Another exciting week is in the bag as week 11 of the NFL comes to a close. A week where the Packers playoff hopes took a huge dent, the Steelers made a stunning comeback, the Redskins lost their QB for the season to a gruesome looking injury and the Rams and Chiefs played a classic in LA.
Seahawks 27 – 24 Packers
The Packers’ season has never really got going and with this loss and the competition they face in the NFC North, it’s difficult to see how they’re going to make the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers stats line look ok (332 yards, two TDs and no picks) however at the end he was unable to convert on third down with a terrible pass attempt and coach Mike McCarthy inexplicitly decided to punt the ball away.
Lions 20 – 19 Panthers
A week after giving up 50 to the Steelers, the Panthers were unable to bounce back against more lowlier opposition. Kerryon Johnson ran for 87 yards and a TD before being taken off with a knee injury (later rumoured to be a sprain). Panthers QB, Cam Newton, also had a scare, limping off in the third quarter with an injury before coming a play later. The injury though did look to have an effect as he wasn’t able to rush around to the extent that we’ve come to suspect. Stafford on the other hand was able to find Kenny Golladay for a great TD in the fourth quarter to go 20-13 up. The Panthers responded late on but decided to go for two instead of tying the game up. Alas it wasn’t too be as Cam was wildly inaccurate on the two point conversion attempt.
Falcons 19 – 22 Cowboys
The Cowboys have won two in the row for the first time this season. The Falcons were down and almost out before Matt Ryan orchestrated a great comeback,culminating in a touchdown throw to Julio Jones in the end zone. They did though leave enough time for the Cowboys to march up the field and clinch the win with a go-ahead field goal. Key to the two wins on the bounce – the continual use of Zeke Elliot who this week rushed for 122 yards and a touchdown as well as having 79 receiving yards.
Colts 38 – 10 Titans
The AFC South was starting to get interesting with the Titans win over the Patriots last week but they faced a Colts team and a quarterback on a heck of a hot streak. Luck has now thrown for three TDs for seven games in a row! The Colts were 24-3 up at HT, before which Titans QB Marcus Mariota left the field injured, never to come back with Blaine Gabbert picking up the duties. Presumably the Titans just felt that it wasn’t going to be their day so why risk their star quarterback. Luck meanwhile has gone another game without giving up a sack (five in a row now) and threw for 297 yards and three touchdowns. On the other side, linebacker, and defensive rookie of the year contender, Darius Leonard had another stellar game with seven tackles, an interception and a forced fumble!
Giants 39 – 35 Buccaneers
The Fitzpatrick era could be well and truly over now with the veteran throwing three interceptions before being replaced by Jamies Winston who has now also been confirmed the starter next week. The Giants are getting better with this now their second win in a row. Rookie running back, Saquon Barkley torched the Bucs for 142 yards on the ground and two touchdowns as well as a receiving touchdown. Eli Manning has gone another game without throwing an interception as well.
Redskins 21 – 23 Texans
The Texans have now recorded seven wins in a row to lead the AFC South. But this game will be remembered for the horrible leg break suffered by quarterback Alex Smith. Smith broke his fibula and tibia 33 years to the day that Joe Thiesmann suffered a similar fate (also on the same yardage line with the scoreline ending the same on that fateful day as well!). Anyway, Colt McCoy came in and did admirably as he almost got his team back in the game, a last second hopeful long distance field goal fell short and with it, the Redskins hopes. The Texans are doing just enough to win games at the moment. The result is all that matters but they’ll need to improve their performance levels to keep the streak going.
Jaguars 16 – 20 Steelers
The Jags were 16-0 deep in the third quarter against a Steelers offense that was struggling to generate anything, besides interceptions. And then the Steelers caught fire. One TD pass to Brown in the third, another to Vance McDonald in the fourth and the Steelers were just a field goal down. One last drive saw James Conner almost catch a TD pass before Big Ben was able to rumble towards the goaline and stretch over it despite the efforts of Jags linebacker Myles Jack. This loss will be hard to take for the Jags and pretty much ends any chance they have of making the playoffs.
Ravens 24 – 21 Bengals
A big game in the AFC North that could see the losers out of contention of the playoffs (more or less). The Ravens started with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson for the first time after Flacco failed to recover from an injury. Jackson impressed on the ground with 117 rushing yards from 27 carries – the most by a quarterback since 1955. With Gus Edwards adding another 115 rushing yards there was little need to throw the ball!
Cardinals 21 – 23 Raiders
A big match, in terms of who is picking higher in the draft next year! And with this result, the 49ers move back into the No.1 spot! Despite some touchline arguments between Gruden and Carr, the Raiders managed to eek out a win with a last second field goal from kicker Daniel Carlson. Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen struggled all night, completing only nine passes from 20 attempts for 136 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. The one bright spot was getting running back David Johnson some decent production. He ran for 137 yards off 25 attempts and would have been nearer to 200 had a touchdown run not been ruled out for a holding penalty.
Chargers 22 – 23 Broncos
Another last second kick saw the Broncos record a surprise win against a good Chargers team. Rivers, who threw for over 400 yards, was guilty of two interceptions which let the Broncos back into the game. Rookie undrafted running back, Phillip Lindsay continues to impress with 79 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Keenum was kept clean in the pocket, giving up no sacks despite Joey Bosa making a return to the Chargers starting lineup.
Saints 48 – 7 Eagles
Can anyone beat the Saints? Is Drew Brees finally going to get an MVP award? Both look likely on current form! Brees threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns to help the Saints to another blowout win. Mark Ingram also had a big day with 103 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Carson Wentz had, probably, the worst game of his still relatively young career. 19 completions from 33 attempts for 156 yards and three interceptions. The NFC East is still competitive but the Eagles will need to improve drastically to compete.
Bears 25 – 20 Vikings
Mitch Trubisky came back down to earth with a pretty disappointing performance but it mattered not as his defense continues to perform at a high level. A pick six from safety Eddie Jackson helped seal the win for the Bears who lead the NFC North. Kirk Cousins also suffered a bad day at the office with two interceptions but the running game from Minnesota was worse. 14 attempts split between three players for a measly 22 yards.
Rams 54 – 51 Chiefs
Wow. What a game. This was like two heavyweight boxers standing in the middle of the ring slugging it out. It was a masterclass of offensive play by both Sean McVay and Andy Reid and if this is to be a Superbowl match then I can’t wait! Jared Goff came out as the winner with 31 passes off 49 attempts for 413 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions whilst for the Chiefs, Mahomes completed 33 of 46 for 478, SIX touchdowns though three interceptions. Both players lost fumbles as well but those last two interceptions in the fourth quarter ultimately cost the Chiefs this game. Many will argue that this game was a disaster for those that love the defensive game but each defense had big plays. Aaron Donald underlined the fact that he is the best defensive player in the league whilst his teammate, Samson Ebukam recovered a fumble for a touchdown and intercept a pass and run it back for another touchdown. Whilst Tyreek Hill had 215 receiving yards and two touchdowns, the offensive star, Todd Gurley was relatively quiet with only 55 rushing yards.