After an exciting slate of Sunday action in Week 11, The 33rd Team breaks down key plays, stats and insights from around the NFL.
Packers 23, Chargers 20
Jordan Love Breaks Through
Might this have been the breakout game for QB Jordan Love that Green Bay Packers have waited for? Love directed two go-ahead drives in the second half, the latter late in the fourth quarter to lift the Packers (4-6). Love completed 27 of 40 passes for a career-high 322 yards and two TD passes. Love hit WR Romeo Doubs for a 24-yard touchdown to cap a six-play, 75-yard drive with two minutes left in the fourth to secure the win.
Packers Lose RBs Jones, Wilson
Fan favorite Aaron Jones was carted off the field due to a knee injury in the second quarter and did not return. The running back went down after gaining 2 yards on a first-down rush and needed help to return to the sideline. Jones previously missed several games earlier this season because of a hamstring injury. Rookie running back Emanuel Wilson left with an upper-body injury a few plays later and also did not return. That left A.J. Dillon as the Packers’ only available back. Green Bay utilized WR Jayden Reed on jet sweeps, including one he scored on in the first half.
Chargers Playoff Hopes Diminishing
The Los Angeles Chargers’ playoff hopes took another hit, and at 4-6 appear to be a long-shot in the strong AFC. The main culprit was a defense that allowed a team that had not exceeded 20 points in seven games to move up and down the field. Chargers QB Justin Herbert performed well, finishing 21 of 36 for 260 yards and two touchdowns. His main target was WR Keenan Allen, who made 10 catches for 116 yards. The Chargers had a chance to take the lead or at least tie the score late in the fourth quarter but rookie WR Quentin Johnston dropped a pass that would have put Los Angeles in field-goal range.
Texans 21, Cardinals 16
Cardinals Can’t Capitalize On Turnovers
The outcome could have been more lopsided had Houston Texans QB C.J. Stroud not thrown three interceptions inside the Arizona Cardinals’ 30-yard line, including two in the second half. The Cardinals did not generate a single point off the turnovers. Arizona’s defense blanked Stroud and Co. in the second half.
Texans’ Singletary, Dell Exceed 100 Yards
Dameon Pierce missed his third consecutive game due to injury, and Devin Singletary stepped up in the run game carrying 22 times for 112 yards and a touchdown. WR Tank Dell had eight catches for 149 yards and a touchdown. The rookie receiver continues to impress, setting a Texans rookie record for most touchdown receptions with his sixth. The duo accounted for 267 of Houston’s 419 yards.
Win Puts Houston in Position for First
This was the Texans’ third consecutive win and moved them to 6-4, just one game behind the first-place Jacksonville Jaguars. Stroud has passed for 300 or more yards in the three victories, which set up Houston with a chance to move into first place in the AFC South next week. The Texans meet the Jaguars, whom they trail by one game and whom they defeated earlier this season.
Cowboys 33, Panthers 10
DaRon Bland into the History Books
Early in the fourth quarter, one play after taking a two-possession lead, Cowboys CB DaRon Bland jumped a short crossing route and made a diving interception. Bland got up and took it to the house without being touched down.
The second-year player out of Fresno State now has four pick-sixes on the year, tying the NFL single-season record — one that hasn’t been reached in 30 years (CB Eric Allen PHI, 1993). Bland, a fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft, only recently transitioned to outside cornerback after CB Trevon Diggs suffered a season-ending ACL tear.
Cowboys Defense Carries Them to Victory
The Dallas Cowboys only recorded 311 yards of total offense, well below their season average of 379. That didn’t stop the Cowboys from dominating the Carolina Panthers in a three-score victory. The Dallas defense shined as they held the Panthers and rookie QB Bryce Young to just 187 total yards with a pick-six to put the game out of reach at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Led by Micah Parsons’ 2.5 sack effort, the Cowboys piled up seven total sacks to completely stifle the Panthers’ passing game. The Cowboys move to 7-3 on the season.
Bryce Young Continues Rookie Season Struggles
Young’s struggles continued against the Cowboys. He finished the game completing 16 of 29 passes for 123 yards, one touchdown and one pick-six, while also taking seven sacks and losing a fumble. The 123 passing yards mark his lowest total yet this season, and the pick-six is his third of the year. WR Adam Thielen was Young’s only reliable option on the day, collecting eight of 11 targets for 74 yards. Carolina’s running backs were a bright spot, averaging 5.1 yards per carry on 21 total carries. The Panthers move to 1-9 on the season.
Dolphins 20, Raiders 13
Raiders: OL Kolton Miller
Dolphins Defense Balls Out
The Miami Dolphins’ defense bailed out an offense that had an uncharacteristic off day. CB Jalen Ramsey sealed the game with an interception in the end zone with 22 seconds left. Ramsey and DE Jalen Phillips earlier had interceptions of Las Vegas Raiders QB Aidan O’Connell. Phillips’ came when DT Christian Wilkins hit O’Connell as he threw. Miami (7-3) also held the Raiders (5-6) to just 36 yards rushing and sacked O’Connell twice. The Dolphins improved to 5-0 at home.
Tagovailoa, Hill Again Lead Miami
The defense helped Miami overcome a game in which its offense moved the ball at will (424 total yards) but committed three turnovers. QB Tua Tagovailoa, who passed for 325 yards and two TDs, had an interception and a fumble, and Julian Hill had a fumble.
Tagovailoa’s fumble on the Dolphins’ opening drive led to a Las Vegas field goal. Tyreek Hill, who leads the NFL in yards receiving (1,222) and TD receptions (nine), had his sixth game of 100-plus yards receiving, going for 146 on 10 catches. He scored the Dolphins’ first touchdown to cap an eight-play drive.
Adams Helps Raiders Stay Close
WR Davante Adams had seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown for the Raiders, whose two-game win streak ended. O’Connell was 24 of 41 for 271 yards. Josh Jacobs averaged just 2.8 yards on his 14 carries.
Achane Leaves Game, Tyreek Hill Had a Scare
Dolphins RB De’Von Achane, who was in his first game back after missing the past four games due to injury, left on the second drive because of a knee injury and did not return. Hill also left the game in the second quarter and went to the locker room holding his hand, but he returned after only missing one series.
Browns 13, Steelers 10
DTR Gets First Career Win
The mood in Cleveland undoubtedly picked up after rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the Cleveland Browns to a last-second win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thompson-Robinson and a strong defense helped the Browns (7-3) overcome losing starting QB Deshaun Watson for the season.
Thompson-Robinson struggled in his first NFL start, a 28-3 loss to the Ravens in Week 4. He was slightly better Sunday, going 24 of 43 for 165 yards and an interception. But he orchestrated a drive that started at the Cleveland 35 and culminated with Dustin Hopkins kicking a 34-yard field goal to win it. Thompson-Robinson didn’t get a lot of help from the running game as Kareem Hunt and Jerome Ford managed just 96 yards combined on 29 carries.
Cleveland’s Defense Dominates
Sunday’s game was a showcase for two strong defenses against two struggling offenses. The Browns sacked Kenny Pickett three times, including two by Myles Garrett. T.J. Watt had one for the Steelers. Cleveland entered the game having allowed the fewest yards and the sixth-fewest points. This victory marked the first time in the past 15 tries that the Browns have defeated the Steelers and Ravens in back-to-back weeks.
Steelers Struggle on Offense Again
Six times this season, the Steelers (6-4) have been able to overcome subpar play by their offense, but not on Sunday. The Steelers have been outgained in every game. While Pickett struggled to get going (15 of 28 for just 106 yards), the running game perked up.
Pittsburgh rushed for 172 yards — 74 on a touchdown run by Jaylen Warren, who set a career high by rushing for 129 yards. Warren’s run was the longest for Pittsburgh since 2014. While their defense played well again, the Steelers could not finish in the close game. Pittsburgh had won its past nine games that were decided by eight points or fewer, including six this season.
Lions 31, Bears 26
Justin Fields, DJ Moore Not Enough to Fend Off Lions
Although Justin Fields had a productive day — 16 of 23, 169 passing yards, one touchdown, 105.2 passer rating and 18 carries for 104 yards — it was not enough to outgun the Detroit Lions on the road. Additionally, DJ Moore had seven receptions for 96 yards and a touchdown. Despite these two stellar offensive performances, the Chicago Bears couldn’t match the high-scoring Detroit offense.
Lions Overcome Four-Turnover PErformance
Jared Goff’s three-interception game made winning this week difficult for the Lions. RB Craig Reynolds also fumbled late in the second quarter, setting up the Bears three-play touchdown drive, beginning from Chicago’s 40-yard line.
Bears Fumble Chance at Win
With just over four minutes left in the game, Chicago’s kicker Cairo Santos drilled a 39-yard field goal to put the team up by 12. This seemed like the final nail in the coffin for Detroit. However, Goff led a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive lasting just over one minute. This drive was capped off with a 32-yard touchdown pass to Jameson Williams that cut the Bears lead to five points.
After the Bears went three-and-out on the following possession, Goff orchestrated a 73-yard scoring drive, ending in a 1-yard touchdown run by David Montgomery. It was an 11-play drive lasting just over two minutes. Goff’s two-point conversion pass to Sam LaPorta was successful, putting the Lions up by three points.
With 29 seconds left in the fourth, the Bears had one last chance to tie the game with a field goal. On the first play of this drive, Aidan Hutchinson strip-sacked Fields. The ball rolled off of an offensive lineman and went out of the back of the endzone, resulting in a safety that sealed the game.
Jaguars 31, Titans 14
Trevor Lawrence Leads High-Powered Jaguars Offense
Trevor Lawrence had one of his best games of the year this week, throwing for 262 yards, going 24 of 32. Lawrence also threw two touchdown passes (both to Calvin Ridley) and rushed for two scores. The Jacksonville Jaguars finished with 389 yards of offense, over 150 more yards than the Tennessee Titans (235 yards). The Jaguars also had double the amount of first downs. Finally, Jacksonville had a turnover-free game while possessing the ball for nearly 13 more minutes than Tennessee (36:26 compared to 23:34).
Titans Scoreless Through Nearly Three Quarters
On the final play of the third quarter, when Will Levis connected with DeAndre Hopkins for a 42-yard touchdown pass, the Titans first put points on the board. This play began with a direct snap to Derrick Henry, who pitched it to Levis. This trickery allowed Hopkins to take the top off the defense. The Titans found the end zone again when Levis threw a touchdown pass to DE Jeffery Simmons. In another deceptive play, Simmons lined up as an eligible receiver.
49ers 27, Buccaneers 14
49ers: OL Aaron Banks
Brock Purdy Finishes ‘Perfect’
Brock Purdy led the San Francisco 49ers (7-3) in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-6) 27-14. Purdy threw three touchdown passes and finished 21 for 25 for 333 yards, becoming the first San Francisco quarterback to post a perfect passer rating in a game with at least 20 attempts. Purdy hit Christian McCaffrey on a four-yard pass and George Kittle on a 3-yarder and opened the second half with a 76-yard bomb to Brandon Aiyuk to extend the lead to 13.
The 49ers forced the Buccaneers to punt on the second half’s opening drive and got the ball back on their own 2-yard line. A run by McCaffrey and a 21-yard pass to Kittle gave them some breathing room before Purdy hit Aiyuk on the long pass to go up 20-7. Purdy led the next possession to another TD drive capped by the Kittle TD, which extended it to a 21-point lead.
San Francisco’s defense took over from there, and rookie Ji’Ayir Brown made a crucial fourth-down pass breakup and an interception on consecutive drives in the fourth quarter. Baker Mayfield threw one touchdown but could not overcome the 49ers. Tampa Bay has now lost five of its last six games. After losing three straight, the 49ers have now won two in a row in dominant fashion.
Both Defenses lose Key Players
Tampa Bay’s defense lost three starters to injuries during the game. Jamel Dean left in the third quarter with a foot injury, and Carlton Davis and Lavonte David also left with injuries in the second half. The 49ers lost safety Talanoa Hufanga to a knee injury in the second half. He’s feared to have suffered a torn ACL.
Bills 32, Jets 6
Jets Bench Zach Wilson
The New York Jets benched Zach Wilson for Tim Boyle at the end of the third quarter. Wilson threw for 81 yards, completing 46.67 percent of his passes, including an interception. Boyle wasn’t better, finishing with 33 passing yards, a 50 percent completion percentage and an interception. The New York offense was zero for 11 on third down, and a successful fake punt set up its only scoring drive. The Jets will have to decide which quarterback they start in Friday’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Jets Receivers Not a Factor
New York’s receivers had just three catches for 16 yards in the game. Their first reception came when Garrett Wilson caught a four-yard pass. Garrett Wilson could only haul in two of his eight receptions and was held to single-digit receiving yards for the first time this season. The Jets had trouble involving their playmaking receivers, causing the offense to remain stagnant.
Bills Running Backs Find End Zone
Running backs Ty Johnson and James Cook caught receiving touchdowns in the game. Johnson caught all three of his targets for 47 yards, including his 28-yard touchdown. Cook found success on the ground and in the passing game, having 102 yards. The dual threat of both running backs proved trouble for the Jets’ defense.
Rasul Douglas Gets Three Takeaways
At the trade deadline, the Buffalo Bills sent a 2024 third-round pick to the Green Bay Packers for Rasul Douglas and a 2024 fifth-round pick. Douglas has provided a big boost for this secondary after they lost Tre’Davious White for the season. Douglas had all three Buffalo takeaways, recording two interceptions and a fumble recovery.
Rams 17, Seahawks 16
Seahawks: S Jamal Adams
Rams: CB Cobie Durant
Seahawks Miss Potential Winning Field Goal
After the Los Angeles Rams came back from a 13-0 deficit, QB Geno Smith took over with 1:31 remaining and no timeouts and drove the Seattle Seahawks down to the Rams’ 37-yard line. That set up typically reliable Seattle K Jason Myers from 55 yards out with eight seconds to go. Myers, however, pushed the kick wide right.
Heading into the attempt, Myers had made 15 straight field-goal attempts, including kicks from 54, 43 and 52 yards on Sunday. The miss nullified Smith’s gritty effort. He was forced to exit the game for two drives due to an injury to his throwing elbow and only returned for the final drive. Smith completed 22 of 34 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, backup QB Drew Lock was 2 for 6 for 3 yards and an interception that led to the Rams’ go-ahead field goal. WR DK Metcalf was Seattle’s most reliable weapon, catching five passes for 94 yards and a touchdown. The loss knocked the Seahawks (6-4) out of a tie for first in the NFC West.
Rams Complete Fourth-Quarter Comeback
Down 13-0 midway through the second quarter, the Rams’ defense stepped up and held the Seahawks to a single field goal for the rest of the game. The offense then put together a touchdown drive to close out the first half. QB Matthew Stafford connected with WR Puka Nacua to get the Rams on the board. Los Angeles (4-6) followed that with three punts and an interception but then scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to take a 17-16 lead with 1:31 remaining. In his return from a one-game absence due to a thumb injury, Stafford had an uneven performance. He finished 17-of-31 passing for 190 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Nacua finished with five catches for 70 yards.
Cooper Kupp Suffers Another Injury
All-Pro WR Cooper Kupp left the game because of an ankle injury in the second quarter and did not return. He has had two stints on the injured reserve since his receiving triple crown season in 2021, ending the 2022 season and starting the 2023 season on injured reserve. Kupp was rounding into form this season and had 23 receptions for 364 yards and one touchdown coming into the game. He had one catch for 11 yards before exiting the game.
Giants 31, Commanders 19
Commanders Commit Six Turnovers
Sam Howell threw three interceptions, and Logan Thomas, Byron Pringle, and Chris Rodriguez Jr. each lost a fumble. The six turnovers ruined an otherwise winnable game for the Washington Commanders. Howell entered the game as the NFL’s leading passer, but this game was a wart on his season. And Howell continued to take sacks at a record pace. His 51 sacks already would rank third for last season. The Commanders’ offense has been productive but can’t consistently overcome these problems.
DeVito Shows Out
Barkley Turns in All-Pro Performance
RB Saquon Barkley rushed for 83 yards on 14 carries, an impressive 5.9 yards per carry, and had a season-high 140 yards from scrimmage with two touchdown receptions. The Giants’ flow on offense seemed more natural, and Barkley was the engine. Outside of chunk passing gains, Barkley pushed the offense. It is the kind of performance that will make long-term conversations favor Barkley.
Broncos 21, Vikings 20
These teams came into the game as two of the hottest squads in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings came in on a five-game winning streak, while the Denver Broncos were on a three-game win streak, which they extended to 4 games. The win put them into the playoff conversation.
Minnesota, meanwhile, is holding onto the seventh seed following tonight’s loss.
The Vikings could not overcome their ball-security issues. They ran for 175 yards and threw for 210, but Denver and Russell Wilson took advantage of Minnesota’s three turnovers. Wilson was 27 of 35 for 259 yards and a touchdown. Wilson’s stellar play, along with that of Courtland Sutton — four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown — helped the Broncos come away victorious.