Gridiron Confidential: The Story of Week 11 in the NFL
The final game week before Thanksgiving was always likely to throw out a few shocks, the most notable being the Cowboys beating the in-form Vikings.
The Ravens struggles continued ahead of their crucial Thanksgiving Thursday matchup with divisional rivals, Pittsburgh. While the Seahawks got back to winning ways against the Cardinals, here is the story of week 11 from the NFL.
Elliott finally shows his class:
Cowboys fans have been waiting all season but pro bowl running back, Ezekiel Elliott finally put in his first 100 yard rushing performance of 2020 to help the Cowboys win their first game since Dak Prescott went down against the Giants.
Elliott rushed for 103 yards and also caught a pass for touchdown to help his team edge the in-form Vikings in Minnesota. Final Score at US Bank Stadium, Vikings 28-31 Cowboys.
The Cowboys have improved to 3-7 for the season and are very much still in the playoff picture in the NFC East ahead of a crucial thanksgiving battle with Washington. Dallas are looking to split the season series with a victory on Thursday and will need Elliott to put in another elite level performance.
Zeke was tossed into the limelight when Dak went down as he was expected to put the team on his back and continue to drive them forward in the absence of their star quarterback. Until week 11, Elliott seemed to have no interest in being the team leader but he now seems to have got his head back in the game and if the Cowboys want to be playing post season football they will need Elliott to continue his hot form until the end of the season.
Green Bay take a trip to the bottle bank in Indianapolis:
The Packers seemed to be set for a big win on the road, storming into a 28-14 half time lead against the Colts. However, they took their foot of the gas in the second period, managing just three points in the half. Instead of cementing their place atop the NFC North they left the door open for the Bears to mount a late push.
The story of Green Bay blowing a 14 point lead was no doubt the highlight of Sunday nights action but their bottle job was made more emphatic by three offensive fumbles, two in the second half and one in overtime. Rodgers also threw just his fourth interception of the season. You always try to give credit to the team that made the comeback but the Packers did everything in their power to blow this game and were ultimately successful. Final Score at Lucas Oil Stadium, Colts 34-31 Packers O/T.
The Colts played their part in Sundays game too and took advantage of poor second half performance from the Packers, forcing a key turnover in overtime to put the ball back in Phillip Rivers hands and win the game with a field goal.
The Colts outscored the Packers 20-3 during the second half and OT and will be brimming with confidence after improving to 7-3 for the season and drawing level with the Titans atop the AFC South.
Brady & the Bucs continue to struggle in big games:
Tom Brady's arrival in Tampa has no doubt turned around the Buccaneers as a franchise but the legendary QB is struggling when it comes to facing the top teams around the league, this continued as the Bucs lost on MNF to the LA Rams.
The Buccaneers are now 2-4 for the season against teams with winning records, there only notable victory of the season coming against the Packers. Tampa brought Brady to Florida to pull the Bucs through against the elite teams around the league but so far he has failed to do so. Final Score at Raymond James Stadium, Buccaneers 23-27 Rams.
Brady threw two interceptions on Monday including a crucial over-throw with less than two minutes remaining which all but handed the victory to LA. The Buccaneers will be more than happy once they reach the postseason but with Brady's current form against the elite teams in the league they can't have too much confidence moving forward.
Monday nights defeat means the Bucs are now even further behind the Saints in the battle for the NFC South but Tom Brady thrives when his back is against the wall so bet against him at your peril.
Alarm bells sound for struggling Ravens:
The world was shocked in 2019 when Baltimore equipped with league MVP Lamar Jackson went down 28-12 to the Tennessee Titans in the Divisional round of the playoffs and the Ravens certainly seem to be suffering a hangover from that defeat in 2020.
The Titans were again victorious over Baltimore on Sunday inflicting the Ravens fourth defeat of the season in the process. Tennessee bounced back from eight points down at the end of the third to eventually snatch victory in overtime. Derrick Henry's catch and run enough to secure a crucial victory for the Titans. Final Score in Baltimore, Ravens 24-30 Titans O/T.
The Ravens home record for the season now stands at 2-3 while Lamar Jacksons 2020 struggles show no signs of waning. In Sundays defeat, Jackson threw for just 186 yards, one touchdown and one interception. So far this season he has thrown six interceptions, matching his total for the whole of last season. If Jackson can't turn things around, the Ravens may just miss out on the postseason.
The Ravens are now 6-4 for the season and sit third in AFC North ahead of what is now looking like a must win thanksgiving day battle with the 10-0 Steelers.
Seahawks return to winning ways against the Cardinals:
Russell Wilson had his first game since week 8 without throwing an interception as the Seattle Seahawks avenged their week 7 defeat to Arizona, ending their two game losing streak in the process.
Seattle improved to 7-3 for the season, level with the Rams atop the NFC West and continue to dominate at CenturyLink Field, now 5-0 at home for the season. Wilson was back to his best for the crucial divisional battle, completing 23 of his 28 pass attempts, throwing two touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Final Score in Seattle, Seahawks 28-21 Cardinals.
With a more than favorable few weeks ahead before going up against the Rams in week 16, the Seahawks seem well placed to seal top spot in the NFC West.
Seattle now faces Philadelphia, both New York teams and the Washington football team before a showdown with LA in the penultimate week of the regular season, so if they have desires at success in 2020 they have to be looking at a minimum of three wins from their next five games.