NFL Week 11 Report Cards: Grades for Every Team
As NFL Week 10 continues, it's time to put together the report card and grade the teams on the product on the field.
Some of these grades may surprise, but getting a victory doesn't give you an automatic "A." These grades are as brutally honest as I can make them, so don't expect there to be any punches pulled.
Special mention for Richard Seymour's punch, that's an "A." When you drop a quarterback with one open-handed punch, you get an "A."
Starting with the bottom...
*NOTE: Grades will be updated as the late games complete.
Where do the Bengals go from here?
Their defense is porous, to put it mildly. They had a weak secondary coming into the game that got further depleted by injuries when Jonathan Joseph and Chis Crocker were both bitten by the injury bug.
Carson Palmer threw two more picks and the Bengals continue their march toward the bottom of the NFL to hang out with the Carolina Panthers.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers got shut out at home. Troy Smith looked terrible, and the 49ers have to re-evaluate everything again.
Does Alex Smith come back and be the starter again?
Does it matter at this point?
This is a tough grade to give because of several factors.
A: The Panthers are awful and were going to lose this game no matter what, so you have to factor that into the situation.
B: The Panthers are down to their third starting quarterback after injuries to Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen. That also needs factored into the grade.
C: Despite having two other quarterbacks on the roster, the Panthers decided to go sign somebody off the street. This is called a "Huh!?!?!?" move.
D: No matter how "unready" the Panthers feel Tony Pike (pictured) may be to start in the NFL, he's been on the roster since training camp.
E: Brian St. Pierre has not.
F: Armanti Edwards still can throw a football last time I checked.
G: Blah, blah, blah, John Fox doesn't know anything anymore, blah, blah, blah.
The Vikings are a team in search of an identity. Are they falling apart? Are they a complete mess? Is Brad Childress a mad genius who is a secret plant working for the Packers organization?
It's really a crapshoot at this point. All things considered, it's amazing the Vikings got three points and held a lead at the beginning of the game.
Not that Vince Young was playing like he was the key to this game, but his injury certainly didn't help matters.
Is it a "Randy Moss Curse," that has bitten the Titans? Or is it just injuries finally catching up with the team that appeared to have unlimited offensive weapons a month ago?
Whatever the reason, the Titans have gone from looking like one of the better teams in the NFL to a team with a whole host of questions with no real good answers.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams just got outplayed by a better team today. There's no shame in that, it's just the way it is. Overall the Rams are much improved this year, but they're just not ready to take on a team like the Falcons just yet.
This should be an F, but the Cleveland defense got about a dozen turnovers. Despite all these turnovers, the offense was incapable of scoring more than a few points.
The Browns offensive line couldn't keep the pressure off of Colt McCoy; the Browns wide receivers couldn't get open; and once again the team forgot how to tackle at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Oakland Raiders got a proverbial slap to the face, but Ben Roethlisberger got a literal slap to the chin. Great punch aside, the Raiders got thoroughly beaten this week. When your quarterbacks combine for less than 200 yards and two interceptions, that means your offense just got exposed.
The running game ran into the Steelers defense, and the Steelers defense won.
The Raiders can use this game as a teaching tool, and hope other teams don't use it as a blueprint on how to beat them for the rest of the season.
How do you grade an NFC West team? They're all various levels of bad.
But Derek Anderson didn't throw any interceptions, so that qualifies as an improvement. Still, Larry Fitzgerald continues to not get the ball and the Cardinals defense can't stop much of anything.
With a shutout, you'd think this grade would be lower, but the Dolphins almost started a random fan as the quarterback, and they held the Bears to 16 points.
All things considered, it could have been worse.
The Seahawks have no defense, and their offense can move up and down the field a lot but not really score.
This is a problem. This problem leads to losing. Losing leads to player-personnel changes, and player-personnel changes lead to jerseys that get thrown in the closet because that player now plays in the UFL.
The Colts almost came back and won that game, but Peyton Manning threw a game-clinching interception to kill what could have been a drive to tie the game.
The game was a good one, but the Colts injuries definitely are taking a toll on the effectiveness of the offense.
All things considered, the Lions put up about as many points as I thought. The Cowboys have found new life and the Lions are hurt with Matthew Stafford done for the year.
That being said, the Lions were stopping the Cowboys early, and Shaun Hill had a decent day with 289 yards and two touchdowns.
I don't know if you'll find a better 4-6 team in the NFL right now, in the recent past or the near future.
The Texans absolutely can not catch a break, and the defense is the culprit of many of those unfortunate endings.
Whatever Head Coach Gary Kubiak is trying to do to get his defense in shape, it's not working.
One of the few times a winning team gets below a "B" grade, but the Jaguars turned the ball over six times and really only won the game because the Browns couldn't score any points off of those turnovers.
Garrard had an awful day with three picks, but Maurice Jones-Drew was there to save the day with 132 yards rushing and the game-winning touchdown at the end of the game.
New York Giants
That was just one heck of a game, and there's no other way to put it. Fine performances from both sides, bad plays from both sides, and the Giants just didn't make as many plays as the Eagles did, and that became the difference.
The Bears got a win, but it's hard to give them any grade higher than a B.
The Dolphins were down to their third quarterback, so the Bears defense should have shut them out. But the Bears offense really was pretty anemic Thursday night, and that keeps this grade from being higher.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another of several uninspiring wins this week in the NFL. The Bucs won 21-0, but I challenge anyone to say that was a dominating performance.
The Bucs beat a team that just isn't going anywhere this year. The score really should've been higher.
The Redskins came out after one of the more legendary butt-whoopins ever administered on Monday Night Football and pulled out an overtime win over the Tennessee Titans.
It wasn't pretty, and the Redskins defense still allowed Chris Johnson to rush for 116 yards, but Donovan McNabb had 376 yards passing and one touchdown.
Whatever the problems, the Redskins got a win.
All of a sudden, the Buffalo Bills are hot, and the surprisingly potent offense now has a victory to show for their efforts. Ryan Fitzpatrick's excellent fantasy numbers—316 yards, four touchdowns—are something you just don't expect to see from a team with only two wins at this point in the season.
Fred Jackson also ran for more than 100 yards, but the Bengals are turning into a bigger mess than just about any other team in the league.
The Falcons offense was so dominant, the Rams might have given up another touchdown from the locker room. The offense scored on the ground and through the air, and there just wasn't much the Rams could do about it.
Wait, Michael Turner just got another 20-yard pickup.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers came out and did what, on paper, they were supposed to do. Against a team with an aging quarterback and questions about how the team was being run, the Packers put together a solid game, shut Brett Favre down and pretty much made the NFC North a two-team race.
Rodgers had four touchdowns on the day, and the Packers outplayed the Vikings on both sides of the ball.
New England Patriots
In what has become an annual NFL event, the Colts faced the Patriots in a slugfest. The game came down to the last minute, but the Patriots came out on top.
Tom Brady wasn't as electrifying as he was last week, but the running game came to life and the defense was good enough to get the job done.
As referenced earlier when grading the Panthers, "What did you expect?"
The Ravens have one of the better teams in the league with an elite defense, featuring Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
The Panthers countered that with Brian St. Pierre. Not much else to be said here.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs put together a much more balanced attack this week, taking advantage of the Cardinals and putting 31 points on the board.
Matt Cassel had 193 yards and two touchdowns, while Thomas Jones had another two scores on the ground.
Ben Roethlisberger survived the punch, and then it got nasty. The Steelers easily handled the Oakland Raiders in a game that looked like a complete mismatch.
The Steelers exposed every flaw on the Raiders and that was before the punch that left Roethlisberger on the ground.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees completed his 1,850th pass and he threw for 382 yards and four touchdowns as the Saints dismantled the Seahawks.
This game really never was in doubt, and the Saints continue to build momentum as we head into the tail end of the season.
The Cowboys are back!!
Ok, that may be a little premature, but the Cowboys of three weeks ago would've lost this game and that's hard to argue with.
But these Cowboys are playing with heart. They looked energized on the field, and it's a shame this team wasn't anywhere to be found for the first nine weeks of the season. It might have made the NFC East race just that much more interesting.
Michael Vick wasn't as lights out as he was Monday night, but let's be real, the chances of that happening two games in a row, especially against the New York Giants, were pretty remote.
Vick still was excellent, LeSean McCoy had a great run at the end of the game, and the Eagles held off a very powerful and very dangerous Giants team.
New York Jets
When you come from behind to win three weeks in a row, there aren't many other grades you can give a team.
Mark Sanchez is on the kind of roll Jets fans dream about, and there doesn't appear to be many teams on the horizon who can stop them.
The Jets appear to be the "Real Thing," and the rest of the AFC is in a lot of trouble.