Breakdowns

NFL Week 11 Takeaways

Here are my top five takeaways from Week 11:

1. Flores was right to bench Tua

Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores is getting some heat for his decision to replace Tua Tagovailoa with Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos, but I think it was the right move. Miami trailed 20-10 at the time and the rookie QB was struggling. The Dolphins kicked a field goal to make it 20-13 and Fitzpatrick nearly led a game-tying drive before an interception sealed the game for Denver. Flores has already said Tua will start in Week 12, but the message to his team has been sent. If Flores isn’t afraid to bench his franchise QB, then everyone is fair game. I expect the Dolphins players to be going hard in practice this week.

2. Burrow injury was preventable

I take no pride in being right about this, but I’ve been saying it since June: With a suspect offensive line, the Bengals should have kept Andy Dalton on the roster and not relied so heavily on No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow. No QB in the league has dropped back to pass more than Burrow this season, so it was only a matter of time before he got hurt. Burrow has passed for 2,688 yards, 13 TDs and 5 INTs, but his impressive rookie season is now over. They should have kept Dalton; it would have given them more time to transition to Burrow. They also should have been more balanced. Burrow led the league with 450 dropbacks.

3. Saints keep marching

The Saints are now 6-0 the last two seasons without Drew Brees. With Taysom Hill getting the start at QB for New Orleans Sunday, six Saints players caught passes — and none of them was named Alvin Kamara. New Orleans is currently the NFC’s No. 1 seed, and it’s the defense that is getting it done. The Saints had 8 sacks in their 24-9 win over Atlanta.

4. Lamar Jackson is regressing

Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson is not the same player he was last season. The Ravens QB has suffered a massive regression. While the Ravens were able to kick a game-tying field goal at the end of regulation before losing in overtime to Tennessee, it was Jackson’s poor first half that sank Baltimore. At halftime, Jackson had completed just four of 11 passes (36.4%) for 54 yards and zero TDs. Last year, Jackson finished with 36 TD passes and 6 INTs. He’s already at 6 INTs this season with just 15 TDs, and he ranks 21st in the league in yards per pass. What’s the difference? Defenses are playing much more zone against Baltimore this season. Last year, Jackson faced zone defenses 51% of the time; this year, that number is 58%.

5. Wentz’s woes

Eagles QB Carson Wentz has been struggling all season. Much of it is due to the team’s injury-riddled offensive line and some of it is because his skill players have been hurt and inconsistent. But the bottom line is that Wentz is lacking confidence. His pick-6 in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland was based on indecision. A subsequent sack occurred because he held the ball too long. He ranks 29th in the league in completion percentage.

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