NFL Winners and Losers: Eagles pull out clutch win, but they struggled vs. Jeff Saturday's Colts
The Philadelphia Eagles won, as everyone figured going into Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts. But there are probably more questions about the Eagles after the win than there were beforehand.
First of all, any win in the NFL is good and the Eagles showed a lot of heart to pull this one off. They hadn't won when trailing by 10 or more points going into the fourth quarter since beating the New York Giants in 2010, according to CBS. That was the famous DeSean Jackson punt return game, the "Miracle at the New Meadowlands" game. The Eagles trailed by 10 going into the fourth quarter Sunday and found a way to steal a 17-16 win.
Jalen Hurts took a quarterback draw on third-and-goal and ran through a huge hole in the middle for the go-ahead score with 1:20 left. It was the first time the Eagles led in the entire game.
The defense got the stop after that. Brandon Graham had a huge sack on third down. Matt Ryan inexplicably threw a check-down pass on fourth-and-21 after that and the game was over. Philadelphia avoided its second loss in seven days after a great 8-0 start to the season. But there's a lot for the Eagles to be at least moderately concerned about.
The Eagles struggled most of the day against the Colts, led by former high school coach and ESPN broadcast analyst Jeff Saturday. Philadelphia couldn't move the ball most of the afternoon. Its defense gave up a long touchdown drive to start the game and Indy led for most of the game after that.
The Eagles looked flat. They had a short week after the loss to the Washington Commanders on Monday night and had to travel, but still are a much better team than the Colts. It rarely looked that way.
Philadelphia fared better against the run after allowing a long touchdown drive to start the game, but Washington successfully ran it on them last week and it's still a weakness. The offense, which looked unstoppable for much of that eight-game winning streak, has had little going on for it other than Hurts running it. Hurts is very good as a runner but the Eagles need more. They need to figure out how to get AJ Brown going again. Maybe the loss of tight end Dallas Goedert, who is on injured reserve from a shoulder injury he suffered on a blatant facemask that wasn't penalized, is going to be a bigger drag on the offense than expected.
All told, it's great to be 9-1. Nobody is going to remember that the Eagles struggled to put away the Colts in Week 11, only that they won. But there's concern until the Eagles get back to their level from the first half of the season.
Here are the rest of the winners and losers from Week 11 of the NFL season:
Derek Carr, Davante Adams and Josh McDaniels: The Las Vegas Raiders' season isn't going to be saved, but it's always nice to win.
Last week Carr stood at the podium breaking down emotionally after another loss. It had to be a good feeling for him to win 22-16 in overtime at the Denver Broncos.
It had to be a great feeling for McDaniels, the former Broncos head coach, who was about a minute from another loss and being on really thin ice.
After the Broncos couldn't end the game with a first down, Carr hit Josh Jacobs on a long pass to set up a game-tying field goal just before the end of regulation. In overtime, Adams was wide open and caught a 35-yard walk-off touchdown.
It has been a miserable season and there has been a lot of speculation about what happens next in Las Vegas. A win gives the Raiders a short reprieve from all of that.
Tee Higgins: With Ja’Marr Chase out for a few weeks with a hip injury, the Cincinnati Bengals needed their 1B receiver to step up.
On Sunday, Higgins was perhaps the biggest difference in the Bengals getting a big 37-30 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Higgins had nine catches for 148 yards on a day when the Bengals couldn’t run the ball, and weren’t great on defense either. Joe Burrow had 355 yards and while he spread it around well, his favorite target was Higgins.
The Bengals are still in the AFC North race at 6-4. They’ll get Chase back soon. Until he’s back, Higgins needs to keep playing like he did Sunday.
Houston Texans' chances to get the first draft pick: Every loss for the Texans is a good thing. The Texans are 1-8-1 and screaming toward the first pick of next year's NFL draft. Davis Mills, who threw a pick-six to start the scoring Sunday, isn't the answer for Houston at quarterback. There are a few QBs in next year's draft who can fix that problem.
However, Houston fans probably would like it if their team was somewhat competitive. Houston was awful in a 23-10 loss against the Washington Commanders. They were down 20-0 at halftime at home. They had 5 total yards at halftime, the lowest for any team this season. Houston looked like a team that knows it isn't going to be competitive. At least if the Texans keep getting blown out, they won't be in danger of losing the No. 1 overall pick.
Buffalo Bills' unexpected road trip: The Bills had some adversity this past week.
Early in the week, several players were sick. Then they had their home game against the Cleveland Browns moved to Detroit due to a huge snowstorm. Getting out of Buffalo on Saturday was iffy, but the Bills made it to Michigan.
Early on the Bills looked flat against the Browns and that was understandable. They fell behind 7-0. For a Bills team that had lost two straight, it was bad news. But then the Bills got it together. The defense played very well. The offense ran the ball effectively and Josh Allen made a few plays. The Bills won 31-23, though it wasn't without some scary moments.
The Bills go right back to Detroit to play the Lions (4-6) on Thanksgiving. If they get through their back-to-back Detroit games with a couple wins, they should feel good about it.
Baltimore Ravens, perhaps: The Ravens shouldn't be in a slog against the Carolina Panthers at home. They should have handled a Panthers team that had no shot to win with Baker Mayfield back at quarterback.
But the Ravens struggled. They eventually won, 13-3, but it wasn't pretty. It was 3-3 into the fourth quarter. The Ravens got a 6-3 lead and then Lamar Jackson put it away with a rushing touchdown.
Give the Ravens' defense credit. That side of the ball played well, though the Panthers have a terrible offense. When the Ravens had the ball, they rarely had any big plays. It was still a win so there shouldn't be too much angst, but you'd have liked to have seen the Ravens play better than they did.
That Vikings bandwagon: One loss doesn’t erase everything Minnesota has done. It's still 8-2 and on its way to an NFC North championship.
Still, anyone who was thinking the Vikings were a Super Bowl contender probably doesn’t think so anymore.
The Vikings were blasted by the Dallas Cowboys 40-3 on Sunday. The Cowboys are a good team (one loss to the Packers didn’t change that), and they looked like the Super Bowl contender on Sunday. Tony Pollard was fantastic, Ezekiel Elliott plowed through for a couple of touchdowns and the defense wouldn’t let Kirk Cousins breathe. It was impressive.
The Vikings are still good. Probably just not great. And they definitely don’t want to see Dallas again in the playoffs.
Zach Wilson: There's a long way to go for the New York Jets to know for sure what they have in Wilson. He's in only his second season.
It's just hard to believe that a quarterback who could look so bad on Sunday could end up being a good NFL QB.
The New England Patriots' win will be remembered for a dramatic 84-yard punt return touchdown by Marcus Jones with 5 seconds left. That gave them a 10-3 victory. What really won the game was their defense destroying Wilson.
Wilson hardly made a positive play all day. He was awful. He was 9-of-22 for 77 yards. The Jets are having a good season but it is in spite of their quarterback. They won't continue to win unless Wilson plays better or the defense holds opponents to practically nothing.
It's way too early to throw in the towel on Wilson. But nothing looks good for him.
Justin Fields in the clutch: Each of the past three Chicago Bears games have had the same script. Fields plays well, the Bears' defense gets the stops it needs, Fields has a chance for a dramatic game-winning drive and fails. This time, in a 27-24 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Fields threw high to David Montgomery over the middle and it was picked off with 1:06 to go. That sealed the loss. Fields also hurt his left shoulder late in the game, which could be a concern.
Fields has played much better and he has some electric moments. He still has some work to do as a passer, though he doesn't have much help. It would be nice to see Fields come up with a clutch drive. He has had plenty of chances.
The Rams' miserable season gets worse: The 1999 Denver Broncos set the record for most losses by a reigning Super Bowl champ. They went 6-10. The Los Angeles Rams already have seven losses.
The Rams are a bad team that is being decimated by injuries. That's a bad combination. They lost quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has been getting pounded all season, to an injury in the second half. The New Orleans Saints took advantage of that and cruised to a 27-20 win.
The Rams are bad. Cooper Kupp had ankle surgery, which set the Rams' offense back. Losing Stafford wrecked any chance they had to win. At this point, double-digit losses look inevitable for the Rams. And they don't even get to look forward to their first-round draft pick.
Daniel Jones and the New York Giants: You had to know that the Giants would blow a game they had no business losing.
That happened Sunday. The Detroit Lions won their third in a row behind Jamaal Williams' big day. Williams scored three touchdowns in the 31-18 win. The Giants are still in good shape at 7-3 but it would have been good for them to keep the momentum going heading into a Thanksgiving game at the Dallas Cowboys.
The Giants' offense was bad. They got some meaningless yards late after the Lions took a huge lead. There aren't many weapons outside of Saquon Barkley. When he had a quiet day, there was no counter-punch.
Barkley had 22 yards on 15 carries. Jones had a rough day, even though the box score shows that he passed for 341 yards. His fourth-down interception in the fourth quarter, when the Giants had faint hope, sealed the loss. He has rarely made mistakes but threw two interceptions Sunday.
It's not all Jones' fault, and he has had a good season. He doesn't have much help though. But Sunday showed that the Giants were nowhere near as good as their record coming in, and Jones isn't going to carry them on a bad day.
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