Ian Evans’ NFL Week 11 Love/Hate Weekend Recap
Week 11 might be the best week of football we have been gifted for the 2020-2021 NFL Regular Season. From a couple of comeback victories and nail-biting games to highlight-reel catches and outstanding performances, Week 11 exceeded expectations significantly. The wins and losses that teams either attained or suffered this week were crucial for each individual teams’ playoff push as well. It is still baffling and unsurprising that the 3-win Philadelphia Eagles, even after losing to the Cleveland Browns, are still leading the NFC East. They are also projected to HOST A PLAYOFF GAME. Really? Yes, really. That’s not even the most confusing part. All four NFC East teams have 3 wins. Wow. Anyway, this article isn’t an NFC East rant. There were many plays, performances, and other intangibles that I personally liked from Week 11 of the NFL regular season. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Love: Packers-Colts Game
Photo Courtesy: Michael Conroy/AP
This was one of the more notable and exciting games from Week 11. The 7-2 Packers took on the 6-3 Colts in a game that was an absolute shootout. At the end of the first half, the Packers lead the Colts 28-14 and it looked as if the Packers were going to cruise to yet another victory. But the second half was an emotional roller coaster. After Rodrigo Blankenship kicked a 32-yard field goal to tie the game at 28-28 just before the end of the 3rd quarter, the Colts forced and recovered a fumble on the kickoff return which resulted in another field goal to go up by 3. However, those three points did not come easy as multiple penalties were called on Indianapolis on that drive alone. The game would then go into overtime as Aaron Rodgers drove the Packers within field goal range as the score after regulation was 31-31. In overtime, the Packers would win the coin toss. But, on the second play of Green Bay’s drive, Marquez Valdes-Scantling would fumble on their own 30-yard line as Justin Blackmon striped the Packers wide receiver. This ultimately led to a 39-yard game-winning field goal by Rodrigo Blankenship to seal the deal as the Indianapolis Colts improved to 7-3, defeating the Green Bay Packers 34-31. Rodgers and Rivers balled out as they both threw for over 275+ yards and 3 touchdowns. This was a game that saw two powerhouse teams, one with a great offense, and another with a great defense, face off in an absolute gem of a game. And boy did it not disappoint in the slightest.
Love: Tennessee Titans
Photo Courtesy: Terrance Williams/Associated Press
The Titans were looking to rebound after their embarrassing loss to the Colts in Week 10. And they did just that. In yet another overtime game in Week 11, this time in Baltimore, it was the Ravens who had the first shot at winning the game in overtime. However, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens came up short and were forced to punt. On the last play of the drive, Tannehill and the Titans marched from their own 27-yard line to Baltimore’s 29-yard line, as Tannehill connected with Corey Davis and A.J. Brown through the air. On the last play of the game, Derrick Henry pulled off an incredible game-winning 29-yard run as he broke multiple tackles to beat the Ravens 30-24. Henry rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown while Ryan Tannehill threw for 259 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception to help carry Tennessee over Baltimore. This was a crucial win for them as they are still in a tight race for the AFC South crown as now both the Titans and Colts are now standing at 7-3.
Hate: Joe Burrow’s Season-Ending Injury
Photo Courtesy: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
Injuries are something no NFL fan wants to see, especially when the injury affects a young talent. Sadly we saw one of those injuries Sunday afternoon as Joe Burrow tore his ACL and MCL in the cursed FedEx Field stadium. Burrow was having a solid day against Washington as he threw for 203 yards and a touchdown before the injury occurred. This was a moment where many NFL fans, players, coaches, and even the front office fell silent watching that moment as Burrow writhed in pain on the ground. Even players such as Terry McLaurin and Chase Young, who share Ohio State blood, showed Burrow love before he was eventually carted off. If you blame Cincinnati’s front office for this injury, I don’t blame you. If you draft a franchise quarterback, it would be wise to surround him with an offensive line to keep him safe in the backfield. The Bengals did not do that in the slightest as Burrow was running for his life all season long. But injuries happen, sometimes they happen unexpectedly. However, this wasn’t unexpected when you think about it. Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have rarely suffered season-ending injuries in their careers playing quarterback. Why? Their offensive lines protect them well. Hopefully, this can be a wake-up call for Cincinnati to draft linemen in the draft. In the meantime, get well Joey B.
Love: Justin Herbert
Photo Courtesy: Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports
One quarterback who simply balled out in Week 11 was the Los Angeles Chargers rookie Justin Herbert. Herbert, after having a rough game against Miami in Week 10, simply put on a show. Granted it was against the New York Jets, but that’s what you’re supposed to do when you play an awful team. Herbert threw for 366 yards and 3 touchdowns and completed 37 of his 49 passes and pleased fantasy owners as he flaunted 37.4 fantasy points. Due to his magnificent performance, the Chargers improved to 3-7 after losing their last 3 games. It looks as if Herbert is well on his way to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, especially after Joe Burrow’s brutal and heartbreaking injury. However, he has a test in Week 12 as the Chargers travel to Buffalo for a date with Josh Allen and Bills who are fresh off a bye week.
Hate: The Eagles……again.
Photo Courtesy: Joshua Gunter/cleveland.com
THEY HAVE HAD MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES ALL YEAR LONG TO SOLIDIFY THEMSELVES AS THE BEST TEAM IN THE NFC EAST. What do they do instead? Find ways to lose. And if there’s one person who always finds a way to lose for the Eagles….it’ Carson Wentz. Wentz through for 2 touchdowns but also threw 2 picks, one of them resulting in a crucial pick-6. He also attained an abysmal QBR of 20.3. Miles Sanders also fumbled in the red zone on their first drive of the game which didn’t help their chances either. Ultimately, the Eagles suffered yet another loss, this time to the hands of the Cleveland Browns, and are STILL SOMEHOW 1st IN THE NFC EAST at 3-6-1. It’s looking like the Giants could win this division as New York’s schedule is significantly easier than Philadelphia’s. How? Philly hosts the Seahawks and Week 12, followed by the Packers, Saints, and Cardinals. The grasp for the NFC East crown (or paper crown) is slipping away week by week as the Eagles' playoff hopes are slowly dying.
Love: Deshaun Watson
Photo Courtesy: Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports
You shouldn’t really expect much from the Houston Texans this year. Well for one they are 3-7. But also because they really traded the best wide receiver in the game in DeAndre Hopkins away and thought they were going to get better. But you should always expect greatness from Deshaun Watson. On Sunday afternoon in a game against a resurging New England Patriots team, Watson carried Houston to a 27-20 victory over the Patriots as he accounted for every one of the Texans’ scores. Watson threw for 344 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown, trucking a Patriots defender in the process. The Texans gave Watson a max deal for a reason as he is simply their franchise quarterback who has the ability to produce great numbers weekly. Hopefully, the Texans can carry their momentum into Week 12 as they play the worst team in the NFC North, which leads me to the next “Hate” section of this weekend recap.
Hate: Detroit Lions
Photo Courtesy: Gerry Broome/AP
Out of all the games played on Sunday you would have guessed that the Jets were the team that got shutout in Week 11 right? Wrong. What about the Jaguars? Nope. Well then who was it? The Detroit Lions. They were shutout by the Carolina Panthers 20-0, falling to 4-6. Matthew Stafford didn’t even eclipse 200 yards and attained a QBR of 23.1, You know this game looks bad on paper when Marvin Jones, Jr. isn’t the leading receiver on the team for the game (it was T.J. Hockenson). The team as a whole racked up only 185 yards of total offense. That’s sad. How many yards per play? 3.4. Although they were without Swift and Golladay, you would have expected the Lions to score AT LEAST ONCE. Ultimately it did not happen, as Detroit was just awful to watch Sunday afternoon. Hopefully Swift and Golladay can return for Week 12 as they need all the firepower they can get.
Love: All Black Referee Game
Photo Courtesy: ESPN/NBC News
In Week 11 of the NFL regular season history. The NFL saw its first all-Black officiating crew on Monday Night Football when the Rams played the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. Led by Jerome Boger who is in his 17th year as an NFL official, his crew consisted of 6 other crew members: Barry Anderson, Anthony Jefferies, Carl Johnson, Julian Mapp, Dale Shaw, and Greg Steed. This game shows the incredible contributions Black referees have brought to the game as their exemplary performance went unnoticed. Boger was also the 3rd Black referee in the history of the league when he began officiating in 2006. This group is what you could consider trailblazing as many more Black officiators are sure to come in the future. Although this league has a long way to go in countless topics and aspects, this historic moment in the league was not only a proud moment but is also a start in the right direction as well.
Hate: Miami Dolphins
Photo Courtesy: David Zalubowski/AP
I was extremely close to hopping on the Miami Dolphins bandwagon as a team that could scare people in the playoffs if they were to be a wildcard team. And then Sunday afternoon happened. Against the mediocre Broncos team that has struggled to move the ball on the offensive end. How many total yards did they concede? 459! The Dolphins allowed 189 of those yards on the ground as they could not contain Melvin Gordon, who has had an average year thus far. The Dolphins' offense was no better has Tua Tagovailoa was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who proceeded to throw the Dolphins only interception. The line also allowed 6 sacks on the day as well, which doesn’t help your team advance the ball upfield. The offense as a whole only put up 167 yards of total offense. This was a team that was on a roll, had a scary special teams and relentless defense, and had a promising young quarterback who was looking really nice once he got the starting gig. But that abruptly stopped once Week 11 came along. Hopefully, Miami can turn it around against the heartbroken Bengals franchise in Week 12. But, if you’re having trouble stopping Melvin Gordon, Drew Lock, and the 4-6 Denver Broncos, you need to reevaluate how good your team truly is.
Love: ELITE Derek Carr Audibles
Photo Courtesy: USA TODAY Sports
We have heard some incredible and interesting audibles being called in NFL games. From Peyton Manning’s “Omaha” to Jared Goff”s “Halle Berry”, some audibles are simply more different and entertaining than others. We got some more audible gems Sunday night as the Raiders took on the Chiefs in Las Vegas. No, it was not Patrick Mahomes who delivered these changes to his offense, rather it was Derek Carr in Jon Gruden’s offense. We were gifted audibles such as “James Harden” and “Purple Walrus” to Golden State Warriors legend “Chris Mullen” and “Mom in Georgia” (whatever that means). Those audibles definitely gave NFL fans, including myself a little chuckle. Although they did not help the Raiders win that game as they lost to the 9-1 Kansas City Cheifs 35-31, they still were still some of the bright spots in Week 11 of the NFL regular season. Who knows? They could work next week in Atlanta.
-Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce
-New York Jets (just because)