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Team Notes week 12 2022
NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS AND OTHER GOOD STUFF
Directly from the desk of FlashUpdate Editor Bob Harris. The good; the bad; and yes. ... Even the Bears. There is no better way to jump start your weekend than browsing these always educational -- often irreverent -- team-by-team, Fantasy-specific offerings. ...
Access specific teams by clicking on a team name in the schedule appearing directly to your left or by clicking on a helmet below; return to the helmets by hitting the link labeled "Menu" following each teams notes. ...
Arizona CardinalsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
A bad season just got even worse for the Arizona Cardinals.
It has been one thing for them to lose on Sundays stateside. It was another for them to get blown out on "Monday Night Football" in front of an international audience at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City.
But it's not just this season. It's been a bad year.
After Monday night's 38-10 loss to the 49ers, the Cardinals are 5-12 over their last 17 games. As Profootballtalk.com's Michael David Smith pointed out, that's a full season's worth of play in which Arizona has been one of the worst teams in the league.
It's hard to remember now, but the Cardinals started 7-0 last season, and as late as Week 14 of 2021, they were the No. 1 team in a lot of NFL power rankings. Many football fans and commentators were expecting the Cardinals to be in the Super Bowl last season.
And then they lost five of their last six games, including a 34-11 loss to the Rams in the wild card round of the playoffs. It was clear to anyone who watched the Cardinals down the stretch last season that things were trending in the wrong direction.
Surprisingly, Cardinals ownership responded to that collapse by doubling down, with contract extensions for coach Kliff Kingsbury, general manager Steve Keim, and quarterback Kyler Murray.
The Cardinals made it clear with those contracts that they were all-in.
And the result this year is a 4-7 record and a team that is almost certain to miss the playoffs.
Instead of pulling themselves within closing distance of the last playoff spot, the Cardinals showed again that their offense is still a work in progress -- four years into Kingsbury's tenure.
Those contract extensions look like big mistakes. The Cardinals are collapsing.
With Murray's hamstring still not at 100 percent, the start went to backup quarterback Colt McCoy for the second straight week. The Cardinals ran for just 67 yards and mustered one touchdown with McCoy behind an offensive line that featured just one opening day starter, right tackle Kelvin Beachum.
Arizona's defense couldn't contain the 49ers' three most powerful weapons: tight end George Kittle, running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Unable to get their running game going, James Conner never found running room against the stout 49ers front, the Cardinals left the burden of the offense on McCoy, who took hit after hit behind the patchwork offensive line.
According to NBCSportsEdge.com, Kingsbury needs to do better with play calling before Conner, who carried 14 times for 42 yards and added 12 yards on two catches) can realize his full potential in this offense. Conner saved his fantasy day with a second quarter score from two yards out, which has become his calling card while in Arizona.
The end result is the Cardinals are left looking for answers on both sides of the ball with six games left.
Perhaps indicative of where they're at, the Cardinals lost yards on five runs in the first half, all of which happened on first down, putting them in second-and-long situations before they even had a chance to break a sweat. Three of them happened on the same drive. Those five first downs that went for negative runs were on drives that produced a total of three points and an interception.
When McCoy was upright, he threw for 218 yards and an interception on 24-for-34 passing, even after being sacked three times. He was seen in pain after a couple hits and his inability to evade pressure and make plays with his feet was an issue for the Cardinals all game.
DeAndre Hopkins' taunting penalty early in the second quarter moved Arizona from 49ers territory back into its own territory. Two plays later, McCoy threw an interception, which San Francisco turned into a touchdown to take a 14-3 lead and never looked back.
After catching seven passes for 77 yards in the first half, Hopkins had just two catches for 14 yards in the second half.
So what now as the Cardinals prepare to host the Chargers?
Murray's balky hamstring has progressed "quite a bit," Kingsbury said Tuesday.
Kingsbury said the Cardinals having "four of those [offensive] linemen down" for Monday night's game ultimately made the decision to sit Murray another week.
"I think we want him to be full throttle," Kingsbury said. "That was kind of the point this week. I'm hoping this coming week he can be at that point."
Although ESPN's Jeremy Fowler has reported Murray won't return until after the team's Week 13 bye, which would obviously mean sitting out this week, Murray and Kingsbury set an optimistic tone on Wednesday.
In fact, Kingsbury told reporters that Murray was “definitely trending in the right direction” to start Sunday against Chargers.
Murray flat out said he expected to start Sunday. “I feel good,” he added.
Beyond that, Rondale Moore left Monday night's game early. So even if Marquise Brown comes back this week, it could mean yet another game without the Cardinals' top three receivers.
Kingsbury said the Cardinals will have to see how serious Moore's groin injury is, but Greg Dortch did a heck of a job as fill-in. As Darren Urban of the team's official website notes, Dortch has pretty much produced whenever he's had a chance this season.
He had his first NFL 100-yard game Monday, although he and McCoy were not on the same page on a key fourth-down play.
"There were some timing things that he hadn't had reps on during the week that Rondale had all the reps," McCoy said. "But Greg Dortch is a great football player. I know Kyler trusts him. I know I trust him. He brings a lot of juice to our football team. And I thought he did a really nice job stepping up."
Dortch, however, is having an MRI on his thumb.
As for Brown, Kingsbury told reporters "He wants to be out there, so if he can go, we'll know early this week."
I'll follow up on Murray, Moore and Brown, who is expected to return this week, and Dortch via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the Cardinals are waiving running back Jonathan Ward off injured reserve. Ward played in 32 games over three seasons in Arizona and is fully healthy now from his hamstring injury.
A potential waiver pickup for a playoff team needing some athletic backfield depth. ...
Finally. ... The Cardinals returned home with one fewer assistant coach than they arrived with.
Offensive line coach/running game coordinator Sean Kugler was fired following an incident in Mexico City on Sunday night, according to Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic.
ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss reports Kugler allegedly groped a woman.
Mexican authorities were notified of the incident, which happened Sunday night, and then informed the Cardinals, who terminated Kugler and sent him back to Arizona on a flight Monday morning. The Cardinals had arrived in Mexico City on Saturday.
The 56-year-old Kugler has been on the Cardinals' staff since 2019 and has previously coached with the Broncos, Steelers, Bills and Lions, as well as multiple college coaching jobs. ...
You can access complete stats for the Cardinals Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Josh Dobbs, Clayton Tune, Kyler Murray
RBs: James Conner, Keaontay Ingram, Emari Demercado
WRs: Marquise Brown, Zach Pascal, Rondale Moore, Michael Wilson, Greg Dortch
TEs: Zach Ertz, Trey McBride, Geoff Swaim
Atlanta FalconsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
Kyle Pitts' sophomore season might be finished due to a knee injury suffered Sunday. But he'll definitely miss the next four games.
The Falcons placed Pitts on injured reserve Monday, one day after suffering a knee injury against the Bears.
A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that surgery is "likely" for Pitts, but head coach Arthur Smith said nothing has been confirmed yet as they are still seeing doctors and receiving opinions about a potential tear and the severity of it.
"I'm not a doctor, but an MCL sprain, that's usually what happens -- there's varying degrees and where they are in the knee," Smith said. "I'll let the medical experts handle it."
Pitts sustained the knee injury early in the third quarter of Atlanta's 27-24 win over Chicago and was slow to get up from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium turf before jogging to the sideline. The Falcons initially believed Pitts had suffered an MCL sprain, but Monday's MRI revealed the injury was worse than anticipated.
The 2022 season hasn't been kind to Pitts, who has struggled to make the same impact he did as a rookie. After breaking 1,000 receiving yards in his first NFL season, Pitts has caught just 28 passes for 356 yards in his second campaign while doubling his 2021 touchdown total.
Atlanta's offensive approach hasn't helped the tight end much. With Marcus Mariota at quarterback, the Falcons have actively avoiding passing in multiple games this season, diminishing Pitts' ability to make a difference at times for the 5-6 Falcons.
A season-ending knee injury isn't an outcome anyone would desire. A second opinion still leaves Pitts with a little hope, but it sounds as if it's more likely he is done for 2022.
I'll have more on that via Late-Breaking Update as developments warrant. ...
How do the Falcons replace Pitts if he's out for any length of time?
Smith said on Monday the Falcons will continue to evaluate Feleipe Franks and Anthony Firkser (who were both inactive on Sunday) to see if they could be active sooner rather than later to help fill out the position. In the meantime, MyCole Pruitt and Parker Hesse will be the Falcons go-to's at tight end as Pitts recovers.
Pruitt appears to be first in line.
"He doesn't get a lot of credit, and he deserves a whole lot," Mariota said of Pruitt. "Like, not only does he block at the point of attack and do a lot of different things for us. Unfortunately, with Kyle going down, he had to step into a bigger role and had a huge play for us on one of those keepers."
Of course, the running game, which ranks second in total yards rushing, continues to be a major asset -- and Pitts also plays a key role in blocking for the team's run-first offense.
Atlanta ran for 149 yards and 4.5 yards per carry against Chicago, highlighted by Tyler Allgeier's 55 yards and Cordarrelle Patterson's 52.
Meanwhile, Patterson knew he had to make a play in the second quarter on Sunday.
On the previous Falcons possession, Patterson lined up at running back, cut left, and bounced off a couple defenders before seeing open field. As he cut up field, Bears' defensive back Jaquan Brisker came from behind and knocked the ball loose, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Chicago.
The Bears ultimately capitalized on the play, extending the score to 17-7 when Justin Fields ran it into the end zone from four yards out with 4:31 left in the first half.
"That was in my head the whole time," Patterson said, "and as a football player, you just got to move on to the next play."
As Bears kicker Cairo Santos kicked downfield, Patterson stood firm deep in the end zone. He caught the ball, and the rest was history. Literally.
The 10-year NFL veteran took off up the middle of the field, maneuvering his way through defenders before finally breaking free for a 103-yard kickoff return touchdown.
This marked his first for the Falcons and ninth of his career, becoming the NFL's all-time kick return touchdown leader.
"I was happy when he kicked me the ball," Patterson said. "I just had to make a spark for my team."
Ironically, this return marked the third one against the Bears, his former team which he played for from 2019-2020. He has five kickoff return touchdowns with Minnesota, two for Chicago, one for New England and now, one for the Atlanta.
This officially broke the three-way tie between Patterson, Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington, who all had eight before Sunday afternoon.
"I'm definitely super proud of him to set the record against his former team. Perfect day for it and perfect time, we needed a big play," Grady Jarrett said. "He responded right after a mistake. Just a true pro. He's doing his thing and we're a totally different team with him on the field."
It was a momentum shifter to say the least, and it was ultimately a play that helped the Falcons get the win they needed.
When asked what the biggest takeaway from Sunday’s victory was, Patterson's answer was clear.
"Defense, offense, special teams," he said. "We all stood up together as a unit. You don't want offense going out and doing everything, you don't want defense going out and doing everything and the same for special teams. We come as a unit and if we can continue to do that and grow, we'll be special man."
How dominant has Patterson been in terms of touchdown returns?
Per Adam Harstad, since entering the NFL, Patterson has 2.6 percent of all kickoff returns.
He has 14.3 percent of all kickoff return touchdowns. ...
Patterson's record might never be broken. No other active player has more than three kickoff return touchdowns, and NFL rules changes are making kickoff return touchdowns less common. It's even possible that the kickoff will eventually disappear from football altogether.
But Patterson's accomplishments are now enshrined in the NFL record book, where he has a place all his own.
By the way. ... Patterson was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts.
Next up, the Falcons get ready to face the Commanders and work Pruitt into the game plan to compensate for the loss of Pitts.
You can access complete stats for the Falcons Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Desmond Ridder, Taylor Heinicke, Logan Woodside
RBs: Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, Cordarrelle Patterson, Chris Ogbonnaya
WRs: Drake London, Mack Hollins, KhaDarel Hodge, Scott Miller, Jared Bernhardt, Josh Ali
TEs: Kyle Pitts, Jonnu Smith, MyCole Pruitt, John FitzPatrick
Baltimore RavensCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Jamison Hensley reported, Lamar Jackson was upset Sunday when he watched left tackle Ronnie Stanley limp off the field in the third quarter, and it went beyond losing his All-Pro blindside protector.
"It was me who hurt him," Jackson said after the Ravens' 13-3 win over the Carolina Panthers. "So, I'm a little pissed off about that."
With 4:10 left in third quarter, a sacked Jackson got rolled into the back of Stanley's left ankle. This is the same ankle that Stanley broke in 2020 and needed two years to recover from. Stanley gingerly walked into the locker room and did not return.
Head coach John Harbaugh did not provide any updates on injuries, but Jackson surprisingly did.
"I went in the locker room after the game, and I checked on him, but he said he's pretty good," Jackson said. "He told me just don't fall into him."
Jackson had his own issues after missing Friday's practice because of illness. But he said health was not a factor in the Ravens being limited to 13 points, the fewest they've scored in a win with Jackson as their starting quarterback.
"I had a little stomach bug, but I played," he said.
Asked about how he felt Sunday, Jackson said, "I feel great. ..."
Maybe so, but Jackson was held out of Wednesday's practice due to a hip injury he suffered Sunday. Harbaugh, however, was adamant Jackson will play in Sunday’s game against Jaguars.
Meanwhile, Demarcus Robinson is playing a bigger role in Baltimore's offense than many expected, and doing it well.
The 28-year-old wide receiver didn't sign with the Ravens until August after he was released by the Raiders during the preseason. By that time, Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay were established as the starting wide receivers and it wasn't clear where Robinson would fit, or how much he would play.
Now it's clear where Robinson fits.
He's a key weapon in the offense, especially with Bateman (Lisfranc foot surgery) lost for the season. Robinson's importance was never more evident than against the Panthers, when he produced a season-high nine catches for 128 yards. The nine catches were a career-high for Robinson, while the 128 yards receiving represented his second-highest career total.
When given an opportunity, Robinson seized it, and his teammates and coaches recognize his importance.
"This guy right here [Robinson] again came up big, 'D-Rob' making many plays," Harbaugh said after the win against Carolina. "I was going to give him a game ball, but he just got the one last week, so we'll have to see. He just played great again."
"He played lights out," Jackson added. "We've known what he's capable of though; we just have to keep feeding him the ball."
Based on recent performances, Jackson has no reason to stop feeding Robinson.
He had six catches for 64 yards in Baltimore's Week 8 victory over Tampa Bay, and over the last three games he's gone for 15 catches for 204 yards.
Duvernay is now drawing more defensive attention, and All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews is always a focal point of the opposition's game plan.
The Ravens will need production from other targets for their passing game to remain productive, and Robinson has looked more than capable of filling that role. He's been most effective on intermediate routes, getting open in man-to-man coverage or finding soft spots in zones. Robinson and Jackson connected several times on throws to the sideline against the Panthers.
Robinson's production against the Panthers helped the Ravens' offensive balance, supporting a running a game that was led by another veteran player in Kenyan Drake, who said it's important for Ravens receivers and running backs to make plays in support of Jackson, a unique quarterback who drives the offense as both a runner and thrower.
"We have a great quarterback, we have a great scheme, we have great playmakers in general," Drake said. "But when they take away something, we're going to use that to get somebody else involved, and that's why [Robinson] had a great game, and we're excited about him to mature in this offense. You know somebody's number is always going to be called away from the norm in a sense, and I'm excited about who's going to continue to step up."
Against the Panthers, it was Robinson. It wasn't the first time, and he has high expectations for the Ravens (7-3) riding a four-game winning streak.
"The defense plays outstanding almost every week; I think we just need to keep upping our ante on offense so we can meet their standard," Robinson said. "Then, I feel like we'll be unstoppable."
For what it's worth. ... Duvernay saw a career-high 84 percent of the offensive snaps. He had one target and one carry. He and Robinson rarely came off the field, with Robinson playing 78 percent of the offensive snaps. Robinson earned the Ravens' highest offensive Pro Football Focus grade at 91.5.
The Ravens would like to get Duvernay more involved.
Harbaugh said there were six to eight run-option reads where Duvernay could have gotten the ball, but didn't and "numerous passes where it just didn't come his way."
"We've got to say to ourselves, as coaches, 'We need him [Duvernay] involved. We need to find a way to get him the ball,'" Harbaugh said. "So, we understand it. It doesn't always go to a guy even when you call it towards a guy, but by the same token, we've got to keep chasing that, because we want the ball in his hands. ..."
In his first game back from his knee and shoulder injuries, Andrews had a full load. He played all but five offensive snaps and caught six passes for 63 yards.
With Gus Edwards ruled out pre-game due to his ongoing hamstring and knee issues, Drake paced the running backs with 51 percent of the offensive snaps, but Justice Hill was just seven snaps behind at 41 percent.
It took a while for Baltimore to get its running backs going with Edwards sidelined. Drake and Hill finished with 76 yards on 17 carries, but the Ravens had their eight-game streak of rushing for at least 150 yards snapped -- although Jackson's running ability helped them surpass 100.
The Ravens were hoping Edwards would be able to play against the Panthers, but Harbaugh said he "just couldn't get to the game."
Edwards was close, and Baltimore is hopeful he'll get over the hump and back on the field this upcoming week against the Jaguars.
Edwards has been out since tweaking his hamstring on Oct. 27 in Tampa Bay. He was limited in practice last week and will have a month between games if he plays against the Jaguars.
"He just couldn't do it, and you could see it; I could see it in practice on Friday and Thursday," Harbaugh said. "So, we'll hold out the same hope this week. I think he'll get there, but he just has to be right. A guy has to be ready to go and be at his best."
Veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson is also working through a hamstring injury, though his occurred in the Week 9 win in New Orleans. He's made slower progress, Harbaugh said, and did not practice last week.
I'll have more on Jackson, Edwards and Jackson -- both of whom were on the practice field Wednesday -- via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
Much has been made of Baltimore's favorable schedule the rest of the way, and the Ravens play at Jacksonville (3-7) on Sunday.
The Jaguars have more time to prepare because they'll be coming off their open date. ...
One last note. ... The Ravens never trailed by double digits this season. Meanwhile, they've had a double-digit lead at some point in every game.
The Ravens are the third team to lead by double digits in each of the first 10 games while never trailing by double digits. The others were the 1984 Dolphins and the 1942 Chicago Bears.
You can access complete stats for the Ravens Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Lamar Jackson, Tyler Huntley, Josh Johnson
RBs: Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, J.K. Dobbins
WRs: Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham, Rashod Bateman, Nelson Agholor, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace
TEs: Mark Andrews, Isaiah Likely, Charlie Kolar
Buffalo BillsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
The Bills dug out of their snowy homes and got their groove back in the Motor City.
Josh Allen threw a go-ahead, 5-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs late in the first half and Buffalo beat the Cleveland Browns 31-23 on Sunday after the NFL moved the Bills' home game due to several feet of snow blanketing western New York.
"Back on track," Diggs said.
The Bills (7-3) avoided blowing a third straight halftime lead by scoring on all five of their possessions in the second half and doing a better job protecting the ball.
Perhaps escaping snow-packed homes -- with the help of Bills employees, friends and strangers -- will prove to be pivotal for a Super Bowl-contending team that was in a relative slump.
"When you go through a shared experience like this, it can bring a team closer together," coach Sean McDermott said.
Buffalo lost its raucous home-field advantage, but the team did its best to bring some of the sights and sound familiar at Highmark Stadium, such as a blaring train horn and calls for Bills Mafia to get loud at key moments.
Plenty of supporters from both fan bases attended, chanting "Let's Go Buffalo!" and barking like dogs.
"It was a cool atmosphere," Bills safety Jordan Poyer said.
Buffalo, which will return to Detroit to play the Lions on Thanksgiving, started sluggish after a week disrupted by a winter storm.
"We easily could've folded and allowed it to be an excuse for us," Allen said.
The star quarterback threw some errant passes early before regaining his touch on an 11-play, 78-yard drive that took just 1 minute, 40 seconds and ended with Allen's first pass to Diggs.
"We got into a good rhythm," McDermott said. "We were a little bit off early."
Indeed, Buffalo's primary aim on offense heading into Week 11 was to cut down on the turnovers.
And while they were able to keep a clean sheet in that category for just the second time this season, they also found something else in the 31-23 win over the Browns.
After attempting to pass on 10 of their first 12 plays, Buffalo turned to their run game and focused on mixing it in with more regularity. In fact, on each of their next four scoring drives the Bills called 22 passes and 16 runs piling up 22 points in the process. The Bills' run game was instrumental in helping them score on each of their last seven possessions, not counting their kneel down at the end of the game.
"Very impressed by the way we ran the football," said McDermott. "I think both backs had close to 80 plus yards there so that was good to watch. They were running hard taking care of the football. Good to watch our offensive line go to work like they did."
In fact, Devin Singletary and James Cook each ran for 86 yards as the team averaged 5.2 yards per carry on the day.
Sunday was just the third game this season in which a running back was the leading rusher for Buffalo. The Bills are 3-0 in those games.
After gaining control of the game on the scoreboard, Buffalo used the ground game even more to salt away clock calling five consecutive run plays for Cook leading to a field goal to make it 25-10 early in the fourth quarter.
"They found holes and our offensive line fought their tails off," said Allen. "That's going to help us out going forward."
By game's end the Bills had 33 run attempts and 27 pass attempts. It was just the second time this season that Buffalo had more rushing attempts than pass attempts as their Week 8 win over Green Bay was the only other instance.
Allen had a season low 84 passing yards at halftime, but Buffalo's quarterback is all about the victories. That's why if that kind of rushing success can continue down the stretch, he has no problem turning around and handing it off or pitching it.
"Devin and James both ran the ball well, and it's credit to our guys up front, making those holes for him," said Allen. "If we can run it like that, I mean, we're going to continue to run it. That's no secret."
The strong rushing attack took some of the pressure off Allen to make plays through the air.
Allen was 18 of 27 for 197 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers.
Diggs didn't have a target until his touchdown catch at the end of the first half despite being wide-open on multiple plays.
He threw six of his NFL-high 10 interceptions over the previous three games and fumbled a snap in the end zone during last week's collapse against Minnesota.
The Bills and Allen have said his right elbow injury is not affecting his play. Either way, the offense must find a way to get in sync more quickly and consistently.
Perhaps the renewed emphasis on balance will help -- especially as they go up against the Lions Thursday, in the first of three Thanksgiving Day games. ...
Cook matched his season high in carries on offense with 11 but eclipsed his previous season high of 53 yards with the 86 against the Browns. Cook served as a dynamic change of pace to Singletary as Browns' defenders were often grabbing at air as Cook deftly dodged defenders and shot through holes created by the offensive line.
"Like I always say I just keep going," said the low-key Cook. "Just playing my one-eleventh each and every week and just help the team get the dub (win). That's it. The team needed to get a spark, so whatever they need me to do I'll be there to help them."
Cook almost broke a run for a long touchdown on a 1st-and-10 from the Bills' 37 at the end of the third quarter but was tripped up in the secondary by Browns' safety John Johnson. The 29-yard run was the longest play from scrimmage in the game for Buffalo.
"I was trying to go," said Cook. "It could've gone for 80. I was a tackle away from going. It'll come. I've just got to be patient."
Buffalo's 171 rushing yards on Sunday were the most this season in a regulation game. They ran for 175 in their overtime loss to Minnesota last week. But the development and consistency of their run game the past two weeks serves notice that it might be rounding into form at just the right time.
"The more balance we have, the better we're going to be," said Cook. "We just have to keep working every week."
Special teams were a factor as well. ... Nyheim Hines returned kickoffs and punts on Sunday and provided the offense with excellent field position early on.
His opening kickoff went for 32 yards giving Buffalo a drive start of their own 35 on their first possession. Late in the first quarter he took a punt 28 yards down the sideline to provide the offense with what would be their best drive start of the game at the Cleveland 32. And though the offense was only able to add eight yards themselves, Hines' return put them in field goal range from the jump.
"It was huge for us. Especially again, that first quarter, we didn't really move the ball that well early on, but for him to get that that return and get us into field goal range. That's a weapon right there," said Allen. "And he's going to continue to get into this offense as he learns more and hopefully, we can utilize him the way we need to utilize him because he's got some game-breaking speed."
Hines finished the game with five returns for 113 total yards helping give Buffalo an average drive start of their own 38-yard line, one of their best this season.
Kicker Tyler Bass made all six of his field goal attempts, tying his career high that matched Steve Christie's team record set in 1996. ...
On the injury front. ... The Bills are staying cautious when it comes to Allen and his elbow injury.
Allen was once again listed as a limited participant on Buffalo's Tuesday injury report. Allen has played every offensive snap over the last two weeks, despite missing practice time with the injury.
The quarterback has completed 67 percent of his passes for 527 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He's rushed nine times for 91 yards.
There was just one change on Buffalo's injury report from the estimate the club released on Monday. Offensive lineman David Quessenberry (ankle) was upgraded from limited to full.
Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (groin/heel), defensive end A.J. Epenesa (ankle), center Mitch Morse (elbow/ankle), and defensive end Greg Rousseau (ankle) did not practice Tuesday.
Safety Jordan Poyer (elbow), cornerback Kaiir Elam (ankle), safety Damar Hamlin (neck), and cornerback Cam Lewis (forearm) were all full participants.
You can access complete stats for the Bills Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Josh Allen, Kyle Allen
RBs: James Cook, Damien Harris, Latavius Murray, Reggie Gilliam
WRs: Stefon Diggs, Gabe Davis, Trent Sherfield, Khalil Shakir, Deonte Harty
TEs: Dawson Knox, Dalton Kincaid, Quintin Morris
Carolina PanthersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
When it came to offense, the Panthers never came up with a Plan B in Baltimore.
When the running game they've been able to count on all year was stopped by a traditionally sound Ravens defense, the Panthers were left without answers and a 13-3 loss Sunday -- on a day when the defense did everything necessary to win.
Of course, they knew it was going to be difficult; they knew what the Ravens were about (one of them in particular). That made it more frustrating to manage only 36 yards on 17 carries.
"Nothing in particular," former Ravens center Bradley Bozeman said on what the Ravens did to stop them. "It's all on us. We've got to pick up next week and get our running game back on track."
In the five previous games under interim coach Steve Wilks, the Panthers had averaged 146.2 yards per game on the ground, and D'Onta Foreman had done a reasonable job of making people forget Christian McCaffrey used to work here. He had three 100-yard games in his last four, which made Sunday's 24 yards on 11 carries stand out in relief. That's why he said he played "like s---" and "not up to my standard" after the game when asked to describe what happened.
"It's tough," Foreman said. "Of course, you have to give credit to those guys. They have a great defense. They play hard. Credit to our guys, I think we played hard all game.
"We have to be better at the run game. I kind of put that on me. I feel like when we run the ball well, we are able to stay on the field. When we don't run the ball well, we get off the field earlier than we want to. I've got to figure out how to be better and make those plays."
It wasn't for a lack of trying, as the Panthers pushed a few new buttons early.
They've gone to jumbo packages with backup tackle Cameron Erving as a sixth blocker more often lately, and Sunday, they even lined up rookie lineman Cade Mays as a fullback for his first offensive snap in the NFL, trying to put more bodies on the field in a big-man game.
As the 3-8 Panthers stare into a final six-game sprint of a long season, they at least know they won't necessarily see the likes of the Ravens again. Of their last six opponents, only one is ranked in the top 12 in the league in rush defense (the Steelers, who were sixth in that category entering Week 11). They also face two of the bottom five (the 27th-ranked Seahawks and the 31st-ranked Lions) during that stretch.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the fact there's another aspect of offense that didn't work at all Sunday, or often at all this year with quarterback Baker Mayfield at the helm (his first start since missing five games with a high ankle sprain and the dawning of the P.J. Walker era).
So it's not a huge surprise that Wilks told his quarterbacks Tuesday that Sam Darnold would start at home this week against the Broncos, making him the fourth quarterback to take the field this year and the third to start a game.
With Walker not yet ready to return after suffering a high ankle sprain against the Falcons, the choices were going with Darnold or letting Mayfield remain in the job.
Mayfield threw two interceptions late, and never generated enough offense Sunday in a 13-3 loss to the Ravens. He will back up Darnold this week.
Darnold started 11 games for the Panthers last season and was competent early in the year as they got out to a 3-0 start.
But after injuries to McCaffrey and a constantly changing cast of offensive linemen, he struggled through the middle of the season before missing five games with a shoulder injury.
On the whole, Darnold was 243-of-406 passing (59.9 percent) last year, with nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions for a 71.9 passer rating.
In seven games this year, Mayfield is 119-of-206 (57.8 percent) with six touchdowns and six interceptions for a 74.4 rating.
No matter who's at quarterback, the Panthers will have to correct many of their flaws if they're to take the next step in their rebuild.
"You have to learn to stop beating yourself before you can learn how to win. Today was a pretty good example of that," Mayfield said. "The fact is, we have to fix a lot of our own mistakes before we can be in position to win. You've got to stop beating yourself before anything can happen in a positive direction."
Beyond that, Wilks said the Panthers are not ready to start playing younger players to see what they can do, emphasizing the goal is still winning games.
"As long as I'm in this particular role it will always be about now," Wilks said. "I'm trying to put us in the best position to win."
On the injury front. ... Terrace Marshall Jr. (shoulder) was limited in Wednesday's practice. I'll have more on his status via Late-Breaking Update as developments warrant. ...
By the way. ... D.J. Moore has not been as productive as he normally is, and part of that is because opponents are paying more attention to the Panthers most trustworthy wide receiver.
But part of that is also because of Moore himself, and Wilks wants to point that out as well.
Wilks doesn't mince words -- with reporters or his players and coaches -- so when he was asked about Moore's struggles to make plays in Sunday's loss to the Ravens, he took dead aim at one of the team's highest-paid players (who had three catches for 24 yards on five targets).
"Well, it's a couple of things," Wilks began. "One, D.J., he has to catch the ball when the ball is thrown. So that's number one that's going to help him out to increase his yardage and opportunities."
Wilks hasn't operated as a man with or without job security since taking over for Matt Rhule, and has kept his focus on each day's business. So in the wake of a loss to the Ravens that was within their grasp, that meant putting the team's best players on notice that they need to be the ones carrying the burden.
Players are growing accustomed to it now, and Moore said Monday he didn't take it personally.
"Yeah, that's perceived as, people that were drafted or got paid, they've got to go out and there and make big-time plays when their number is called," Moore said Monday. "So that's the challenge to everybody, first, second, even if you consider yourself a starter, just go make a play. . . .
"You always want your coaches to be direct, no matter what, good or bad. It shows that he believes in us, and what he believes in is going to work. ... Shouldn't have no hard feelings in this game. That's how I take it."
Which brings up another issue.
According to ESPN.com's David Newton, Wilks should be the front-runner for the full-time job unless owner David Tepper is set on hiring an offensive specialist.
Newton went on to explain the job his defense did on quarterback Lamar Jackson and a Ravens team favored by 12.5 points shows the influence of Wilks, a defensive specialist. The upset was in play until wide receiver Shi Smith fumbled at the Carolina 31 midway through the fourth quarter to set up Baltimore's only touchdown.
Give Wilks time to build offensively around a franchise quarterback and there is a chance for a quick turnaround.
The two times Carolina reached the Super Bowl (2003, 2015) came a few years after ownership hired defensive-minded coaches in John Fox (2002) and Ron Rivera (2011).
You can access complete stats for the Panthers Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Bryce Young, Andy Dalton
RBs: Miles Sanders, Chuba Hubbard, Raheem Blackshear
WRs: Adam Thielen, D.J. Chark, Jonathan Mingo, Terrace Marshall Jr., Laviska Shenault, Ihmir Smith-Marsette
TEs: Hayden Hurst, Ian Thomas, Tommy Tremble, Giovanni Ricci
Chicago BearsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
After injuring his non-throwing shoulder late in the 27-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields is considered "day-to-day," according to coach Matt Eberflus.
"Obviously, you guys know the injury report comes out Wednesday and right now it's day-to-day," Eberflus said. "We'll see where he is on Wednesday. So, we've got time, we'll see where it is and go from there."
As ESPN.com's Courtney Cronin reported, Eberflus did not want to disclose the team's plan for Fields until the league-mandated injury report comes out Wednesday, pointing to a competitive advantage of keeping the New York Jets guessing as to whether the Bears will start Fields or backup Trevor Siemian at quarterback in Week 12.
Eberflus would not say whether the team considers Fields' injury to be season-ending.
"We have not ruled that out at this point," Eberflus said. "We'll see where it is on Wednesday."
Well. ... Wednesday rolled around and while the Bears were only holding a walkthrough today, Fields has been cleared to take part. Eberflus said that he’ll officially be limited.
In addition, Eberflus went further on Wednesday and said that Fields is not a candidate for injured reserve.
Fields addressed the media after that walkthrough and said his injury is a separated shoulder with partially torn ligaments, "basically an AC joint" injury.
In case you missed it, Fields landed on his left shoulder after Falcons cornerback Dee Alford tackled him on a first-down run with 1:47 to play. Because it was inside the final two minutes of the game, the Bears had to use a timeout after the officials deemed Fields was injured. Eberflus said he didn't regret not turning to Siemian to finish the drive.
"No, no. Justin said he was good, and he went back in," Eberflus said. "We just took the timeout and went from there."
Fields ran again on the following play and was hit near his injured shoulder by Atlanta defensive tackle Grady Jarrett while sliding. Eberflus clarified Monday that the Bears had actually called a halfback draw, not a quarterback run, on second-and-9.
Fields said postgame that he was dealing with cramps throughout the fourth quarter. Eberflus noted his belief that the Bears had the quarterback's cramping issues under control when choosing which plays to call on their final drive.
"We know he's dealt with that before because obviously he puts out a lot of energy during the game and we're going to call our plays that we think are the best there, so that's what we did and we went with it," he said.
Chicago has two games remaining, against the Jets and Green Bay Packers, before its Week 14 bye. The bears will weigh the longer-term effects of Fields' injury and whether to sideline him for a period of time to preserve his health.
"Certainly, all those things have to be looked at," Eberflus said. "When you're looking at injury for any player, what are the long-term effects of that and then where is it? Where exactly is it? Is it something that we can play through or is it something that we can have rest? With any player, we take equation into those two things."
If Fields needs to miss time, the Bears will turn to Siemian, who signed with Chicago during the offseason. Eberflus did not think the Bears would encounter many changes in tailoring the offense to Siemian's skill set after the ample changes the team executed to design the scheme around Fields and his dynamic rushing ability over the past month.
Running back David Montgomery noted the challenges the offense will face if Fields is sidelined against the Jets.
"It'd be very different, especially losing a guy like that," Montgomery said. "Especially losing Justin, who he is and what he means to this team and to this offense. Yeah, it's going to be super difficult to not have him. But, you know, Coach [Luke] Gets[y] and the offense, we prepare all those guys the same. Whether it's Nate [Peterman] or Trev or whoever it is, we're all prepared to roll. Justin's always ready to roll too."
After running 14 times in the first half, the most first-half rushes by any quarterback since at least 2000, Fields' mobility waned as the game wore on. He ran four times for 12 yards, including twice on Chicago's final drive. He had no scrambles in the second after having five for 33 yards in the first half.
I'll have more on Fields via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
For what it's worth, Chicago had a prime opportunity to flip the script on its inability to win close games, trailing 27-24 with 1:47 left and the ball at its own 25.
But Fields was intercepted on a pass thrown too high to Montgomery, who tipped the ball into the grip of safety Jaylinn Hawkins, sealing the game. There were back-to-back quarterback runs before the pick when Fields was clearly feeling discomfort and gained just 5 yards.
Despite scoring at least 24 points in their past four games, the outcome for the Bears has been the same each time.
In addition, the Bears' NFL record streak of five straight games with at least 225 yards rushing was snapped Sunday, with the ground game producing 160 yards and two TDs on 41 carries. As noted above, Fields rushed for a team-high 85 yards and one TD on 18 attempts and Montgomery added 67 yards and one TD on 17 attempts.
With Herbert being placed on injured reserve last Tuesday, rookie Trestan Ebner helped pick up the slack Sunday, running for eight yards on six carries.
Whatever the case, since beating the Texans 23-20 to improve to 2-1, the Bears have lost seven of eight, including their last four straight. During that span they're 0-6 in one-score games, losing the last three weeks after failing to score on their final possession.
"It's just execution," tight end Cole Kmet said. "That's all this game is. [It] sounds simple, but it's really hard to do. [We've] just got to execute better and when it comes down to the end of the game like that you've just got to be perfect in everything you do."
Kmet is eager for the offense to have another shot at a late game-winning drive.
"We've got to just do it," he said. "We haven't done it here in the past couple weeks and I want that opportunity again. We still have a lot of ball left to play here until the end of the season. I think these opportunities are going to come up more than once with these last six games we've got left. But I want the opportunity to do it again, and I think it's necessary for our offense to grow."
The next shot comes against the Jets in New York on Sunday. ...
Other notes of interest. ... Kmet made a sensational one-handed catch of a Fields pass down the seam in the second quarter for a 24-yard gain. Kmet reached high and plucked the ball out of the air while being hit by cornerback A.J. Terrell.
"Justin threw a really good ball, getting it over the second level of defenders," Kmet said. "It was in that little area where the safety can't get to it and the corner can't fall off and get to it. I was just able to make a good play on the ball. ..."
Velus Jones Jr. didn't waste much time making the most of his opportunity to get back onto the field Sunday in Atlanta.
A healthy scratch the previous two weeks, the Bears rookie returned a kickoff 55 yards early in the first quarter, setting up Fields' 16-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney on the team's opening possession, tying the score 7-7.
Jones had been benched against the Dolphins and Lions after muffing two punts and dropping a long pass earlier in the season.
"I have all the confidence in the world in myself," said the third-round pick from Tennessee. "I'm special with the ball in my hands. I know that and I never forgot that, no matter what people say. Every time I touch the ball I just try to put my team in a good position, just go out there and give it my all."
The 55-yard kickoff return was the Bears' longest of the season, eclipsing Herbert's 50-yarder late in last weekend's loss to the Lions. It was Jones' only touch in Sunday's game; all four of Atlanta's other kickoffs went for touchbacks. ...
After making a 41-yard field goal on the Bears' opening possession, Cairo Santos came up inches short on a 56-yard attempt—the ball barely grazed the bottom of the crossbar—with 1:10 left in the first half.
The miss snapped Santos' streak of 21 straight field goals dating back to last season.
"The range today was the 40-yard line, so 58 I felt really good from in warmups," Santos said. "I knew I had it within my range. [I] just hit it too wobbly; the ball lost the power."
Interestingly, Santos told reporters that every team selects three "K" footballs it wants to use before each game, ranking them 1-2-3. The Bears' top ball was taken out of play after Patterson returned it for his record-breaking touchdown so it could be sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"The frustrating part is I think they took our best 'K' ball away because of CP's touchdown," Santos said. "I don't know what kind of 'K' ball we used on our 56. It's going to the Hall of Fame, so I had to kick a 'K' ball that wasn't our best ball. I didn't know that going into that. We go through it before the game and then select 1-2-3. The refs come and mark it. They always do a good job throwing in the best balls. The refs know the process, too, so they look for what's your best ball."
Santos had an even longer streak end on an even longer attempt last year; he had made a Bears-record 40 straight field goals before missing a 65-yarder as time expired in a 29-27 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
You can access complete stats for the Bears Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Justin Fields, Tyson Bagent, Nathan Peterman
RBs: Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, D'Onta Foreman, Travis Homer
WRs: D.J. Moore, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown, Tyler Scott, Velus Jones Jr., Trent Taylor
TEs: Cole Kmet, Marcedes Lewis, Jake Tonges
Cincinnati BengalsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
So much for the Cincinnati Bengals struggling to score without Ja'Marr Chase. Or Joe Mixon for that matter.
The defending AFC champions can hurt opponents in all kinds of ways no matter who's in the lineup. Joe Burrow laid the proof bare in a 37-30 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Yes, that was Samaje Perine setting a franchise record by catching three touchdown passes, the most in a single game by a Cincinnati running back. Yes, that was practice squad call-up Trenton Irwin hauling in the first score of his four-year career with a 1-yard grab in the back of the end zone to give the Bengals the lead for good midway through the third quarter.
Two-plus months removed from an upset home loss to the Steelers in Week 1 in which he was pummeled relentlessly, Burrow responded by going 24 of 39 for 355 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions.
"He's always comfortable," head coach Zac Taylor said. "The whole world could be falling down around him (and it doesn't faze him). ... He's a special player."
One who is hardly doing it alone.
The Bengals (6-4) have won four of five following a 2-3 start, topping 30 points in all four wins, the last two despite Chase sitting out while recovering from a hip injury.
"It just shows what we've got," said receiver Tee Higgins, who caught nine passes for 148 yards. "We've got firepower."
The Bengals piled up 408 yards of total offense and put together touchdown drives of 79, 92 and 93 yards to beat the Steelers (3-7) for the fourth time in five meetings.
"I think we're playing as good as anybody," said Burrow, who passed 10,000 career yards passing in 36 games, tying him with Hall of Famer Kurt Warner for the third-fastest player in league history to reach that plateau. "We're hitting our stride offensively."
Mixon, coming off a five-touchdown performance in a blowout win over Carolina two weeks ago, managed just 20 yards rushing before entering the NFL's concussion protocol. No matter. Perine stepped in and turned flips from Burrow into touchdowns of 29, 11 and 6 yards, the final one with Steelers defensive back Levi Wallace on Perine's back that gave the Bengals a 34-23 lead with 4:30 to go.
"I'm the checkdown (guy) and fortunate to have some space when (Burrow) checks down to make something happen," Perine said. "Other than that, I'm just the next guy up."
Next up, the Bengals travel to AFC South-leading Tennessee (7-3) on Sunday.
It remains to be seen if Chase or Mixon will be available -- although Burrow said in his Wednesday press conference that the team is expecting their star wideout to play against the Titans on Sunday..
Chase has missed the last three games with a hip injury, but he is no longer using crutches to get around and Taylor said another big step is coming later this week. Taylor said that the plan is for Chase to get back on the practice field.
"Everything has been positive up to this point, which we hoped it would be," Taylor said, via Ben Baby of ESPN.com.
All that Taylor would say on the Mixon front is that the star running back has entered and remains in concussion protocol. That means his availability for the Titans game will hinge on severity of the injury and his recovery pace. That's vague, but simply the nature of something as unpredictable as head injuries.
If nothing else, Perine has proven more than capable in a pinch.
Trayveon Williams also had some contributions on the ground and on special teams. If Mixon is out next week against the Titans, Perine, Williams and Chris Evans are proven, dependable running back options to keep Cincinnati's offense clicking.
I'll obviously be keeping a close eye on both Chase and Mixon. Watch the Late-Breaking Updates section for more on their progress in coming days. ...
And finally. ... The Bengals made a couple of roster moves a day after beating the Steelers 37-30 to move to 6-4 on the season.
They announced that they have activated tackle Isaiah Prince off of injured reserve. Wide receiver Mike Thomas was waived in a corresponding move.
Thomas appeared in every game for the Bengals this season and has two catches for 38 yards. As noted above, the Bengals could be getting Chase back from his hip injury this week and Irwin has seen more playing time than Thomas in the last three games.
The Bengals announced that they have signed Irwin to their 53-man roster.
Irwin has six catches for 83 yards and a touchdown while playing 105 offensive snaps over the last three weeks. That playing time has come with Chase out of action with a hip injury and Chase may be able to return this week, but waiving Thomas opened up a spot in the wide receiver corps.
You can access complete stats for the Bengals Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Joe Burrow, Jake Browning
RBs: Joe Mixon, Chase Brown, Trayveon Williams, Chris Evans
WRs: Ja'Marr Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd, Andrei Iosivas, Trenton Irwin, Kwamie Lassiter II, Charlie Jones
TEs: Irv Smith Jr., Drew Sample, Mitchell Wilcox
Cleveland BrownsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
The Cleveland Browns missed several opportunities Sunday, further dimming their faint playoff hopes before quarterback Deshaun Watson returns from an 11-game suspension.
The Browns fell 31-23 to the Buffalo Bills at a neutral site game in Detroit, dropping them to 3-7 behind backup QB Jacoby Brissett.
Cleveland suffered miscues in all phases of the game. There were dropped touchdown passes by Pharaoh Brown and Harrison Bryant on back-to-back plays from the Buffalo 14. Brissett fumbled away the ball on the Buffalo 48 and was later stopped on a fourth and 1 from the Buffalo 27. Cade York had a 34-yard field goal try blocked.
"I feel like we left points on the board in the first half," Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. "We got first and goal from the 8 and came away with a field goal. We had a fumble, two quarterback sneaks that got stopped and we're not able to continue our drives. And that's really frustrating because we have to score more points to help this football team."
The Browns were coming off a 22-point loss last week to the Miami Dolphins. Cleveland defensive end Myles Garrett, who earlier in the week called Sunday's contest a must-win game, said hope is not lost.
"We have to keep on pushing," Garrett said. "There's still seven more games and things like this move our destiny out of our hands. But we just got to keep going forward and try and get into that win column.
"We can't expect the offense to put up 30 every game. We have be there and do our job."
The Browns looked to be in control in the first half before the Bills took a 13-10 lead in the closing moments with Josh Allen's touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, who was uncovered in the end zone.
Garrett said the Browns' troubles are rooted in not being focused during games.
"That's been our biggest weakness at this point, not having that attention to detail, not focusing and not finishing," he said. "Those little things keep getting us. Those penalties. The special teams mistakes that we had. And just not being where we're supposed to be."
Brissett went 28-for-41 with 324 yards and three touchdowns. He played a mostly clean game and gave the Browns plenty of chances to score, but the Browns squandered too many of them.
"We shot ourselves in the foot, and that's obviously been the theme a couple of games," Brissett said. "We just got to really hone in. It's getting to that point in the season where the margin is getting even slimmer.
"I know I've got to be better in those moments. We as a team, offense, have to be better in those moments."
The Browns scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to draw within one possession -- Amari Cooper caught his second touchdown of the game, and Donovan Peoples-Jones caught his first touchdown of the season -- but the Bills got the ball back with 17 seconds left and ended the game on kneel downs.
"We just didn't do enough as a team to beat a good team," Stefanski said. "And that's the frustrating part, but they fought. Now we've got to finish."
Next up, the Browns have a home date against the NFC South-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are coming off their bye week. ...
Other notes of interest. ... As ESPN.com's Jake Trotter asked, "What has happened to Nick Chubb and Cleveland's vaunted ground game?"
Save for a meaningless late 33-yard TD last weekend in Miami, Chubb has just 49 yards on 24 carries in his past two games. He is consistently facing a loaded box. ...
York had his third field-goal attempt blocked by the Bills.
Stefanski said it wasn't a protection problem, inferring a trajectory issue for York, who has plenty of leg strength and needs to develop touch.
On the injury front. ... Starting center Ethan Pocic will be sidelined for at least weeks with a knee injury sustained on the opening drive Sunday. He was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. The loss of Pocic forced guard Hjalte Froholdt in at center because backup Michael Dunn went on injured reserve last week.
Froholdt technically is Cleveland's fourth-string center after Pocic, Dunn and projected starter Nick Harris, who sustained a season-ending injury in the exhibition opener.
David Njoku (ankle, knee) did not practice Wednesday.
Njoku returned from his high-ankle sprain in Week 11 but split reps with Harrison Bryant.
As NBCSportEdge.com notes, the knee injury is a new addition to Njoku's injury report.
You can access complete stats for the Browns Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Deshaun Watson, Dorian Thompson-Robinson
RBs: Jerome Ford, Kareem Hunt, Pierre Strong Jr., Nick Chubb
WRs: Amari Cooper, Elijah Moore, Donovan Peoples-Jones, Cedric Tillman, Marquise Goodwin, David Bell, Michael Woods II, Anthony Schwartz, Jakeem Grant
TEs: David Njoku, Jordan Akins, Harrison Bryant
Dallas CowboysCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
Last week, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones used the word "frustrated" over and over again after an overtime loss at the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, following a 40-3 win against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones said he believes the Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders.
"A resounding yes. Yes. Unequivocally," Jones said. "I think we've had adversity. We very easily could have more adversity ... Yes, I think if we use the experience of what we're having in the season, then we're going to be playoff ready. But I sure do think that what I see out here right now is the team like that you could go get a Super Bowl with."
As ESPN.com’s Todd Archer notes, at 7-3, the Cowboys are two games behind the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, and Dallas throttled the only other team in the conference with more wins -- the 8-2 Vikings -- with its largest road win in team history.
The New York Giants also are 7-3, but the Cowboys beat them earlier in the season, and they will host New York on Thanksgiving for the first holiday matchup against their division rivals.
"I too thought this game was going to tell us what we are," Jones said. "I don't know that we're that. I really don't. But I know this, that we're not a team that doesn't respond when it's wounded. Everybody thought against the Packers that we underplayed, and I think you saw what happened when we got out here tonight and the team all came together. We'll build from this."
The last time the Cowboys had such a resounding road victory was in 1995, beating the Giants 35-0 in the season opener. Those Cowboys would go on to win the Super Bowl. In 1971, the Cowboys beat the Eagles 42-7 in Philadelphia and would go on to win the Super Bowl.
"This week was a statement week," said linebacker Micah Parsons, who had two of the Cowboys' seven sacks on Sunday. "It says what we're capable of when we put our mind to it."
The Cowboys will have help on the way with the return of Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith in December. He is close to returning to practice from a torn hamstring in training camp that required surgery.
Jones also confirmed that free-agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will visit with the Cowboys after the Giants' game, although Jones didn't have a specific date set. The Cowboys over the past few weeks have flirted with Beckham, who is rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered in the Super Bowl while with the Los Angeles Rams.
Jones would not get into what he wants to see from Beckham besides his health.
"Certainly, it's time for us to sit down and visit," Jones said.
Dak Prescott has already made it known that he'd like to see Beckham join the team and he told reporters on Tuesday that he's "definitely sent some messages" to Beckham to make that clear.
"He knows how much I want him here, and a lot of the guys in this locker room have reached out on their own in different ways -- to make sure he understands this is a team he can help. And we want him to come help," Prescott said, via Patrik Walker of the Cowboys website.
Prescott said that there's been "a little back-and-forth" that's left him feeling there's genuine interest on both sides.
"Mutual. Honestly, it's mutual," Prescott said. "That's the reason I said it's business. It's more than just somebody's feelings of wanting to be somewhere. I understand that will come into play, but I'm feeling like it's mutual."
Sunday's win against the Vikings could not have been a better recruiting video for the Cowboys.
Prescott completed 88 percent of his passes (22-of-25), which was third best in team history. Tony Pollard became the first Cowboys running back with 100 receiving yards and 50 rushing yards in the same game since Emmitt Smith in 1993. Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott became the first pair of Cowboys running backs with two touchdowns in the same game since 1980 (Tony Dorsett, Robert Newhouse).
On Wednesday, Pollard was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career.
The Dallas defense had seven sacks, its most in a game since 2008, and ended the Vikings' 92-game streak with a touchdown, which had been the longest in the league.
"We had a good week. I think it's always rewarding as a football team when your process lines up with your performance," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "We wanted to come in here and play a complete game. We did. We had all the respect for these guys. They've been extremely productive on film, and we knew we needed to play at a high level today -- and we did."
Meanwhile, McCarthy went through the rolodex in his mind pretty quickly as he stood at the podium after Sunday's win.
Has he had a running back combination like Elliott and Pollard at any point in his coaching career?
"I mean I've been blessed to be around some. Marcus Allen, and we had Kimble Anders there [in Kansas City]. That was a good duo," McCarthy said, thinking back to his offensive coordinator days. "Ricky Williams and Deuce McAllister [in New Orleans]. But this 1-2 punch, this is the best I've been a part of as far as how we can game plan and just go roll. Very dynamic."
Jones was asked about Elliott and Pollard and reflected on his alma mater, Arkansas.
"No, not a better duo," Jones said. "We've had some good ones. I liked the Felix Jones and Darren McFadden one [at Arkansas] a lot, but not a better one."
Jones and McFadden were Cowboys but never at the same time. The owner had Julius Jones and Marion Barber for a spell in the mid-2000s. He had Felix Jones and Barber too.
But nothing like Elliott and Pollard.
"Coach told me right before the game, he said, 'Dak and I visited, and one way or the other, [we'll] have the ball in Pollard's or have the ball in Zeke's hands. Either throwing it to them or handing it to them," Jones said. "And you saw that all night."
Playing for the first time since Oct. 23 after suffering a hyperextended right knee, Elliott had 15 carries for 42 yards and two touchdowns. He caught one pass for 5 yards. Pollard carried 15 times for 80 yards and caught six passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Elliott and Pollard -- or Pollard and Elliott, if you prefer -- combined for 236 yards on offense, or 53 more yards than what the Vikings gained as a team. Heck, Pollard had 6 more yards than the Vikings' offense.
"When this offense is rolling, we're rolling," Elliott said. "I think it's tough for those defenses to stop us, always having two fresh backs. It definitely puts a lot of stress on those defenses."
Pollard's two touchdown catches were 30 and 68 yards, a product of scheme and his blinding speed. After the game, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence called him a "cheat code." The 30-yard score came on a checkdown to the flat in which he had 32 yards after the catch. His second was designed to get him on linebacker Jordan Hicks, who he ran by and then went untouched to the end zone for a 30-3 lead less than three minutes into the second half.
"Just wanted to be aggressive," Pollard said.
Sunday was the first time the Cowboys have had two running backs score at least two touchdowns in the same game since Tony Dorsett and Robert Newhouse against the New York Giants in 1980. Had the game been closer -- or if the Cowboys did not have a game in four days against the Giants -- Pollard could have challenged a team mark held by Dorsett (1978) and Herschel Walker (1986) in having 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game.
"In and out, fresh on the field," Pollard said. "Just keeping the defense guessing, not knowing what to prepare for, we feel like we have the advantage."
With Pollard's success, there seems to be an undercurrent that Elliott is getting too much work. But the Cowboys are enjoying what both are doing, while understanding what Elliott means to the team.
"In my opinion, Zeke embodies the identity of our football team to a T," All-Pro right guard Zack Martin said. "He's willing to do whatever. He's physical. He's smart. He's tough. And that stuff is contagious man. TP had a great couple of weeks when Zeke was out, but just having Zeke back, that is a contagious guy. That energy that he brings, it's there for the whole football team."
So, back to those running back duos.
The Cleveland Browns have Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, who have combined for 1,433 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground and through the air this season. The Green Bay Packers have Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, who have combined for 1,602 yards and six touchdowns on the ground and through the air.
The Elliott and Pollard combination has combined for 1,466 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Is there a better duo than Elliott and Pollard -- or Pollard and Elliott?
"Ummm," Pollard paused. "I'll let y'all decide on that one."
Also worth noting. ... Brett Maher wasn't even with the team when training camp began at the end of July, but the organization sure is glad they got him soon after that and have him now.
With the Cowboys in control of the football in the final seconds of the first half of their matchup against the Vikings, Prescott rolled out to his right and fired a deep shot to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb who made a spectacular grab near the sideline, to give the Cowboys a chance to kick a long field-goal just before halftime.
Maher trotted out onto the field and knocked down a 60-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 23-3 lead at the break. But then he didn't. ...
As everyone was getting ready to run off the field, the NFL's replay center buzzed the officials to review whether or not Lamb corralled the pass. A short time later, officials ruled that Lamb's catch stood. But what about Maher's 60-yard field goal? It didn't count.
So, here came Maher again. ... And he drilled it.
With the made 60-yard bomb, Maher is now four-of-four from 60-plus yards in his career. His four makes are the most in NFL history. No other kicker has more than two conversions from 60-plus.
On the injury front. ... Parsons said Tuesday he will play against the Giants on Thanksgiving Day. Officially, though, Parsons is questionable with ankle and knee injuries.
Parsons, who made All-Pro last season as a rookie with 13 sacks, has 10 sacks this season.
Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (foot/illness) also is questionable, but he returned to limited work Wednesday after missing the other two days of on-field work this week.
The Cowboys have six other players listed with an illness, including two new additions Wednesday.
Defensive tackle Neville Gallimore (illness) and safety Donovan Wilson (illness) are questionable after going onto the report Wednesday. Gallimore was limited and Wilson a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice.
The Cowboys officially ruled out linebacker Anthony Barr (hamstring). He will miss his third consecutive game after aggravating the injury in last Saturday’s practice.
Defensive end Tarell Basham (illness) and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins (illness) are doubtful.
Defensive end Dante Fowler (illness), cornerback Kelvin Joseph (illness), defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa (knee) are questionable. Joseph had limited work after being a non-participant earlier this week.
Elliott (knee) had limited practices Monday and Tuesday but was a full participant Wednesday and has exited the report.
The Cowboys also announced they have elevated offensive tackle Aviante Collins and linebacker/defensive end Takk McKinley from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.
Also worth noting. ... McCarthy says several players are wearing masks to avoid spreading an illness that has swept through the locker room this week, per team insider Calvin Watkins.
I'll follow up via Late-Breaking Update as need in advance of Thursday's late-afternoon kickoff. ...
You can access complete stats for the Cowboys Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Dak Prescott, Cooper Rush, Trey Lance
RBs: Tony Pollard, Rico Dowdle, Deuce Vaughn, Hunter Luepke
WRs: CeeDee Lamb, Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup, KaVontae Turpin, Jalen Tolbert, Jalen Brooks
TEs: Jake Ferguson, Luke Schoonmaker, Peyton Hendershot
Denver BroncosCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
The Broncos waived running back Melvin Gordon on Monday after he fumbled Sunday -- for the fifth time this season -- in an overtime loss to the Raiders, Denver's sixth loss in seven games.
Gordon, 29, is the Broncos' leader in carries (90) and rushing yards (318) this season. But in Sunday's 22-16 loss, Gordon fumbled at the Raiders' 2-yard line just before halftime.
Though Broncos guard Quinn Meinerz recovered the fumble, kicker Brandon McManus' 25-yard field goal attempt was blocked on the next play. A touchdown would have given the Broncos a 17-7 halftime lead; a field goal would have given them a 13-7 lead.
After the game, head coach Nathaniel Hackett called the lack of points on the drive "unacceptable."
"We can't do that," Hackett added. "We have to score a touchdown, at least get a field goal. We didn't come away with either, so that's frustrating."
It was Gordon's second fumble this season at the opponent's 2-yard line or closer to the goal-line. Gordon fumbled at the Seattle Seahawks' 1-yard line in the Broncos' season-opening 17-16 loss.
Gordon's fumble in a Week 4 loss to the Raiders was returned for a touchdown.
"He's scored a lot of touchdowns down there for us ... he's had a lot of opportunities there and he's scored a lot of touchdowns for us," Hackett said Sunday. "In that situation, he has to be smart with it. He can't fumble. He knows that you just can't do that. That's unacceptable. We have to find a way to get the ball in the end zone."
"I was sick about it, obviously," Gordon said after Sunday's loss. "I kind of know what comes after that at this point. I shot my own self in the foot. I am a little salty because I was feeling it [Sunday]. That happened and I kind of knew that I was going to have to find a way to get back in rhythm. I knew it was going to be tough. I tried to make splashes here and there after it but my share of opportunities kind of dwindled after that, so that's my fault."
Since Javonte Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 4, Gordon has bristled at times about his role in a struggling offense -- the Broncos are last in the league in scoring at 14.7 points per game. After Sunday's fumble, Gordon didn't get another carry until there was 13 minutes, 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Latavius Murray, 32, was signed off the New Orleans Saints practice squad Oct. 4 and has led the team in rushing attempts (63) since despite having played one fewer game than Gordon over that span. The Broncos also signed Marlon Mack to the roster earlier this month, but he does not have a carry.
Gordon's ouster comes as running back Chase Edmonds, who the Broncos acquired as part of the trade of outside linebacker Bradley Chubb to the Miami Dolphins, suffered a right ankle injury Sunday and left the stadium wearing a walking boot on his lower right leg and ankle. He was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and will have to miss at least four games.
"It's not like we didn't recover the ball. ... It's unfortunate we didn't get three points after that," Gordon said Sunday. "We still had two quarters left, we still had a chance to get points after that, so it wasn't the end of the world, but unfortunately for me it was something that happened."
Gordon played 41 games for the Broncos over the last three seasons, scored 22 total touchdowns (19 rushing, three receiving), but also had 12 total fumbles in that time, nine of those recovered by the Broncos' opponents.
Hackett explained the decision during a Monday afternoon session with reporters.
"With Melvin, he's a true pro," Hackett said. "He's done a lot of good stuff here at the Denver Broncos and scored some touchdowns for us this year. We thought it was best for the team and we moved on. I wish him the best of luck and I think it's great for him to have a fresh start."
Meanwhile, the Broncos needed to find a way to beat the Raiders. They ultimately couldn't.
The strategy for moving to 4-6 included Hackett giving up offensive play calling to quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak.
After Sunday's overtime loss to the Raiders, Hackett explained the decision.
"For me, I want to do whatever I can to help this team," Hackett said. "We're so close, we continually talk about this over and over again. A couple plays here and there, and there's a lot of different outcomes. I have to look at myself first, to see if there's something that I can do to give some kind of spark to the offense. So I thought it would be good if I stepped away from that, let Klint get upstairs to be able to see it from a bird's-eye view up in the box and see if that would help us. It allowed Justin [Outten] to be down on the sideline and be able to talk with Russell [Wilson], talk with him about the runs. I thought that would help us, and I wanted to be sure I had that opportunity to give that to him."
Placing Kubiak in charge was the second major move by Hackett.
In September, he hired longtime NFL assistant coach Jerry Rosburg out of retirement to help him make game-day decisions after multiple communication breakdowns and several operational miscues.
Once again, Wilson and the offense managed just one touchdown, on a 1-yard run by Murray. That gives them 13 this season, including just seven TD throws by Wilson, who cost the Broncos three players, four prime draft picks and $165 million in guarantees as part of the five-year extension he signed prior to the season.
"We're going to do everything we can to turn this thing around. That's all we're focused on," Wilson said. "It's disappointing. It's disappointing for all of us. It's disappointing definitely for me and this team. The only other thing that we know is to keep going and working and understanding that the journey is going to be worth it in the long run."
Of course, Hackett, who made the decision to surrender the play calling duties on his own, could be moving toward losing his opportunity to coach the team at all.
Hackett was asked whether he's coaching for his job, and whether he has spoken to general manager George Paton or CEO Greg Penner regarding Hackett's status with the team.
"For me, everything is about this team and this staff," Hackett said. "I've told you guys that before. I just want to do everything I can to help this team win. We've been so close, we've had so many opportunities. We've had a lot of things happen this year that are unfortunate, but we have to continually find ways to win. That's my sole purpose. That's all I'm looking to do. Whatever happens -- those things I can't control. I always communicate with everybody, talk about everything, show them all the different things that are going on so that they can have all their questions answered and go from there."
As Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio noted, Hackett is right, technically and literally.
But the reality is that the Broncos haven't won enough games. They've been close in all of their losses. But that also makes the blunders even more conspicuous. And most of the blunders that caused potential victories to become close losses trace back to lapses in coaching.
Whether it's taking too long to communicate plays or calling the wrong plays at the wrong time or failing to persuade Wilson to wear a wristband through the first five games in order to streamline the process or whatever else has happened that comes together to turn victory into defeat, Hackett has been too responsible for too many of the mistakes.
His performance does not inspire confidence that he can turn it around.
Hackett's and the Broncos' next chance to do that comes in Carolina this Sunday when they take on the Packers.
For the record. ... Hackett is sticking with Kubiak as his play-caller, saying he liked the communication and operation between Kubiak with his view from the box and offensive coordinator Justin Outten on the sideline.
Also of interest. ... Brandon McManus kept kicking off short, something he rarely does at Mile High, and it proved costliest when Ameer Abdullah returned the overtime kickoff 28 yards to the Las Vegas 33. KR Montrell Washington fumbled the second-half kickoff and the Broncos started at their 13. P Corliss Waitman has been sketchy for a month.
On the injury front. ... Hackett in confirming Edmonds' injury, noted that behind Murray, the team will lean on Mack and Devine Ozigbo. Running back Mike Boone is also eligible to return from injured reserve after Denver's Week 12 game against Carolina, and he could provide depth for the unit upon his return.
"With the running backs, it'll be Marlon Mack," Hackett said. "He'll be up. And then Devine Ozigbo, we're looking to see if we can get him up also, along with Latavius."
Beyond that, wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler were both out of the lineup for the loss to the Raiders and it looks like it will be some time before the team makes any call about them for Week 12.
Hackett called both players day-to-day at a Tuesday press conference. Jeudy, has an ankle injury and Hamler hurt his hamstring.
Neither player was seen on the field during the team's Tuesday walkthrough and they were absent for the open portion of work again on Wednesday.
Courtland Sutton, Kendall Hinton, Brandon Johnson, Jalen Virgil, and Montrell Washington were the Denver wideouts with Jeudy and Hamler out of the lineup.
I'll have more on Jeudy and the situation at running back via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
You can access complete stats for the Broncos Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Russell Wilson, Jarrett Stidham
RBs: Javonte Williams, Samaje Perine, Jaleel McLaughlin
WRs: Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Brandon Johnson, Marvin Mims Jr., Lil'Jordan Humphrey
TEs: Adam Trautman, Chris Manhertz, Greg Dulcich
Detroit LionsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
The Lions haven't had a three-game winning streak in five years, so Monday would have normally been a day to enjoy.
Not on Thanksgiving week, though.
Dan Campbell and his coaching staff got one flight's worth of relaxation out of Sunday's 31-18 win over the New York Giants -- a victory that has the Lions at 4-6 in what looked like a lost season.
"By the time we got back to the office last night, the Giants were done," Campbell said Monday. "Everything was about the Bills."
As Associated Press sports writer Dave Hogg notes, every NFL team deals with short weeks these days -- Thursday games have gone from a Thanksgiving tradition to a weekly occurrence -- but the Lions and Cowboys and their holiday opponents still have to work a bit harder because they are the only ones playing on a Thursday afternoon.
"The coaches know they have to be on point on minimal sleep and the players have to be on point with sore bodies," Campbell said. "The assistant coaches presented their research to the coordinators late last night and we all got to work.
"At some point, you go to bed for an hour or two, and then you start working again until you have a game plan."
The coaches started installing the scheme for Buffalo on Monday, but the team won't get the final pieces until a walkthrough on Thursday morning.
This year has an added twist -- the Bills just played in Detroit after Sunday's game against Cleveland was moved to Ford Field because of a massive snowstorm that hit the Buffalo area.
"That's a talented team," Campbell said. "They are playing good football, they've been in big games, and they know how to win them."
In another lost year for Detroit sports, the city's fans can enjoy the Lions taking a three-game winning streak into Thanksgiving for only the second time since the 1970 merger.
The previous time was 2017, and they promptly lost 30-23 to the Vikings.
Meanwhile, the Lions are still last in the league in points allowed -- 28.2 per game -- but they've finally started to force turnovers. They only had six takeaways in their 1-6 start. But have gotten seven in wins over the Packers, Bears and Giants.
On offense, the passing game is still looking for big plays. After 10 games, the Lions only have one 50-yard reception, and that went to TE T.J. Hockenson, who has since been traded to the Minnesota Vikings. However, WR Jameson Williams, the 12th overall pick in this spring's draft, has started practicing with the team as he recovers from the knee injury sustained in the national championship game.
The Lions moved up 20 spots in the draft to get Williams, who was one of the most dynamic deep threats in college football a year ago.
"He can run -- we all know that," Campbell said. "There's going to be a learning curve, just like there is for every rookie, but we're going to try to find situations where he can help us."
Williams hauled in an Alabama single-season record four touchdowns of 70-plus yards last year, a number that led all Division 1 receivers. He totaled 11 touchdowns of 30-plus yards or more to also lead the nation.
He's exactly the kind of threat offensive coordinator Ben Johnson wanted to add this offseason, and when he's ready to return to game action, the Lions could have a scary deep threat duo on the outside with Williams and veteran D.J. Chark.
The Lions are currently 9th in the NFL in passing and have the third most 20-plus yard passes in the NFL behind only Kansas City (47) and Miami (39). Williams' return is expected to boost those numbers even more.
The team now has 21 days to activate Williams from NFI to the active roster.
Don't expect to see him Thursday.
"I would say probably after Thanksgiving sometime ... I think that's tentatively what we're looking at," Campbell said last week when asked about a potential Williams return to action. "I don't know if that would be the Jacksonville week or the week after. It could be (Thanksgiving) week, it's just we're not doing a ton, but he's close. We'll see where it goes. He's progressing, there's no setbacks."
Given that Detroit will barely practice with a Thanksgiving game this week, why now?
"Yeah, just to get him involved, get him around, see where he can go with it," Campbell said in his Monday press conference. "I mean, he's going to run some routes here in a minute. He and a few of our receivers, we're going to let them -- let them run a little bit and have Tim Boyle throw to them. And just get his legs under him from a football aspect."
Campbell admitted there will be a learning curve for Williams, but the Lions are going to ask him to do things that he does best and can help Detroit win. The head coach also didn't seem sure if Williams will need the full three weeks of the practice window to get ready to play. ...
Meanwhile, there's no debating who the No. 1 running back in Detroit is.
It's veteran Jamaal Williams, whose three touchdowns Sunday give him 12 on the season, which currently leads the NFL. Williams is dependable and reliable, and should finish the season as a 1,000-yard back with double-digit touchdowns. It could potentially earn Williams a contract extension this offseason.
Williams' touchdowns have made up for the fact that, after a brilliant start to the season, D'Andre Swift hasn't been able to stay on the field.
In the first two games, he had 20 carries for 200 yards and five catches for another 62. However, shoulder and ankle injuries have limited him to 25 carries for 73 yards in the past eight games.
How does the emergence of Williams affect Swift going forward?
Although Swift is the most exciting offensive threat -- when healthy -- Williams has proved to be the most dependable. So don't expect the touches to increase for Williams or dip for Swift, who also scored a touchdown against the Giants. The situation will remain the same, with Williams being featured as the lead back as Swift continues to push through his nagging shoulder and ankle injuries. ...
On the injury front. ... The Lions have ruled out five players for Thursday’s game against the Bills because of injuries.
The group includes a pair of starting offensive linemen. Left guard Jonah Jackson has a concussion and right guard Evan Brown will miss the game with an ankle injury.
Dan Skipper replaced Brown against the Giants last Sunday and the Lions also have Logan Stenberg and Kayode Awosika available.
Cornerback Jeff Okudah was also officially ruled out. He suffered a concussion last weekend and head coach Dan Campbell said early this week that he didn’t see a way Okudah would play this week.
Defensive linemen Charles Harris (groin) and Josh Paschal (knee) will also miss the game.
Reynolds (back) is listed as questionable; we'll have the wideout's official game status in the 90 minutes leading up to tomorrow's early-afternoon kickoff.
You can access complete stats for the Lions Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jared Goff, Teddy Bridgewater
RBs: Jahmyr Gibbs, David Montgomery, Craig Reynolds, Zonovan Knight
WRs: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, Marvin Jones, Antoine Green, Jameson Williams
TEs: Sam LaPorta, Brock Wright, James Mitchell
Green Bay PackersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky noted, Aaron Rodgers used to thrive in these conditions: Cold, snowy and under the lights at Lambeau Field. It's when the Green Bay Packers quarterback has done some of his best work.
Instead, Rodgers missed open receivers, took a sack at an inopportune time and rendered the team's Week 10 season-saving upset of the Dallas Cowboys practically meaningless a 27-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans last Thursday night at Lambeau Field that dropped the Packers to 4-7.
And Rodgers knew it.
"I've got to throw the ball better than I did tonight," Rodgers said after going 24-for-39 for 227 yards and two touchdowns. "Not a lot of margin for error for us and definitely not against a team that gives you some opportunities. We've got to have those plays."
Coach Matt LaFleur described Rodgers and some of his receivers as "a little off tonight for sure."
As emotional and excited as he was after his team beat the Cowboys, he was equally distraught after this one.
"I don't even know what to say," LaFleur said. "It was nothing like a few days ago."
Remember, the Packers were tied for first place in the NFC North when they headed to London last month as 8 1/2-point favorites over the New York Giants.
They haven't been the same since.
Green Bay blew a 14-point lead that day and lost 27-22 in a game that ended with Rodgers injuring his right thumb on a foiled Hail Mary attempt. That started a seven-game stretch in which the Packers have gone 1-6, putting their playoff hopes in peril.
The Packers (4-7) didn't get a week off after the London trip at their own request because they wanted the rest later in the season.
LaFleur wonders now whether that was the right call.
"Yeah, absolutely I've wrestled with that, and all you can do is move forward and learn from every experience, both good and bad," LaFleur said Friday. "It's a tough lesson, I would say, considering where we're at. But it was the decision that I made at the time and what I thought was best for our team, and it's hard to say if that was the right decision."
LaFleur has learned plenty of tough lessons this year -- in contrast to his first three regular seasons as Green Bay's coach, all of which finished with 13 wins and the NFC North title.
Barring a historic collapse by Minnesota (8-1), the division is out of reach this year. A wild-card playoff berth is still possible.
The Packers believe they can turn their season around, but they acknowledge they're running out of time to do so.
"Our backs are against the wall," Randall Cobb said Thursday night. "You've got to win games now. You lose another one and you might as well say we're probably out."
That's bad news for a team that still has three games left against division leaders. The Packers visit Philadelphia (8-1) on Nov. 27, play at Miami (7-3) on Christmas Day and host Minnesota on New Year's Day.
Yet LaFleur isn't willing to write off the season.
LaFleur dismissed any thought to turning to young players, such as Jordan Love, and Rodgers offered a reason to think the playoffs were still a possibility.
"If we play up to our potential, we can win our last six games," Rodgers said. "I'm confident in that. Obviously, I've got to play up to my potential. Tonight wasn't it."
That hope perhaps came from the sudden emergence of rookie receiver Christian Watson, who caught two more touchdown passes against the Titans to give him five in the past two games; and the return of Cobb, who caught six passes for a team-high 73 yards.
"I think last week showed us a lot, the possibilities," Rodgers said referring to the Cowboys game. "This week we just didn't play as complementary in all three phases. You've got to be excited about the way Christian's played the last two weeks. Cobby coming back today I think led us in receiving yards. That was a big jolt for us."
At this point, though, the Packers are so far behind the NFC North leading Minnesota Vikings (8-1) that the division seems like a lost cause. A wild-card path to one of the seven NFC playoffs spots might be their only hope, but Thursday's loss dropped them to 11th place in the conference.
"You lose another one and you might as well say we're probably out," Cobb said.
The Packers got some extra time off before starting a two-game road swing on t Philadelphia (8-1). The Packers visit Chicago (3-7) the following week. ...
Other notes of interest. ... Rodgers threw two touchdown passes without an interception but also went 2 of 8 for 11 yards when the Packers went three-and-out on three straight fourth-quarter possessions.
Watson is the first Packers rookie to have multiple touchdown receptions in consecutive games since Max McGee in 1954.
Veteran receiver Sammy Watkins had no catches. Watson has exceeded one catch or 9 yards receiving in one of his last four games. ...
A.J. Dillon, who rushed for a career-high 124 yards in a 40-14 victory over the Titans two years ago, had six carries for 13 yards. ...
On the injury front. ... LaFleur said Romeo Doubs (ankle) doesn't have a "great chance" to return in Week 12. Doubs wasn't on the practice field Wednesday.
As NBCSportsEdge.com notes, Doubs' high-ankle sprain has already cost him two weeks, so it's not surprising that he could miss Week 12 as well. I'll follow up via Late-Breaking Update as needed, but Doubs is yet to practice and should be considered week to week at this point.
Worth noting. ... Rodgers was on the practice field Wednesday, working with his still-sore right thumb taped up. ...
And finally. ... The Packers worked out six players Tuesday, including two receivers, according to the league's personnel notice (via Profootballtalk.com).
Wideouts Geronimo Allison and Danny Davis are familiar names to Packers fans.
Allison, 28, spent four seasons in Green Bay after signing with the Packers as an undrafted free agent in 2016. He caught 89 passes for 1,045 yards and eight touchdowns in 46 games with the team.
His final season with Green Bay was 2019.
Allison opted out of 2020 because of COVID and joined the Lions (2021) and then the Falcons (2022).
Davis, an undrafted rookie free agent from Wisconsin, spent the first four weeks of training camp with the Packers. The team released him with an injury designation on Aug. 23.
Davis injured his ankle after catching a touchdown pass from Love in the team's preseason opener. In his 24 preseason snaps, Davis caught two passes for 45 yards.
The Packers also worked out offensive tackle Sage Doxater, offensive tackle Derek Kerstetter, offensive tackle Sam Schlueter and center Chris Owens.
You can access complete stats for the Packers Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jordan Love, Sean Clifford
RBs: Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, Emanuel Wilson
WRs: Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Samori Toure, Dontayvion Wicks, Grant DuBose, Malik Heath
TEs: Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, Josiah Deguara, Tyler Davis, Ben Sims
Houston TexansCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
A combative and irritated Lovie Smith spent most of his postgame news conference on Sunday deflecting questions about why quarterback Davis Mills hasn't been benched after the Houston Texans were embarrassed at home in their worst performance of the season.
Mills threw two interceptions, the first of which was returned for a touchdown, and Houston mustered a season-low 148 yards of offense in a 23-10 loss to the Washington Commanders.
"I'm going to watch the video is what I'm going to do," the Texans' coach said when asked if he'd consider a QB change. "We're going to evaluate it like we normally do. We don't make those kind of decisions 30 minutes after the game before I get a chance to talk to all the coaches, no. I think most of you know that."
It's the fifth straight loss for the Texans (1-8-1), who are NFL's only one-win team.
"There's not a whole lot that we're doing well," Smith said. "We're building. We're not quite there yet. We're not a good football team right now."
The Texans were outgained 246-5 in the first half, their fewest net yards in a half franchise history, as they fell into a 20-0 hole. The five yards passed the 8 they managed in the first half of a 40-0 loss to the Bills last season.
It was the fewest yards by a team in a half since the Raiders had minus-12 in a win over the Broncos in 2015, a terrible performance even by the standards of this struggling team. Mills had minus-1 yard passing in the first half as he was sacked three times before the break.
"Props to their D-line, their front seven, handled (us) pretty well," Mills said. "They kind of dominated today. We were having to play from behind the chains. A lot of third-and-longs that were just pretty hard to convert. Just couldn't get much going."
Montez Sweat and Jonathan Allen had two sacks apiece and combined for six quarterback hits to lead a Washington defense that hurried and harassed Mills all day.
"You say it starts with quarterback," Smith said. "But no, it starts up front is where it starts and today with that type of pressure, I don't know how many quarterbacks could have had success."
Smith sounded a bit more open to shaking things up when he spoke to reporters at a Monday press conference. Smith was asked if he would consider a quarterback change from Mills to Kyle Allen and he replied by noting that the players are not in the facility on Monday so any public discussion of specific changes would wait until he's spoken with them.
Smith also said that the team needs to make changes as they prepare to face the Dolphins in Week 12.
"You can probably understand that, like all changes and anything we do from week to week, we talk to the players first before we talk to you," Smith said. "We're not pleased with where we are. Do we need to do some things differently? Yes, and we will."
Mills was 19-of-33 for 169 yards and two interceptions while being sacked five times on Sunday.
Even if Smith were to bench Mills, who is in his second year, things probably wouldn't get much better.
Allen threw 17 touchdowns with 16 interceptions in 12 starts for Carolina in 2019 but has spent the rest of his career as a backup.
"We just got beat," Smith said. "If there was something we thought that we should have done right away, we would have done it right away. We're searching for answers is what we're doing and we'll keep working on different combinations."
For the record, Smith met with reporters on Wednesday and declined to say whether Mills will continue as the starter on Sunday.
"I do not announce who is starting through the week. Of course we’re not going to announce things like that. I think that will give the opponent the advantage,” Smith said, via Jonathan M. Alexander of the Houston Chronicle.
No matter, moments after Smith announced he wouldn't be announcing anything, NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo advised his Twitter followers that sources tell him Allen will be the starter this week.
I'll obviously have more on that via Late-Breaking Update in coming days, but will also remind you that just because a quarterback is starting for the Texans, that doesn't mean he should be starting for you. ...
Bigger picture, while this season appears lost, Houston is in good position to spend an early first-round draft pick on a QB next spring.
But for now?
ESPN.com's DJ Bien-Aime put it best when he wrote, "The Texans' offense is broken."
The unit hasn't shown to have other options when rookie running back Dameon Pierce isn't producing.
Pierce finished with only 8 rushing yards, and the Texans struggled.
They couldn't lean on their passing attack. Mills' second pass of the game was intercepted and returned for a touchdown by cornerback Kendall Fuller, and those offensive woes carried through the rest of the first half as the Texans had only one first down and zero points with a total of 21 yards -- a season low.
The end of the game wasn't much better, as they finished with 10 points and a total of 148 yards.
Whatever the case, the Texans are trying to move past the loss and look for ways to improve. A win Sunday against the Miami Dolphins would be their first since Oct. 9.
"It is kind of hard, we haven't won a game in a minute," receiver Nico Collins said. "So, all you can do is keep going, keep faith. You can't get down on yourself and start pointing fingers at everybody because then nothing happens from there. It just sinks the ship."
Of course, the Texans will face a pair of prolific receivers this weekend, so keep an eye on Derek Stingley Jr., dealing with a mild hamstring injury.
"So much for that Thanksgiving and all the good things we were thinking about," Smith joked. ...
Looking for a positive here?
Receiver Brandin Cooks had three receptions for 70 yards Sunday a week after managing just 37 yards receiving in a loss to the Giants.
You can access complete stats for the Texans Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: C.J. Stroud, Davis Mills, Case Keenum
RBs: Dameon Pierce, Devin Singletary, Mike Boone, Dare Ogunbowale
WRs: Nico Collins, Robert Woods, John Metchie III, Tank Dell, Xavier Hutchinson, Noah Brown
TEs: Dalton Schultz, Teagan Quitoriano, Brevin Jordan
Indianapolis ColtsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Stephen Holder framed it, "So much in professional football today is geared toward providing advantages to offenses.
"From the way pass interference is adjudicated to the rules governing how defenders can handle quarterbacks, the offense has some clear built-in advantages.
"And that is why it likely has been frustrating to play defense for the Indianapolis Colts this season. ..."
The Colts showed in Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles just how difficult it is to win with an overreliance on defense in today's NFL.
The Eagles' 17-16 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium followed a familiar pattern: The Indianapolis defense fought valiantly throughout, but given the lack of scoring punch from the offense, it wasn't enough.
It's a blueprint that should seem familiar. This game represented a near-carbon copy of the Colts' Oct. 30 loss to the Washington Commanders -- even down to the final score (Washington won 17-16).
On Sunday, it was a different day, different quarterback, different coach but the same outcome.
In this game, the Colts limited the Eagles to their lowest point total of the season. But juxtapose that against an offense that scored touchdowns on just one of its three trips inside the red zone, an offensive line that is improved but still not nearly good enough, and an alarming number of negative plays, and you'll get an identical result.
"We had everything in front of us," Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday said. "We didn't execute enough to get the win. Disappointing loss, obviously. Just too many mistakes, too many penalties, too many negative plays, missing kicks. You just can't play a team that good and give them that many opportunities. We just left them in the game. And ultimately [they] made one more play than we did."
And that's the thing: The Colts' offense just doesn't make nearly enough plays.
The offense started hot, teasing a packed house with the promise of more highlights to come. Indianapolis took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in 10 plays, with running back Jonathan Taylor rushing seven times for 49 yards. But after that possession, the Colts' offensive performance would be mostly remembered for inconsistency, shortcomings and sloppiness.
"A lot of should've, would've, could've," said center Ryan Kelly, part of an offensive line that has allowed a league-high 40 sacks.
Holder went on acknowledge that Saturday has done what he can to inject some life into the Colts, like when he moved practices outdoors this week despite the cold temperatures and the Colts playing home games indoors.
But it will take more than a few coaching tweaks to repair all that ails this offense.
From struggling rookie left tackle Bernhard Raimann, to the propensity for careless penalties, no amount of quick fixes from Saturday can rectify this.
And the impact that's had on the defense has never been clearer. Since Week 5, the Colts' defense has performed like an elite unit even though it has almost nothing to show for it.
Entering Sunday, Indianapolis was fifth in the league in defensive expected points added in that span. Additionally, the Colts have allowed more than 20 points just three times in 11 games. That latter statistic might actually mean something if the Colts weren't also averaging 15.7 points entering the game -- third fewest in the NFL.
But give them credit for consistency: Their 16 points was utterly predictable given their previous pace.
The lack of production on offense constantly raises the stakes for the Colts' defense.
"It's boring," said quarterback Matt Ryan, "but we have to execute better than we have. The devil's in the details. It's over and over and over and over."
The Colts' offense lost yardage on eight plays and was flagged for six penalties on Sunday, and they struggled to overcome those throughout Sunday afternoon.
The Colts had six drives on which they had a negative play; two ended in punts, three ended in field goal attempts and one ended in a game-sealing turnover on downs.
And those six penalties resulted in a total loss of 45 yards; the Colts scored just six total points on six drives on which they committed a penalty.
"Just too many mistakes," Saturday said. "I mean, too many penalties, too many negative plays."
The Colts' 81 negative plays are the second-most in the NFL this season; only the Los Angeles Rams are averaging more yards lost per negative play than the Colts (-4.9 yards), per Pro Football Focus. Of those 81 plays, 40 have come inside their opponents' 40-yard line (most in NFL) and 17 have come in the red zone (tied for the most in the NFL).
"It's not one thing -- I think throughout the course of the year, we've all taken our turns," Ryan said. "We just have to execute. It's boring, but we have to execute better than we have. And it's like, the devil's in the details. It's over and over and over and over. When the margin of error is small, when you're playing against really good football teams, the margin of error is small. And we've shown, you can go toe to toe with them, but you can't make the mistakes that we made today if you expect to win."
You can access complete stats for the Colts Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, Sam Ehlinger
RBs: Zack Moss, Deon Jackson, Jonathan Taylor, Evan Hull
WRs: Michael Pittman Jr., Alec Pierce, Josh Downs, Isaiah McKenzie
TEs: Mo Alie-Cox, Kylen Granson, Will Mallory, Andrew Ogletree, Jelani Woods
Jacksonville JaguarsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
According to Jaguars.com's senior writer John Oehser, the eyes remain very much on the prize.
The prize is the postseason -- and as the Jaguars returned from their Week 11 bye Monday, the tone around TIAA Bank Field was clear: The prize is the goal, and it's still attainable.
"That's the culture we've built and that's the culture we're building," wide receiver Christian Kirk said as the Jaguars (3-7) prepared to play the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (7-3) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "Everybody's believing and nobody's cashing it in."
The Jaguars, after leading the AFC South at 2-1, lost five consecutive games before a Week 9 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. A 27-17 Week 10 road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs a week before the bye marked the Jaguars' lone loss this season by more than a score and was the only time in the first 10 games the Jaguars did not lead.
The Jaguars enter their final seven games third in the AFC South behind the Tennessee Titans (7-3) and Indianapolis Colts (4-6-1) and ahead of the Houston Texans (1-8-1). They play Tennessee twice in final seven games and visit Houston.
"We have to win the division," Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot said. "We know the games we have to win. We have to beat the Titans. We have to beat the Texans. We're definitely optimistic about the future, for sure."
The Jaguars, who rank eighth in the NFL in yards and 19th in points, also rank 23rd in yards allowed and 14th in points allowed. And while they remain focused on the postseason, their schedule on paper becomes more difficult.
Four of their first 10 opponents currently have winning records: Washington (6-5), Philadelphia (9-1), the New York Giants (7-3) and Kansas City (8-2).
Five of their final seven games are against such teams: Baltimore, the New York Jets (6-4), the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) and Tennessee twice.
Running back Travis Etienne Jr. said the focus overall will be "mindset and execution," adding that, "We have to win in order to get into the playoffs."
"Every game is a season of its own," said Etienne, who rushed for more than 100 yards in three of the final four game before the bye. "If we're going to get where we want to be in January, we can't take any week for granted. We have to go out there and execute and finish.
"We have to let our belief in each other shine. That's what's going to get us over this hump."
Said Kirk, "That's the first goal we talked about when we got in the building together -- one, winning our division; two, getting to the playoffs. That's where everybody wants to go. That's how you keep going to work: You work hard, work your tail off and go out and play on Sunday.
"This group as a collective wants to make it to the postseason. That's our goal. We're going to keep working toward that."
Etienne feels like the off week was useful.
"The bye just kind of gives your mind a break. At this point everybody's body is tired. You're mentally and physically tired, but you're a football player and we've been doing this our whole life. We know how to get over that hump."
And finally. ... The Jaguars claimed former Rams' starting RB Darrell Henderson off waivers today, according to multiple reports.
QBs: Trevor Lawrence, C.J. Beathard, Nathan Rourke
RBs: Travis Etienne Jr., Tank Bigsby, JaMycal Hasty, D'Ernest Johnson, Snoop Conner
WRs: Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Jamal Agnew, Parker Washington, Tim Jones, Kendric Pryor
TEs: Evan Engram, Brenton Strange, Luke Farrell, Elijah Cooks
Kansas City ChiefsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
According to Associated Press sports writer Dave Skretta reported, Mecole Hardman was watching his Kansas City Chiefs visit the Los Angeles Chargers from home on Sunday night when he tweeted a picture showing the injured wide receiver's shattered TV screen and asking how the game turned out.
Thanks to Travis Kelce, the Chiefs rallied for another win over their AFC West rivals.
Indeed, as ESPN.com's Adam Teicher, there was never a doubt about who Patrick Mahomes would look to for the winning touchdown in the final minute of Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
It would be the player who caught each of the Kansas City Chiefs' earlier touchdowns, the one Mahomes always seems to look for with the game on the line, the one the Chiefs relied on more than ever on Sunday because of their depleted wide receiver group.
His 17-yard touchdown catch with 31 seconds left gave the 8-2 Chiefs a 30-27 victory, one that puts them three games ahead of the 5-5 Chargers, who are Kansas City's closest pursuers in the AFC West.
Mahomes afterward called Kelce "the greatest tight end of all time" and said on any given play he'll go through his reads as instructed by his coaches unless Kelce is in man-to-man coverage.
"Then I throw him the ball," Mahomes said. "I'm not joking at all. If he's man-to-man, I'm going to give him a chance. He's going to win most of them.
"[The Chargers have safety] Derwin [James Jr.], so Derwin is going to win his battles because he's probably the best safety in the league. But I'm going to give my guy a chance because I know how special he is."
The winning touchdown was the fourth from Mahomes to Kelce in the final minute of regulation or overtime.
Only one other quarterback-receiver combo -- Neil Lomax and Roy Green of the 1980s Cardinals -- has had as many since 1970.
It was the 33rd game of at least 100 yards receiving for Kelce, sending him past Rob Gronkowski for the most by an NFL tight end.
And Mahomes and Kelce have now connected on 45 touchdown catches, the second most between a quarterback and wide receiver in franchise history; Len Dawson and Otis Taylor had 50 of them.
On Wednesday, Kelce was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time in his decorated career.
"You'd like it to last forever," head coach Andy Reid said of Mahomes and Kelce. "These guys grow old, and it's not [going to last forever], so what I do is I try to enjoy every minute of it, every play. Their chemistry is ridiculous.
"They had a plan for [Kelce]. They were going to bang him around, and then they put an All-Pro safety on him. So he had to fight like crazy the whole game and kind of come up with things on the fly to get himself open."
Kelce did well enough to lead his team with six receptions, 115 yards and all three Chiefs touchdowns.
The Chiefs needed every catch, yard and score from Kelce.
As Skretta suggested, of everything the three-time All-Pro tight end has accomplished during his decade in the NFL -- the record-setting yardage, catches and touchdowns -- the most impressive thing may be this: He's always available.
With Hardman out due to an abdominal injury, JuJu Smith-Schuster recovering from a concussion and newly acquired wide receiver Kadarius Toney now dealing with a hamstring injury, Kelce's ability to continually show up on game days is as valuable as ever.
"We didn't have our full arsenal of weapons." Kelce said. "Knowing that it was gonna be an opportunity, I personally was ready for the matchup [with James]. I knew they were going to play a lot of man-to-man coverage, and I knew that Pat was gonna be looking for me when it was one-on-one coverage."
Meanwhile, the Chiefs have found some balance with Isiah Pacheco in the run game. He had 107 yards on just 15 carries in his fourth consecutive start, the first time Kansas City has had a 100-yard rusher since Clyde Edwards-Helaire on Oct. 3, 2021.
Pacheco is running the ball effectively enough that he should get the bulk of the carries.
But Teicher contends the rookie has been a liability in the passing game. He was beaten cleanly on a blitz by James to allow a sack of Mahomes.
Edwards-Helaire had already lost the starting job to Pacheco and will be out at least four weeks.
Reid said at his Wednesday press conference that Edwards-Helaire has been placed on the injured reserve list. Edwards-Helaire suffered a high-ankle sprain.
Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Ronald Jones are the other backs on the Chiefs’ 53-man roster.
While Edwards-Helaire and Hardman (who is also on injured reserve) won’t be available, Smith-Schuster could be back from his concussion to face the Rams. Reid said Smith-Schuster will return to practice after missing last week with the injury.
Reid also said that Toney and guard Joe Thuney (ankle) are not going to practice and that tackle Lucas Niang has been activated from the physically unable to perform list.
I'll be following up on all involved as needed in coming days; watch the Late-Breaking Updates section for more as the Chiefs face the Rams on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. ...
A few final notes. ... Mahomes has thrown at least one TD pass in 15 consecutive games, tying Elvis Grbac for the second-longest streak in Chiefs history. Mahomes owns the longest at 31 games from 2019-21.
In addition, Mahomes is now 14-0 in road games vs the AFC West, the 2nd-longest win streak by a starting QB in road division games since the 1970 merger, trailing only Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana's 20-game road divisional win streak from 1984-93.
You can access complete stats for the Chiefs Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Patrick Mahomes, Blaine Gabbert
RBs: Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
WRs: Kadarius Toney, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice, Justyn Ross, Justin Watson, Richie James
TEs: Travis Kelce, Noah Gray, Blake Bell, Jody Fortson
Las Vegas RaidersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As Associated Press sports writer Mark Anderson noted this week, the Raiders had their best stretch this season when running back Josh Jacobs put much of the offensive load on his shoulders.
He did it again Sunday at Denver, and there is little coincidence the Raiders ended their three-game losing streak by beating the Broncos 22-16 in overtime.
Because Jacobs was so effective in rushing for 109 yards and catching three passes for 51 more, that helped open up a Raiders passing game that was limited with tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on injured reserve.
Derek Carr passed for a season-high 307 yards, just the second time he has topped 300 yards this year.
This also was Jacobs' first 100-yard rushing game since a three-game stretch a month ago in which he rushed for 144, 154 and 143 yards. The Raiders beat the Broncos and Houston Texans and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs by just a point.
Then over the following three-game span, Jacobs had failed to crack 80 yards, and Las Vegas went 0-3 against teams all with losing records.
Jacobs will need to continue to deliver if the Raiders are going to do much the rest of the season.
"To me, one of the most impressive things about him is he never asks to come out of a game," Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said Monday. "I've coached for a while, and that's a tough position to play and to never come out because you get hit a lot and you get banged around and guys are falling on you and all the rest of it.
"He runs in there, he takes a bunch of hits, he doesn't even look to the sideline. It took me a few weeks to get used to that because you're normally thinking you're going to be subbing backs pretty regularly. I'm used to that from my recent past where we used a lot of different backs, but this guy just gives us such a high level of confidence in him and never appears to be winded or tired."
Jacobs went into training camp in the best shape of his career, and he has played this season with extra motivation after the Raiders didn't pick up his fifth-year option. So he's playing for the Raiders and 31 other teams.
The Raiders have played their best this season when Jacobs has been at his best, and that includes a much-needed victory at Denver.
"(We) made a few crucial plays there at the end to win it," McDaniels said. "Always good to win. Even better when it's in the division on the road. ..."
Although Jacobs is important to the Raiders' success, nobody is overlooking Davante Adams.
Given how short-handed the Raiders are at receiver, defenses focus even more attention on stopping Adams. It doesn't matter.
Since catching just one pass for 3 yards in the 24-0 loss to New Orleans, Adams has been on fire.
He caught 10 passes for 146 yards with two touchdowns against Jacksonville, nine passes for 126 yards with a TD against Indianapolis, and on Sunday had seven catches for 141 yards with two TDs.
On Monday, head coach Josh McDaniels said Adams' understanding of the game makes him so hard to defend no matter where you line him up.
"I've mentioned a few other guys that I've coached that are pretty good, and he's a unique player," McDaniels said. "[H]e can think, process, understand the way he's being covered, the way people are playing him, leverage, route technique, setting up his routes, doing a lot of different things that allow him to get open and be special. I think sometimes when young players come into the league, they think it's all skill and talent. And that's part of the equation, there's no question.
"But I think the other part that he's really mastered is his ability to set people up. He's got great savvy and instincts, great awareness. Like the last play, I mean, that doesn't happen if he doesn't set it up the right way and really get the corner leaning to go across the field, but he understands that. He's a special player. He really is."
McDaniels added, "He can play the game within the game, which really just takes you to a whole new level."
Adams has 64 catches for 925 yards in 10 games so far this season. His yards per reception is at a career-high of 14.5.
More importantly, as long you get the ball in his vicinity, Adams is likely to make magic happen. ...
Meanwhile, the Raiders finish their stretch of road games at Seattle on Sunday. It will be Las Vegas' fourth road game in five weeks. Four of their final six games are at home.
You can access complete stats for the Raiders Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jimmy Garoppolo, Brian Hoyer, Aidan O'Connell
RBs: Josh Jacobs, Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah, Brandon Bolden
WRs: Davante Adams, Jakobi Meyers, Hunter Renfrow, DeAndre Carter, Tre Tucker, Kristian Wilkerson
TEs: Austin Hooper, Michael Mayer, Jesper Horsted
Los Angeles ChargersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Lindsey Thiry noted, at the outset of Sunday night's 30-27 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, it appeared the Los Angeles Chargers had turned a corner in their season-long battle of injuries with wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams returning from multiple-game absences.
That appearance, however, was short lived.
Four weeks removed from suffering a right high ankle sprain, Williams aggravated the injury on the Bolts' third play of the game when he caught a 15-yard pass.
Williams played six total snaps before he was ruled out and said after the game that he tweaked the ankle.
"That sucks, but hell of a catch," Allen said of Williams' situation. "But I don't think it was as bad -- I think he's just trying to be smart about it and hopefully he'll be back next week."
With the loss, the Chargers fell to 5-5 as the Chiefs improved to 8-2 and extended their lead in the AFC West to three games.
"We have to stay connected. We have to put this one behind us, learn from it," head coach Brandon Staley said. "Get some guys rested and get some guys back, which is going to happen."
Allen exceeded expectation in his return from a left hamstring injury that has sidelined him for all but half a game since suffering the injury in Week 1.
"He's a big help, to have 13 back out there, he just adds something special to the offense," said quarterback Justin Herbert, who completed 23 of 30 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns with an interception.
Allen entered Sunday with only six catches for 77 yards, but finished with five catches for 94 yards against the Chiefs.
"Good, good all game," Allen said when asked how his hamstring held up.
Allen played 44 of 65 snaps (67 percent) after initially being placed on a snap count that would have limited him between 30-35 snaps.
"I was," Allen said when asked about being placed on a snap count. "But then we had a couple guys go down, so all that went out the door."
"He exceeded my expectations, for sure," Staley said. "I thought he played well in the game. He felt good all week and he kind of played how he practiced."
Second-year receiver Joshua Palmer finished with eight catches for a team-high 106 yards and two touchdowns, the first multi-touchdown game of his career.
Williams initially suffered a right high ankle sprain in Week 7 before the Bolts went into a bye week. He was then sidelined for two games because of the injury, but told ESPN before Sunday night's game that he felt "200 percent" in his recovery.
Staley noted Monday that the Chargers are going to "find out a lot more in the next couple of days about (the wideout's) possibilities for Wednesday's practice."
They apparently learned enough for Williams to be scheduled to practice on a limited basis Wednesday.
In addition, tight end Gerald Everett's (groin) status is also questionable after being inactive against the Chiefs. Everett was scheduled to practice to some degree Wednesday.
I'll have more on both via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
The Chargers will be without their regular kicker for at least another four weeks.
Los Angeles has placed Dustin Hopkins on injured reserve and signed Cameron Dicker off its practice squad to the active roster.
Hopkins has been out since injuring his hamstring in the Week 6 victory over the Broncos. He's hit 9-of-10 field goals this season and 12-of-12 extra points.
Dicker has kicked for Los Angeles over the last three games, hitting all seven of his field goal attempts and all six of his extra points. He's also sent 79 percent of his kickoffs for touchbacks.
Dicker also filled in for Philadelphia's Jake Elliott for one game earlier this year, hitting a game-winning field goal to win the contest 20-17. ...
Meanwhile, despite being 5-5 and one game out of a wild card, the Chargers are in a favorable position to make a run. Only two of their remaining seven opponents have winning records, and both those games are at home against Miami (Dec. 11) and Tennessee (Dec. 18).
The wild card appears to be the Chargers' only route to the postseason after Kansas City's victory gave them a three-game lead in the AFC West. The Chiefs also hold the tiebreaker with their sweep of the season series. The biggest concerns remain on defense. Los Angeles has allowed at least 157 yards rushing four straight games while opposing offenses are 24 of 47 on third-down conversions.
The Chargers hit the road for the next two games. They have a 10-4 advantage in the season series against the Cardinals including 3-2 in games played in Arizona.
Other notes of interest. ... The Chargers allowed five sacks after they came into the game surrendering only a league-low 13. Kansas City was able to generate 13 quarterback pressures along with allowing no gain or negative yards on 9 of 30 rushing attempts. The five sacks were the most that Herbert has taken in his three-year career.
It took 42 games for Herbert to reach 12,000 career passing yards, which is tied with Kurt Warner for the second-fastest in league history. Patrick Mahomes was the quickest at 40 games.
You can access complete stats for the Chargers Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Justin Herbert, Easton Stick
RBs: Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson
WRs: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Quentin Johnston, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton, Derius Davis
TEs: Gerald Everett, Donald Parham, Tre' McKitty, Stone Smartt
Los Angeles RamsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As Associated Press sports writer Greg Beacham reported, the Los Angeles Rams' dismal season just keeps getting worse, and Matthew Stafford's latest injury suggests it's unlikely to get much better.
The Rams' 27-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints sent them into their first four-game losing streak since their homecoming season in 2016. Sean McVay took over the following year and ushered in a half-decade of success, but the defending Super Bowl champions have nearly run out of chances to get this ensuing season back on track.
"I'm not a big fan of losing," said Rams defensive lineman Greg Gaines, who has never had a losing season in high school, college or the NFL. "I'm a competitor. We're all competitors at the highest level, and none of us likes to lose."
The dismal afternoon had one particular lowlight: Stafford was having a solid performance in his first game back from a one-game absence in the NFL's concussion protocol before he left early to be evaluated for another concussion.
McVay said Monday afternoon that the Rams are still trying to determine whether Stafford will go back into the concussion protocol.
According to Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio, citing a league source, Stafford did indeed re-enter the protocol, three days after exiting it.
Nonetheless, on Wednesday, the McVay has ruled out Stafford for Sunday's game due to what the team believes is "a strained neck."
Although this loss was perhaps their most discouraging yet, given how eminently beatable the Saints seemed to be, the Rams' problems in New Orleans were the same as in previous weeks: A patchwork offensive line is the fundamental flaw in an offense that has taken a spectacular step back.
Stafford was sacked for the 29th time this season in New Orleans.
While the Rams' offense struggled yet again, the defense also produced a mediocre performance against a highly controllable offense.
Coordinator Raheem Morris' group has soundly outperformed McVay's offense all season long, but neither unit was good in New Orleans.
A trip to Kansas City on Sunday to face the powerhouse Chiefs seems almost certain to push the Rams deeper into their spiral. Los Angeles has never been irrelevant down the stretch of a season during McVay's tenure, but this team is teetering.
Looking for positives?
The NFL's worst rushing team entering the weekend racked up a season-high 148 yards, with Cam Akers getting 61 and rookie Kyren Williams looking sharp with 36 yards on only seven carries.
Darrell Henderson got only two carries after feeling "a little something" in his knee before the game, McVay said.
Henderson has been the Rams' most regular contributor in the running game for the past few years, but he was scheduled to become a free agent after the season. Instead, he became a free agent on Tuesday when the Rams waived him.
The news came as a surprise.
Henderson has started seven of the Rams' 10 games this season, rushing for 283 yards and three touchdowns on 70 attempts. He's averaging almost a full yard more per carry than Akers, coming in at 4.0 yards per attempt compared to 3.1 for Akers.
The Rams originally drafted Henderson in the third round back in 2019 and he's started a total of 28 games over the course of his four seasons.
Henderson's release is especially surprising considering the team tried to trade Akers before the deadline, only to keep him on the roster up to this point. With Henderson gone, that leaves Akers and Williams as the only running backs on the 53-man roster.
Williams has averaged 5.6 yards per carry on his eight attempts and may be in line to emerge as a starter when the Rams head to Kansas City to play the Chiefs this week.
So can he now-diminished backfield sustain their Week 11 success?
The Rams have struggled to move the ball consistently on the ground, but the running game becomes even more important without wide receiver Cooper Kupp. Whatever the case, McVay showed more trust in the run game on Sunday than in recent weeks, and it was a factor until the Rams fell behind.
Of course, that may have been by necessity.
With Stafford leaving early and backup John Wolford ruled out with a neck injury, the Rams were forced to go to Bryce Perkins, who completed 5-of-10 passes for 64 yards, adding five carries for 39 yards.
But the passing woes aren't on Perkins.
The Rams' average passing yards have dipped to been 170.8 per game in their four outings since the bye week. They were averaging 205 yards per game before the bye, and they averaged 273.1 last season.
So it's not surprise the Rams have never been a bigger underdog in McVay's career than they are Sunday.
A loss to Kansas City would make the Rams 3-8, putting them close to the point where they'll have to consider shutting down certain key veterans and preparing for 2023 -- when they won't have their very high first-round pick, thanks to the Stafford trade.
As for the QB situation, it should come as no surprise the Rams are expected to give Perkins first-team reps this week, paving the way for a potential start. I'll follow up on this via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
In a related note. ... With Stafford and Wolford ailing, the Rams have added another passer to the team.
Los Angeles has signed Case Cookus to the practice squad along.
Cookus has spent time with the Giants, Broncos, Vikings and Raiders. But he was most recently with the Philadelphia Stars of the USFL, starting seven games for the team. He threw 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. ...
Also of interest. ... Tutu Atwell's second NFL reception was a beautiful 62-yard catch down the sideline for his first career touchdown. The Rams never threw to him again, and he was a run blocker on the only other six snaps for which he was on the field.
The 2021 second-round pick has been a bust so far, but it's still unclear why McVay won't even try to use the undersized Atwell as a regular receiver, given the Rams' injury problems.
You can access complete stats for the Rams Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Matthew Stafford, Stetson Bennett
RBs: Kyren Williams, Zach Evans, Ronnie Rivers
WRs: Puka Nacua, Tutu Atwell, Van Jefferson, Demarcus Robinson, Ben Skowronek, Cooper Kupp
TEs: Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins, Hunter Long, Davis Allen
Miami DolphinsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com’s Marcel Louis-Jacques noted this week, their careers have taken them to South Florida, but Miami Dolphins running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. forged their camaraderie in 2018, at a Black Bear Diner roughly 10 minutes away from the San Francisco 49ers' Levi Stadium.
Mostert, who had spent the previous two seasons with the 49ers after entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015, offered to take Wilson to breakfast shortly after the latter signed with the team -- also as an undrafted free agent.
It was a gesture that has stuck with Wilson ever since.
"He sat down and explained everything to me, and talked to me and told me what to expect, how to work," Wilson said. "So before I even played a down, before I even knew who he was, before he even really knew who I was -- he took me out to eat, brought me in, just gave me that big brother feel. Just the genuine love behind that, you know what I mean?
"And on top of that, he paid for it. Him not even knowing my situation at that time -- I'm undrafted, come from poverty -- not even knowing I gotta be tight on everything I do. ... just paying for it, it speaks volumes of him."
Wilson and Mostert spent the next four seasons with San Francisco before Mostert signed with the Dolphins in March. Wilson followed when the 49ers traded him to Miami on Nov. 1, reuniting him with his old backfield mate, as well as with Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, who was the 49ers' offensive coordinator in 2021.
Their reunion has been a smash hit for the Dolphins. Wilson has accumulated 215 total yards and two touchdowns on 32 touches in two games. During last week's blowout win over the Cleveland Browns, Wilson and Mostert each scored and combined for 184 rushing yards on 25 carries, with Wilson gaining a team-high 119 yards.
Wilson said he gets words of encouragement and pats on the back when he returns to the sideline, but while his teammates are energized by his play, he said something about them fuels him, too.
"It's the facial expressions that say more than words," he said. "Just to come back and to see the guys giving me that look like, 'I feel you, brother. Keep giving it to me. I feel you. You're turning me up.'
"That's what gives me the thrill out of it, to see them come back and be hyped and ready to play some NFL football."
Miami struggled running the ball during the first eight weeks of the season, averaging just 88.1 yards per game. In its past two games, however, that number has sharply increased to 136 rushing yards per game.
McDaniel said he didn't feel like his team was lacking in physicality when he lobbied for general manager Chris Grier to trade for Wilson. He'd been impressed by Mostert, who established himself as the Dolphins' lead back from Week 5 through Week 8, and believed he and Wilson would play "extremely well" off each other.
When trying to explain the Wilson effect to the team, McDaniel -- a man not often at a loss for words -- struggled to explain it. But when the Dolphins experienced it for themselves, they understood.
"It's made me so happy, because I couldn't articulate it. I really couldn't," McDaniel said. "But when we were talking about it, I was like, 'Just wait, guys. Just wait.' I was very excited, because I knew we could benefit from something that wasn't necessarily that we were missing, but he could add something that could do more than whatever his stats are.
"We've got a case of the Wilson-itis, I think, maybe. The whole team benefits from it … I think that it is something that our game can continue to grow in all aspects. I think [the Browns game] was the most physical that we've played on both sides of the ball. I think Jeff Wilson contributed to that, but I think we're all just kind of growing in how we play our style of football. There's a lot of people putting some more physical stuff on tape that it's only going to help the Dolphins."
Mostert said he "couldn't be prouder" of what Wilson has done since joining the Dolphins and believes they've formed a "good one-two punch" over the past two weeks. They'll be a key component for a resurgent Miami offense as it looks to add some balance to what's been a pass-heavy unit during the first half of the season.
It's the kind of situation they visualized at that Black Bear Diner four years ago.
"I remember when he came in undrafted and didn't know if he was going to make the team," Mostert said. "Me and him sat in my car and talked a little bit, because I'm an undrafted guy as well, and now look at us. We're both still playing in the league. I gave him some words of encouragement at the time and told him, 'Hey, don't worry about it, bro. You're going to be good.'
"And now, it's paying off, the hard work that he's done thus far and have continued to do, even this year. ..."
Of course, the rushing game is benefiting greatly from a successful passing attack.
As a result, the Dolphins come out of the bye week at 7-3, leading the AFC East and with a legitimate chance to make a deep playoff run. Miami has wins over New England, Baltimore and Buffalo as it readies for a stretch of four of six games against teams above .500.
Tua Tagovailoa leads the NFL in passer rating (118.4) and has thrown for 2,265 yards and 18 TDs with three interceptions. Miami is 7-0 in games Tagovailoa has finished, has the third-best passing offense and is first in yards per pass attempt (8.28).
Tagovailoa's accuracy on deep balls has also improved. He went from completing 42.3 percent of passes that traveled at least 10 air yards in his first two seasons to completing 68.7 percent of those passes in 2022, according to Next Gen Stats.
Throwing the ball to Tyreek Hill, the NFL's receiving yards leader, obviously helps. But just as important, Tagovailoa has more support and encouragement than he's had since he was drafted out of Alabama in 2020.
"I felt supported from the time [McDaniel] came in," Tagovailoa said earlier this month, a day after Miami traded away its only 2023 first-round pick to acquire pass rusher Bradley Chubb from Denver -- a sign of its confidence in its signal-caller.
Since returning from a concussion in Week 7, Tagovailoa has 1,230 yards passing, 10 TDs and no interceptions. FanDuel Sportsbook currently has Tagovailoa tied with Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts and Buffalo's Josh Allen as the favorite for MVP.
McDaniel is among the favorites for Coach of the Year, and the Dolphins have the eighth-best odds of winning the Super Bowl.
This week, the Dolphins will host the struggling Texans.
QBs: Tua Tagovailoa, Mike White, Skylar Thompson
RBs: Raheem Mostert, Devon Achane, Salvon Ahmed, Chris Brooks, Jeff Wilson
WRs: Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Cedrick Wilson, Braxton Berrios, Erik Ezukanma
TEs: Durham Smythe, Julian Hill, Tyler Kroft
Minnesota VikingsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
According to ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert, there is no doubt how receiver Justin Jefferson feels about his team's 40-3 loss Sunday to the Dallas Cowboys.
Speaking Monday to local reporters, Jefferson called the loss "embarrassing" and "a disaster all around."
He then made clear that coach Kevin O'Connell and his staff should have adjusted the passing game to counteract the Cowboys' fierce pass rush. Ultimately, quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked a career-high seven times, including twice by NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsons, and was pressured on 63 percent of his dropbacks.
"It's tough with Kirk getting sacked before you're even getting out of the break," Jefferson said. "It's definitely being in a tough situation, but we've just got to move toward more quick game, getting the ball out quicker, putting the ball in space and letting people work, just things we need to adjust on just throughout the game. If things are not working out the way we planned, then we need to find a way to adjust and go toward something that will work better for us. We just can't continue to keep doing the same thing throughout the game even though it's not working.
"But we've got to be better as a whole team. It's good because we have a chance to do that in three days."
Indeed, the Vikings will host the New England Patriots on Thursday night at U.S. Bank Stadium. They're 8-2 in O'Connell's first year, and Jefferson is off to the best start of his career. But he caught only three passes for 33 yards Sunday and pointedly called the game-long issues in pass protection a "lesson learned."
"I mean, of course I wish we had adjusted faster throughout the game," Jefferson said. "Getting the ball out quicker, not letting Micah Parsons and the rest of that D-line get a chance to get back there to Kirk. So it's just things we need to learn from. This is a new team. This is a new coaching staff. We have new players on this team. We're all still learning each other. We're still all learning how to play with each other.
"It's just a lesson learned. Just like [after a Week 2 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles], it was a lesson learned that week. So it's just throughout the season, we're learning things about each other, learning ways to win. And it's all going to turn out better for us later in the season when we get to the playoffs and we get to that stretch where we need to win and we need to know what to do and how to change up the plan if things are not going well."
O'Connell said Sunday that he "didn't coach well enough tonight and we got outplayed."
Sunday's loss came by the second-highest point differential for a team 8-1 or better in the Super Bowl era, an outcome not lost on Jefferson.
"I mean, it just sucks that we lost this bad," he said. "If we just lost by three, seven, 10 points, it wouldn't be as bad. People lose games. We're not expected to go undefeated for the rest of the season. Things happen. It's the NFL. There's good teams that we're playing. But it's just the fact that we lost by 37 points at home. It's just embarrassing being in that type of situation and we just didn't play good in all phases. That's what really killed us and made us act the way we're acting now.
"We've just got to get that taste out of our mouth. We didn't play good at all. We just want to get to Thursday [and] have a chance to get that taste out of our mouth and play better."
The Vikings still lead the NFC North by four games with seven left and have a two-game cushion for the No. 2 seed in the conference that would come with two home playoff games. They also now have the dishonor of being cumulatively outscored by their opponents (231-229) over the season, a negative point differential that's the worst in NFL history for a team that has won eight or more of its first 10 games.
Now, they'll face a Patriots defense that ranks second in the league behind the Cowboys in points allowed, presenting another significant challenge for Cousins and company in the first Thanksgiving Day home game in Vikings history.
In prime time.
So it's worth noting. ... Since 2015, Cousins' first full season as a starter in the NFL, his 16 losses in prime-time games are the most among all quarterbacks, according to Stathead.
Overall, Cousins has actually been at his worst statistically on Thursday nights.
When playing in prime-time games on Thursdays, Cousins has completed only 65 percent of his passes for 1,989 yards with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
And the offensive line will continue to be an issue in this one as left tackle Christian Darrisaw went back in the concussion protocol Sunday.
He was all but ruled out by O'Connell to play against New England.
"This is one of our best players with a long-term future here, and we're going to make sure that C.D. is absolutely. ... Ready to roll when that time comes," O'Connell said.
Darrisaw will be replaced in the starting lineup this week by Blake Brandel, but beyond that, the offense remains as healthy as any unit in the league.
Cornerback Akayleb Evans, who was diagnosed with a concussion in Week 10, missed Sunday's game, returned to a limited practice on Tuesday. Cornerback Andrew Booth, Jr., who had a rough outing starting in Evans' place, was added to the report as a non-participant with a knee injury.
The Vikings will have one of their key defensive players for Thursday’s game against the Patriots.
Edge rusher Za'Darius Smith has no game status and is expected to play. He was listed as limited on the Monday and Tuesday injury reports with a knee issue but was full on Wednesday.
Smith leads the Vikings with 9.5 sacks in 2022.
Jefferson (toe) was also full all week and is expected to play.
Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson (calf) was limited for all three days and is questionable.
I'll follow up as needed via Late-Breaking Update in advance of Thursday night's game. ...
One last note here. ... The deficit grew so big, so fast Sunday the Vikings had to ditch most of their ground game, but Dalvin Cook averaged 6.5 yards per carry. Though he skewed the total with an 81-yard touchdown run against the Bills, Cook's two highest rushing averages this season have come in the last two games.
He has 799 rushing yards, a 5.1 yards-per-attempt average that is the best of his career and six touchdowns while also tacking on 22 catches and a receiving touchdown. His 81-yard touchdown run against the Bills was the longest of his career as Cook is a balanced and explosive back who can score from anywhere on the field.
You can access complete stats for the Vikings Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Kirk Cousins, Nick Mullens, Jaren Hall
RBs: Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, Myles Gaskin, Cam Akers, C.J. Ham, Kene Nwangwu
WRs: Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Nailor, Brandon Powell, N'Keal Harry
TEs: T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse
New England PatriotsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
In the postgame locker room euphoria of the Patriots' 10-3 win over the Jets on Sunday, references to Marcus Jones' 84-yard punt return touchdown gallop echoed throughout.
"Just keep running home, bro!" receiver Nelson Agholor shouted in Jones' direction. "Don't even drive -- just run!"
But, as Associated Press sports writer Kyle Hightower noted, on a day in which New England's special teams shined, and the defense's dominance underlined its steady improvement throughout the season, it also highlighted just how far the offense is behind as the Patriots prepare to make their playoff push.
Since quarterback Mac Jones returned from a three-game absence from an ankle sprain, he has led the offense on just two touchdown drives, compared to 10 field goals.
Despite an offensive output of just three points, Jones had one of his best games of the season against a tough Jets defense, completing 85.2 percent of his passes (23 of 27) for 246 yards and a 104.6 quarterback rating.
But the Patriots came up empty on both of their red zone opportunities.
For the season New England's red zone efficiency rate is now just 42.9 percent, ranking 31st in the NFL entering Monday.
The Patriots have converted on just 12 of 28 opportunities through 10 games.
As good as the defense is playing this season, it will need the offense to do a better job of finishing drives down the stretch with matchups against some of the league's highest-scoring teams in the Bills (28.1 points per game), Bengals (26.5 ppg) and Dolphins (25.2 ppg) still on deck.
That's not lost on Jones, who acknowledged that ending with TDs will be the biggest point of emphasis going forward.
"I think it's super disappointing," he said. "We put too much work in to get that result. I think it starts with us, the execution part, and then obviously trying to figure something out here."
After the game was over, head coach Bill Belichick said the offense has to be crisper.
"Yeah, we'll take a look at the film here and see, but we moved the ball," Belichick said. "We had some good plays but not enough and not enough consistency, and we weren't able to get the ball in the end zone or get the ball close enough often enough for what our opportunities were. Had too many negative plays, holding penalties, sacks, and that was a combination of things. We've got to do a better job."
With such a struggle for the passing offense, is there any hope for a turnaround?
As ESPN.com's Mike Reiss noted, Jones played turnover-free football, which was one of the most notable positives of the day for the team. Also, RBs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson were effective.
The Patriots won't have to wait long for another chance to get on the field.
They'll be in Minnesota on Thursday night and they'll be facing a defense that just got ripped apart by the Cowboys, so that may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.
But the Patriots face their shortest turnaround of the season as they prepare for this one. It's part of a stretch that will see them play three games over 12 days. ...
Other notes of interest. ... A game-time wind chill in the mid-20s could have certainly played a role. But something was amiss in the kicking game on Sunday.
Nick Folk had misses from 44 and 43 yards, his first time misfiring on multiple field goals in a game this season. The likely culprit is that he was working with a new holder, with Michael Palardy assuming the holding and punting duties with Jake Bailey on injured reserve with a back issue.
The good news is Palardy punted well, averaging 45.3 yards on seven kicks. But with Bailey sidelined for at least the next three games, Palardy's holds must get better in a hurry.
On the injury front. ... Center David Andrews left Sunday's win over the Jets with a thigh injury and a report on Sunday night indicated that there was fear of a long-term injury, but it now looks like there's a more optimistic outlook for his availability in the future.
Reporters at the open portion of Tuesday's practice in New England saw Andrews in uniform going through some drills with the rest of the team. He was listed as out of practice on Monday's estimated injury report.
The team's final injury report will bring word of Andrews' chances of playing and Thursday's game in Minnesota might prove to be too quick a turnaround, but the fact that he was out with the team at all would seem to a good sign for their chances of having him on the field again.
I'll follow up via Late-Breaking Update as needed. ...
One last note here. ... Marcus Jones was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday.
You can access complete stats for the Patriots Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Mac Jones, Matt Corral
RBs: Rhamondre Stevenson, Ezekiel Elliott
WRs: JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Kayshon Boutte, Demario Douglas, Matt Slater, Tyquan Thornton
TEs: Hunter Henry, Mike Gesicki
New Orleans SaintsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Katherine Terrell framed it: "It took 11 weeks for the New Orleans Saints to find a quarterback combination that worked. ..."
The Saints (4-7) eclipsed more than 300 net yards for the first time this month in a 27-20 win against the Los Angeles Rams (3-7), breaking a two-game losing skid despite missing a significant amount of starters.
Now, they'll have to prove the winning formula on offense wasn't just a fluke against another struggling team.
"We've got to carry over the momentum into this week," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "I mean, that's the most important thing we can do."
Head coach Dennis Allen mulled over his options at quarterback at the beginning of last week, publicly hinting that he wasn't entirely satisfied with Dalton's performance lately, but announced Wednesday he was sticking with Dalton.
It was a decision that left some Saints fans dissatisfied and former starter Jameis Winston publicly lamenting the loss of his job.
Allen's solution was to give less of the reins to Dalton and a little more to Taysom Hill, whose usage has been all over the place this season. The Saints were clearly committed to involving Hill, at one point swapping the two quarterbacks almost every play against the Rams.
"The plan going in was to get Taysom the ball," Allen said. "Matter of fact, I think Andy got a little frustrated throughout the week that we had so many plays where Taysom was in at the quarterback position. But that's the great thing about our group, our group just wants to win, and they'll do whatever they have to do to try to win and that was something we felt we had a good chance this week."
Countered a smiling Dalton: "No, I'm never upset with the number of snaps that Taysom takes because I know how successful we've been able to be with it, and how many positive plays come from it. Taysom's a unique asset. A lot of teams have really good players. We happen to have one that can be all over the field and play quarterback too, and I think that's our advantage. For me, there's no discouragement when it happens."
Allen didn't want to commit to a two-quarterback system full-time, saying that would be evaluated on a week-to-week basis.
"I'm not ready to sit here and say we're just going to carbon copy the game plan for next week," he said.
As Terrell reminded readers, two-quarterback systems can be gimmicky and complicated, used at times in college but rarely successful in the NFL. But the results have certainly spoken for itself. Hill completed one pass for 14 yards and ran the ball nine times for 52 yards. Hill has run for at least 50 yards four times this season, with the Saints winning each game.
"That's because a lot of teams don't have what we have," right guard Cesar Ruiz said with a smile.
"This feeling I felt today, it was like, 'We're going to win this game' from the jump."
While the quarterback was the hot topic outside the building leading up to the Rams game, inside the building, players and coaches were imploring each other to let loose, be aggressive and relieve the tension.
The result was no turnovers and a season-low two penalties, leading Allen to note that they didn't do anything to beat themselves this time.
Making a concerted effort to involve Hill more was also part of the "back against the wall" feeling the Saints had entering the week. They knew that the status quo wasn't going to work with the possibility of a winning season slipping away.
"I think we approach every week with the same mentality. I think this week there may have been an added emphasis on going out to win the football game," Hill said. "Right? Like what do we have to lose, so let's call everything we've got on this call sheet, let's push the ball down the field. I would say maybe that was emphasized a little bit more than in weeks past."
That emphasis was shown on third-and-1 early in the game, as Dalton threw the ball downfield on a play that resulted in a 26-yard gain to tight end Juwan Johnson.
"I think that's the mindset [and] mentality we need to have," Dalton said.
The results were significant compared to last week's meager output against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dalton completed 21-of-25 passes for 260 yards, three touchdown passes and no interceptions against the Rams, setting career-highs in completion percentage (84 percent) and passer rating (149.6).
He also threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to rookie Chris Olave while under duress behind an offensive line that was missing three starters.
"I had a little pressure too," Dalton said. "So when you turn it loose and you get hit, you're on the ground, you never know what's going to happen, but to have that outcome. I felt like I put the ball in a great spot.
"Chris was exactly how we had it planned, taking that shot down the field. We got the look that we wanted and he made a big play."
Allen said that Dalton, a 12-year-veteran, has handled the uncertainty of his position well, even during the last week.
"He's a veteran player," Allen said. "He's been in this league a long time. He understands how things operate. And look, we all know as a football team, all of us understand, when you're not having the success that you want to have, everything's going to get evaluated. I think he's handled it outstanding."
The performance certainly bought some time for Dalton after he looked to be on the verge of potentially losing his job. But when asked about his feelings on the week, he turned the conversation to the team.
"I think at the end of the day I'm happy with the way we were able to play today," Dalton said. "The adversity that we had faced the last couple of weeks, especially offensively ... we obviously haven't played as well as we had in previous weeks.
"We had a great plan going in, and we went out and executed it, regardless of all the other stuff that goes on. I think that's what makes you the most proud. That's for me personally and for this group."
In addition, Allen placed a renewed focus on fundamentals during the past week of practice and, as Associated Press sports writer Brett Martell noted, it appeared to pay off.
New Orleans did not turn the ball over, didn't have many missed tackles and was called for just two penalties during a 27-20 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday that kept the Saints within 1 1/2 games of first place in the NFC South, where no team has a winning record.
"A lot of times, penalties are a result of utilizing poor fundamentals or technique and then you get caught in a bad position," Allen noted.
Playing with a patchwork offensive line that was missing three starters, the Saints prevented Rams star defensive lineman Aaron Donald from getting a sack or otherwise making a game-changing play.
Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, who along with right guard Cesar Ruiz were the only regular starting offensive linemen to play in the game, said New Orleans' success likely stemmed in part from a "shared sense of urgency" that has players holding one another accountable.
With six games to play, the Saints have a decreasing margin for error if they want to catch first-place Tampa Bay (5-5).
This week, the Saints will travel to San Francisco hoping to win two straight for the first time this season. If they do, it sets up a potentially pivotal game in the NFC South in Week 13, when the Saints visit the Buccaneers in a Monday night game. ...
Worth noting. ... Alvin Kamara notched 12 carries for 42 yards and reeled in four of five targets for 47 yards against the Rams.
Kamara bounced back following two of his worst outings of the season.
While his rushing average remained below 3.6 yards per carry for the fourth straight game, Kamara recorded double-digit carries for the first time since his three-touchdown performance against the Raiders in Week 8. The versatile back also tied Johnson as the Saints' second-leading receiver behind Olave.
Kamara will look to notch just his fourth touchdown of the season next week against San Francisco.
Remember; The Saints were down three defensive ends after Payton Turner went out with an ankle injury Sunday. Cameron Jordan (eye) and Marcus Davenport (calf) missed the Rams game entirely. The Saints' defense also was without Marshon Lattimore for a sixth straight game. Linebacker Pete Werner has missed two games. Left tackle James Hurst is trying to come back from a concussion that sidelined him last weekend.
You can access complete stats for the Saints Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Derek Carr, Jameis Winston, Jake Haener
RBs: Jamaal Williams, Kendre Miller, Alvin Kamara
WRs: Chris Olave, Michael Thomas, Rashid Shaheed, A.T. Perry, Tre'Quan Smith
TEs: Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau, Jimmy Graham, Taysom Hill
New York GiantsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
Rookie wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during Sunday's 31-18 loss to the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium, head coach Brian Daboll said Monday.
Robinson's knee buckled when he was getting tackled near the home sideline on the first play of the fourth quarter. He fell to the ground and immediately began writhing in pain as he grabbed at the knee.
His loss leaves the Giants incredibly thin at an already concerning position. Robinson's rookie season ends with 23 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown in six games.
Robinson's injury wasn't the only significant injury suffered by a Giants player on Sunday. Starting cornerback Adoree' Jackson sustained a sprained MCL, a source told ESPN.com's Jordan Raanan, confirming a report by NFL Network. A typical recovery timeline for such an injury is four to six weeks.
Robinson, a second-round pick out of Kentucky, was having the most productive game of his career prior to the injury. He had nine catches on 13 targets for 100 yards.
The Giants' already struggling receiving corps will now be without one of its better players for the rest of the season. They must figure it out by Thursday.
New York plays on the road in a Thanksgiving afternoon game against the division rival Dallas Cowboys.
"We know how explosive [Robinson] can be. ... Not having him out there is definitely going to be a loss, but it's going to give other guys opportunities and we have all the confidence in all the other guys too to step in and make plays," running back Saquon Barkley said after Sunday's loss.
Richie James steps back into Robinson's slot receiver role. James filled in earlier this season when Robinson missed four games with a sprained right MCL.
The Giants also have "Hard Knocks" star Kalil Pimpleton, who is likely to be elevated from the practice squad.
New York has already started recent waiver claim Isaiah Hodgins, David Sills V and Marcus Johnson at wide receiver this season. They traded the oft-injured and unreliable Kadarius Toney to the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the trade deadline.
Veteran Kenny Golladay is still on the roster but has done almost nothing, with four catches for 51 yards and no touchdowns this season. The $72 million receiver caught two passes for 29 yards against the Lions. He had been benched in the second half of the win over Houston the previous week.
The crowd was stunned after his first catch, and then roared with delight when they realized No. 19 had caught a pass.
For now, this is their group, with Darius Slayton leading the way as the No. 1 wide receiver.
"We have plenty of receivers on the roster as you know," Daboll said. "It's a short week. We'll get the guys ready to go. We're revisit things as we do each week and see how it goes."
There is a strong possibility the Giants still add a veteran receiver for the stretch run, even if it's not the much-talked-about Odell Beckham Jr. They're currently in position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016 but have a difficult remaining schedule.
New York is expected to be in the mix for Beckham, who is currently a free agent. The Cowboys, however, have also been publicly campaigning for his services and are believed to be the favorites.
So the Giants are facing adversity as they head to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving.
Not only are the Giants (7-3) coming off an unexpected one-sided loss to the four-win Lions, they are banged up after playing their worst game of the season. In previous losses to the Cowboys (7-3) on Sept. 26 and the Seattle Seahawks (6-4), Daboll's team was tied early in the fourth and had a chance to win.
That wasn't the case Sunday. New York was down 24-6 entering the final quarter and never threatened in a game in which it turned the ball over three times.
Facing the Cowboys is never fun. They have won 10 of the past 11 against the Giants and they demolished the Vikings (8-2) in Minnesota on Sunday.
"We're not about excuses -- never will be," Daboll said Monday. "We have people on our roster that are going to be ready to play. And that's our job as a coaching staff is to get these guys ready to play.
"Again, you're always going to hit adversity -- whether it's in a game, whether it's in a season. We've talked about that since April. I don't think that's something you all of a sudden talk about. You have to teach it, and you have to try to learn from it."
This next game might show whether the Giants are capable of continuing what until now had been a surprising run toward the playoffs.
Other notes of interest. ... As Associated Press sports writer Tom Canavan noted, despite the two interceptions, Daniel Jones showed promise in the loss. There had been questions whether the Giants could win a game in which Jones had to throw and put up plenty of points.
Jones finished with season highs of 27 of 44 for 341 yards. He also threw a touchdown and ran for another, finishing with a team-high 50 yards rushing. The Giants gained 413 yards.
If the Giants can run the football and not commit turnovers, they will have a chance. ...
Of course, they couldn't run the football against the Lions.
Barkley rushed 15 times for 22 yards and caught two of five targets for 13 yards in Sunday's loss.
As CBSSports.com noted, Barkley was bottled up from start to finish in this one, failing to rush for more than four yards on any of his 15 carries. The Lions had a defensive gameplan centered on stopping the star running back, forcing Jones and the Giants' depleted receiving corps to pick up the slack, which they failed to do as a collective unit.
The 25-year-old Barkley has been such a fantasy monster this season that managers have to simply swallow this dud and move on. Barkley will have a prime opportunity to bounce back on Thanksgiving against a Cowboys defense that has had trouble stopping the run this season.
Meanwhile. ... Giants rookie tackle Evan Neal said on Tuesday that he wants to make sure he’s 100 percent before returning from a knee injury and he’ll have to wait at least one more week to reach that milestone.
The Giants announced Wednesday that four offensive linemen wouldn’t make the trip to Arlington to face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
But the team’s list of players who won’t play is longer than Neal, center Jon Feliciano (neck), guard Shane Lemieux (toe) and guard Joshua Ezeudu (neck).
Left tackle Andrew Thomas (illness) and tackle Tyre Phillips (neck) are making the trip, but both are questionable to play.
Thomas returned to limited work Wednesday, and Phillips remained limited for the second consecutive day.
Phillips is expected to start in place of Neal again if he’s cleared to play.
The Giants had already ruled out Jackson (knee), cornerback Fabian Moreau (oblique) and tight end Daniel Bellinger (eye) for Thursday's game against the Cowboys.
James (knee), safety Jason Pinnock (jaw) and safety Dane Belton (clavicle) are questionable.
James has been limited in practice with a knee issue; I'll follow up on that via Late-Breaking Update as developments warrant. ...
One last note here. ... The Giants signed TE Nick Vannett off the Saints practice squad.
Vannett has two catches on the season and has been on the New Orleans practice squad for much of the past couple months. As NBCSportsEdge.com notes, the Giants are scraping bottom at tight end with Bellinger sidelined.
Lawrence Cager, a former wide receiver who converted to tight end, has served as the team's primary pass-catching tight end over the past two weeks.
Vannett likely won't play on Thursday against the Cowboys.
You can access complete stats for the Giants Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor
RBs: Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Eric Gray, Gary Brightwell
WRs: Isaiah Hodgins, Parris Campbell, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, Sterling Shepard, Wan'Dale Robinson
TEs: Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Lawrence Cager, Chris Myarick
New York JetsCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Rich Cimini reported it, "Embattled quarterback Zach Wilson, hailed only a year ago as a franchise savior, is going to the bench in a dramatic shakeup. ..."
After two days of evaluation, head coach Robert Saleh announced Wednesday that Mike White will replace Wilson as the starter Sunday against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium -- the biggest decision in Saleh's 27-game coaching career.
Saleh said the Jets are not giving up on Wilson but are making the move to give him a "reset" so he can refocus.
He said Wilson's issues are "fixable" and the organization has every intention for him to return as the starter at some point.
Veteran Joe Flacco will be White's backup Sunday while Wilson will not be active.
It's a significant pivot for an organization that had geared almost everything around Wilson since drafting him second overall in 2021. It raises questions about the future of the Jets' quarterback position, a proposition they never thought they would have to confront so soon.
The Jets (6-4), hoping to end an 11-year playoff drought, have shifted into a win-now mode. They believe their defense is championship caliber and don't want to waste this opportunity because of erratic quarterback play.
Wilson passed for a career-low 77 yards in last week's loss to the New England Patriots and created a firestorm by refusing to take any blame for the dismal showing by the offense.
On Monday, Saleh met with Wilson and told him he was evaluating the quarterback position, later telling reporters the same thing. The non-endorsement was significant because it marked the first time Wilson's job security was called into question by the team.
Wilson missed the start of the 2022 season after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery following a preseason injury. The Jets went 5-2 after Wilson's return in Week 4, with both losses coming to the Patriots.
But the Jets are winning with defense, not the passing attack. Wilson has only four touchdown passes and has exceeded 210 yards in only two of his seven starts.
Publicly, Saleh remained supportive, saying after the Oct. 20 loss to the Patriots that he would stick with Wilson for the remainder of the season. That came after a three-interception nightmare.
Everything changed Sunday, when Wilson was inept as he directed one of the worst offensive performances in team history. Afterward, he showed little accountability with comments that went viral. Asked if he let down the defense, Wilson said simply, "No. No."
Some defensive players were upset by the remarks, sources told Cimini.
Clearly, Saleh wasn't happy by the way Wilson handled his postgame news conference.
"Is it a mistake? Sure," Saleh said. "Is it something he'll be better from? Absolutely."
And it wasn't just the things Wilson said to reporters.
Connor Hughes of SNY.tv reports, citing unnamed sources inside the team's locker room, that Wilson "was walking around after the game 'like he isn't the problem.'"
Per Hughes, Wilson's demeanor "rubbed more than a few the wrong way."
Receivers Garrett Wilson and Denzel Mims were clearly frustrated during the game, and Garrett Wilson ranted to reporters afterwards, calling the offense a "sorry" unit without mentioning Zach Wilson's name.
"I think we've got a championship-quality defense and I think we've got really good players on offense," Saleh said. "From a schematic standpoint, I think we're right there with everyone else. But I'm just trying to evaluate to see how we can get this offense going a little bit."
As Profootballtalk.com's Mike Florio put it, "When an NFL quarterback looks like he's only 12 years old, it becomes critical that he not act like he's 12 years old, too."
Of course, White is hardly a sure thing; he has only three career starts.
With Wilson nursing a knee injury last season, White achieved near-cult hero status in his first career start, throwing for 405 yards and three touchdowns in an upset of the Cincinnati Bengals. The former Dallas Cowboys draft pick got two more starts: an incomplete game against the Indianapolis Colts (he left with an injury) and a four-interception clunker against the Buffalo Bills.
White began this season as the No. 3 quarterback, behind Wilson and Flacco. They changed the depth chart in Week 8, promoting White to QB2 -- a switch that left some around the team scratching their heads. Saleh said it was to "allow him the opportunity to prepare as if he is the next man up."
And now he is what White does moving forward could be the difference between the Jets snapping an 11-year playoff drought or extending that skid -- and perhaps looking for a potential replacement for Wilson during the offseason. ...
The good news?
The Jets have a chance to bounce back against a Bears team that has lost six of seven and has injury concerns about quarterback Justin Fields. ...
Other notes of interest. ... As Associated Press sports writer Dennis Waszak Jr. noted, LaFleur seemed to find a winning game plan by focusing on the running game, but Breece Hall's injury a few weeks ago put a crimp in that.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick took away the ground game as the Jets ran for just 59 yards on 23 attempts, an average of 2.9 yards.
And when Wilson was forced to make plays -- something Saleh and several players insisted they were confident he could do -- he fell flat.
On the injury front. ... Corey Davis (knee) could return this week after missing three games. He was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.
I'll have more on his status via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
Also. ... RG Nate Herbig (shin) was active Sunday, but wasn't feeling 100 percent before the game and sat out. DT Sheldon Rankins (elbow) is likely a few weeks from returning.
You can access complete stats for the Jets Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Zach Wilson, Aaron Rodgers
RBs: Dalvin Cook, Breece Hall, Michael Carter, Israel Abanikanda
WRs: Garrett Wilson, Allen Lazard, Mecole Hardman, Randall Cobb, Jason Brownlee, Xavier Gipson, Charles Irvin
TEs: Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, Jeremy Ruckert, Kenny Yeboah
Philadelphia EaglesCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
Nick Sirianni whipped off his visor, stood on a bench and shouted in pumped-up excitement toward a small group of Eagles fans that had come to root for their team in yet another victory.
The Eagles coach was just getting started in letting his emotions spill as he left the sideline. Sirianni was red-faced as he walked to the locker room and wiped away tears after a short embrace with general manager Howie Roseman.
Then, following a 17-16 win Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts, Sirianni didn't give away the game ball to the star of the game.
For this win, Jalen Hurts, who rushed for the winning TD late in the fourth, tossed one to his coach.
"I know as he walked off the field he got a little bit emotional," Hurts said. "I guess I didn't help when I tossed him the ball. Coach doesn't get enough credit for what he's done and what he's been for us."
What he's done is help put the Eagles on a historically promising path.
Philadelphia is 9-1 for the sixth time in franchise history, joining the 1949, 1960, 1980, 2004 and 2017 seasons. If some of those years sound familiar to Eagles fans, it's with good reason -- each one reached a championship game. The 1949 and 1960 teams won NFL championships and the 2017 team won the franchise's first Super Bowl.
The Eagles lost the Super Bowl in the 1980 and 2004 seasons.
The win over Indy came with flair, as the Eagles trailed 13-3 headed into the fourth quarter and rallied to win. The Eagles won after trailing by 10-plus points in the fourth for the first time since Dec. 20, 2010 against the New York Giants.
Sirianni was fired up for another win, yes, but also because he got to stick it to the Colts after they fired his mentor, coach Frank Reich. Reich was the one who hired Sirianni in 2018 for the start of a three-year stint as the Colts offensive coordinator.
"You don't want to know what I think if he should be here or not," Sirianni said. "You guys can probably imagine what I really think. I love him and so I got a little bit emotional about that and it was good to see the guys that I really cared about."
According to ESPN.com's Tim McManus, the loss of tight end Dallas Goedert might be even bigger than we thought.
With the exception of a late game-saving surge, Hurts and the offense struggled to get much going without Goedert, who sustained a shoulder injury against the Commanders and will miss at least the next three games. The two tight ends who played the majority of the snaps in his place -- Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra -- each had a drive-stalling penalty and combined for one catch for 7 yards.
The run blocking took a hit in his absence, too.
Hurts found a way to get it done, rushing for the go-ahead TD late, but there's no doubt his job got tougher without Goedert.
Still, the Eagles are set up well in their division, but they can't afford to take their foot off the gas.
Washington appears to be coming alive. The New York Giants probably have a drop-off coming, but they are 7-3. The Dallas Cowboys look as if they're going to push the Eagles all year.
Philly has to keep winning, and most weeks, that's going to mean playing a lot better on offense than they did Sunday.
That said, as ESPN's Dan Graziano noted, the Colts' defense has been tough on everybody this year.
There's no shame in scoring just 17 against Indianapolis, especially on the road in a short week. Philly was coming off a tough division loss, playing a tough defensive opponent and really shouldn't feel worried just because they struggled to score.
The turnovers (two more Sunday, six total in their past two games) and the penalties should worry them a bit, but they haven't been a team that's beaten themselves all year, so it's easy to chalk this up to a blip.
The Eagles play the Green Bay Packers next Sunday night.
As Graziano added: "All you have to do against them is run the ball."
The Eagles will be fine. Oh, and by the way, they were a lot better on defense Sunday than they were last week. So, consider that, too.
Indeed, as Associated Press sports writer Dan Gelston noted, Roseman's latest in-season pickups paid immediate dividends. Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh helped shut down Jonathan Taylor after a solid opening drive. Taylor's 1-yard run was Indy's first TD on its first possession since last Dec. 25. After that? Taylor was held to 35 total yards rushing on 15 carries. Haason Reddick and Brandon Graham each had sacks.
"Man, them boys looked like they were ready to go, like they've been here for a while," Graham said of the two newcomers. "I am thankful for them because they kept us up all throughout the game. They had a great attitude throughout the game. It was cool to play with Suh and LJ. ..."
Other notes of interest. ... Receiver Quez Watkins' diving 50-yard reception against Washington turned into a disaster when he fumbled the ball on the run and spoiled a terrific shot at keeping the undefeated season alive. Eagles coaches and Hurts kept faith in the speedy wideout, and this time he delivered in the clutch.
Hurts hit Watkins for a 22-yard TD with 13:31 left in the game.
Beyond that, Gelston added, while a slew of talented receivers means not everyone will always get the ball, star wideout A.J. Brown had only five catches for 60 yards and has only 10 catches for 126 yards and one touchdown in the last three games. That followed 156 yards receiving and three touchdowns in a late October win against Pittsburgh.
You can access complete stats for the Eagles Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Jalen Hurts, Marcus Mariota, Tanner McKee
RBs: D'Andre Swift, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott, Rashaad Penny
WRs: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Olamide Zaccheaus, Quez Watkins
TEs: Dallas Goedert, Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, Albert Okwuegbunam
Pittsburgh SteelersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As NFL.com's Kevin Patra noted, rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett showed flashes of progress in Sunday's 37-30 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
Pickett had a stellar first half Sunday and improved his pocket awareness, stepping up through pressure several times to make plays.
Pittsburgh went on to score 30 points for the first time this season, and Pickett had his second consecutive game without a turnover.
"You know he's getting better in all areas, just the same way that George Pickens is getting better," head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. "I'm not going to comb through it every week, it's moving in the direction that we'd like it to. Sure, could it move faster? Absolutely, I don't think anybody is patient, including Kenny. This is not a patient man's business. You work while you wait. And that's what he, and we, are doing, but he's doing a nice job in general."
Tomlin noted that Pickett's growth in stepping up in the pocket instead of bailing backward has been very "significant" in the Steelers' offense staying on track.
After four consecutive scoring drives to close the half, however, the Steelers' offense got stuck in the mud in the third quarter. Pittsburgh went 3-and-out three times to open the third frame and had a 3-and-field goal following a T.J. Watt interception.
The lull allowed the Bengals to retake a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Pickett finished 25-of-42 passing for 265 yards and a TD while taking two sacks on the afternoon. The rookie dropped several dimes to Pickens down the field and showed better command of the offense. However, he still missed a few throws, particularly on the move.
Sitting at 3-7, Pickett's development for the rest of the season will be critical for the Steelers heading into 2023.
Tomlin was asked Tuesday if he believes the club as a whole should be further along at this point in the season.
"I don't, I'm not in any way frustrated by its development or lack thereof, I just know as a coach, and particularly as a coach who's been doing it for a while, that it's continual," he said.
In his 16th season, Tomlin has famously never had a losing campaign. Pittsburgh has a load of work to do to extend that streak down the stretch. But there are winnable games on the docket, with two matchups against the Ravens representing their only games against teams currently with a winning record in the final seven tilts.
This week, the Steelers travel to offensively challenged Indianapolis Monday night.
Pittsburgh has dominated the series of late. The Colts offer a chance to get better, but a loss would put the franchise's streak of 18 straight non-losing seasons in serious jeopardy. ...
Other notes of interest. ... The running game seems to be gaining traction. Najee Harris ran for 90 yards on 20 carries, including a 19-yard sprint around left end that Harris punctuated by vaulting over Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates at the goal line.
It helped that the offensive line was able to generate some push and that Harris identified where the holes were instead of just lowering his head and going blindly forward, as has been his habit at times.
Meanwhile, as Associated Press sports writer Will Graves notes, the chemistry between Pickett, Pickens and tight end Pat Freiermuth has been on point. Pickett targeted them a combined 18 times (12 for Freiermuth, six for Pickens). Pickett's best play of the day was hanging in the pocket and absorbing a hit while lobbing a 24-yard touchdown pass to Pickens.
The chemistry between Pickett and Diontae Johnson.
The Steelers signed Johnson to a $36-million contract extension over the summer and he has largely become an afterthought. Johnson isn't doing much when he gets the ball -- he's averaging just 8.9 yards per reception -- but he's also not getting it that much. Johnson has been targeted 10 times or less in five straight games, the first time that's happened since the start of 2020.
Per Graves, 216 players in the NFL have caught at least one touchdown pass this season, a list that includes Jets QB Zach Wilson and Texans TE Teagan Quitoriano.
Johnson is not one of them.
On the injury front. ... Backup running back Jaylen Warren (hamstring), reserve wide receiver Miles Boykin (oblique) and center Mason Cole (foot) went down against the Bengals.
Their status against Indianapolis is uncertain. Tomlin said Warren's hamstring injury is not significant but his availability for Colts game is "questionable."
I'll have more on Warren and Boykin via Late-Breaking Update in coming days. ...
You can access complete stats for the Steelers Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Kenny Pickett, Mitchell Trubisky, Mason Rudolph
RBs: Najee Harris, Jaylen Warren, Anthony McFarland Jr.
WRs: George Pickens, Allen Robinson, Miles Boykin, Gunner Olszewski, Calvin Austin III, Diontae Johnson
TEs: Pat Freiermuth, Darnell Washington
San Francisco 49ersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
The San Francisco 49ers are headed home with a win -- and tied for first in the NFC West -- after defeating the Arizona Cardinals 38-10 at Estadio Azteca on Monday night.
With 78,427 fans in attendance for the NFL's final international game of the season, the Niners (6-4) extended their win streak to three games and leaned heavily on wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and running back Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey gained 106 yards from scrimmage, Kittle and Aiyuk had two TD catches and Samuel scored on a 39-yard run.
"I think that the past couple weeks we've been putting together some good games," Garoppolo said. "Today was probably our best full game that we put together. But we got a long way to go."
For much of this season, the San Francisco 49ers have hovered in the gray area between NFC contender and pretender.
On Monday night, they loudly proclaimed they are, in fact, a team to be feared.
All three phases finally came together in a thrashing of the Arizona Cardinals. The 6-4 Niners have won three in a row and are 4-0 in the NFC West.
As ESPN.com's Nick Wagoner pointed out, on paper, many observers have viewed the Niners as a real threat in the NFC all season but many were still waiting for that all to gel.
And though the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and Cardinals aren't exactly challenging opponents, the Niners handled each with relative ease.
Now that their weeklong trip to Colorado and Mexico City is over, the Niners head home for the holidays, playing five of their final seven games at Levi's Stadium and none outside the Pacific time zone.
San Francisco won seven of nine to close last season before making a run to the NFC Championship Game. As November nears its end, the Niners look ready to do it again.
"We are definitely ready to go on a run," Kittle said. "We have just won three straight. Our defense is playing at an incredibly high level not giving up points in the second half for multiple games in a row. Our offense, we scored when we got in the red zone. That was big for us."
Meanwhile, in a departure from their normal approach, the Niners leaned heavily on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the first half. Garoppolo attempted 21 passes, including nine in a row at one point and three times more than the Niners ran it in the opening 30 minutes. He went 14-of-21 for 153 yards with two touchdowns for a 119.7 passer rating.
It was just the third time in the past two seasons he had 100-plus passing yards and at least two touchdown tosses in the first half. That output set the Niners up to come out of the locker room at half and run the ball right at Arizona. San Francisco ran seven of eight times on its opening possession of the third quarter, finishing with Samuel's 39-yard touchdown run.
Garoppolo finished 20-of-29 for 228 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a rating of 131.9.
Garoppolo has thrown six TD passes with no interceptions the past three games, marking the first time in his career that he has had three straight starts in a season without an INT. He had his fourth career game with four TD passes with three of them coming against the Cardinals.
He did it twice against Arizona in 2019 and also against New Orleans that season.
"Jimmy's doing a great job," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after Monday night's win. "Jimmy always has. When Jimmy's been healthy out there, we've had our guys around him, he plays at a high level, and I think he did that today as good as he has. We're very fortunate to have him."
As for the rushing attack?
McCaffrey played 25 snaps to Elijah Mitchell's three in the first half, but it turned out that was Shanahan's plan all along. The Niners used the more bruising Mitchell as a second-half closer of sorts and he joined McCaffrey in salting the game away.
McCaffrey's versatility paired with Mitchell's speed and power gives the Niners a combination that could make them a tough postseason out.
Worth noting. ... San Francisco's two third-round draft picks have provided almost no production all season. Running back Tyrion Davis-Price was inactive for the third straight game. He has two carries and 14 offensive snaps since Week 2. Receiver Danny Gray has played in six games this season, but still hasn't caught a pass on his six targets.
One last note here. ... According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Samuel reached a max speed of 19.94 mph on that 39-yard score, the highest speed he has reached as a ball carrier this season.
Next up, the 49ers host the Saints on Sunday.
You can access complete stats for the 49ers Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen
RBs: Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell, Jordan Mason, Tyrion Davis-Price, Kyle Juszczyk
WRs: Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jauan Jennings, Ray-Ray McCloud, Ronnie Bell, Danny Gray
TEs: George Kittle, Charlie Woerner, Brayden Willis, Ross Dwelley, Cameron Latu
Seattle SeahawksCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
According to Associated Press sports writer Tim Booth, the Seahawks arrived at their bye week at 6-4 following their 21-16 loss last Sunday to Tampa Bay in Munich, Germany.
They are leading the NFC West by a half-game over San Francisco after 10 games, which is a prediction no one would have made before the season.
While there are plenty of reasons behind Seattle's surprising season so far, the play of Geno Smith is at the top of the list. It hasn't been perfect, as evidenced by some struggles in the first half last week against Tampa Bay. But it has been far better than anyone expected.
Before the season began, no position for Seattle was viewed as a bigger weakness than quarterback. After a decade of Russell Wilson in charge under center for the Seahawks, the situation Seattle faced with either Smith or Drew Lock as its quarterback option was seen as the biggest hindrance for a team that seemed to be entering a rebuilding season.
There has been a lot of apologizing for many of those preseason takes in the days and months that have followed with how Smith has played.
Smith arrived at the bye leading the league in completion percentage (72.8 percent), second in passer rating (108.0) and fifth in yards passing (2,474). He's on pace to throw for 4,000 yards, which would surpass the total yards Smith passed for between 2014 -- when he was last a full-time starter -- and 2021.
He was supposed to be a placeholder until Seattle could use its draft capital obtained from the Wilson trade to go out and get its quarterback of the future in the 2023 draft. That may still be what Seattle does, but its quarterback of the present could end up being the best option for the Seahawks.
Smith had essentially been cast aside as a punchline still remembered for his foibles with the New York Jets -- remember the locker room punch? -- and for being the quarterback called upon that ended Eli Manning's consecutive games played streak with the Giants.
But Smith said that entire time he was learning. His patience and willingness to wait for another opportunity to emerge might be his best quality as a quarterback.
The first 10 games of this season have shown what he learned during that time as a backup. The next seven will likely define where his career goes from here. As a free agent after the season, Smith could be in line for a payday that seemed unfathomable before the season.
He's making $3.5 million this season in the bargain of all quarterback bargains based on his play. Next year, there are likely to be another set of zeros behind that number, whether Smith is in Seattle or has moved on elsewhere.
The rest of this season likely decides how big that paycheck ends up being.
"We're in the middle of the season, and we're doing the things we need to do. But there's a conversation that's coming," Carroll said. "We understand that. Really, really pleased with our guys and think they've done a great job. Geno's having a fantastic season."
QBs: Geno Smith, Drew Lock
RBs: Kenneth Walker III, Zach Charbonnet, DeeJay Dallas, Kenny McIntosh
WRs: Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Cody Thompson, Dareke Young, Jake Bobo
TEs: Noah Fant, Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson
Tampa Bay BuccaneersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back at .500 and feeling good about their prospects of making a strong second-half run.
The Bucs (5-5) entered their bye week sitting alone atop the NFC South, confident they're headed in the right direction after consecutive wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks.
The two-game winning streak follows a stretch in which they struggled offensively and defensively while losing five of six games.
"Hopefully, we're trending forward," head coach Todd Bowles said after Sunday's 21-16 victory over the Seahawks in Munich, Germany.
"You almost don't want to have a bye since you won two in a row," Bowles added. "But we've got some guys nicked up and we've got to get healthy, so we'll get some rest and get ready for the stretch run."
The Bucs delivered perhaps their best overall performance of the season to end Seattle's four-game winning streak with Tom Brady throwing for 258 yards and two touchdowns and finally getting some assistance from a running game that's been absent most of the year.
The defense sparkled, too, despite allowing a couple of late touchdowns that tightened the score in the fourth quarter.
"It wasn't perfect, but the best part is winning the game and feeling like we made some improvements," Brady said.
"We have a bye week now," the seven-time Super Bowl winner added, "so can take a little bit of time to refresh and get ready to make a big push, figure out kind of some of the things we haven't done well the first 10 weeks of the season, and how we can get better."
The remainder of the regular-season schedule includes road matchups at Cleveland, San Francisco, Arizona and Atlanta, as well as home games against New Orleans, Cincinnati and Carolina.
At 45, Brady still ranks among the league leaders in passing yardage, averaging 280.5 yards per game. WR Mike Evans is on pace for another 1,000-yard season receiving, and on Sunday Chris Godwin caught his first TD pass since undergoing knee surgery and Julio Jones scored his second since returning from injuries that have kept him out of five games this season.
The running game remains a work in progress. The Bucs rushed for a season-best 161 yards against the Seahawks, topping the century mark for the first time since a Week 1 victory over Dallas. That increased their season average by 10 yards per game, but they still have the NFL's second-worst ground attack at just 70.7 yards per game.
Rookie RB Rachaad White, seldom used on offense the first half of the season, delivered the first 100-yard rushing performance of his career against Seattle, finishing with 105 yards on 22 attempts.
Scoring remains a problem. Despite winning two in a row to get back to .500, the Bucs only scored 37 points in doing so. There are just five teams -- Denver, Indianapolis, Washington, Pittsburgh and the Los Angeles Rams -- averaging fewer than the 18.3 points per game Tampa Bay has scored through 10 weeks.
Bowles was hopeful the bye would give players a chance to rest and get healthier. WR Russell Gage (hamstring) and G Luke Goedeke (foot) did not play against the Seahawks and Gage was not on the practice field Wednesday.
Bowles declined to speculate on the severity of a hip pointer injury RB Leonard Fournette suffered in Germany, but he told reporters on Wednesday that Fournette is still "pretty sore."
Bowles added they'll see how Fournette progresses and if he can go he'll go, if he can't he won't.
Bowles also said the plan at running back would be to go with the hot hand, whether it's Fournette or White.
In addition, running back Giovani Bernard is ready to return to practice.
The Bucs designated Bernard to return from injured reserve today, which means he can start practicing and could be activated to the 53-man roster any time within the next 21 days.
Bernard has only played in two games this season because of an ankle injury, and he never touched the ball in either of those two games, so he has had no impact this year. Any help he could provide down the stretch would be a bonus to the Bucs.
This is Bernard's second season in Tampa Bay. Last year Bernard got some playing time as a backup running back and carried eight times for 58 yards and caught 23 passes for 123 yards.
QBs: Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask
RBs: Rachaad White, Sean Tucker, Chase Edmonds, Ke'Shawn Vaughn
WRs: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Trey Palmer, Kaylon Geiger, Deven Thompkins, Rakim Jarrett, Russell Gage
TEs: Cade Otton, Ko Kieft, Payne Durham
Tennessee TitansCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's Turron Davenport reported, the Titans showed what a total team effort looks like in last Thursday's 27-17 win over the Green Bay Packers, but as is usually the case, it all started with running back Derrick Henry, who delivered in more ways than one Thursday night.
Henry ran for 87 yards, pushing his rushing yards to 1,010 this season to make him the first running back to pass the 1,000-yard mark. Henry also became the fifth player in NFL history with at least 10 TDs rushing in at least five straight seasons.
He joined LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Shaun Alexander and Michael Turner. Tomlinson, Peterson and Alexander all won the AP NFL MVP once.
To top it off, Henry also had a 3-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hooper, Henry's third career touchdown pass, including the playoffs.
Henry joined San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey as the only non-quarterbacks to have a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown in a game this season. He joined Walter Payton (1983 against the Saints) as only the second player in the Super Bowl era to post a game with at least 20 rushing attempts, two pass completions and both a rushing and passing TD.
But Henry insisted the individual accolades don't mean much to him. Regardless of what he does on the field, Henry still draws motivation from his high school days more than 10 years ago, when people doubted he'd make it to the league.
"It's something that will continue to drive me," Henry said. "I'm always motivated. Every single day I am constantly critiquing myself -- every single day, and that will never stop. I want to be the best that I can be to help this team win. I'm always looking for something to fuel me."
With Henry leading the way, Tennessee's offense gained 408 yards, its highest total of the season. The 27 points were also a season high.
In addition, as Associated Press sports writer Teresa M. Walker noted, the Titans found the one piece of the puzzle that's eluded them much of this NFL season.
The passing game.
"We played the game the way we wanted to play," quarterback Ryan Tannehill said.
The offense turned in its best performance this season with Tannehill throwing for a season-high 333 yards and two touchdowns. In his second game back from a sprained right ankle, Tannehill completed passes to eight different receivers. The Titans had five plays of 31 yards or longer.
Running back Dontrell Hilliard continues to be a matchup nightmare and now has four receiving touchdowns this season. Treylon Burks caught seven of eight passes for 111 yards for his best performance as a rookie in his second game back from injured reserve. Robert Woods' timing with Tannehill resulted in six receptions for 69 yards -- with three of them resulting in a first down. Tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo's 31-yard reception boosted his 20.1 yards per catch average, and fellow tight end Austin Hooper had two touchdown receptions.
Henry TD pass was the third of his career, including the playoffs.
"I call myself a young Peyton Manning," Henry said, with a smile.
The Titans played without starting center Ben Jones and put a 15th player on injured reserve hours before kickoff. Yet they still dictated the tempo from the opening possession, blocked an extra point attempt to preserve a 7-6 lead after the first quarter and never let the desperate Packers get closer than a field goal.
The two-time AFC South champs have won seven of eight with the one loss in overtime at Kansas City with rookie Malik Willis filling in for Tannehill.
Of those three losses, two came by a combined four points.
As Davenport suggested, "If Tennessee can continue this momentum, it'll be a tough team to stop."
Next up, a rematch of their divisional loss in January with Cincinnati visiting on Sunday. ...
Other notes of interest. ... Offensive coordinator Todd Downing has been an easy target for fans unhappy at an offense ranked last in the NFL, averaging just 281.7 yards per game.
Hours after the big win, Downing was arrested early Friday morning for speeding and driving under the influence before being released on a $2,500 bond.
Head coach Mike Vrabel said Tuesday that the team will move forward with Downing as their play caller
Vrabel added that Downing's status could change pending the legal process and a decision from the NFL on any possible discipline.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Downing was observed at around 2:30 a.m. local time driving a vehicle at a high rate of speed. A THP trooper conducted a traffic stop with Downing and observed signs of impairment and the smell of an intoxicant coming from inside his vehicle.
Downing was then placed under arrest and booked into the Williamson County (Tenn.) Jail.
Downing's arrest came hours after Tennessee defeated the Packers and prompted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to send a memo to all clubs threatening "significant discipline" for violating the league's longstanding policy prohibiting alcohol at team facilities and while traveling on team planes and buses. ...
On the injury front. ... Randy Bullock hurt his right calf in warmups just before the Titans' win over Denver. That forced the Titans to sign veteran Josh Lambo to the practice squad Tuesday before promoting him to the active roster Wednesday.
Lambo connected on three of four extra points with one hitting the right upright. He only put one of four kickoffs into the end zone.
Jones needs to clear the concussion protocol. OLB Bud Dupree missed his fourth game with an injured hip. CB Kristian Fulton, who missed the Denver win, couldn't finish this game with a nagging hamstring injury.
Sack leader Denico Autry, who blocked an extra point in Green Bay, had tests Friday on an injured knee that knocked him out of the game. Vrabel said he had seen Autry already on Friday. The lineman will miss some time, but Vrabel said, "Denico usually finds a way to get back sooner rather than later."
You can access complete stats for the Titans Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Will Levis
RBs: Derrick Henry, Tyjae Spears, Julius Chestnut
WRs: DeAndre Hopkins, Treylon Burks, Nick Westbrook_Ikhine, Colton Dowell, Chris Moore, Kyle Philips
TEs: Chigoziem Okonkwo, Josh Whyle, Trevon Wesco
Washington CommandersCompiled by FootballDiehards Editor Bob Harris | Updated 23 November 2022
As ESPN.com's John Keim reported, head coach Ron Rivera needed only one word to describe why he is sticking with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback.
"Winning," Rivera said after Washington's 23-10victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Rivera made official what had been reported before the game: Even if Carson Wentz returns and is ready to play this week -- and he was officially designated to return on Wednesday, Heinicke will continue to start. The Commanders (6-5) have won five of their past six games and are 4-1 with Heinicke starting.
How long that lasts remains to be seen. But Heinicke will definitely start this week against the Atlanta Falcons.
"He doesn't need to play well. He just needs to play. We just need to continue to do the things we're doing," Rivera said. "I'm not looking to pull anybody. ... This is not a competition as far as a controversy. That's the last thing on my mind. That's why we talked about doing it one game at a time."
Heinicke called it a "dream come true" to earn the job the way he has, by leading his team to wins. He said his mindset won't change now.
"I take every opportunity I can get and have fun with it," Heinicke said. "Something may change in two weeks and he's back in there. Who knows? But this week I'll have fun with it, go out there and hopefully get a win. I feel I play my best doing that."
Heinicke completed 15 of 27 passes for 191 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions in Sunday's win over the Texans (1-8-1).
The stats were not gaudy, but Heinicke has helped Washington climb back into playoff contention. Heinicke has been more consistent, Rivera said, though his daredevil ways sometimes reemerge.
"Every now and then he'll do something where you hold your breath," Rivera said. "[But] I see what he does. He systematically leads us down the field, we score points, and we do the things we need to."
Rivera said he has spoken to Wentz and that he was "very good" about the decision.
Wentz remains on injured reserve because of a sprained right ring finger suffered in an Oct. 13 win at Chicago. He was eligible to come off IR this past week, but Washington did not feel he was ready.
Last week, Rivera said he would take the mood of the locker room into account when deciding who would start at quarterback. Washington's players have shown how much they enjoy Heinicke.
"There's an underdog mentality that people appreciate," Rivera said. "They appreciate the way he's done things. Whether he's the backup or the starter, he's all-in. That's what makes him so viable and why it was important for us to bring him here."
It's also possible that Wentz returns to the starting lineup sooner rather than later -- but only if Heinicke and the offense struggle and the Commanders start losing again.
"I just want to keep this thing rolling," Heinicke said. "The biggest thing for me is to try to be a clean quarterback, get the ball in those playmakers' hands and let them do their thing."
Keim reminded readers that Washington made a solid investment to acquire Wentz, trading a third-round pick in 2022 and a conditional third-round pick in 2023 to the Indianapolis Colts along with a second-round pick swap last April. Wentz counts $28.294 million against Washington's salary cap.
The decision to start Heinicke could affect the conditional pick for Indianapolis.
If Wentz plays at least 70 percent of Washington's snaps this season, the Commanders would owe the Colts a second-round pick. Wentz has currently played 59.1 percent of the team's offensive plays. At Washington's current pace, if Heinicke starts one more game, the Colts would be set to get only a third-round choice.
Wentz has thrown 10 touchdown passes and six interceptions while playing in a new offensive system for the first time in his seven seasons. He has been sacked 23 times, a result of that learning curve, inconsistent pass protection and a loss in mobility due to knee and back injuries. Wentz has a 32.5 QBR, and the Commanders scored just 47 points in his past four starts.
Heinicke, who has spent parts of five seasons in this offense, has helped with his mobility as well as his penchant for connecting with top wide receiver Terry McLaurin. In six games with Wentz, McLaurin had 36 targets and 22 receptions; in four games with Heinicke, he has 44 targets and 28 catches.
"He doesn't need to play well. He just needs to play. We just need to continue to do the things we're doing. I'm not looking to pull anybody. ... This is not a competition as far as a controversy. That's the last thing on my mind. That's why we talked about doing it one game at a time."
Heinicke has thrown five touchdowns and four interceptions but has been sacked only nine times in five starts. Last year, he threw 15 interceptions (to 20 touchdowns).
"Last year I was taking those shots in unneeded situations, and it turned up with interceptions and it cost us points," Heinicke said. "This year I'm honing in on trying to be a lot smarter with the ball, especially with our defense playing the way it is."
He also said Wentz has been supportive.
"It's got to be tough for him, and I get it," Heinicke said. "He did nothing wrong. It's a weird circumstance, but he's done a great job. In every meeting he's helped me out any way he can. He's in my ear when I get to the sideline. He's a great leader for this team. I don't see that faltering."
While Heinicke has been a major factor in the Commanders' success, Associated Press sports writer Stephen Whyno contends the offense is clicking in large part because of the running game, which is helping open up opportunities for the quarterback.
Antonio Gibson ran 18 times for 72 yards, Brian Robinson Jr. 15 for 57 and wide receiver Curtis Samuel added a 10-yard TD on a jet sweep.
Washington rushed for 153 yards against Houston, which helped Heinicke throw for 191.
Meanwhile, Washington's defense led by Jonathan Allen and fellow defensive tackle Daron Payne looks plenty focused and is the biggest reason the team improved to 6-5 and is very much in the mix for a playoff spot.
The Commanders allowed 5 total yards in the first half of their 23-10 victory Sunday and now have the sixth-ranked defense in the NFL entering Monday.
The unit could also be getting a boost with the anticipated return of pass rusher Chase Young, who was activated off the physically unable to perform list Monday and could play as soon as Sunday against the Falcons -- 378 days since tearing the ACL in his right knee.
Rivera said Young will be mixed in slowly, starting with 12 to 16 snaps and slowly ramping up from there.
The key this week will be not overlooking the Falcons.
Washington is a 4-point favorite on FanDuel Sportsbook and can't let up ahead of upcoming back-to-back games against the NFC East rival New York Giants around the bye week. ...
Worth noting. ... Rookie receiver Jahan Dotson, who's coming off a hamstring injury that sidelined him for more than a month, has only one reception in each of the past two games. It's not reason to worry, but Washington took him in the first round to make an immediate impact and take pressure off Terry McLaurin and will need more of that later in the season.
On the injury front. ... Cornerback Benjamin St-Juste left the Texans game with an ankle injury. Running back J.D. McKissic is out at least four games after going on injured reserve with a neck injury. And Rivera said interior offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer has been cleared from concussion protocol.
You can access complete stats for the Commanders Week 11 game via our exclusive Fantasy BoxScore.
QBs: Sam Howell, Jacoby Brissett
RBs: Brian Robinson Jr., Jonathan Williams, Antonio Gibson, Chris Rodriguez
WRs: Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, Curtis Samuel, Dyami Brown, Dax Milne, Byron Pringle, Mitchell Tinsley
TEs: Logan Thomas, Cole Turner, John Bates