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Friday, Dec 15, 2017
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NFL Week 11: What we learned

Is Jerry Jones the next Al Davis? Is he really going to let his anger for commissioner Roger Goodell ruin his relationship with the other owners? Should we have seen this coming? I think the answers are: Yes, probably and yes. Jones is the modern-day Icarus. He's flying too close to the sun if he thinks his war with the commish is a fight the other owners will join. Goodell's main job is to make money for the owners and he does that. Boatloads. Who is going to want to rock that boat? Okay, who other than Jones?



This is how bad things are going for the Broncos: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Dre Kirkpatrick's 101-yard interception return was the longest in NFL history that did not result in a touchdown. Also, they lost at home to the Bengals, 20-17.

Here is how you help your offense and stay in the playoff hunt: You generate points when the O is not on the field. That's what the Lions are doing. D.J. Hayden's 27-yard fumble recovery was the Lions' first touchdown in a 27-24 win at Chicago. It was also their seventh non-offensive touchdown of the season, the most in the NFL (ESPN Stats & Info). The defense has scored five times; special teams twice.

Don't confuse Jacksonville S Tashaun Gipson with Joe Namath, who correctly predicted an epic upset in Super Bowl III. Gipson, a former Brown, said last week the Jags would shut out the Browns on Sunday and the Browns will go 0-16. Well, the Browns managed a touchdown, but their 19-7 home loss to the Jaguars dropped them to 4-43 since Nov. 30, 2014. That's the worst 47-game stretch in NFL history. Yes, Gipson went out on a very sturdy limb.

Speaking of the Jaguars, they have won four straight and are alone atop the AFC South. Their defense, among the best in the NFL, forced five turnovers at Cleveland and sacked beleaguered Browns QB DeShone Kizer five times. It's enough for some to refer to the defense as "Sacksonville."

Who said the Texans can't win without QB Deshaun Watson? Just about everybody? Okay. Well, backup Tom Savage passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-21 win against the Cardinals. Savage also threw a pick, giving him three in four games, and has fumbled six times. But he won Sunday, so he's got that going for him.

Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky had the Bears on the move in the fourth, scrambling 19 yards on fourth and 13 then hitting Dontrelle Inman for 15 yards to set up Connor Barth for a potential tying 46-yard field. It was wide right. Too bad. It would have been a growth moment for the No. 2 overall pick.

The Cardinals are down to third-string QB Blaine Gabbert after Carson Palmer broke his arm and his backup, Drew Stanton, sprained his knee. The result of their game in Houston was pretty much as expected. Gabbert passed for 287 yards and a career-high three TDs. His two fourth-quarter interceptions thwarted any Cards comeback.

Case Keenum's 65-yard scoring pass to Adam Thielen was notable for this reason: It gave the Vikings a 21-7 lead against the Rams, the first time this season L.A. has trailed by 14. The Rams' NFL-best offense was shut down after opening the game with a 70-yard touchdown drive. The trip to Minneapolis was the start of a five-game stretch for the Rams that includes home games against the Saints and Eagles and a trip to Seattle. Time to see just how for real this team is. And speaking of Keenum (above), this is what analyst Jimmy Johnson had to say about the noted Bucs killer on the Fox postgame show: "Case Keenum, quit trying to replace him." That is a reference to QB Teddy Bridgewater, who is now active. Keenum further stated his case for the starting job with a solid 280 passing yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' sixth straight win. That it came against the team that replaced him last season with then-rookie Jared Goff, well, that was just the cherry on top even if Keenum won't say so.

How does that song go? Oh when the Saints … trail by 15 … with less than three minutes to play … New Orleans became the first team in the Super Bowl era to win eight straight after starting 0-2 by rallying with two late touchdowns and a two-point conversion in a 34-31 overtime win against visiting Washington. The Saints got another big game from RB Mark Ingram (134 yards, one touchdown). QB Drew Brees (above) threw for 385 yards and a pair of TDs. He was 11-for-11 with those two scores in the final three minutes to for OT. Running, throwing, down by two TDs, whatever, the Saints are marching in right now.

At least they still play defense in Baltimore. The Ravens and Marlon Humphrey (above) pitched their third shutout of the season, forcing five turnovers in a 23-0 win against the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers. It's the most shutouts in a season for the Ravens since 2000, when they had four during a Super Bowl-winning year.

Did someone mention Aaron Rodgers? The Pack was blanked for the first time since Nov. 19, 2006 (35-0 to the Patriots, when Brett Favre left with an elbow injury and was replaced by Rodgers). Brett Hundley (above), who replaced the injured Rodgers this season, passed for 239 yards but had two early interceptions.

Word early Sunday was Panthers TE Greg Olsen will practice today and play next Sunday on the road against the Jets. The source? Greg Olsen. Out since Week 2 with a broken foot, Olsen announced his return during the Fox pregame show before serving as the analyst for the Rams-Vikings game. So, that's good news for the Panthers unless, of course, Olsen was misquoted.

Giants coach Ben McAdoo responded to all the fingers pointed at him after a pair of embarrassing losses and held what he called a "brutally honest" meeting last week where plays showing lack of effort and mistakes were shown to the team. Then he called for a fake punt, a halfback option (intercepted), lined his tackles five yards wide and went for it on fourth down late in the game while on the wrong side of the 50. Sometimes you just have to say, "What the heck." It worked, too, as the G-men won for only the second time this year.



What's going on with the Chiefs? Their 12-9 overtime loss on the road to the Giants was their fourth in their past five games. What's more, it came against a team that supposedly had quit. Coach Andy Reid was 16-2 coming off bye weeks, but this gimme of a game might haunt Kansas City. QB Alex Smith, who never throws interceptions, was picked off twice. The offense has scored only seven touchdowns in the past five games, none on Sunday.

The folks at ESPN Stats & Info had a field day with the decision by Bills coach Sean McDermott to start rookie QB Nathan Peterman over Tyrod Taylor because Peterman gave the Bills a better chance to win. Here we go: Peterman became the first QB since Keith Null of the Rams in 2009 to throw five picks in his first career start. Taylor threw three INTs this season on 254 attempts. Peterman matched that in his first eight attempts. Peterman's first drive ended in a pick-six. Taylor has yet to throw a pick-six in his 38 career starts.



Peterman's rough start (being kind here) led to a bounty of points for the Chargers in their 54-24 victory. It was the most they scored in a game started by QB Philip Rivers. The Chargers' six takeaways were their most since they forced six turnovers in a 41-10 win against the Bucs in 1990. Again, thanks to ESPN Stats & Info for the homework on this.



Tom Brady became the first player to pass for more than 300 yards in three countries — USA, England, Mexico — after throwing for 339 yards in a 33-8 win against the Raiders in Mexico City. Coach Bill Belichick moved past Tom Landry for third on the all-time wins list with his 271st victory. Don Shula leads with 347. George Halas is next at 324.

After blowing a 15-point lead late in the fourth quarter, QB Kirk Cousins had Washington on the move, driving to the Saints 34. Then he was called for an intentional grounding, and with the game in the final minute, the penalty came with a 10-second run off. Then Cousins was sacked on the final play of regulation. Washington lost in overtime, and its dimming playoff hopes took another hit when RB Chris Thompson broke his leg.

   
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