Yesterday, The 33rd Team analyzed five winners from Week 11 by looking at specific trends that impacted each game. Today, we are focusing on the losers from this past week by pinpointing where they went wrong.
Los Angeles Chargers 41 – Pittsburgh Steelers 37
Steelers Key Stat: 533 Yards Allowed
The Steelers kept this game closer than they probably deserved to because of a big special teams play and a key takeaway, but they just couldn’t stop the Chargers’ offense, and their own offense just didn’t quite have enough to match. The Chargers punted just one time in a game where their offense moved the ball seemingly at will. They had a much more methodical offense in the first half, with 32 offensive plays on their 3 drives, yielding 17 points. In the second half, they became more efficient, averaging just under 5 plays per drive, still scoring 24 points. That versatility they showed to be able to move the ball quickly and score or methodically and score will be key going forward to make their offense truly unstoppable.
Kansas City Chiefs 19 – Dallas Cowboys 9
Cowboys Key Stat: 4.0 yards per pass attempt
The normally dynamic Cowboys offense was anything but this week, with their lowest yards per pass attempt of the season by over a yard. Amari Cooper missing due to COVID-19 and CeeDee Lamb’s injury during the game were definitely factors, as was their OL’s struggles. Whatever the reason, the Cowboys’ passing game was nowhere near good enough in this game were unable to move the ball and put up points against a Kansas City defense that seems much improved over where they were early this season.
New England Patriots 25 – Atlanta Falcons 0
Falcons Key Stat: 4 Turnovers
The Atlanta Falcons’ offense was abysmal all-around this week, but their four interceptions were the killer blow. Putting up the seventh-worst EPA per passing play performance of the season, they ensured the game wouldn’t be close despite New England’s offense not exactly being dominant. As for the turnovers themselves, four interceptions thrown by three different QBs is quite rare, and that is exactly what happened here, with their last four drives all being interceptions to make the score even less close than the game was.
Washington Football Team 27 – Carolina Panthers 21
Panthers Key Stat: 141.3 Passer Rating Allowed
The Panthers allowed Taylor Heinicke and the Washington passing game to be very efficient, completing 16 of 22 passes for 206 yards and 3 TDs and the aforementioned 141.3 passer rating. Terry McLaurin was particularly effective, accounting for half of the receiving yards of the team, as Carolina had no answer for him and no real ability to stop Washington from moving the ball effectively. The Panthers got a solid performance from Cam Newton in his first start since his return, but the defense just didn’t help him out.
Arizona Cardinals 23 – Seattle Seahawks 13
Seahawks Key Stat: 2/10 Third-Down Conversion Rate
The Cardinals absolutely dominated the ball in this one, having more than double the time of possession that the Seahawks had, and their ability to get off the field defensively on third downs was a big reason why. They actually had slightly fewer yards per play than Seattle, but comprehensively outgained them anyway because they ran 30 more offensive plays. With backup QB Colt McCoy under center, the Cardinals didn’t want to get into a shootout with Seattle and Russell Wilson, so their strategy for avoiding one was to dominate the ball and keep Seattle’s offense off the field and it worked.