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NFL Week 11 grades: Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars ace tests

Our NFL Week 11 grades are live. There was some pretty darn bad football played Sunday. Just ask the Washington Commanders, Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers. They all failed miserably.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Jacksonville Jaguars roared their way to a blowout win over the aforementioned Titans. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys kept it going after last week’s domination.

In our latest iteration, here is a look at Sportsnaut’s grades for NFL Week 11.

Related: Week 11 NFL power rankings

Houston Texans: B+

nfl week 11 grades: houston texans
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had thrown two interceptions in his first nine NFL starts. That’s why it was a surprise to see him toss three picks against a bad Arizona Cardinals defense during NFL Week 11. The struggles were real for Stroud.

Despite these mistakes, Houston was able to come out on top, 21-16, for its third consecutive win. We know rookie quarterbacks are going to struggle. But we had not seen it from Stroud until Sunday. Even then, others stepped up to help Houston come away with the win.

Arizona Cardinals: C+

Despite forcing three Houston turnovers, Arizona was not able to do enough on offense to end up with a second consecutive win. Its defense yielded 22 first downs and north of 400 total yards. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray could not lead a comeback as the Cardinals’ final drive ended on a turnover on downs following an incompletion to Marquise Brown. We’ll still give the Cards a passing grade in that they competed with a much more superior team.

Tennessee Titans: F

nfl week 11 grades: tennessee titans
Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

An inability to compete. That has defined Mike Vrabel’s squad over the past couple weeks. This was no different Sunday. Tennessee was down 27-0 late in the third quarter before Will Levis hit DeAndre Hopkins on a 43-yard touchdown. Once Trevor Lawrence opened the scoring in the fourth quarter, that was pretty much all she wrote in the 34-14 Titans loss. Tennessee has now scored all of 36 points over the past three games. Ouch!

Related: Winners and losers from NFL Week 11

Jacksonville Jaguars: A

Last week’s blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers had to be a wake-up call for the Jaguars. Doug Pederson’s squad was riding a five-game winning streak and had to be feeling good about itself before losing 34-3. The good news? Jacksonville rebounded in a big way during NFL Week 11, blowing out a bad Titans team. Trevor Lawrence completed 24-of-32 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Calvin Ridley caught both touchdowns while going for 103 yards through the air. Tennessee was the tonic these Jags needed.

Dallas Cowboys: B

nfl week 11 grades: dallas cowboys
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Much like last week, Dallas started out slowly against Carolina during NFL Week 11. The team found itself up a mere 10-3 late in the second quarter before Dak Prescott hit CeeDee Lamb on a five-yard touchdown. Pretty much from there, it was all Dallas as the team moved to 7-3 with the 33-10 win. Once Daron Bland tied an NFL record with his fourth pick-six of the season early in the first quarter, it was game over. Expect a similar performance against the Washington Commanders on Thanksgiving Day.

Related: NFL Week 11 defense rankings

Carolina Panthers: D

Could Frank Reich be one-and-done as the Panthers’ head coach? Rumors were swirling in that regard ahead of NFL Week 11. Sunday’s 33-10 loss to Dallas isn’t going to change the narrative. Carolina was outplayed by a superior team in every way possible. It is now 1-9 on the season and is being outscored by an average of 11 points per game. Talk about an inability to compete.

New York Giants: B

How about that Tommy DeVito kid? The undrafted free agent from Illinois was pressed into service back in late October after injuries to Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor. He looked to be in way over his head leading up to NFL Week 11. That’s when DeVito caught fire, throwing three touchdown passes as New York defeated the Washington Commanders, 31-19. Saquon Barkley added 140 total yards and two touchdowns. The only thing keeping New York from acing its Week 11 outing was the nine times that DeVito found himself sacked.

Washington Commanders: F

NFL: New York Giants at Washington Commanders
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Howell threw three interceptions. Washington lost another three fumbles as the team turned the ball over a whopping six times in a 12-point loss to New York. Those six giveaways resulted in 24 New York points, including a pick-six in the final moments.

One really has to wonder how much longer Ron Rivera is going to keep his job in Washington. The Commanders are now 4-7 after a 2-0 start. Things are spiraling big-time, and Sunday’s loss is just the latest example.

Miami Dolphins: C

It was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Tua Tagovailoa fumbled on Miami’s opening possession. The Dolphins’ defense also yielded a 75-yard touchdown drive to the Raiders and found themselves down after the first quarter. However, the defense stepped up big-time with three interceptions of Aidan O’Connell. That included two from star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. For once, it was Miami’s defense that picked up the slack as the Dolphins moved to 7-3 on the season.

Las Vegas Raiders: C+

Antonio Pierce and Co. competed hard against a superior Dolphins team on the road Sunday. Unfortunately, three Aidan O’Connell interceptions doomed the interim head coach. All three came in the second half of a game that the Raiders ended up losing by one score (20-13). Simply put, Vegas is not good enough to overcome these mistakes. The end result was the Raiders seeing their two-game winning streak snapped.

Los Angeles Chargers: F

NFL: Detroit Lions at Los Angeles Chargers
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Drops. Penalties. More struggles on defense. Horrendous in-game coaching from Brandon Staley. There is no other way to explain how the Chargers performed in an ugly 23-20 road loss to the Green Bay Packers. Los Angeles’ defense gave up nearly 400 total yards of offense and 23 first downs. Key drops on the other side of the ball doomed the team, too. Now at 4-6, these Chargers have to be considered one of the biggest disappointments this season.

Related: Los Angeles Chargers’ Brandon Staley talks about latest loss

Green Bay Packers: B

Green Bay entered NFL Week 11 having lost five of six. Jordan Love’s mistakes late last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers doomed this team. But in a sign that all is not lost for the Packers this season, they came to play against the Chargers. Love completed 27-of-40 passes for 322 yards with two touchdowns. He also avoided the mistakes that had plagued the youngster throughout the season. While the 4-6 Pack are not legit playoff contenders, at least they showed some fight.

Chicago Bears: D

Chicago opened up a 26-14 lead over the Lions in Detroit with just 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter. It sure looked like the Bears were going to put up their first real banner win of the season. That’s when the team’s defense let it down. Detroit put up two-touchdown scoring drives in those final 255 seconds, tallying a combined 148 yards in the process. It was a major late-game meltdown for Chicago’s defense, ruining an otherwise solid performance from the below-average team.

Detroit Lions: C

nfl week 11 winners and losers, detroit lions
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

To say that NFL Week 11 wasn’t the prettiest football for Detroit would be an understatement. But good teams find a way to win ugly at times. That’s exactly what the Lions did in overcoming a 12-point deficit late against Chicago. Jared Goff was brilliant in each of the Lions’ late-game touchdown drives, completing a combined 10-of-12 passes for 115 yards. At 8-2, Detroit is off to its best start in more than six decades.

Related: Detroit Lions off to best start in 6 decades as Dan Campbell leads Super Bowl contender

Cleveland Browns: B

Cleveland’s defense gets an A+ for its performance in Sunday’s 13-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Its offense gets a D. With Deshaun Watson (shoulder) lost for the season, rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson replaced him under center. The UCLA product threw for just 165 yards on 43 attempts. The Browns averaged 3.3 yards per rush. Even then, the defense held Kenny Pickett to 77 net passing yards as Myles Garrett racked up another two sacks. This defense is absolutely dominant, and it has Cleveland at a surprising 7-3 after NFL Week 11.

Pittsburgh Steelers: C-

nfl week 11 grades: pittsburgh steelers
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh is in the same situation as the team it lost to on Sunday. In other words, the defense continues to keep the Steelers in games. Unfortunately, their offense is a disaster class right now. You’re not going to win many games with 77 net passing yards. That’s the harsh reality of the situation for Mike Tomlin’s squad. Kenny Pickett just isn’t it. Neither is offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

Seattle Seahawks: D

No one know whether Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams would have turned out differently if Geno Smith didn’t suffer an injury late in the third quarter. While Smith did return in the final stanza, he was not anywhere near 100 percent. The end result was an ugly 17-16 loss to the 4-6 Rams. Seattle isn’t going to compete with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West when it loses games like this. It’s that simple.

Los Angeles Rams: C

Winning ugly. That’s what Sean McVay’s squad has turned into. The team lacks talent across the board. But the Rams continue to perform at a higher clip than most imagined when the season started. Matthew Stafford was not great, completing 17-of-31 passes for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception. However, veteran journeyman running back Royce Freeman (17 attempts, 73 yards) lifted him up. Los Angeles’ defense then did its thing late, picking off Drew Lock to pretty much seal the win. Don’t look now, but these Rams are just 1.5 games out of the final wild card spot in the NFC.

New York Jets: F

nfl weke 11 grades: new york jets
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Finally. It took almost three quarters of football before head coach Robert Saleh benched an ineffective Zach Wilson during an ugly 32-6 loss to the Buffalo Bills. It also came after Wilson put up 51 net passing yards on 15 pass attempts. That’s just brutal. Even more eye-opening from NFL Week 11 is the fact that New York’s stout defense gave up nearly 400 total yards to a Bills offense that had been stuck in neutral over the past few weeks.

Buffalo Bills: B+

New Bills offensive coordinator Joe Brady called an excellent game against what had been a dominant Jets defense. More than anything, balance was the name of the game. Buffalo put up 130 yards on 38 rush attempts. Not great numbers. But it played a major role in Josh Allen overcoming recent struggles. He completed 20-of-32 passes for 275 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the win. It really does seem like the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey jumpstarted this unit.

San Francisco 49ers: B

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Francisco 49ers
Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The only thing holding San Francisco back from acing our grades for the second consecutive week is the fact that the team didn’t necessarily put away Tampa Bay on Sunday. When Brock Purdy hit Brandon Aiyuk on a 76-yard touchdown early in the third quarter, this game seemed to be on ice. Instead, the 49ers’ defense had to hold Baker Mayfield and Co. on multiple possessions inside their 25-yard line to preserve a 27-14 win. In any event, Purdy put up a perfect 158.3 QB rating as the 49ers’ offense continued to roll.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: C

Tampa Bay’s defense just did not have it against the 49ers on Sunday. This unit allowed Purdy to complete 21-of-25 passes for 333 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions. You’re not going to win many games with a performance like this, regardless of what the offense does. It wasted a solid day from Mayfield (29-of-45 passing, 246 yards).

Denver Broncos: B-

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Winning ugly. Denver joins Cleveland and Detroit in this category for NFL Week 11. Sunday night’s 21-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings was hard to watch at times. But Russell Wilson’s ability to lead the Broncos down the field on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter is what made the difference. It sent Denver to its fourth consecutive victory, the first time this team has accomplished that feat since all the way back in 2016.

Minnesota Vikings: D

Three turnovers on offense. Key mistakes on the other side of the ball late in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs (20-of-32, passing, 221 yards, 1 TD, 2 giveaways) crashing back down to Earth. This is what defined Minnesota brutal one-point road loss to Denver on Sunday night. It ended up snapping a five-game winning streak while leading to many more questions heading into late November.

Related: Minnesota Vikings beat themselves as five-game winning streak ends