Week eleven in the NFL saw some good, some bad, and everything in between. From blowout victories to notable injuries, to, yes…helmets being removed and used as weapons. Let’s see who caught the eyes of Austin, Tyler, and Anthony this week!
Offensive Player of the Week
QB Lamar Jackson (17-24, 70.8%, 222 passing yards 4 TD, 139.2 passer rating, 9 rushes, 86 yards)
Lamar Jackson is continuing with his impressive sophomore season by leading the Baltimore Ravens to a 8-2 record. He has looked good passing and tremendous running the ball. He is making the right decisions and leading his team to victories over top opponents. Jackson is playing at an MVP level and currently has the attention of everyone. The Ravens are playing their best ball as they prepare to head into the final month of the regular season. Let’s just hope it’s not a month too soon.
QB Dak Prescott (29-46, 63%, 444 yards, 3 TD, 116.6 passer rating, 0 INT, 6 rushes, 18 yards)
Prior to the start of the season, a lot of talk was about how much money Dak Prescott was worth. There was even debate that the Cowboys shouldn’t even re-sign him. With how Prescott has performed this season, he has played his way into being the highest-paid quarterback in the league this off-season. With Ezekiel Elliott not being able to step up on a consistent basis, Prescott has put the entire offense on his shoulders and thrived under pressure. While the Cowboys record isn’t perfect, it has not been on Prescott, but can be mostly attributed to poor coaching from head coach Jason Garrett. This offseason, don’t be surprised when Dak Prescott gets $35 million plus per season.
QB Sam Darnold (19-30, 63.3%, 293 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT, 2 sacks)
Since being drafted 3rd overall by the New York Jets in 2018, I have been relatively outspoken about my beliefs on Sam Darnold. In the past, I’ve questioned his ability to truly be a franchise quarterback, but if he continues to string together performances like this past weekend (yes, I know it was against Washington), I might just have to change my tune. In spite of receiving little help from the running back committee, Darnold still had some fantastic throws and played relatively mistake-free.
Defensive Player of the Week
DE Frank Clark (5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble)
Frank Clark had his best game of the year when the Kansas City Chiefs needed it most. He was playing against a beat-up offensive line for the Los Angeles Chargers, but he made the most of it. Clark was constantly harassing Phillip Rivers throughout the game. He was putting pressure on Rivers and forcing him to makes throws that led to turnovers. Playing in Mexico City, many of the Chiefs defensive players were exhausted, but Frank Clark dug deep and kept fighting all game. If he can build on this game moving forward, then he will be heating up at the perfect time for the Kansas City Chiefs.
LB Matt Judon (7 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 4 QB hits, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble)
After losing C.J. Mosley and Za’Darius Smith this offseason, the Ravens needed Matt Judon to step up and he has in a big way. Amassing six sacks so far this year, Judon was huge in stopping Deshaun Watson this week. The former 5th-round pick out of Grand Valley State has played his way, not only into a starting spot but a lucrative contract this offseason. Judon is another in a long line of late-round hits from the Ozzie Newsone/Eric DeCosta regime.
OLB Demario Davis (6 solo tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 INT, 4 passed defended)
On a defense loaded with talent and arguably bigger names, Demario Davis has been a relatively unheralded piece among non-Saints fans. On Sunday however, he put together a fantastic performance and was a key factor in slowing down Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay aerial assault. Four passes defended is outstanding for a linebacker and Davis deserves some shine for his performance.
Breakout Player of the Week
WR John Brown (14 targets, 9 receptions, 137 yards, 2 TD)
John Brown, the wide receiver from a D-II school whose mascot is a Gorilla has been lighting up the NFL the last couple weeks. It is nice to see him remain healthy now that he is a veteran in the league. His experience has been helpful for Josh Allen and that relationship is building right before our eyes. The game this last weekend was a clear breakout performance that should have the attention of everyone as the Buffalo Bills got back to winning against the Dolphins.
WR Courtland Sutton (9 targets, 5 receptions, 113 yards, 2 rushes, 12 yards, 1-1, 100%, 38 yards, 118.7 passer rating)
Even in a loss, Courtland Sutton was the standout in this game. When rookie quarterback Brandon Allen had time to throw, Sutton did a great job coming down with the football, especially in contested situations. Not only did the 6’4″ receiver do great in the jump ball situations he was drafted for, but he ran for a critical first down and threw an absolute dime to tight end, Tim Patrick. In an offense that desperately needs consistency and continuity at the quarterback and offensive line positions, Sutton is solidifying himself as a true WR1.
RB Jonathan Williams (13 attempts, 116 yards, 8.9 YPC, 1 reception, 31 yards)
Jonathan Williams’ performance Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars was a breakout performance in the truest sense of the phrase. Coming into the game with a career total of 94 yards, Williams ran like a man possessed against a tough Jacksonville front seven. Marlon Mack totaled 100+ yards as well, but this is something that Colts fans have come to expect. After Mack fractured his hand and sat for most of the 2nd half, Williams, a 4th-year bruiser out of Arkansas, took over and ran with a vengeance. On a pivotal 3rd and 19 in their own territory, he took a screen play for 31 yards and made something out of nothing. There is no timetable on a return for Mack, so look for Williams and Jordan Wilkins to split carries for Indianapolis.
Disappointing Performance of the Week
QB Nick Foles (33-47, 70.2%, 296 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 92.2 passer rating)
Nick Foles made his first appearance for the Jacksonville Jaguars since his week one injury against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Jaguars decided to give Foles the start and he came out kind of sluggish. Yes, he has been out for a while and coming back from a broken collar bone. He threw 47 times and still had less than 300 yards with an interception. Maybe next week is a better performance but this past weekend was disappointing.
QB Philip Rivers (28-52, 53.9%, 353 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT, 1 fumble, 49.6 passer rating)
When you look at the stat sheet for Rivers, it reminds me of a quarterback that plays for Texas Tech. There are some impressive yardage numbers and a good completion percentage, but makes critical mistakes and underperforms in the win/loss column. When you watch him play, it’s evident that Rivers doesn’t have it anymore. On a team loaded with weapons, Rivers has been inaccurate on downfield throws, making poor decisions and not able to stay consistent. In fact, last week against the Raiders, he ended the game with 8 straight incompletions while trying to lead a game-winning drive. Come April, the Chargers are going to need to find a replacement for Papa Phil, as his time has passed.
QB Deshaun Watson (18-29, 62.1%, 169 yards, 1 INT, 6 sacks, 3 rushes, 12 yards)
It’s tough for me to say this as a Colts fan, but I truly do think Deshaun Watson is my favorite quarterback in the league. His poise, demeanor, talent, and spirit make him incredibly easy to root for. That being said, I guarantee he wants this performance back because it was rough. Watson looked surprisingly pedestrian against a monstrous Ravens defense, accounting for no scores through the air or with his legs. Watson’s desire to extend plays caught up to him here, as he took a couple sacks due to his unwillingness to throw the ball away. Massive playoff implications await this Thursday in a clash with the division-leading Indianapolis Colts, and he’ll need to bring his A-game to get the win.
Under-the-Radar Storyline of the Week
The Jaguars are an interesting team at this point in the season. They have traded the best corner in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey to the Los Angeles Rams and have now benched OROY candidate in Gardner Minshew. They received great draft picks with the trade of Ramsey, but that does not help them. Benching Minshew is a head-scratcher because it was looking as if the team was building with him as the potential future. He is a rookie and has had some moments he will learn from, but now his future of leading this team is a question mark. The Jaguars had a realistic opportunity of winning the AFC South this season, but things are looking a little off right now. It will be interesting to see how they respond the rest of this season with Foles at the helm of the offense. They still have the potential of winning the South but a LOT of things are going to have to go their way.
Is It Time To Destroy The Kirk Cousins Narrative?
After the week 4 contest in Soldier Field, everyone, including myself, started talking about how the Vikings needed to draft a quarterback this offseason. Over the past 7 weeks, Cousins has proven us wrong, going 6-1, including going 2-0 in prime time games and the only loss on a last-second field goal at Arrowhead stadium. Over that span, Kirk has thrown 18 touchdowns and the lone interception hit Diggs in the hands on a well-thrown ball. In the game against Dallas, he led them from behind in the fourth quarter on the road in prime time, following it up with the first-ever comeback from a 20-point halftime deficit to win in the game on Sunday against the Broncos. I’m not going to lie, Kirk is not an elite level quarterback, but he is an above-average player who can do elite level things on the field from time to time. Until we are proven otherwise, which at this point I doubt, it is time to destroy the negative narrative on Kirk Cousins and admit he is the guy that can lead Minnesota to a Super Bowl title.
Road to the Super Bowl Goes Through Baltimore
There are a couple things in football that I will always enjoy that go beyond my fandom. The first one that comes to mind is Aaron Rodgers and the Hail Mary. Next is complete team football, where every facet of the game is in perfect harmony. What I just described is what I’m seeing from the Baltimore Ravens this season. We all know what Lamar Jackson does on a weekly basis, but he’s not the only thing that makes this team tick. Many had written off Mark Ingram after leaving New Orleans, but he’s been great. The defense is ferocious and the Ravens still have one of the best kickers in the league. Don’t be surprised if this team is the last one standing at the end of the season.
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