Hey everyone, Tyler Arthur here, welcome to my weekly NFL column.
I am going to be using this space to keep all of you guys up to date with what you may have missed in the NFL, the biggest takeaways and stats, and then preview the upcoming week and what I think you need to be watching next.
Thanks for reading, now let’s get into this week’s column.
Every week I tell you guys about how there were some wild games, crazy endings and unpredictable results, it has been a weird season as a whole, but this week. Wow, this week was wild.
The best team in the AFC lost to one of the worst teams in the league and one of the best teams in the NFC lost on a walk-off field goal by a division rival. A couple of teams you’d expect to win comfortably had to really grind out their results. Oh, and we also had an absolutely wild Sunday Night Football game for those who felt particularly awake.
Finally, we had the best individual performance from any player this season so far.
For all that and more, you’re in the right place.
Let’s recap, what happened This Week in the NFL?
Upset of the [Season!!] Week
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Yes, you are reading that correctly. The team who won is the one in bold! One of the worst teams in the league toppled a team that people have been – rightfully – calling legit Super Bowl hopefuls. The 1-8 Houston Texans defeated the 8-2 Tennessee Titans on their own home field.
Don’t get me wrong, losing Derrick Henry is far from ideal, but the Titans should be able to beat the Texans 10 times out of 10. To say the famous line, ‘this is why they play the games’. The Texans held them to just 13 points and intercepted QB Ryan Tannehill four times. Their quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, managed to score 12 points on his own, with a pair of rushing TD’s, including a high-flying leap into the endzone. This win serves as a serious wakeup call for the Titans, who are still very likely going to be fine in the long run, but can’t lose concentration.
Winners and Losers
New England Patriots (7-4)
Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
Baltimore Ravens (7-3)
Cleveland Browns (6-5)
Houston Texans (2-8)
Minnesota Vikings (5-5)
Miami Dolphins (4-7)
Philadelphia Eagles (5-6)
Washington Football Team (4-6)
San Francisco 49ers (5-5)
Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
Arizona Cardinals (9-2)
Los Angeles Chargers (6-4)
Atlanta Falcons (4-6)
Buffalo Bills (6-4)
Chicago Bears (3-7)
Detroit Lions (0-9-1)
Tennessee Titans (8-3)
Green Bay Packers (8-3)
New York Jets (2-8)
New Orleans Saints (5-5)
Carolina Panthers (5-6)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-8)
Dallas Cowboys (7-3)
Seattle Seahawks (3-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-4-1)
Denver Broncos (5-5)
Los Angeles Rams (7-3)
Standout Individual Performers
Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
35 touches, 204 scrimmage yards, 5 TD’s.
I’ll take a moment for you to read that again.
35 touches. 204 scrimmage yards. Five touchdowns.
Jonathan Taylor is having an awesome season. Last year he looked good, but now that the Colts are feeding him a full workload, he’s getting it done. This week marked his third 100-yard rushing day in a row, and he has six through Week 11. This time out, against a solid Buffalo defense, he put up the second best yardage total of his career with 185. This yardage came on a whopping 32 carries. He also rushed for four rushing touchdowns, as well as catching one through the air.
The Colts put up 41 points in their romp of the Bills, and JT was single-handedly responsible for 30 of them. He was playing out of his mind. I think we’re safe to crown the Indy RB as the current holder of the best individual performance of the season so far.
*simulating the space between Taylor and everybody else*
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
17 touches, 115 scrimmage yards, 4 TD’s.
Jonathan Taylor truly did put up an unparalleled performance, however, Austin Ekeler had a pretty electric Sunday Night Football showing, too. The efficiency for Ekeler was pretty incredible, touching the ball just 17 times. He rushed 11 times, for 50 yards and scored twice. The Chargers RB added 6 receptions for another 65 yards and scored another pair. I can’t overstate how impressive it is to gain 115 yards and score 4 times on just 17 touches. Ekeler was a real catalyst to the most exciting game of football this week, and his individual performance would have stood above the rest on most weeks.
Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers
73% completion rate, 382 passing yards and 3 TD’s, plus 9 rushes for 90 yards.
Ekeler didn’t have to do it all on his own, though, that’s for damn sure! His quarterback actually outrushed him, with 9 carries for 90 yards. Every time the Steelers’ D held up on the back end, it felt like Herbert was able to scramble for a first down. The Chargers QB also put up the huge passing production we expect, too. He had a 73% completion rate, with 382 yards and three touchdowns on 30 completions in an epic primetime performance.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
70% completion rate, 385 passing yards and 4 TD’s.
The health of Aaron Rodgers in general has been the subject of discussion lately, to put it lightly, but the concern going into this game was that he had a toe injury. With their bye next week, he played through the discomfort, and played pretty damn well. The Vikings were able to win this epic divisional battle, but not for the lack of Rodgers’ output. He completed 23 of 33 passes and threw 385 yards and 4 touchdowns. He would have liked to get the ball back one last time, but the close-fought loss doesn’t take away from a huge day.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
69% completion rate, 341 passing yards and 3 TD’s.
While Rodgers’ awesome effort wasn’t enough to win, the QB he was duelling managed to keep pace and had a great line of his own. Kirk Cousins’ 35 passing attempts returned 24 completions for 341 yards, including 3 TD’s in the victory. While ARod is the star of the show in Green Bay, especially with Jones injured, Cousins sometimes goes under the radar. He is playing awesome football this year and has just defeated the Chargers and the Packers in back to back weeks, with his fourth 300+-yard game this year.
Taylor Heinicke, Washington Football Team
73% completion rate, 206 yards, 3 TD’s.
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook a smaller line but efficiency has value. Taylor Heinicke put up a very respectable line of 206 yards and 3 touchdowns. What makes his performance more impressive is the fact he did it on 16 completions, in just 22 pass attempts. His 73% completion rate and the hat trick of passing TD’s earned him a 141.3 QB rating, which was second only to Aaron Rodgers.
Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings
8 receptions for 169 yards and 2 TD’s.
Kirk Cousins’ ability to pass a football has been on full display in Minnesota, and the biggest benefactor from that is second-year superstar Justin Jefferson. The LSU product exploded onto the scene last year with an absurd rookie year and hasn’t slowed down one bit. This week he was the best wide receiver in the league, with his own strongest performance of the year. Jefferson was targeted 10 times and caught 8 of them for an impressive 169 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
7 receptions for 115 yards and 2 TD’s.
There are some players who just can’t spend long without popping up in this section of the column. Davante Adams hadn’t had a big game since Week 5, so he was due one (and Cooper Kupp is on bye this week so he did what he had to do). The Packers wideout dominated the Vikings secondary in the loss. He tortured them for 115 yards on 7 receptions. He also scored twice, with one coming on a quintessential Rodgers to Adams connection, where number 12 literally directed his star receiver on where to go mid-play and then found him for six points.
Elijah Moore, New York Jets
8 receptions for 141 yards and a TD.
There aren’t many opportunities to hype up Jets players for their performances (you guys remember how excited we got about Mike White!?), so when we get the opportunity, we’ll do it. Week 11’s epic Jets performance of the week came courtesy of Elijah Moore. The second-round pick had by far his best game so far. He caught a career-high 8 receptions from his career-high 11 targets and put up his career-high 141 receiving yards and his fourth touchdown in the last three games. Moore has looked amazing when he’s been given some volume, and I can only imagine he should be earning more and more touches as the year continues.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
30 rushes, 123 yards and 2 TD’s.
In a matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders, if you rush the ball 30 times, you’re going to break a couple of big ones, but Mixon put a little extra something on it with some angry runs and a nice rushing line. He turned the big workload into 123 yards and 2 TD’s in the Bengals win in the desert. Joe Burrow and the passing game was fairly non-descript, but Mixon carried them to a comfortable victory.
D’Andre Swift, Detroit Lions
14 rushes, 136 rushing yards and a TD.
The Lions had the highlight of their year last week with a tie, meaning they can’t be the first ever 0-17 team, they then followed that up by keeping it damn close with the Browns. They fell short, but running back D’Andre Swift had a great performance individually. Once considered just a receiving back, Swift has really started to balance out his role. The Detroit RB had just one 100-yard rushing game in his rookie year, these last two weeks he has done it back-to-back. Last week he rushed 33 times for 130 yards. This time out he rushed just 14 times but for 136 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Ertz, Arizona Cardinals
8 receptions, 88 yards and 2 TD’s.
We never really get much chance to talk tight ends on this column, outside of National TE day a few weeks ago – of course, but this week I think Zach Ertz deserves an honourable mention. The ex-Eagle has been flying in Arizona lately, and he had a great week against the Seahawks. He was targeted 9 times and hauled in 8 of them, resulting in a season-high 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the veteran TE.
Kyle Van Noy, New England Patriots
8 combined tackles, a pick six and 2 sacks.
This week’s Thursday Night Football was rough to watch. The Atlanta Falcons found themselves on the wrong side of a 25-point lead to the Patriots. The New England defense absolutely balled out, but none more so than Kyle Van Noy, who had a huge day. He got in on 8 tackles, five of which were solo efforts, had two sacks, and even had a pick-six, courtesy of Josh Rosen.
Chris Jones, Kansas City Chiefs
5 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks.
The Kansas City Chiefs are very much back in the win column, which we all expected to happen, however, you might not have predicted how that would become the case. Outside of their Raiders decimation job, the other three wins of their 4-game-streak have come with an average of just 17 points per game. They’re winning based on their defense, for once. This week, DT Chris Jones absolutely destroyed the Cowboys offensive line. He recorded 3.5 sacks on Dak Prescott, and even batted down a pass, just to add a little extra to his huge day.
Robert Quinn, Chicago Bears
5 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks.
While everyone is hyping up Chris Jones, Robert Quinn quietly put up the same line, dominating the Baltimore offensive line and putting pressure on last-minute starter QB Tyler Huntley. The Bears couldn’t get the W, but unfortunately their offense couldn’t do much. They held Baltimore to 16 points, nonetheless. Quinn recorded 4 solo tackles and one assisted, on his way to 3.5 sacks.
Games to watch back
Steelers @ Chargers
Packers @ Vikings
Colts @ Bills
Stat Leaders through Week 11
Passing Yards – Patrick Mahomes, 3200
Passing TD’s – Tom Brady, 29
Rushing Yards – Jonathan Taylor, 1122
Rushing TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 13
Receiving Yards – Cooper Kupp, 1141
Receiving TD’s – Mike Evans and Cooper Kupp, 10
Total TD’s – Jonathan Taylor, 15
Tackles (combined) – Bobby Wagner, 115
Sacks – Myles Garrett, 13.0
Interceptions – Trevon Diggs, 8
Week 12 Preview – What to watch
We get a full three-game slate on Thanksgiving Thursday this week!
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions, 5:30pm
Las Vegas Raiders @ Dallas Cowboys, 9:30pm
Buffalo Bills @ New Orleans Saints, 1:20am
Week 12 Best Games
Buccaneers @ Colts
Titans @ Patriots
Rams @ Packers
Week 12 – Storylines and what to watch
Will Thanksgiving provide us the worst game of football of the whole year? Bears @ Lions, 5:30 Thursday
Can Las Vegas maintain some form of life as their season slips away? Raiders @ Cowboys, 9:30 Thursday
Are the Bills still a team to beat in the AFC? Bills @ Saints, TNF
Big AFC North rivalry game, Steelers @ Bengals, 6pm
Can Jonathan Taylor and Indy’s incredible run game outplay Tampa Bay’s elite front-seven? Buccaneers @ Colts, 6pm
Will a surging New England maintain their momentum against a spluttering Tennessee? Titans @ Patriots
The battle for the second-worst team in the NFL! Jets @ Texans, 6pm
NFC Championship hopefuls fighting for the top of the conference, Rams @ Packers, 9:25pm
Big SNF rivalry game, Browns @ Ravens, SNF