Top takeaways from Sunday’s Week 11 NFL action

By Vincent Frank
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11 around the NFL world offered us a whole lot of drama. The Houston Texans were looking to make a major statement against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. It did not even come close to happening.

Over in the NFC, Dak Prescott put up one heck of a performance in a much-needed win over the Detroit Lions. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers remained the conference’s top dog with a comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Though, it was the New England Patriots’ game against the Eagles in Philadelphia that stood out the most. Carson Wentz and the Eagles opened up a 10-0 lead before blowing it big time.

These are among the stop storylines for Sunday’s Week 11 NFL action.

Lamar Jackson cements status as top MVP candidate

Sunday’s game between the Texans and Ravens was billed as a matchup between two MVP candidates. Like we have seen all season, it was Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson who flashed over his counterpart.

Jackson and Co. made quick work of Deshaun Watson’s Texans by the blowout margin of 41-7. That included the second-year quarterback making history en route to putting up 308 total yards and four touchdowns. Jackson continued to show a combination of his arm talent and the athleticism that makes him an elite force. This performance has Baltimore at 8-2 on the season and Jackson right up there with Russell Wilson as the top MVP candidate.

Vikings with season’s best comeback

It was just this time last week that Kirk Cousins and the Vikings were in great spirits after winning for the fifth time in six tries. It came on “Sunday Night Football” against the Dallas Cowboys, and had the NFL world buzzing. Seven days later, and the Vikings looked like they were about to lay an egg against the three-win Broncos.

Down 20-0 at the half, everything changed for Minnesota after intermission. Kirk Cousins threw touchdown passes to Irv Smith, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph in the final two quarters.

Dalvin Cook added a score while Minnesota’s defense yielded just three points. The end result was a resounding 27-23 comeback win and an 8-3 record on the season. Truly elite stuff from Cousins and Co. in the face of a harsh home crowd.

If season ended today, Raiders would be in the playoffs

It was not the greatest of performances against a winless Cincinnati Bengals team at home on Sunday. Raiders head coach Jon Gruden will be the first one to tell you that. But winning games in the manner we saw in Week 11 will set Oakland up well moving forward on the season.

Oakland’s defense held Cincinnati to three points and 114 points in the second half. Its much-maligned pass rush got to Ryan Finley for five sacks. Meanwhile, potential NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Josh Jacobs put up 112 yards on the ground. It led to a 17-10 win and 6-4 record on the season. Shockingly, Oakland is now the No. 6 seed in the AFC.

Dak Prescott really has it going

Last week’s loss to the Vikings was not the fault of Prescott. He put up one of the best performances of his career, but just couldn’t lead Dallas to the win. That was in no way the case against a game Lions team in Detroit on Sunday. Playing from behind throughout the early portion of the game, Dallas relied a whole heck of a lot on Prescott. That was magnified with Ezekiel Elliott struggling on the ground.

Prescott finished Sunday afternoon completing 29-of-46 passes for 444 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions en route to a 35-27 win. It’s the fourth time Prescott has put up 395-plus passing yards this season. He’s also now accounted for nine touchdowns and just two picks over the past three games. This has Dallas at 6-4 and in first place in the NFC East.

No Foles’ magic for Jaguars

It started out swimmingly for Foles in his first action since Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts. He led Jacksonville to a 60-yard touchdown drive on the team’s second possession. The Jaguars scored a grand total of eight points after that while yielding 33 to the Colts.

This game was not on Foles. He played about as well as could be expected with a defense on the other side that yielded 264 rushing yards. Foles was still able to complete 33-of-47 passes for 296 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Unfortunately, the defense did not hold up its end of the bargain. This now has Jacksonville at 4-6 heading into Week 12 and pretty much on the brink.

Kyle Allen plummets back down to earth

Given the keys to the Carolina Panthers’ kingdom for the remainder of this season after the team placed Cam Newton on injured reserve, this former undrafted free agent was absolutely lost on Sunday. It came against a Falcons defense that entered Week 11 yielding the fifth-most points in the game. To say Allen was bad would be an understatement.

The second-year quarterback completed 31-of-50 passes for 325 yards with four interceptions in the 29-3 loss. With Carolina now sitting at 5-5 and its quarterback situation now in flux, one has to wonder where the team goes from here. Maybe it calls up one high-profile free agent who made news over the weekend.

49ers gut out huge victory

With games coming up against the Packers, Ravens and Saints, there was no margin for error in Santa Clara on Sunday. Kyle Shanahan and Co. had to take care of business against the Arizona Cardinals. It did not start out swimmingly with the 49ers falling into an early 16-0 hole. Injuries to Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders and Dee Ford added to the drama.

Meanwhile, a shaky Jimmy Garoppolo threw two horrible interceptions with his team in scoring position. But when all was said and done, Garoppolo came up huge in a 36-26 win. He led San Francisco on a game-winning drive, culminating in a touchdown pass to Jeff Wilson.

The much-maligned quarterback finished 34-of-45 passing for 424 yards with four touchdowns. This helped San Francisco maintain it status atop the NFC at 9-1. Talk about clutch.

Bills rebound in a big way

Fresh off a disappointing road loss to the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo had a bit of a reprieve on Sunday. While the Dolphins had won two consecutive before hosting the Bills on Sunday, no one gave Ryan Fitzpatrick and Co. a chance.

Acting like the true playoff contender they are, the Bills took care of business in a workmanlike effort to move to 7-3. Josh Allen played flawless football, putting up 311 total yards and four touchdowns. The second-year quarterback has now accounted for 12 total touchdowns and zero interceptions in his past six starts. If Allen can continue to play like this, the Bills are going to be a difficult out moving forward.

Disaster in D.C.

If no one is on hand to watch a game between two teams with a combined three wins, does the outcome of the game matter? This is what the Redskins have to be asking themselves as they lost yet another game in humiliating fashion at home against the New York Jets on Sunday.

With FedEx Field about half empty, Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins could not do anything on offense until garbage time. In fact, 118 of the Skins’ 225 yards came after the team fell down 34-3 in the fourth. Meanwhile, Washington’s defense yielded four Sam Darnold touchdown passes in the blowout loss. Now at 1-9 on the season, these Redskins are a complete and utter disaster.

Brutal loss for Deshaun Watson, Texans

There’s no other way to go about it. Houston was absolutely pathetic all-around in a 41-7 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. Its defense could not stop either Lamar Jackson nor Mark Ingram. On offense, Deshaun Watson was horrible under center. Meanwhile, the quarterback was sacked a whopping six times in the defeat.

Simply put, Houston did not belong on the same field with a red-hot Ravens team. The team was dominated in every possible way. Not only will this impact Watson’s MVP chances, it has the Texans looking like second-tier contenders in the AFC.

Eagles let down by protection issues, drops

Up 10-0 in the first half, it looked like Philadelphia was going to come out of its bye with a big home win over the defending champion New England Patriots. That’s when everything went awry for Carson Wentz and Co.

In fact, we can point to the game-ending injury tackle Lane Johnson suffered late in the second quarter. Pass protection in front of Wentz broke down big time after that, leading the much-maligned signal caller to display the inaccuracy that has not defined his young career.

Wentz finished the evening with 174 net passing yards on 39 attempts. He was not helped out by wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who dropped a would-be game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The end result was a disastrous 17-10 loss and a 5-5 record on the season.

Rams salvage season with ugly performance

It was not fun to watch. Americans tuning in to NBC were likely forced into napping. However, Jared Goff and the Los Angeles Rams were able to do just enough in a 17-7 win over the suddenly hapless Bears.

Relying more on Todd Gurley than we’ve seen in the past, the running back put up 133 total yards on 28 touches. Los Angeles’ defense stepped up when it was needed the most against a bad Bears offense. While it was nowhere near pretty, the win enabled these Rams to head into Week 12 with a 6-4 record and clearly in the NFC Wildcard race.