Breakdowns

Week 11 Deep Dives

Here are some noteworthy numbers from every Sunday game on the NFL’s Week 11 schedule:

Cleveland 22 (7-3), Philadelphia 17 (3-6-1)

The Eagles opened with 9 runs on their first 10 plays but the drive ended with a Miles Sanders fumble on first-and-goal.

Overall in the first half, Philly ran on 63% of plays (71% of first downs) and averaged 5.1 yards a carry. Carson Wentz was just 7-for-9 with over 7.5 net yards*/attempt, but threw a pick-6 to Sione Takitaki on a screen that sailed over Miles Sanders’ head. Denzel Ward caused the pressure. The Browns punted on three of their first four possessions and failed to convert on a 13-play, 95-yard drive after Kareem Hunt was ruled short of the goal line on fourth-and-goal. Cleveland only averaged 1.4 yards a carry on their 13 first half runs but entered halftime up 7-0.

Cleveland ran on nearly 75% of their second-half plays and averaged 4.5 yards a rush. In his second-half opportunities, Baker Mayfield was effective, completing 5 of his 7 passes for over 9 yards an attempt. Wentz struggled in the second half, going 14-for-26, 4.5 yards/attempt, despite having an average depth of target of 7.9.

Wentz added another interception (Ward) late in the fourth quarter on an underthrown red-zone ball, intended for Alshon Jeffery (0 catches, 2 targets). The Eagles, who have now used nine different offensive line combinations, lost Jason Kelce (elbow) for part of the first half. He was making his 99th straight start this week. In the past two weeks, the Eagles have been just 2-for-21 on third down.

This is the first victory for the Browns over the Eagles since 1994, when Bill Belichick was their head coach.

*net yards per attempt includes yards lost due to sacks

New Orleans 24 (8-2), Atlanta 9 (3-7)

In his first career start at quarterback, Taysom Hill delivered an impressive performance for New Orleans. He completed 78% of his passes, and averaged 8.1 net yards per pass. In the second quarter, Hill connected with Sanders on a 45-yard pass, a ball that traveled 54 yards in the air, the longest completion by a Saints QB over the last three seasons. Hill also added 51 yards on the ground and two second-half red zone rushing touchdowns. In his injury-riddled season, Michael Thomas had his best outing so far in 2020. (9 catches, 104 yards). After passing on 56% of plays in the first half, New Orleans ran on 69% of second half plays, and 81% of second half, first downs. They averaged 4.7 yards a carry and rushed for 158 yards, the most Atlanta has given up this season.

The Saints, who were without Marshon Lattimore, were effective in slowing down the Falcons’ passing game. They held Matt Ryan to under 7 yards a passing attempt and also registered 8 sacks. Marcus Williams and Janoris Jenkins both recorded interceptions. Since their Week 6 bye, the Saints defense has the lowest points per game allowed in the NFL. The Saints also held Todd Gurley to only 3.3 yards a rush on his eight carries, his lowest output of the season. Julio Jones was battling hamstring tightness for much of the day, and was held to only two catches on two targets.

The Saints have now won seven straight games and are in sole possession of the NFC’s top seed with Green Bay’s loss.

Washington 20 (3-7), Cincinnati 9 (2-7-1)

Cincinnati was effective moving the ball early but failed to come away with points on their first two drives after Randy Bullock missed a field goal and Joe Burrow was blown up by Chase Young on fourth-and-goal. A.J. Green’s first TD since October 2018 gave the Bengals a 9-7 halftime lead.

Cincy, which has not had Joe Mixon in a month, passed on 70% of first-half plays. Burrow was 21-for-29 and averaged over 6 yards an attempt. Still leading 9-7 in the third quarter, Burrow was hit low while backed up on third down. He was carted off and would not return. The Bengals fear an ACL injury for their rookie quarterback. In relief, Ryan Finley was just 3-for-10 for 30 yards with an interception. On his five drives, the Bengals punted three times, turned the ball over on downs and threw an interception.

Antonio Gibson continues to fortify his role as Washington’s leading rusher. With his 1-yard TD in the first quarter, he now has a rushing touchdown in four consecutive games. In the first half, Washington averaged 5 yards a carry, while only running on first down 18% of the time. On second down, they ran 83% of the time, leading to a 90% first-half rushing success rate. They still only managed one score. In the second half, Washington took advantage of Burrow’s injury, scoring five plays later. They added two field goals in the second half to extend their lead to double digits. In the second half, Washington ran on 83% of first downs and averaged 5.6 yards on their 21 rushes. Today was the first game Alex Smith has won as a starting quarterback since November of 2018.

Carolina 20 (4-7), Detroit 0 (4-6)

In his first start, P.J. Walker led a 95-yard first-quarter drive capped off by a 1-yard Mike Davis rush. On the drive, he was 4-for-4 for 84 yards including a deep 52-yard throw to D.J. Moore (38 air yards from LOS, down left sideline). In the first half, Walker was 14-for-22, and averaged just under 7 net yards per attempt with an interception. After that score, the rest of the first half featured a fumble, an interception, and six straight punts.

Even without D’Andre Swift (head), who has emerged as the best back in Detroit, the Lions still ran on two-thirds of first-half first downs, leading to a 22% overall success rate. For the half, they averaged just 2.8 yards a rush. Adrian Peterson averaged just 2.57 yards on his seven first- or second-down rushes in the first half, while Kerryon Johnson averaged 4.3 yards on his 3 carries. Matthew Stafford was only 5-for-11 but averaged five net yards / pass.

The second half opened with a Detroit three-and-out before Walker connected with Curtis Samuel on a 17-yard corner route for his first career touchdown pass. Samuel (8 catches, 70 yards) has been one of the most effective red-zone receivers. Since 2019, he trails only Tyler Lockett and Adam Thielen for red-zone touchdowns (11). In the second half, the Lions threw on 90% of plays. Stafford completed 59% of his passes but the Lions averaged under 4 net yards per pass. Stafford, who had an ADOT of under six yards and failed to connect on any deep passes today, has been impacted without Kenny Golladay active. This year without Golladay, Detroit has had a lower yards / attempt, lower ADOT, and a lower air yards per completion. Sunday also marked the first time the Lions have been shut out with Stafford at quarterback.

Pittsburgh 27 (10-0), Jacksonville 3 (1-9)

The Jaguars, who have the youngest roster in the NFL, were able to hang around for much of the first half against Pittsburgh. In the first half, Jacksonville ran on 57% of first downs leading to a 43% success rate, while James Robinson averaged 4.5 yards on his eleven carries. Per CBS, Robinson now has the most scrimmage yards through nine career games of any undrafted rookie in NFL history. Unfortunately for the Jags, Jake Luton really struggled in his third career start. With a chance to tie the game at 10 late in the second quarter, Luton had a ball batted at the line of scrimmage and intercepted and returned by Minkah Fitzpatrick, setting up the Steelers to score before the half. For the game, Luton completed only 43% of his passes, had 3.4 net yards / attempt, and four interceptions.

After a slow start, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger led two second-quarter touchdown drives to take a 17-3 halftime lead. He gave Pittsburgh a lead after connecting with Chase Claypool on a 31-yard deep touchdown down the left sideline. Claypool now has 10 touchdowns in 10 games, one shy of a rookie record. He followed that up with a deep pass to Diontae Johnson, which set up a 1-yard Benny Snell TD run. In the first half, he was 17-for-25 and averaged over 7 net yards / attempt. Roethlisberger now has 9 TDs with 1 INT over his last four games. The Steelers, who entered Sunday with the most turnovers and pressures in the NFL, added four picks and two sacks to their totals. Terrell Edmunds had two of the interceptions after not having one since 2018, and Minkah Fitzpatrick added two. He now has nine since being traded, which trails only J.C. Jackson in that span.

Tennessee 30 (7-3), Baltimore 24 (6-4) OT

With center Matt Skura out, the Ravens had to adjust their offensive line for the fifth time this season. Baltimore continued their run-heavy attack, rushing on 86% of all first-half first downs, which led to only a 14% success rate. JK Dobbins saw the bulk of the work, rushing 10 times for 57 yards with a TD in the first half. QB Lamar Jackson was less impressive only completing 33% of his first half passes for under five net yards an attempt. Defenses continue to play zone against Jackson, which helps limit his rushing ability. The Titans also ran on over 90% of first half, first downs, leading to a 33% success rate.

Without Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell, the Ravens defense did a good job containing Derrick Henry in the first half. After allowing nearly 200 yards in the playoffs last year, Baltimore held Henry to only 37 yards on 13 rushes in the first thirty minutes. The Ravens extended their lead in the third quarter on a 31-yard TD pass to Mark Andrews. Tennessee would score on their next three possessions to take the lead, then the Ravens kicked a last-second field goal to force overtime. After a Ravens punt, on a drive that was derailed by a Jackson sack, the Titans ended the game on a 29-yard Henry TD run. Ryan Tannehill was much better in the second half, completing 80% of his passes for over 10 net yards an attempt after averaging under three yards an attempt in the first half.

Despite the win, the Titans managed only two touchdowns on their five red-zone trips after entering the game second in the NFL, scoring on 77% of all trips. Baltimore, which has the best scoring defense in the NFL, actually has the worst red-zone defense, giving up touchdowns on over 76% of trips coming into Sunday.

Houston 27 (3-7), New England 20 (4-6)

Deshaun Watson willed Houston to a W to improve to 3-7. In his last five games, he has now thrown 11 TDs and 0 INTs. After their ninth opening drive punt this season (most in NFL), Watson was 5-for-5 for 75 yards on a drive that tied the game at seven. He led two more first-half TD drives to take an 11-point lead. On those two drives, Watson accounted for all of Houston’s yards. He was 10-for-12 for 125 through the air with a TD and added four rushes for 30 yards and a TD. Houston’s .57 EPA / pass was the highest from any team this week. David Johnson was a continued disappointment. He only averaged 1.5 yards on his 10 carries. For the season, he is only averaging 2.8 a carry and only has 1 TD. Texan running backs rushed for only 19 of Houston’s 399 total yards. Houston passed on 70% of plays in the first half (69% of first Downs).

Cam Newton was productive for New England. He averaged 8.3 net yards/pass attempt and added a 42-yard TD pass to Damiere Byrd (41 air yards from LOS). The Patriots were driving to tie the game but failed to convert on fourth down on the edge of the red zone. New England has continued their trend of a rush-heavy first half before switching to a pass dominant second half with more success. The Patriots rushed on 52% of plays and averaged 4.7 yards/ rush (6.5 net pass yards / attempt). In the second half, they passed on 76% of plays and averaged 9.1 net yards / attempt. (2.3 yards / rush). Cam has now gone four games without an interception.

Denver 20 (4-6), Miami 13 (6-4)

Tua Tagovailoa took his first loss as a starter after going just 11-for-30 for 83 yards. After scoring a touchdown off an interception by Xavien Howard, Miami’s offense had three straight three-and-outs. For the half, they managed just 2.2 net yards/pass and under 4 yards a rush. After being sacked six times, Tagovailoa was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick. In relief, Fitzpatrick was 12-for-18 and averaged over six yards an attempt. Miami’s comeback chances ended with Fitzpatrick throwing an end-zone interception to Justin Simmons to seal the game.

Drew Lock started the game 0-for-6 with an interception, but completed 15 of his next 21 for 180 yards to take a three point halftime lead. In the second half, Denver ran on 65% of plays (64% of first downs) and averaged over five yards a rush. Both Lindsay and Gordon had over 15 carries and over 80 yards. Lock continued to play well, going 9-for-11 and averaging 13.8 net yards/pass. Denver survived but did allow Miami to hang around. They outgained the Dolphins 459-223 but were just 1-for-4 in the red zone.

Los Angeles Chargers 34 (3-7), New York Jets 28 (0-10)

Frank Gore continues to see the brunt of New York’s early-down carries, rushing seven times for 29 yards in the first half. Perine added seven carries as well for 32 yards before halftime. Joe Flacco struggled completing just 3 of 8 passees for under four yards/attempt. He also threw a pick-6 on his own goal line to give the Chargers their first lead. They never recovered from their 24-6 halftime deficit.

The Chargers have often been criticized this year for a too run-heavy approach. In the first half on Sunday, they passed on 65% of plays (64% of first downs). Herbert was 23-31 and averaged over 8 yards / attempt. In the second quarter, Herbert also extended his two touchdown pass streak to seven games, a rookie record. They did lighten up in the second half and allow New York to pull within one possession. Herbert was still 14-18 but averaged under 5 net yards / attempt and only passed on 52% of plays.

Indianapolis 34 (7-3), Green Bay 31 (7-3) OT

Sunday marked the first week since September that Aaron Jones, Allen Lazard and Davante Adams have all been on the field together. In the first half, Aaron Rodgers led four touchdown drives and was 13-for-16 with 10 yards/attempt. The Packers offense was also 3-for-3 in the red zone to start the game. Adams extended his touchdown streak to five games and Rodgers continues to leads the NFL in play-action TDs (11).

After trailing for much of the game, the Colts overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to force overtime. Philip Rivers was 12-for-19 after halftime and averaged 7 yards a pass. Jonathan Taylor led the Colts backfield and averaged 5.33 yards on his 12 second-half carries. A Marques Valdes-Scantling fumble in overtime set up Indy to kick the game-winning FG.

Dallas 31 (3-7), Minnesota 28 (4-6)

Dallas took advantage of a Kirk Cousins fumble to take a 7-0 first-quarter lead. It was the first touchdown Dallas has scored in the first quarter in six games, and it also marked the first TD Zeke Elliott has scored in five games. Before Sunday, Elliott had not eclipsed 65 rushing yards since Dak Prescott was lost for the season. Against Minnesota, he rushed 21 times for 103 yards, his first 100-yard game of the season. He was particularly effective in the second half, rushing for nearly 6 yards a carry on 11 touches.

Cousins played well for Minnesota. Despite only throwing on 43% of first half plays, he still had 140 yards and averaged 10.8 an attempt. Cook did rush for 115 yards for the game but managed just 3 yards a carry on his 12 first half carries.

Kansas City 35 (9-1), Las Vegas 31 (6-4)

Due to Covid, the Raiders were without three defensive players, including Clelin Ferrell and Cory Littleton. Despite this, they were able to take a halftime lead after scoring on their first three possessions. Derek Carr completed his first 11 passes for 164 yards with a TD.

Three second-half touchdowns helped the Chiefs improve to 9-1. In the final 30 minutes, the Chiefs passed on just 60% of plays, but Patrick Mahomes completed 20 of 24 passes and averaged over 8 yards an attempt. The Raiders, who gave K.C. their only defeat this season, did a good job of trying to contain Mahomes. He was 0-for-4 on passes that went 20-plus yards in the air. The Chiefs also tied a franchise record with 36 first downs, and Andy Reid improved to 19-3 as a head coach following a bye.

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