Week 11 in the NFL certainly had no shortage of intriguing finishes, starting with how the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns eked out victories. The Lions became the first team since the New York Jets in Week 2 of last season to overcome a deficit of 12 points in the final three minutes and win in regulation.
The Browns, with their third quarterback starting this year, have won five of their past six games and have scored the game-winning points in the final two minutes of regulation in four of those five wins. Both Detroit and Cleveland are 7-3 or better for the first time since 1969, showcasing a changing of the guard in the NFL.
In the game of the week, the Eagles made a statement with a double-digit comeback victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 9-1, starting 9-1 for the second consecutive season. Philadelphia has held or shared the best record in the league for 30 consecutive weeks.
As the league heads into Thanksgiving, this is what we learned from each team that played in Week 11.
Fourth down led to demise: While it's clear Kyler Murray makes a massive difference for the offense (265 pass + rush yards, 2 combined touchdowns), three failed fourth down attempts in the fourth quarter prevented the upset. Murray threw a knuckleball on on a fourth-and-4 to a wide open Trey McBride that ended up behind the tight end and Steven Nelson broke up a fourth down pass that sealed Houston's win. The Cardinals were 1 of 4 on fourth down, with the three misses in the fourth quarter costly. This team is still significantly better when Murray plays.
Odell Beckham stepping up in Mark Andrews' absence: Whether it was the ankle sprain or getting back into game shape after his torn ACL, Beckham has stepped up in a big way in the Ravens offense of late. He finished with four catches for 116 yards in Thursday's win over the Bengals, including a 51-yard catch that set up a Gus Edwards touchdown that gave Baltimore a commanding three touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. Beckham also had a 21-yard catch in the final minute of the first half that set up a Rashod Bateman touchdown. Beckham has 10 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games, an average of 21.2 yards per catch. The Ravens will need him as their deep threat with Andrews out for the year.
Patient approach by Joe Brady pays off: The Bills had an offensive coordinator shakeup this week with Ken Dorsey fired and Joe Brady promoted. The approach was much more conservative and far less reckless, which is just what Josh Allen needed. Allen went 20 of 32 for 275 yards and three touchdowns, taking the throws that were there instead of trying to force plays. Buffalo was just 1 of 4 in the red zone and 5 of 13 on third down, yet it was a good thing as the Bills didn't turn the ball over and took the points -- really all they needed to beat the Jets. The Bills put up 32 points (most allowed by Jets defense in two years) and won the turnover battle for the first time in six week. That's a major win for an offense that needed it.
Fourth quarter offense made loss worse than it was: The Panthers actually made this soon-to-be blowout loss to the Cowboys a one-possession game in the third quarter. Then the wheels fell off as Carolina had just -3 yards in the final 15 minutes, running 10 plays. Bryce Young threw an interception to Daron Bland that resulted in a touchdown and put any hopes of an upset out of reach. He also lost a fumble that led to a field goal. Young was 3 of 6 for 18 yards with an interception and a fumble in the final quarter (16.7 rating). The Panthers looked okay through three quarters, but have the worst record in the league for a reason.
They don't win when Justin Fields runs for 100 yards: This is one of the weirdest coincidences in the NFL, but the Bears have never won a game in which Fields runs for 100 yards. Chicago is 0-5 in the five games Fields runs for 100 yards, yet the Bears should have won on Sunday (12-point lead with 4:15 left). Fields was excellent throwing the ball, going 16 of 23 for 169 yards and a touchdown (105.2 rating), while rushing for 104 yards (5.8 yards per carry). His 29-yard run on third-and-14 set up the field goal to put the Bears up 12. The Bears lost this one thanks to a possession up 26-21 that lasted just 26 seconds. Chicago should win games when Fields runs as well as he does, but coaching gets in the way.
Jake Browning has to get in sync with Ja'Marr Chase: With Joe Burrow done for the year, it's up to Browning to see if he can get the Bengals into the playoffs. To be able to move the offense, Chase has to have more than two catches in a game. Chase did have a touchdown catch, but finished with only two catches for 12 yards on seven targets. The touchdown catch came when the game was out of hand in garbage time too. Browning only targeted Chase deep on a third-and-17 and connected with him on a first-and-10 for eight yards, but was nullified by penalty. Perhaps a week with the first-team offense (actually 10 days) will help that connection.
The formula is there to make the playoffs: Give Kevin Stefanski credit for this, he knows what his team is and isn't afraid to shy away from that approach. The Steelers purposely took away any throws underneath, forcing Dorian Thompson-Robinson to throw deep to generate offense with the running backs facing a loaded box. Stefanski went conservative, relying on a defense that has allowed the fewest yards per game (243.3 yards per game) since the 2008 Steelers. The defense is on pace to allow the fewest yards per drive since the 1991 Eagles. This approach almost cost Cleveland, but this is what they have to do going forward. Thompson-Robinson completed all four of his passes on the final drive and the Browns won. The defense is going to have to carry this team as their quarterback learns on the fly.
Daron Bland needs to get serious defensive player of the year consideration: Micah Parsons stated his case for Bland to win the award on the broadcast Sunday, and he's right. Bland is having one of the best coverage seasons in recent memory, as opposing quarterbacks targeting him are completing just 43.1% of their passes for 231 yards with one touchdown to six interceptions for a 17.5 passer rating. His four interceptions returned for scores this season are tied for the most in NFL history. Bland is having one of the best coverage seasons ever. He should be in the DPOY conversation.
Courtland Sutton solidifies himself as top receiver: When mentioning the best wideouts in the NFL, Sutton's name typically goes unmentioned. That should change after Sunday's win over the Vikings, as Sutton's impressive touchdown catch with 1:03 left was the difference in Denver's win. Sutton had four catches for 66 yards, but made his biggest reception when it mattered most. Sutton has eight games with a receiving touchdown this season, tied for the most in the NFL with Tyreek Hill and his five straight games with a receiving touchdown are the most for a Broncos player since Julius Thomas in 2014. Sutton has just 45 catches for 499 yards, but his eight touchdown catches are what makes the Broncos offense potent. He's better than the numbers show.
Jared Goff calm under pressure: Being through hell already, Jared Goff shows no fear if he has to go back. The Bears did make the Lions quarterback revisit his past when he threw three interceptions on Sunday, two of which were under pressure. When facing pressure in the fourth quarter, Goff was 4 of 6 for 51 yards and a 93.1 rating. In the fourth quarter, Goff was 11 of 14 for 120 yards with a touchdown for a 126.2 rating. In the first three quarters, Goff went 12 of 21 for 116 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions (49.0 rating). The Lions were able to come back because of Goff's resilience, something he wouldn't have been able to do in his early years.
Offensive rookies led team to victory: Jaylen Reed has been a major asset to the offense in year one, culminated with his 46 rushing yards and 46 receiving yards -- including a 31-yard touchdown that gave Green Bay an early lead. Dontayvion Wicks had three catches for 91 yards, including a 35-yard catch in the fourth quarter that led to the game-winning score. Tight ends Tucker Kraft and Luke Musgrave combined for six catches for 60 yards. That's 243 of the Packers 397 yards, a major reason why Jordan Love had his firts 300-yard passing game. Green Bay has plenty of young talent on offense, boding well for the future.
Red zone woes credited to C.J. Stroud: The Texans quarterback has been incredible all season, but endured some hiccups deep in Cardinals' territory on Sunday. Houston finished 1 of 4 in the red zone, two of those failed attempts were interceptions by Stroud. He actually threw all three of his interceptions inside the Arizona 30-yard line, forcing throws into coverage and not demonstrating the patience in the first half of the year. Stroud has four interceptions in his last two games after having just one in his first eight games. The Texans avoided disaster, but the giveaways by Stroud deep in opponent's territory are something to monitor.
Trevor Lawrence's knee is feeling better: The first sign the Jaguars offense was in sync was Doug Pederson and Press Taylor allowing Lawrence to roll out of the pocket -- something they haven't done since Lawrence suffered his knee injury in October. Lawrence was 3 of 6 for 50 yards with a rushing touchdown outside the pocket, part of an afternoon which he threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two scores. The Jaguars scored on five straight possessions as Lawrence had a 119.5 passer rsating. That strained left knee appears to be behind him.
Their second half scoring is atrocious: The Chiefs have scored just 19 points in the fourth quarter this season, as their 1.9 points per game in the final 15 minutes are the worst in the NFL. The last team with fewer through 10 games was the 2006 Raiders (and they had Andrew Walter at quarterback). The Chiefs average just 5.3 points in the second half, also the worst in the NFL. They have three straight games with zero second-half points, and have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. The Eagles came back to beta the Chiefs because Kansas City punted four times, turned the ball over in the red zone, and had a turnover on downs. They just aren't getting it done after halftime.
Offense couldn't finish off strong defensive performance in fourth quarter: Give the Raiders defense plenty of credit for putting the offense in position to win the game on Sunday. The Raiders held the Dolphins to 11 plays for 35 yards, having Miami punt three times in a 20-13 game. The Raiders offense couldn't capitalize, punting once, followed by a turnover on downs and two interceptions. Aidan O'Connell went 12 of 23 for 151 yards with two interceptions and a 36.7 rating in the fourth quarter. The Raiders had opportunities at the upset, but the Dolphins made life tough for the young quarterback that didn't have much help in the running game.
Is Quentin Johnston going to figure it out? Johnston has been struggling in his rookie campaign, which wasn't expected for a first-round pick that was expected to produce immediately. Everything came to a head Sunday, when Johnston caught two of six targets for 21 yards. The biggest play was the one he dropped on a third-and-6 from the Chargers' 30, a good throw from Justin Herbert that went right off Johnston's hands that should have resulted in at least the Chargers kicking the game-tying field goal. If Johnson catches the ball cleanly, it's a touchdown and the Chargers win. Johnston has just one 50-yard game and one touchdown through his first 10 appearances, not the impact the Chargers thought they were getting. They need the rookie to be better with Mike Williams lost for the season -- and he just hasn't been.
Matthew Stafford continues strong play on third/fourth down: The Rams certainly have a chance to win games because of Stafford, who finished 17 of 30 for 191 yards and a touchdown with an interception in his return from a thumb injury. His numbers on third and fourth down were a huge reason why the Rams won, as Stafford went 4 of 7 for 18 yards with a touchdown (101.8 rating). Stafford has completed 63% of his passes on third/fourth down this season, with seven touchdowns to one interception for a 108.6 rating. There's a reason the Rams are competitive when Stafford plays, and third/fourth down passing plays a role in that.
Jalen Ramsey -- still a difference maker: Ramsey had two massive interceptions for the Dolphins Sunday, the biggest one being the diving catch in the end zone to seal the Dolphins victory. Aidan O'Connell was 1 of 10 for 4 yards with a 0.0 passer rating targeting Ramsey, who had two interceptions and two pass breakups. Ramsey has three interceptions in three games as the Dolphins defense has allowed 260.3 yards per game since he's been back. The Dolphins will need Ramsey in December and January, and he's back in a massive way.
Ball security issues reared its ugly head: The giveaway issues Minnesota had early in the season came back in Sunday's loss to the Broncos. The Vikings fumbled the ball four times (losing two) and Josh Dobbs threw an interception. Dobbs actually fumbled the ball three times and was fortunate the Vikings recovered two of them. Alexander Mattison fumbled the ball in his own territory that led to a Denver field goal -- and the Vikings ended up losing by one. Minnesota had three giveaways Monday after having just three in Dobbs' first two games (and just five in their last six games). The giveaways aren't as bad as earlier in the season, but the 20 they have are fourth most in the NFL.
Defense gets the takeaways they needed: The defense did give up 403 yards and 174 yards on the ground (6.2 yards per carry), but were bailed out by playing up to Wink Martindale's style. The Giants forced six turnovers against the Commanders, three fumble recoveries and three interceptions. The pass rush forced Sam Howell into rushed throws, which resulted in two interceptions in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Simmons' pick-six with 16 seconds left capped the defensive effort, and sealed a victory that wouldn't have happened without the six takeaways. That's 16 takeaways in their last seven games.
Garrett Wilson is nonexistent: This was going to be another week of discussing how bad Zach Wilson was, but its frustrating to see a talent like Garrett Wilson being wasted this year because of inept quarterback play. Wilson was targeted eight times by Wilson and Tim Boyle, but had just two catches for nine yards. Wilson hasn't had a touchdown since Week 2 because of the quarterback ineptitude, even if the numbers for the year are solid given the situation (57 catches, 651 yards, 11.4 yards per catch). Gotta wonder just how good Wilson would be with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback.
Second half defense comes up huge again: The Eagles didn't allow a single point in the second half of Monday's win over the Chiefs, forcing Kansas City to punt four times, while recording a takeaway in the red zone (had two in the game), and forcing a turnover on downs to preserve the win. In the last two games, the Eagles have allowed just six points in the second half -- both crucial in wins against the Cowboys and Chiefs (each have 7-3 records). The second half defense has two takeaways in that stretch and forced a turnover on downs three times. Whatever adjustments Sen Desai is making, it's working.
Jaylen Warren needs to be the No. 1 running back: The Steelers have an abysmal offense, getting outgained again for the 10th time in 10 games (the Browns had a rookie quarterback playing). Warren singlehandedly kept Pittsburgh in the game, as his 74-yard touchdown run cut a 10-point deficit to three, which was the longest touchdown run by the Steelers since Willie Parker. Warren finished with nine carries for 129 yards and a touchdown, 79.2% of the team's rushing yards. Warren was responsible for 58.2% of the offense! Warren has six fewer rushing yards than Najee Harris (499 to 493) on 48 fewer carries. He's averaging 6.2 yards per carry to Harris and his 3.9, with just as many rushing touchdowns (three). He needs to be the No. 1 back going forward.
Brock Purdy states his MVP case: As Purdy goes, the 49ers go. Purdy had the best game of an impressive, young career in Sunday's win over the Buccaneers, finishing 21 of 25 for 333 yards and three touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Purdy leads the NFL in passer rating (115.1) and yards per attempt (9.7) by a wide margin. He has the second-highest yards per attempt by any quarterback through 10 team games since 1950 and the highest passer rating in a two-game span (157.3) by any quarterback in league history. The 49ers are already good, but they're elite when Purdy plays like this. He has an MVP case.
No chance without Geno Smith: The Seahawks were fortunate Smith came back from an elbow injury in the fourth quarter, because the unit couldn't get a first down when Drew Lock was in the game. Lock was 2 of 6 for three yards and an interception -- finishing with a 2.8 passer rating! When Lock was in, the Seahawks ran six plays for six yards on his two full possessions, with an interception. The Seahawks blew a 16-7 lead in the process and lost the game. Seattle needs Smith healthy to even have a chance to win the NFC West. They needed to hold serve this week -- and didn't.
Offense relies on Baker Mayfield too much: There's only so much Mayfield can do before it all falls to pieces, which is what happened Sunday when the Buccaneers failed to score twice in the red zone in a two-score game in the fourth quarter. A turnover on downs and an interception on third down doomed the Buccaneers, yet masked the real issue with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers can't run the ball, ranking last in rushing yards in yards per carry. Tampa Bay rushed for 66 yards and 3.7 yards per carry, part of an offense that averaged 4.3 yards per play Sunday. Again, there's only so much Mayfield can do. There's an over-reliance on him.
Offensive line is crushing Derrick Henry: The Titans offensive line is one of the worst units in the NFL, making it difficult for the offense to be balanced. Henry hasn't been the running back we're accustomed to seeing, having just 21 carries for 62 yards over the last two games -- an average of 2.95 yards per carry. Henry has just 662 rushing yards and four touchdowns (4.2 yards per carry), a far cry below the player that had double digit touchdowns in each of the last four years. Part of Henry's demise has to do with an offensive line that can't get out of its own way.
Pass rush still exists without Chase Young and Montez Sweat: Sunday wasn't a banner day for the Commanders defense, but the unit still managed to get nine sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and 26 pressures against the Giants horrendous offensive line. David Mayo had two sacks, while Jonathan Allen and K.J. Henry each had 1.5 sacks. Washington had five players that finished with three-plus pressures. Sunday's performance is likely an aberration, but still encouraging for a struggling unit.