Around The NFL breaks down what you need to know from all of Sunday's action in Week 11 of the 2023 NFL season. Catch up on each game's biggest takeaways using the links below:
- Dallas Cowboys 33, Carolina Panthers 10
- Cleveland Browns 13, Pittsburgh Steelers 10
- Detroit Lions 31, Chicago Bears 26
- Green Bay Packers 23, Los Angeles Chargers 20
- Houston Texans 21, Arizona Cardinals 16
- Jacksonville Jaguars 34, Tennessee Titans 14
- Miami Dolphins 20, Las Vegas Raiders 13
- New York Giants 31, Washington Commanders 19
Brenna White's takeaways:
- Wilson, Sutton rally to keep win streak alive in comeback win. In this nail-biter, it was the Vikings who had the lead throughout the majority of the matchup, but the Broncos ended on top. Russell Wilson was dodging the Vikings' defense all night. Minnesota posted two big sacks, five tackles for a loss and seven QB hits. The Broncos were trailing from the start of the second quarter and could not find their way into the end zone. The Broncos offense settled for field goals on its first four trips into the red zone. Though, to his credit, Wil Lutz was 5 for 5 on field goals. That narrative changed in the final minutes of the game. Wilson hit Courtland Sutton with a 15-yard touchdown pass where Sutton had to, once again, keep those toes in. The spectacular play finally put Denver back on top. Now the Broncos are on a four-game win streak, the first for Denver since 2016.
- Denver leaves Dobbs rattled, snaps Minnesota’s win streak. It’s been a whirlwind for quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who was playing in a Cardinals uniform just a few weeks ago. After starting off hot, Dobbs has cooled off. The Broncos' defense kept the 28-year-old QB on his toes most of this matchup, with one interception and three fumbles (one lost). Although Dobbs wouldn’t be getting out of Denver unscathed, he was keeping the Vikings in the clear for a victory. Completing 20-of-32 passes for 221 yards, one touchdown pass and that unfortunate interception, Dobbs held strong for most of the night. One of the most impressive plays was when Dobbs scrambled for a 10-yard rushing touchdown to give Minnesota a comfortable eight-point lead in the third quarter. However, that was the last time the Vikings found the end zone. They were held to just a field goal in the fourth quarter, as Dobbs' magic and the Vikings’ five-game win streak came to an end.
- Broncos' defense seals win in Mile High City. The Denver defense was the first to strike on Sunday night with a takeaway on the third play of the Vikings’ first drive. Kareem Jackson forced a Josh Dobbs fumble that was recovered by Ja'Quan McMillian, which resulted in a field goal for the Broncos. It was the only time the Broncos would have the lead until the fourth quarter. However, the Denver defense kept the Vikings on their toes, and it was little surprise considering it was coming in hot after shutting down two of the top offenses in the AFC (the Chiefs and the Bills). Denver’s defense also had a 57.9 QB pressure rate, which was its highest since Week 7, 2016 (and the NFL's fifth-highest single-game rate of 2023). With two sacks, three tackles for a loss and 10 QB hits, Dobbs will be feeling the aftermath of this game tomorrow. Denver forced three Minnesota turnovers -- giving it 12 takeaways over the past three games -- and though they resulted in just three field goals, the Broncos D kept the team in the game before Wilson and Sutton could get the game-winner.
Next Gen stat of the game: Russell Wilson recorded the fourth-highest open target rate (65.7%) in a game this season in Week 11. It was Wilson's sixth game this season targeting receivers out of the backfield at a 30%-plus rate. No other QB has more than two such games.
NFL Research: Russell Wilson snapped a five-game drought of games with fewer than 200 pass yards, which was the longest of his career. He also hasn't thrown an interception in four straight games, which is his longest streak since joining the Broncos last year.
Nick Shook's takeaways:
- Brock Purdy is perfect in win. Purdy is on a heater, folks. After posting a career-high passer rating of 148.9 in a blowout win over Jacksonville last week, he outdid himself on Sunday, recording a perfect 158.3 rating in the Week 11 triumph over Tampa Bay. He completed all but four of his 25 pass attempts, operated with incredible efficiency, found George Kittle -- who was seemingly wide open all day -- for a pretty touchdown from three yards out, connected with Brandon Aiyuk for the 49ers' longest score of 2023 (a 76-yard reception) and got Christian McCaffrey back in the touchdown game with a 4-yard pass. He could do no wrong, racking up 333 passing yards in what was arguably the best game of his career. The three-game losing streak feels like it happened months ago, and the 49ers are humming with Purdy at the controls.
- Buccaneers fail to capitalize. Tampa Bay moved inside San Francisco's 15-yard line twice in the fourth quarter while trailing by 13 points and failed to score both times. The reasons for falling short ranged from dropped/broken-up would-be touchdowns to an interception produced by Chris Godwin only throwing an arm out toward an inside pass that deflected off a defender's helmet and into the arms of Ji'Ayir Brown. Had Godwin sold out for that pass, the Buccaneers might have scored, but Tampa Bay’s issues are much greater than Godwin’s play. The Bucs' offense is overly reliant on Baker Mayfield. I've written about this at length in weeks past in the QB Index, and nothing has changed. They still can't run the ball. Winning was always going to be a tall task for the team, but it feels as if Mayfield is out there on his own, trying to keep the Bucs afloat with his desire and grit. That's usually the source of marginal differences in the NFL, not a winning formula. And it couldn't have been captured any better than in the two red-zone trips that produced zero points.
- San Francisco's defense dominant again. The 49ers have been getting healthier on the defensive side of the ball in the last couple of weeks, and it's showing in the results. San Francisco didn't allow anything easy to Tampa Bay, picked Mayfield once, forced and recovered a Mayfield fumble and allowed just 287 yards. The Nick Bosa/Chase Young pairing is starting to jell, Fred Warner is playing like his hair is on fire, Dre Greenlaw's provided a boost and Ji’Ayir Brown stepped up following the loss of Talanoa Hufanga, recovering from an early mistake to make a key interception late. Mayfield was able to lead a five-play touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter, but the 49ers denied the Bucs entry into the end zone on their next three possessions, ruining any comeback hopes for the visitors. If Brock Purdy can sustain his current level of play and the defense continues to play quality, complementary football, the 49ers are going to be formidable for the rest of the season. Unfortunately, Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the game that Hufanga “most likely” tore his ACL. The injury has not been confirmed as of this writing, but obviously Brown will need to continue to step up if Hufanga is sidelined.
Next Gen stat of the game: Brock Purdy finished 7 of 10 for 213 yards and two touchdowns on passes of over 10 air yards, including two completions for 116 yards and a touchdown on his two attempts of over 20 air yards, punctuating a high-flying day for the young signal-caller.
NFL Research: Purdy posted the first perfect passer rating for a 49ers quarterback since Joe Montana did so in 1989.
Editor's note: NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that Tim Boyle will start Friday's game against the Dolphins over Zach Wilson.
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- READ: Battista: Who's moving up/down in playoff race?
- READ: Jets HC Robert Saleh declines to name Week 12 starting QB
Eric Edholm's takeaways:
- Joe Brady’s debut as Bills offensive coordinator is a success. In the first half, the Bills’ offense was in preheat mode. In the second half, it was cooking. The change in offensive coordinator didn’t provide immediate fireworks on Sunday, as Brady’s Bills came out a bit slowly, moving backward on the opening field-goal drive (after a turnover), settling for two more field goals and punting on their first four possessions. They finished the half with a gifted short-field touchdown and a Hail Mary interception. But the offense showed some mojo on the first two drives of the second half after the defense carried the first half. Josh Allen came alive on those drives, hitting all five of his pass attempts for 145 yards and two TDs, including an 81-yard strike to Khalil Shakir -- one of Allen’s best passes of the season. For most of the game, however, Allen’s biggest wins were taking completions underneath, avoiding turnovers and knowing when to fight for another day. That’s what Allen was struggling to do consistently under Ken Dorsey. For one game under Brady, it worked.
- Jets bench Zach Wilson in another dreadful offensive showing. Want the good news first? The Jets ended their touchdown-less streak, scoring for the first time in 40 drives. Then their two-point conversion attempt failed. The Jets lost an offensive possession when Xavier Gipson fumbled away the opening kickoff, but it only briefly delayed the misery. After the fumble, the Jets gained 18 yards on their first 14 plays, with Wilson’s second-quarter interception eventually leading to a Buffalo touchdown. Wilson led the aforementioned TD drive before the half, and the Jets’ defense played well enough early to keep it a 16-6 game at the half. But Wilson took two big sacks on the first two drives of the second half -- while the Bills were pulling away -- and Robert Saleh had seen enough. He replaced Wilson with Tim Boyle late in the third quarter, in a 29-6 game. It’ll be interesting to see how Saleh handles the situation -- he said after the game that no decision had been made about who will start the next game -- but the Jets’ season might be slipping away before Aaron Rodgers has a chance to make a potentially miraculous return. Boyle didn’t have much of an opportunity to show a lot in relief because the Jets couldn’t bench their struggling offensive line, too.
- Reggie Gilliam sets the tone on the first play. Gilliam is one of the Bills’ unsung heroes. He mostly does his work on special teams, and he delivered a crucial play on Sunday -- before the first offensive snap of the game. On the opening kickoff, Tyler Bass kicked off to the Jets’ Xavier Gipson -- the man who ruined Buffalo’s Week 1 with a walk-off punt-return TD in overtime. Gipson fielded it on his 8-yard line, ran 14 yards and was hit hard by Gilliam, who dislodged the ball. Bills TE Quintin Morris recovered it. Highmark Stadium erupted. Bills fans have been hoping and waiting for any kind of excitement during a frustrating season, and they got it before their seats were even warmed up. That the Bills would only score a field goal on the ensuing drive is less relevant. Buffalo started quickly and gained the early edge -- one they wouldn’t never really be in danger of giving up. The Jets lacked energy early, and when they finally showed some in the second half, it often felt borne out of anger. Gilliam’s opening hit might have had a sliver to do with it.
Next Gen stat of the game: Josh Allen hit Khalil Shakir for an 81-yard touchdown against the Jets. The play had a Completion Probability of 36.7%, and Shakir gained 58 yards after the catch (+49 YACOE). It was the first deep touchdown pass and the fourth deep completion allowed by the Jets’ defense this season.
NFL Research: Zach Wilson was 7-of-15 passing for 81 pass yards, with one pass TD and one interception when he was benched in the third quarter. It was his lowest completion percentage (46.7%) in a game this season and his only game with fewer than 140 pass yards in 2023.
Kevin Patra's takeaways:
- Matthew Stafford leads Rams to comeback win in return. Stafford looked healthy after missing a game with a thumb injury. The Rams' offense got off to a wobbly start and struggled for spells after losing Cooper Kupp (ankle) late in the second quarter. But in the money moments, Stafford stepped up, displaying easy gas. After tossing an interception with his team trailing by nine points early in the fourth quarter, Stafford led back-to-back scoring drives. On Los Angeles’ final scoring drive, Stafford launched a perfect dime to Puka Nacua for a 32-yard gain to jumpstart the unit. The Rams enjoyed solid balance from the run game late, churning the clock and setting up the game-winning chip-shot field goal. It wasn't always pretty for Stafford, who missed a few passes that stymied drives. But in the big moments, he came through. The Rams earned their fourth win this season to hang around playoff position -- two of those victories came against division-rival Seattle.
- Geno Smith returns from elbow injury, but Seattle's win sails wide right. Smith got off to a hot start, leading an 88-yard TD drive. But the offense sputtered, settling for field goals and completely cooling off by the third quarter. Then disaster struck. Smith suffered an elbow injury late in the third quarter with Seattle clinging to a 16-7 lead. Drew Lock entered the game and the offense went nowhere. The Seahawks didn't earn a first down with the backup in the game. Lock threw an interception on third-and-long, setting up the Rams’ go-ahead field goal. Smith, who'd been trying to work out the elbow on the sideline in the preceding drives, returned with 1:31 remaining and no timeouts. He immediately showed enough arm strength, hitting Tyler Lockett for 13 yards. Three plays later, Smith put one on the money to DK Metcalf for 21 yards, pushing the Seahawks into field goal range. Instead of giving Smith another chance to move the ball through the air, Seattle ran for two yards. After a spike, Jason Myers was set up for a 55-yard field goal. The kicker booted it wide right. Gut-wrenching defeat. There will be a lot of questions for the Seahawks following the loss -- from Smith’s status to what to do about an offense that went 1 of 11 on third downs after a 4-for-4 start to the game.
- Rams' win could have big implications down the stretch. With a young defense and an offense battling through injuries, Sean McVay's club gutted out the win to remain in the periphery of the playoff picture. Next week's game against the Arizona Cardinals could determine if the upstart Rams will stay in contention into December or fall off the pace. For Seattle, the loss could be the start of a tumble. The Seahawks fell a game back in the NFC West with a brutal stretch ahead. In the next four weeks, Seattle faces the Niners on Thursday night, Dallas, San Francisco again, and Philadelphia. Smith's injury will be under the microscope before Thanksgiving night's tilt in Seattle. The Seahawks also lost running back Kenneth Walker III on Sunday with an oblique injury. If Seattle falls out of playoff positioning, losing twice to the Rams will loom large.
Next Gen stat of the game: Rams QB Matthew Stafford used play-action on a season-high 33.3% of dropbacks in Week 11 against the Seahawks, throwing for a season-high 142 yards on such passes.
NFL Research: With his 35th career fourth-quarter comeback in Week 11, Stafford broke a tie with Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for the sixth most fourth-quarter comebacks in NFL history. The five players that Stafford trails are Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan and Drew Brees.
Eric Edholm's takeaways:
- Cowboys take care of business. The Panthers kept hanging around in the first half and made it a one-possession game late in the third quarter. But Dallas immediately responded with a 75-yard TD drive and then finished the game off with nine points off Panthers turnovers. It was not a pretty game early, as the Cowboys failed to finish a few drives and Carolina had one long TD drive that took nearly nine minutes off the clock. Otherwise, Dallas’ defense did enough -- outside of gap discipline against the run -- and Dak Prescott and the passing game led a balanced attack for the win. The Panthers did everything to contain CeeDee Lamb (six catches, 38 yards, TD on nine targets), but eight Cowboys had at least 10 receiving yards and two-plus catches.
- Panthers’ penalties, late turnovers ended any upset hopes. If Frank Reich had designs on pulling off a monumental upset, he needed nearly perfect conditions -- and a slew of penalties was not part of that winning formula. Carolina was flagged eight times for 90 yards. Two unnecessary roughness penalties came after stops on third-and-long before halftime. Both helped Dak Prescott eventually hit CeeDee Lamb to finish off the Cowboys’ TD drive and make it a 17-3 game. Another earlier third-and-10 penalty by ex-Cowboy Xavier Woods enabled a Dallas field goal. The Panthers made it a one-score game again in the third quarter, but two early fourth-quarter turnovers sealed it. The first was a pick-six. The second was a Bryce Young fumble, which Dallas turned into an insurance field goal. The Panthers hung in there but were undone by their own mistakes.
- DaRon Bland’s amazing season continues. When the Cowboys lost Trevon Diggs to a torn ACL in Week 3, it was viewed as a major loss for one of the best defenses in the NFL -- and a Super Bowl contender. In stepped Bland, who was a pleasant surprise as a fifth-round rookie in 2022, starting 10 games (including playoffs) and intercepting five passes, including four after Thanksgiving last year. Bland’s rookie season, it turned out, was just the appetizer. He has somehow been far better, intercepting his sixth pass of the season against Carolina -- and it was his fourth pick-six of the season. That ties Bland for the most pick-sixes in a single season in NFL history. Granted, this came against the Panthers, who have struggled to throw the ball this season. But in no way should that be held against Bland, who has stepped up in an incredible way -- yet another testament to a fine Dallas scouting department that has unearthed some late gems in recent years.
Next Gen stat of the game: Eight of Micah Parsons’ 10 pressures on Sunday came in 2.5 seconds or fewer, the most quick pressures in a game by any player in the NFL this season.
NFL Research: Parsons has 11 career games with two-plus sacks, the most in the NFL since 2021. The only players with more prior to turning 25 years old are Shawne Merriman and Aldon Smith.
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- READ: Browns set to sign veteran QB Joe Flacco to practice squad
- READ: Najee Harris on Steelers' offensive struggles: 'I'm just tired of this (expletive)'
Nick Shook's takeaways:
- Dorian Thompson-Robinson finds groove in crucial spot. The rookie's second career start began with promise, as Kevin Stefanski did a solid job of mixing up his calls and putting Thompson-Robinson in favorable situations. He led a 50-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter that saw him roll out right and toss a pass over T.J. Watt for a gain of 18 yards, and he powered a march that produced a key field goal late in the first half. Thompson-Robinson played it safe for much of the second half, but he threw a third-quarter interception due to slight inaccuracy on a slant route, with the ball coming out incredibly fast and glancing off of Amari Cooper's hands. There was little reason to believe he might lead the Browns on a game-winning drive -- until he did just that, seizing the moment and playing instinctively, firing a throw to Elijah Moore for a 15-yard gain to start the drive and ripping tosses to Cooper and David Njoku to move into field-goal range. When Dustin Hopkins' game-winner passed through the uprights, Thompson-Robinson was visibly emotional on the sideline, and for good reason. He'd just led the Browns to a massive win over a division rival in only his second career start.
- Jaylen Warren is Pittsburgh’s best running back. We've known this for a while now, but Sunday really made it clear. Warren's 74-yard touchdown run accounted for more than 25 percent of Pittsburgh's total offensive production for the day, and he tacked on another 55 yards on his other eight carries. Warren accounted for 145 of Pittsburgh's 249 total yards, and for a stretch in the second half during which Cleveland struggled mightily to bring him down, it appeared as if Warren might singlehandedly power a Steelers comeback win. Perhaps he would have done so if the Steelers didn't have to rely on the pass inside the final two minutes with only one timeout remaining. Meanwhile, Najee Harris, who had shown improvement in recent weeks, was held to 35 yards on 12 carries. If anyone was still uncertain about who should be the Steelers' lead runner going forward, Warren provided more evidence that he deserves the nod.
- Browns snatch victory from precarious spot. Cleveland took a 10-0 lead into halftime, watched Jaylen Warren reduce it to 10-7, then seemingly concluded a three-point advantage would be enough to win. Was that ultimately the final margin of victory? Yes, but the fashion in which Kevin Stefanski approached the third quarter left them vulnerable to a heartbreaking defeat. Stefanski was understandably trying to make life easier for his rookie quarterback and limit risk, but by the middle of the third quarter, Pittsburgh had realized his plan, effectively denying Thompson-Robinson anything underneath, stuffing the run and daring the Browns to take a shot downfield. It was a shame, truly, because Cleveland's defense repeatedly denied Kenny Pickett and the Steelers' offense an opportunity to move the ball, and gave the Browns' offense prime field position on multiple occasions. Yet, Stefanski's conservative approach wasted those possessions, giving the Steelers additional opportunities to tie the game and potentially take the lead. Luckily for Stefanski, the Browns' elite defense shut down the Steelers' last remaining chance to win, and Thompson-Robinson authored a great final drive. But for most of the second half, Mike Tomlin won the coaching battle and nearly won the game because of it. Against better teams, that type of approach could doom the Browns.
NFL Research: Sunday marked the Browns' third win of 2023 in which their starting quarterback did not throw a touchdown pass, the most such wins in the NFL entering Sunday Night Football.
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- READ: Lions QB Jared Goff shrugs off boos, three INTs to lead comeback win
- READ: Stats and records: Justin Fields uses legs to tie Russell Wilson
Kevin Patra's takeaways:
- Detroit never says die in improbable comeback. The Lions trailed by 12 points with 4:15 left in a sloppy game that saw Jared Goff throw three interceptions. The ground game had been stymied, too, and nothing was going right for the NFC North leaders. Then Dan Campbell's crew hit the gas pedal at Ford Field. Goff dropped a perfect deep shot to Jameson Williams for a 32-yard touchdown, capping a scoring drive that took only 1:16 off the game clock. Detroit's D forced a quick three-and-out, and the Lions got the ball back down five points. Goff then led a masterful drive, hitting quick strikes, evading pressure, and steering the Lions to the doorstep of victory. Apropos, former Bears running back David Montgomery gave Detroit the lead with a 1-yard TD plunge with 29 seconds remaining. On a day when Detroit turned the ball over four times and rarely looked in sync, it was the type of gritty, turn-a-loss-into-a-win game that championship clubs need once or twice a year. These aren't your Same Old Lions.
- Justin Fields sensational in return but Chicago comes up short. The Bears QB looked like himself after missing four games with a right thumb injury. With tape wrapped around the injured thumb, Fields proved a threat with his legs and made a host of great throws, particularly on the move. He paced Chicago with 104 rush yards on 18 carries, including a huge 29-yarder on third-and-14 in the fourth quarter to help the Bears flip a halftime deficit into a 12-point lead late. Fields consistently kept the Bears' offense in good down and distances. OC Luke Getsy called a good game, dialing up boots and moving the pocket, and Fields made the correct reads. The biggest negative for Fields was missing a few deep shots, but he dropped a 39-yard dime to DJ Moore after climbing the pocket in the third quarter. Fields showed he can be a dynamic quarterback, but the end of the story remains the same for the Bears, who continue to meander in the wilderness under coach Matt Eberflus with a brutal collapse.
- Aidan Hutchinson calls game. The Lions’ best pass rusher showed up late, winning off the edge to strip Fields on the first play after Detroit took the lead in the fourth quarter. The ball bounced around, eventually getting booted out of the end zone for a game-sealing safety. The sack was the first for Hutchinson since Week 5. The Lions need more from the pass rush moving forward. Detroit's D has struggled in recent weeks, and on Sunday, it failed to get quick stops until the end, allowing the Bears to generate 334 yards and 25 first downs. But Aaron Glenn's crew bowed up several times, keeping the Bears scoreless on possessions following two early INTs and forcing Chicago to settle for field goals. Those plays, including holding the Bears to 5 of 13 on third downs, gave the offense enough time to get back on track.
Next Gen stat of the game: Lions QB Jared Goff completed 3 of 7 passes under pressure for 32 yards and two INTs through the first three quarters, but he completed 6 of 8 such passes for 87 yards and a TD in the fourth quarter.
NFL Research: Jahmyr Gibbs recorded his fourth consecutive game with a rush TD (fifth rush TD of the season). Gibbs joined Kevin Jones (2004) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (1989) as the only Lions rookies to have 1+ rush TD in four consecutive games in franchise history.
Coral Smith's takeaways:
- Packers’ rookies lead the charge. Green Bay is a young team, and while that lack of experience has been evident in the team’s struggles this season, it was the rookies who led the offense to the win on Sunday. Jayden Reed was the star of the show, leading the team with 46 rushing yards and adding 46 receiving yards. He consistently made plays when called upon and found the end zone on a 32-yard run in the second quarter to give the Packers their first lead. Also contributing to the effort was rookie WR Dontayvion Wicks, who finished with a team-high 91 receiving yards, including a 35-yard gain in the fourth quarter that set up the Packers’ game-winning touchdown. Rookie TEs Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave contributed 32 and 28 yards, respectively. Green Bay got back in the win column on the backs of its young stars, an encouraging sign of what could be down the road.
- Mistakes sink Chargers. Los Angeles left points on the board and squandered comeback opportunities, losing by three points or fewer for the fifth time this season. The Bolts came into Sunday’s game among the best in the league in red-zone efficiency, but they couldn’t find much success against the Packers, going 1 for 4 in the red zone. Twice Keenan Allen, usually one of the league’s most sure-handed receivers, dropped a likely touchdown pass, bobbling the first and completely missing the second, despite it hitting him in the chest. On both occasions the Bolts subsequently had to kick a field goal, losing a chance at valuable points that would have made the difference later on. Early in the fourth quarter, with the Chargers facing a second down at the Packers’ 2-yard line, Austin Ekeler slipped and fumbled the ball away. Los Angeles’ miscues sealed the deal, and the Chargers fell to 4-6 on the season.
- Injuries cast a pall over game. While the Packers came away with the victory, it wasn’t without a cost. Running back Aaron Jones exited in the second quarter with a knee injury, although head coach Matt LaFleur said after the game that he doesn’t think Jones' injury will be a long-term issue. Just a few minutes later, Green Bay lost another running back in rookie Emanuel Wilson, who said after the game that he dislocated his shoulder. That left AJ Dillon as the only back available. While Dillon avoided injury, losing two players at the position would be a worry for any team. The Packers’ health at the position will be something to monitor, as Green Bay has a short week to prepare for its Thanksgiving game against the division-leading Lions. In addition, Chargers star Joey Bosa was carted off the sideline with a foot injury in the first quarter and did not return.
Next Gen stat of the game: Justin Herbert completed 5-of-7 passes when targeting vertical routes on Sunday, recording 119 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 17.0 yards per attempt when targeting such routes and 5.4 yards when targeting all other routes.
NFL Research: Green Bay had the second-longest active streak (27 games) of games without 300 yards passing in the NFL prior to Sunday. Jordan Love finished with 322 passing yards to break that streak, also recording his first game with 300-plus yards.
Eric Edholm's takeaways:
- Texans leave too many points on board and were fortunate to win. The Texans came out firing offensively, gaining 60-plus yards on each of their five first-half drives. The problem was that they only scored on three of those drives, with a turnover on downs and interception on the other two. But it was far worse in the second half, as the Cardinals clamped down defensively and shut the Texans out. C.J. Stroud left the game for one play after a hard hit and threw two more picks (after one in the first half) in the fourth quarter. It was the first time this season where Stroud really didn’t show the poise we’ve used to seeing from the rookie. He and Tank Dell made some magic on Sunday, but Stroud’s three picks deep in Arizona territory opened the door for the Cardinals to steal one. The Texans’ defense hung on, but they were a little lucky.
- Kyler Murray, Cardinals come up short after failing on three late fourth downs. The Cardinals might be the most competitive 2-9 team in recent NFL memory. Arizona scored an opening-possession TD on a beautiful Murray TD pass to Rondale Moore. The Cardinals stalled after that but rallied with a crucial score in the third quarter after the Texans missed a field goal, and it was game on (even with a missed two-point conversion) after Murray ran it on fourth down, thanks to a big block from Trey McBride. But fourth downs would not be kind to Arizona from there on out, as they would fail to convert three of them in the final 13 minutes of the game. First, Greg Dortch was tackled short of the line on fourth-and-3. Then Muray threw behind a wide-open McBride on fourth-and-4 at the Houston 45-yard line. And finally, Murray’s fourth-down pass was knocked away in the waning moments by the Texans’ Steven Nelson. The Cardinals were this close to winning two straight with Murray but couldn’t finish the comeback.
- Devin Singletary becoming a workhorse for Texans. Singletary arrived in Houston this offseason knowing he’d have to be a complement to Dameon Pierce, who had a fine rookie season and was projected to be the Texans’ RB1 this season. But with Pierce missing the last few games, Houston had turned to Singletary more and more. Following his career-best 30-carry, 150-yard performance in a huge win last week at Cincinnati, Singletary backed that up with another fine showing on Sunday against the Cardinals: 112 yards on 22 carries. This was the first time in his pro career Singletary has had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, and the Texans have needed both as they’ve climbed above .500 and are in the thick of the playoff race now. Also credit the Texans’ offensive line: Singletary was only tackled for loss twice and had four carries of 10-plus yards.
Next Gen stat of the game: C.J. Stroud's 40-yard TD pass to Tank Dell had an air distance of 52.5 yards, the longest completion via air distance of Stroud's career.
NFL Research: There have been 11 instances of a player throwing for 250-plus yards in a single half this season. C.J. Stroud has three such games, and eight other players have one apiece.
Nick Shook's takeaways:
- Trevor Lawrence bounces back in a big way. Lawrence has had plenty of positive moments this season, but he hasn't quite produced at the level most expected him to reach after a stellar finish to 2022. His two-interception showing last week inspired some legitimate concerns, and Doug Pederson recently acknowledged Lawrence's knee ailment was limiting Jacksonville's potential. None of that carried over into Week 11, thankfully, where Lawrence looked to be healthy and fully capable of doing whatever he wanted with the football. Two precise touchdown passes to Calvin Ridley led the highlights package. Lawrence was in complete command and added two rushing scores to his ledger. That is who Lawrence needs to be to extract the greatest possible output from the Jaguars, and in a game most expected Jacksonville to win, he delivered with emphasis.
- Titans’ problems are not going away. Tennessee’s issues start up front with an offensive line that doesn't consistently pass the test enough to help the offense perform at a level better than average. Opposing defenses have realized that and are sending blitzes freely. For a second straight week, Will Levis was blitzed on 50 percent or more of his dropbacks, and with little reason to believe Levis will have enough time to take shots downfield, defenses are dedicating more resources to defending underneath and stopping the run. After an 11-carry, 24-yard outing in Week 10, Derrick Henry finished with 38 yards on 10 carries in Week 11, forcing the Titans to lean disproportionately on Levis' arm. It's a losing formula for a team playing with a rookie quarterback, but they don't have a better option. At this point, sticking with Levis is still the best move, as the experience gained is more valuable long-term than inserting Ryan Tannehill just to try to win a game now. The struggles are also a product of a staff coaching with a limited stock of quality ingredients and no choice but to get creative just to produce some splash plays. Unfortunately, the results will often be underwhelming, as they were on Sunday.
- Jags score big win in tight race for AFC South crown. The Jaguars’ blowout loss to San Francisco last week opened the door for the Texans to start dreaming of a potential division title, but as they demonstrated on Sunday, the Jags weren't about to just let Houston waltz through that opening. Jacksonville operated as if it knew how important the moment was to its season, building a commanding lead in the first three quarters to leave no doubt. Less experienced teams might falter in such situations and allow themselves to slip into a precarious position in the back stretch of the season, but not Doug Pederson's group. A 36:26-23:34 advantage in time of possession, a stellar day from their quarterback, and a stifling, aggressive defense (which forced two turnovers) helped to ensure the Jaguars maintained their lead in the division, the mark of a team focused on the task at hand.
Next Gen stat of the game: Trevor Lawrence completed 6-of-8 passes of 15-plus air yards for 132 yards and a touchdown on Sunday as part of a performance in which Lawrence finished with a career-high +17.8 expected points added. That showing came one week after he generated a career-low -25.7 EPA against San Francisco.
NFL Research: Sunday was Lawrence's third career game with four total touchdowns. Two of his three such performances have come against Tennessee.
Kevin Patra's takeaways:
- Dolphins overcome miscues to secure win over Raiders. The mistakes were plentiful for Mike McDaniel's club. Miami turned the ball over three times -- including a fumble and INT from Tua Tagovailoa -- and missed a field goal in the first three quarters. Later, Miami struggled to move the ball, going three-and-out on each of their first two fourth-quarter drives. Penalties and unforced errors allowed the Raiders to hang around. Luckily for Miami, Tyreek Hill remained the best player on the field. Vegas had zero answers for the speedster, who caught 10 of 11 targets for 146 yards, including a 38-yard TD. It marked Hill's 10th career game with 10-plus receptions, 140-plus receiving yards and 1-plus TD catch, including playoffs (tied for the most in NFL history with Jerry Rice and Andre Johnson). Hill (1,222 receiving yards in 2023) is the first player in the Super Bowl era to have 1,200-plus receiving yards in a team's first 10 games of a season. The Dolphins put up 422 yards of offense, but the errors kept the game close until the end.
- Raiders continue to battle under Antonio Pierce but come up short. The energy the Raiders display under Pierce, the team’s interim head coach, remains stark compared to their performance earlier this season. The defense flew around on Sunday, with defensive back Nate Hobbs and linebacker Robert Spillane making big plays. Hobbs forced a fumble and helped stuff Hill on a big fourth down early in the contest. Rookie Aidan O'Connell made several pinpoint throws, including a gorgeous deep shot to Davante Adams for a 46-yard TD to give the Raiders a first-quarter lead. However, ups and downs come with a rookie QB. Amid the nice sideline shots, O'Connell tossed three INTs and missed several other passes under pressure. The Raiders' lack of a running game (39 yards on 14 carries from Josh Jacobs) did O'Connell no favors, as the Dolphins could tee off. The Raiders' defense got the offense the ball back four times in the fourth quarter with a chance to tie the game. Those drives went punt, turnover on downs, interception, interception.
- Jalen Ramsey nets two interceptions. The star corner makes a world of difference for Vic Fangio's defense. All the pieces fit much better with Ramsey on the field, which is why you trade for a game-changing DB. It wasn't just the two INTs -- including an epic, diving game-ender in the end zone. Ramsey silences whoever he is lined up across from. He held Davante Adams to one catch for four yards on four targets on 20 routes run, per Next Gen Stats. Ramsey allowed two catches for 23 yards on the day -- the same number of balls he caught. The Dolphins' defense will only improve as Ramsey gets further away from his training camp injury.
Next Gen stat of the game: Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa was 22 of 26 for 219 yards and two TDs (+5.3% CPOE) on quick passes (less than 2.5 seconds) on Sunday. He was 6 of 13 for 105 yards and an INT (-3.2% CPOE) on passes over 2.5 seconds.
NFL Research: Week 11 was the first time in 2023 that the Dolphins have won despite scoring 20 or fewer points. The Dolphins are 2-0 this season when committing 3-plus turnovers in a game.
Michael Baca's takeaways:
- Giants defense forces six turnovers to complete season sweep of Washington. With three fumble recoveries and three interceptions, New York completed the season sweep of its NFC East rival thanks to Wink Martindale’s playmaking defense. Nick McCloud started it all with a beautiful INT on a deep ball to end the Commanders’ first offensive possession, and Isaiah Simmons finished off the Giants’ turnover parade with a 54-yard pick-six to seal the victory. Kayvon Thibodeaux (two sacks, three QB hits) and Dexter Lawrence (one sack, two passes defensed) spearheaded the great defensive siege, pressuring Sam Howell into several misguided throws on third-and-long, including a fourth-quarter INT that landed in the hands of Darnay Holmes. The great situational play was needed from a unit that was gashed for 174 rushing yards (403 total), and Washington could never stop the bleeding. McCloud opened the second half with a forced fumble on the kickoff and Bobby Okereke (14 tackles, two forced fumbled) keyed on ball-carriers. The New York defense once again enjoyed a stellar day against Washington, as it did in Week 7 when it held the Commanders to seven points.
- Commanders sack party ruined by faulty offense. The Giants weren’t the only ones having a day defensively, as Washington turned in nine sacks in the defeat (one shy of tying a franchise record). The unit did everything it possibly could to aid the Howell-led offense, even if it started off on the wrong foot, but the turnovers were too much to overcome. Howell ended the game with 255 yards (31 of 45) with one TD, three picks and a rushing score. He had a chance to wash away Washington's turnover-prone afternoon with a late drive down five points, but his pick-six wrapped an appropriate bow on the result. Chris Rodriguez Jr., Byron Pringle and Logan Thomas coughed up fumbles, which doomed the Commanders.
- Career day for Tommy DeVito. Life was made easy for the undrafted rookie thanks to his defense, but the Giants QB turned in an outstanding performance to earn the first win of his NFL career. DeVito completed 18-of-26 passes for 246 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He was helped by the playmaking of Saquon Barkley. The Giants’ star running back hauled in four catches for 57 yards and two TDs and eventually got the running game going. New York had zero net rushing yards until Barkley’s 36-yard run late in the third quarter. He’d end the day with 83 yards rushing and was no doubt the most important weapon for the Giants, but DeVito’s mistake-free day stood out during an afternoon with blunders aplenty.
Next Gen stat of the game: All three of Sam Howell’s interceptions came when he was under pressure. He was 2 of 8 for 26 yards and three INTs (-23.6% CPOE) on such throws.
NFL Research: Prior to Sunday, Washington had never recorded 8-plus sacks in a game and lost, and the Giants had never allowed 9-plus sacks in a game and won.