunday. Couple that with some decent play from Matt Stafford and the Lions have themselves a W while the Raiders are falling out of playoff contention.
Houston Texans 24, New York Jets 17
Speaking of bad teams playing well, the Texans have won a couple in a row as well. All of the sudden, the defense is good again and the offense is finding ways into the end zone. DeAndre Hopkins simply can’t be covered. He posted another 100+ yard and 2 touchdown game, this one on cornerback extraordinaire, Darrelle Revis. The Jets are fading fast down the stretch and need to rebound quickly if they want to compete for a wild card spot.
Dallas Cowboys 24, Miami Dolphins 14
The long-awaited return of Tony Romo culminated in the Cowboys first win since the QB went down with a broken collarbone. But before you get too excited, Cowboys fans, this game wasn’t anything to hang your hat on. They had difficulty with the struggling Dolphins. Romo threw a pair of touchdowns as well as a pair of interceptions in his first game back as he shook off the rust. The Miami offense couldn’t gain any traction as they fall out of playoff contention.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45, Philadelphia Eagles 17
Jameis Winston, have yourself a day. The rookie threw 5 touchdowns against a porous Eagles defense on Sunday – tying the record for TDs thrown in a game by a rookie. The Buccaneer offense was on fire this weekend. Doug Martin added to Winston’s 5 touchdowns with 235 yards rushing of his own. Philadelphia is a mess right now and more people are calling for Chip Kelly’s job.
Kansas City Chiefs 33, San Diego Chargers 3
This game was just as bad as it looks. The Chiefs dominated all facets of the game this week and are on a roll right now – even though they’re down to their third string runningback. The Chiefs are making a run at the playoffs and the Chargers are making a run at the draft – whether they mean to or not. Rivers struggled without offensive weapons against a resurgent KC defense.
Green Bay Packers 30, Minnesota Vikings 13
This game was actually closer than it looks. Just when you start to discount the Packers for losing three in a row, they come back and remind you just how good they are. The offense is putting things back together with Rodgers and Lacy leading the way against a very stingy Minnesota defense. The Vikings couldn’t get it done on offense though and Peterson seems to have returned to his fumbling ways, coughing up a costly one against the Packers.
Seattle Seahawks 29, San Francisco 49ers 13
For maybe the first time all year, Russell Wilson looked pretty good. And Thomas Rawls looked even better. The inept 49ers defense gave up over 200 yards from scrimmage to Rawls and 3 touchdowns to Wilson. Playing San Francisco might just be the best confidence booster a team can get this year. Blaine Gabbert is clearly not the answer in San Fran, so the 49ers are just playing for draft position at this point.
Arizona Cardinals 34, Cincinnati Bengals 31
Perhaps the best game of the week, as Carson Palmer went head to head with his former team. Palmer has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league since forcing his way out of Cincy. Both Dalton and Palmer threw for multiple touchdowns and over 300 yards and neither team was great on ground. The Cardinals were set up for the game-winning field goal after Peko was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving Arizona’s kick 15 yards closer and just about exponentially easier. This was a fun one to watch.
New England Patriots 20, Buffalo Bills 13
Another primetime game and another series of botched calls. This great AFC East battle will be overshadowed by a pair of terrible calls by the referees on Monday night. The game itself was great, Brady was under pressure all night long but still managed some great plays to come out on top at the end of the night. Buffalo’s offense struggled on the ground and through the air as they came up short. The first blown call was an errant whistle mid-play on a Patriots pass they could have gone for a touchdown. But the other side of the coin is that the whistle caused the defensive back to peel off of the play, allowing the reception to begin with. The accidental whistle caused the play to be blown dead at the spot of the reception, with no regard to the whistle affecting the defense of the play, nor of whether or not a TD would have been the result. And then on the final play of the game, Sammy Watkins caught the ball and rolled out of bounds, but the officials decided he was “giving himself up on the field of play” and proceeded to run out the clock. Both plays were obvious blown calls that greatly affected the game play.
When will the NFL be more about football than officiating and rules again? This is getting old.