NFL Week 11 observations: The good, bad and ugly
There are still some questions left to be answered. Are teams like the L.A. Rams, New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles for real? Can the Buffalo Bills pick back up where they left off with the change at quarterback? Weekends like this make football addicting!
-The Minnesota Vikings are starting their backup quarterback Case Keenum and haven’t missed a beat. Credit their stellar defense and Keenum’s superb play for keeping the wheel rolling as they beat the Los Angeles Rams 24-7. The Rams entered the game with the league’s best offense and a good defense. Keenum and the Vikings made them look very subpar.
-The New Orleans Saints became the first team to start 0-2, and win 8 straight. Their 34-31 overtime win against the Washington Redskins was nothing short of a miracle. Down 31-16 with less than six minutes left, the Saints managed to tie the game thanks to a key stop on third and short, as well as an intentional grounding call that went their way. They may be legit contenders this season, and it’s mainly due to a much improved defense along with a commitment to the run.
-The Detroit Lions are now 6-4 following a 27-24 victory over the Chicago Bears. Averaging less than 90 yards rushing per game, the burden has fallen on quarterback Matt Stafford’s shoulders. After signing the richest contract in league history, many questioned whether or not Stafford was worth the money. If the Lions can get anything from the run game and defense, Stafford could lead them to the playoffs.
-The Oakland Raiders lost to the New England Patriots 33-8 in Mexico City. Considered preseason contenders, the Raiders are now 4-6 and look like a run of the mill team. They have talent on both sides of the ball, but haven’t been able to put it together this season. In two years, they’re leaving Oakland for Las Vegas. Making such a move, it would be nice to have a winning team. But because they play in the AFC West, they’re still alive.-Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota threw 4 interceptions Thursday night in a 40-17 throttling at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Time of possession, total yards, and penalty yards were all similar. If the Titans are to be taken seriously, Mariota can’t have games like that, even if it is on a short week.
-The Kansas City Chiefs started off this year 5-0 with two early contenders for MVP. Following Sunday, they’re 6-4 after losing 12-9 to the 1-8 (now 2-8) New York Giants. Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s teams have been very good coming off a bye week. This time, it seems as if his team has stayed cold losing 4 of the last 5.
-The Green Bay Packers were shut out by the Ravens 23-0. The Ravens forced 5 turnovers (3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries) in the victory. The Packers are now 5-5 on the season and have their franchise quarterback due to return towards the end of the season. His return won’t be needed if they keep playing this way.
-The Buffalo Bills thought it would be a good idea to start rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman instead of veteran Tyrod Taylor. Peterman went on to throw 5 interceptions in the first half and the Bills went to Taylor to start the second half, but were already down 37-7.
- What the hell was Pete Carroll thinking?!? The Seattle Seahawks coach went for a fake field goal with 7 seconds left in the first half down by 7 on the Atlanta Falcons’ 21 yard line. Considering they were getting the ball back after halftime, that was a bad move. That same field goal was the one they needed at the end of the game as they lost 34-31.
As the playoff picture becomes clearer and the season enters the home stretch, things will continue to be looked at with more scrutiny. A play here or there could cost a team a playoff spot (looking right at you Pete Carroll).
In more serious news, former Patriots and Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terry Glenn died in a car crash on Monday. Former quarterback Drew Bledsoe called Glenn the best receiver he ever threw to. In a season filled with so many surprises and parity, this news hits hard as the season is in full swing. I watched Glenn from his days at Ohio State on through the balance of his NFL career. When I heard of his passing, I had to pull over. It’s hard watching a guy’s career from its infancy to its culmination, only to learn of his tragic passing following a car accident. We don’t know how much time in our lives we have until we punch the ultimate clock. Let’s try to spend it doing good and leaving this crazy world a better place.