NFL Scores Week 11: The Biggest Surprises and Best Performances
Week 11 in the NFL featured some of the best games of the year.
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning dueled it out in a close game in Foxboro. The Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants competed furiously for control of the NFC East.
Mark Sanchez put together one of the best drives of his New York Jets career to beat the Houston Texans with just seconds remaining on the clock.
However, it wasn't just these close games that were the most intriguing of the week. NFL Week 11 was all about the blowouts.
Ten teams lost by two touchdowns or more. Even the Buffalo Bills got to see what it was like from the other side of a blowout.
With so many great surprises and performances, here are the best of Week 11 in the NFL.
Buffalo Bills Beat Cincinnati Bengals on the Road
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The Buffalo Bills came into Week 11 with a 1-8 record.
They were 0-4 on the road and were allowing over 163 rushing yards per game. Coming off their first victory against the Detroit Lions, the Bills were eager to get a win streak going.
They found a willing victim in the surprisingly struggling Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals, who were up 31-14 at the half, managed to scored zero points in the second half.
On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati's defense allowed 28 unanswered points, including three touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Steve Johnson.
Fitzpatrick finished with 316 yards and four touchdowns, while Fred Jackson added 116 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
While the Bills continued to let up big numbers on the ground to Cedric Benson, the secondary managed to limit Carson Palmer's effectiveness. They picked him off not once, but twice.
Drayton Florence had a huge game with both an interception and a fumble, which he returned for a touchdown that brought the Bills to within three in the third quarter.
Tampa Bay Shuts Out San Francisco for their 7th Win
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Is there any doubt that Raheem Morris is Coach of the Year for 2010?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured their seventh win of the season in just 10 games. They wanted to make sure they did it in style, though.
The Buccaneers traveled to San Francisco to take on the 49ers who were actually beginning to heat up. The 49ers had won three of their last four games.
They were playing at home, where they have come out strong this year. San Francisco was 3-2 at home, compared to 0-4 on the road.
Tampa Bay came prepared. The defense absolutely stifled the 49ers offense.
In their first win at San Francisco since 1980, the Buccaneers held the 49ers to just 189 total yards. Troy Smith was sacked six times, hit 12 times, threw an interception and managed less than 150 yards through the air.
Frank Gore only gained 23 yards on the ground, with an abysmal average of 1.9 yards per carry.
Josh Freeman and LeGarrette Blount put up points sufficient to win up on the board without being overly impressive. Still, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have surprised many by needing only one year to go from the basement of the NFC South to competing for a playoff spot.
The Jets Give Up a 16-Point Lead, Then Come Back
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The fourth quarter of the Houston Texans-New York Jets game on Sunday was essentially symbolic of both teams' seasons.
The Texans trailed the Jets by 16 points after a Nick Folk field goal began the fourth quarter. After 20 unanswered points, the Texans led the Jets by four with less than a minute to go.
Mark Sanchez marched the Jets down the field with no timeouts and eventually connected with Santonio Holmes on a six-yard touchdown pass with just 10 seconds remaining. The Jets have now won three straight games with 10 seconds or less remaining on the clock.
After a 4-2 start, the Houston Texans have no lost four straight games and have been essentially eliminated from playoff contention. The Texans' failure to run out the clock and defend the pass, especially on the Jets' final drive, characterizes the Texans' season.
While Houston has the talent to excel, they have been lacking in execution.
The Jets, on the other hand, have ridden a streak of luck to three straight wins and an 8-2 record.
New York will have to hope that luck continues against tougher competition on their remaining schedule, including Pittsburgh, New England and Chicago.
New England Holds Off a Furious Rally by Indianapolis
Picking off Peyton Manning once is no easy feat.
Grabbing three interceptions off of Manning in a rarity. The fact that the 31st-ranked New England Patriots passing defense did it is all the more surprising.
Manning, who had over 50 passing attempts, still had a terrific game. He passed for nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns.
Eight different receivers caught passes from Manning and his ability to put the ball in small open windows kept the Colts in the game despite a poor defensive showing.
Another surprising performance was Blair White, who entered the game in the second quarter for an injured Austin Collie and had two touchdowns.
The Patriots were able to run all over the Colts—literally. New England had 168 rushing yards and Danny Woodhead averaged nearly 10 yards per carry.
The game was, yet again, another classic featuring the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts.
The Eagles Beat the Giants, but Not because of Vick
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The prevailing wisdom of the Eagles-Giants game had been that for the Eagles to win, Michael Vick would have to have yet another super performance.
Well, Vick had a decent game. But the Eagles still managed to knock off the Giants in Philadelphia.
Eli Manning had just a 53.5 quarterback rating and threw three interceptions. He had a key fumble on the Giants last drive.
Ahmad Bradshaw was stifled in the running game. Bradshaw, who has averaged 4.7 yards per carry this season, managed just 2.4 yards per carry against the Eagles.
Despite all this, the Giants had every opportunity to win this game. LeSean McCoy had two runs of 40+ yards; however, he had just 21 yards on 12 other carries.
Michael Vick did not have a run for more than nine yards and averaged just 3.1 yards per attempt.
The Eagles eventually won. Not because of Vick, but because of the Giants' mistakes and turnovers leading to big plays and shifts of momentum.
The Jacksonville Jaguars Jump Back into the AFC Playoff Picture
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The Jacksonville Jaguars came out victorious in an extremely tight game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Both teams combined for 17 points in the last four minutes. Maurice Jones-Drew capped off the Jaguars' final drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown after a 75-yard reception.
The most surprising aspect of this game has to be the performance of David Garrard. Against a Browns secondary that has been less than impressive this season, Garrard threw three interceptions and had less than 170 yards passing to players not named Maurice Jones-Drew.
Garrard's struggles will be a key factor if the Jaguars continue to push toward a Wild-Card spot in the AFC.
The Kansas City Chiefs Remain Undefeated at Home
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The Kansas City Chiefs improved to 5-0 at home this season with a victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
While it may not be surprising that the Chiefs dominated the Cardinals, the fact that they are undefeated at home 10 games into the season has to impress many of their doubters.
Matt Cassel is quietly having one of the best seasons in the NFL at quarterback. Cassel is on pace for 29 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
His quarterback rating of 96.2 reflects his efficiency and his contribution to the surprising Chiefs this season.
Dwyane Bowe has 10 touchdowns in his last six games and had his second consecutive 100-yard receiving game.
The real reason for the Chiefs' success has been the best running game in the NFL. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones have formed a tandem that averages over 160 rushing yards per game, allowing the Chiefs to dominate the clock and force teams to stack the box.
If the Chiefs can improve the passing defense beyond Brandon Flowers, they will have the opportunity to make some noise. Not just in the regular season, but also in the playoffs this year.