The early games of week 11 threw together some interesting matchups, the big winners were the Eagles, Bengals and Steelers. There was an amazing performance in Tampa Bay too as they got their second win of the year.
Jets @ Bills
Going into this game the New York Jets held the number six seed in the AFC playoff race. After the game that may not be the case after Buffalo ran out easy winners 37-14 in Orchard Park. The Bills defence paved the way, Kyle Williams had two sacks and a forced fumble, DaNorris Searcy returned an interception 32 yards to seal the win. Jets QB Geno Smith was benched after three quarters following an 8-of-23 for 103 yards and accountable for 4 turnovers.
Cardinals @ Jaguars
Arizona has now thrown themselves back into the NFC wild card race with a comfortable win on the road in Jacksonville. QB Carson Palmer led the way throwing for 419 yards and two touchdowns, and no interceptions for the first time this year. It was the Cardinals third straight win. The Jaguars started brightly but could not back up their first win of the season last week.
Browns @ Bengals
The second half of this game in Cincinnati was played in monsoon like conditions and in the end it was Cleveland that was blown away. In a wild first half there were three defensive touchdowns between the 2 teams, as the game settled it was the Bengals who eased away and kept control of the AFC North. Andy Dalton had a mixed day at quarterback, he didn’t manage to top 100 yards passing but did throw three scores, in a 41-20 final score.
Both teams didn’t harbour much hope of a playoff spot going into this game, so it was as good a time as any to field some new blood. Oakland went with Matt McGloin at QB and he repaid their faith with a very assured display as he threw three touchdowns on way to a good 28-23 win over Houston. The result leaves some peoples preseasons pick the Texans with a 2-8 record.
Redskins @ Eagles
With wins at a premium in the NFC East this one was a huge matchup. Philadelphia jumped up to an early 24-0 lead and was seemingly in control of the game. Washington came into the game with a 3-6 record, the same mark they made their division winning run from last year, so it was that Robert Griffin III started to make a comeback, and with the lead down to 24-16 he had his team down to the Eagles’ 18-yard line before an ill advised pass was picked off in the end zone to seal the win for Philly, and put them in first place in the East.
Lions @ Steelers
After starting the year 0-6 the season was over for Pittsburgh, now after a compelling 37-27 win against high flying Detroit, they are on the fringes of a playoff push. After a spectacular first half both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson were on pace to beat all-time NFL single game records, but the Steelers D made some excellent adjustments and kept Megatron quiet. Ben Roethlisberger had an outstanding day throwing for 357 yards and four touchdowns, two of which were to star wide receiver Antonio Brown who ended with seven catches for 147 yards.
Atlanta had been struggling all season, even before they were cut short with some injuries, this though was a new low as Tampa Bay crashed into them and won by a score of 41-28. The day belonged to a waiver wire pickup that couldn’t be stopped. Bobby Rainey ran for 163 yards off 30 carries, two of which went for touchdowns, and he also came out of the backfield to score another through the air. No-one would have had these two at 2-8 at the start of the season, but that’s the reality.