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NFL Week 11 winners and losers: Jonathan Taylor, Eagles on the rise; First-place teams fall

Let’s check out the latest happenings in the NFL

Indianapolis Colts v Buffalo Bills Photo by Joshua Bessex/Getty Images

It was a high-scoring Week 11 in the National Football League. There were 58 total touchdowns in the two afternoon slates before Sunday Night Football. There were 32 passing touchdowns and 24 rushing touchdowns (four from Jonathan Taylor alone). Two defensive touchdowns were scored as well on the slate.

Both the Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans lead their respective conferences heading into the week. Both teams lost and the Packers no longer hold the number one seed as Colt McCoy and the Cardinals earned a road victory against Seattle. If it comes down to a tie breaker at the end of the year, the Packers would earn the first seed since they defeated the Cardinals in the desert a few short weeks ago.

Several running backs absolutely went off and all deserve to be winners on the week. The Cowboys/Chiefs game wasn’t nearly as high scoring as many anticipated. The Cowboys lost 19-9. Dallas was without Amari Cooper who was out with COVID-19. Both Ezekiel Elliott and CeeDee Lamb were banged up in the game. Elliott returned to play, while Lamb suffered a concussion and missed most of the game.

Washington and Philadelphia both won for the second week in a row. These wins make the NFC East more respectable, but the Giants will attempt to make it two wins in a row as they square up against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. That will not be an easy game, but as the Texans taught us in week 11 - anything is possible!

Winners

Jonathan Taylor

The Bills laid another egg, this time at home to a good Indianapolis Colts football team. Second-year running back Jonathan Taylor had one of the better running back performances in recent memory. On the road, against the No. 1 ranked defense, Taylor rushed 32 times for 185 yards and four rushing touchdowns while adding three catches for 19 yards and a touchdown.

This performance by the Colts was dominating, and it helped the New England Patriots reach the number one seed in the AFC East. Taylor has been on an absolute tear recently.

Scoring five total touchdowns is an accomplishment against a team like the New York Jets, but the Bills...that’s just incredible. The Colts really made a statement on Sunday.

Philadelphia Eagles

I’m not a fan of this, but we have to give credit where it is due. The Eagles and this offense have found an identity based on running the football and utilizing the incredible athletic ability of second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. The former Crimson Tide and Sooner signal caller had three rushing touchdowns. For the fourth straight game, the Eagles had more than 200 yards rushing as a team.

The Eagles won three of their last four games, and they scored at least 30-points in all three wins - 40 in two of them. The Giants have two games against this Eagles team in the near future; the first one is next week at MetLife Stadium.

Rushing touchdowns for wide receivers

Some modern wide receivers in the NFL have the vision and skill set to align at running back, and we got to see several touchdowns stem from this alignment on Sunday. The 49ers Deebo Samuel fits the profile as a designated receiver who can play the running back position; he’s the perfect blend of speed, quickness, strength, contact balance, and he’s very dangerous with the football in his hands.

Samuel doesn’t just outrun defenders to the edge; he reads his blocks, shows some patience, and then hits the hole with burst before using a solid stiff arm. He’s the perfect wide receiver for a Kyle Shanahan offense.

Jarvis Landry scores a touchdown in the wildcat in the play above. He goes to throw the football and witnesses the sea part, so he obliges with a smile on his face to scamper for six.

Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson caught his second touchdown aligned as a running back on an angle route. He gets to the numbers, squares up, shimmies, and then goes back inside for a touchdown against the Packers.

The NFL is always evolving. I feel like I’m 10 years old, playing Madden again. Using offensive weapons in a multitude of plays isn’t exactly novel, but I believe it will become more commonplace with the amount of unique talent that is coming out of college. The New York Giants have a receiver who fits this role very well in Kadarius Toney. We have seen him used sparingly in this manner; let’s hope we see more of it in Monday Night Football against the Buccaneers.

Justin Jefferson

Yes, he’s mentioned above, but his play on Sunday was phenomenal. He had eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings squeak out a last second field goal victory over the Packers. The score ended 34-31, and Jefferson scored two touchdowns while also getting dragged down at the 1-yard-line.

This play was ruled down, and it helped set up a Dalvin Cook rushing touchdown. Here’s his other touchdown.

Packers/Vikings is one of the biggest rivalries in football. Minnesota had devastating late game losses through the season, some coming in overtime. It would have been tragic if the Vikings lost this game to the Packers at home. The win puts the Vikings as the seventh seed in the wildcard race, due to the losses of Atlanta and Carolina.

Colt McCoy

The former Giant has to make this list after he earned another victory at Lumen Field in Seattle. As you may recall, McCoy (and the defense) led the Giants to an upset victory against Seattle last season. The guy just balls against the Seahawks in Seattle. McCoy is now the backup quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, and he started his third straight game as Murray is recovering from an ankle injury.

McCoy threw for 328-yards and two touchdowns against this Seattle defense. He was on time, in rhythm, and made a few very clutch throws throughout the game. For the second week in a row, on the other side of the field, Russell Wilson didn’t seem like himself as he only completed 14 passes. This is the first time in Wilson’s career that he lost three consecutive starts. We’re not used to seeing the Seahawks this vulnerable, but they’re a mess right now.

Losers

Most first-place teams

The Bills, Packers, and the Titans all lost on Sunday, with the Bills and Titans suffering significant upset losses. The Bills lost to the Colts - a team that is very respectable, but to lose at home 41-15 is just embarrassing. The Packers lost a close game to the Vikings in one of the more exciting games on the slate. Both the Titans and Packers were the number one seeds in their respective conferences - not anymore! Despite some late game Aaron Rodgers heroics, Kirk Cousins and company secured the interdivisional 34-31 win.

The most disappointing loss by far in week 11 was the 8-2 Titans losing at home to the 1-8 Texans 22-13. Tyrod Taylor had two touchdowns on the ground as Ryan Tannehill threw four interceptions to help the Texans earn their second victory of the David Culley era.

This was Taylor’s first rushing touchdown, and the Texans are rightfully hyped about the play. That touchdown run was also the first road Texans’ touchdown since week two. The phrase Any Given Sunday has rung true over the last several weeks in the NFL.

Las Vegas Raiders

During the Jon Gruden era, the Raiders were known to start the season off with a bang only to disappoint and tail off towards the end of the year. It appears that may be the case once again, only without Gruden leading the team. Once Gruden was let go from the team, the Raiders won two games under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia. Since the Henry Ruggs III situation, they’ve lost three straight.

Their run defense was just gashed by Joe Mixon who rushed for 123-yards and two touchdowns as the Bengals defeated the Raiders 32-13. It wasn’t long ago when the Raiders were sitting atop the AFC West. They are now tied with the Broncos at the bottom of the division at 5-5.

Ryan Tannehill and Chester Rogers

Tannehill throwing four interceptions against the Texans isn’t a great look. The pieces around him weren’t available: Derrick Henry is out with a foot injury, Julio Jones is on the I.R., and A.J. Brown was injured midway through the game. Marcus Johnson, another wide receiver, was also injured during the game. There was a ton of pressure on Tannehill to beat a team that’s playing for pride.

Tannehill couldn’t answer the bell. He threw the ball 52 times with 35 completions for 323-yards and a touchdown to go along with his four interceptions as the Texans pull off the upset. One of the more peculiar aspects of this game was on special teams with the Colts’ Chester Rogers.

The Titans defense stopped the Texans off an 11-play drive to force the punt, but that led to this play by Rogers.

Rogers was attempting to remove the gunner from the area to allow a touchback. In doing so, he turned his back on the ball and he inadvertently put himself underneath it. The Texans recover and score two plays later. If Rogers was more careful, the Titans would be receiving the football halfway through the third quarter with the score 12-0. The fumble wasn’t the dagger, but it made a bad situation much worse.

Missed kicks

There’s not a ton of analysis for this point, but it has to be acknowledged. There were SO MANY missed kicks in Week 11 throughout the NFL. Some of the best kickers in the NFL were shanking very makable kicks. Many of the kicks hit the upright as well. Could this be a product of the weather getting nasty? That is very possible, but it was more than prevalent on this slate.

Chicago Bears

First, this isn’t a huge referendum on the Bears, but just the way they’re losing football games. They lost their last two contests to the Steelers and the Ravens - respectable NFL franchises. However, this 16-13 loss to the Ravens is gut-wrenching if you’re a Bears fan.

Chicago played against Tyler Huntley in his first career start as an NFL quarterback. Star quarterback Lamar Jackson missed the game due to an illness. The game was a very close defensive battle that ended 16-13 in favor of the Baltimore Ravens. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields left with an injury, and veteran Andy Dalton threw a screen touchdown on his first pass.

Dalton eventually led a 10-play, 75-yard drive late in the fourth quarter that was concluded by a 49-yard touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin. The score gave the Bears a 13-9 lead, so Huntley had to lead the Ravens to the end zone in less than two minutes - and he did just that.

Huntley was blitzed heavily on his final drive. The Bears took a bad defensive pass interference, Huntley hit Devin Duvernay for 21yards, and then he found Sammy Watkins for a 29-yard gain to set up a 3-yard Devonta Freeman touchdown run. The Bears had 22 seconds left on the clock, but couldn’t put themselves in a position to win, as they fell 16-13.

Two weeks ago in prime time, the Bears lost in a very close manner to the Steelers. They were bye last week, and now they lost in a similar way in week 11. It’s definitely unfortunate for the Chicago Bears, and their fans, BUT it’s great for the Giants who possess their first overall selection in the upcoming NFL draft!