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Sport 32 things we learned from Week 11 of NFL season

06:20  18 november  2019
06:20  18 november  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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CLEVELAND — The 32 things we learned from Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season ... with a bit of added flair from Thursday's Steelers-Browns melee:

1. Even when honor roll students have bad days, they need to be punished accordingly and held to account. Just a week ago, Browns DE Myles Garrett was one of the league's rising young stars and most compelling personalities. Then he had a (very) bad day with his now infamous game-ending meltdown, punctuated by the Pro Bowler ripping the helmet off Steelers QB Mason Rudolph and subsequently slamming it onto his head. In the aftermath, I appreciated Browns coach Freddie Kitchens and team stars like QB Baker Mayfield and WR Odell Beckham denouncing Garrett's momentary lapse of reason. I also appreciated Garrett for facing the music in a quiet locker room following a win — one his teammates admitted felt like a loss following his outburst — while taking responsibility for his actions.

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11 a. That's never happened with QB Dak Prescott as the starter. He's awaiting a new contract. 15. NFL rushing leader Dalvin Cook (375 yards) has an early bead on all-pro honors after becoming the first Viking to rush for at least 100 yards in the team's first three games of a season .

1a. I'd also credit the NFL for administering Garrett's punishment — at least the remainder of this season — right on the nose ... and exactly as I'd proposed following the game. I fully expect him to emerge a better man from this incident and hope he takes this learning opportunity to help others, maybe those with anger management issues (which I'm not saying he has). But let's hope some good ultimately springs from one of the NFL's ugliest on-field episodes in its 100 seasons.

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1b. Final note, I'm fine with Rudolph avoiding a suspension and grateful he wasn't seriously hurt just six weeks after suffering a scary concussion courtesy of a hit to the jaw from Ravens S Earl Thomas. But Rudolph was definitely complicit in the escalation of events culminating with Garrett losing his mind. Rudolph has always struck me as a good dude, and others have buttressed that opinion ... but he could've been a little less Eddie Haskell about this whole thing, so let's hope his expected fine aligns with his behavior, too.

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The NFL had its fair share of blowouts in Week 11 , but several contenders were dealt a reality check even as they pushed toward the playoffs. I'd also credit the NFL for administering Garrett's punishment — at least the remainder of this season — right on the nose and exactly as I'd

As the NFL approaches its midseason point, several contenders are rounding into top form while others are getting desperate. 11 . Some things never change: New Tennessee K Cody Parkey hit yet another upright during a PAT attempt Sunday. But bitter Bears fans were in no position to rip Parkey.

2. Good thing the Steelers are getting a mini bye following their loss. They need time to physically recover after RB James Conner and WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson were among those knocked out of the game ... and time to re-calibrate after a conservative offensive approach bore no fruit while scattershot Rudolph saw his season INT total double from four to eight. And with C Maurkice Pouncey set to miss the next three games for his role in the game-ending melee, this team has a lot of work to do to re-position itself as an AFC wild card.

3. Conversely, for 59 minutes and 52 seconds Thursday night, the Browns actually looked like they might have enough juice for a belated playoff push. The 21-7 score isn't indicative of their complete dominance of Pittsburgh, particularly on the defensive side. And with Miami, Arizona and Cincinnati (twice) still on the schedule, they "coulda been a contender" ... but not without Garrett.

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Please read the rules before joining the discussion. 32 things we learned from Week 10 of the 2018 NFL season . 11 . Patrick Mahomes didn't manage to establish a new NFL record for most consecutive 300-yard passing games — his streak ended at eight — but did set a new single- season

11 . Bizarre stat of the week : The Redskins experienced their first lead change all season in their setback against Houston. 13. With Lamar Jackson's maiden start for Baltimore on Sunday, this became the first NFL season to witness five first-round quarterbacks start as rookies.

4. And if things don't turn around in a hurry for the Browns, how much longer before my friends like Nancy Armour — she loves to tell me whom the Bears should have drafted instead of Mitchell Trubisky (and she's not wrong) — begin asking why Cleveland didn't select Saquon Barkley and Lamar Jackson atop the 2018 draft instead of Mayfield and Denzel Ward?

5. Fun fact: Mayfield is now 4-0 against Rudolph going back to the Bedlam Rivalry when Mayfield played for Oklahoma and Rudolph for Oklahoma State. Thursday was the first time a former Sooners QB and (OSU) Cowboys QB faced off in the NFL as starters.

6. The Patriots will finish above .500 for the 19th consecutive season (or every year since QB Tom Brady became the starter in 2001).

6a. But let's not pretend there isn't serious concern about an offense that reached the end zone once Sunday and averaged 3.4 yards per rush while Brady labored to pass for 216 yards on an ungodly 47 attempts.

7. With Russell Wilson on bye, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson continued to burnish his MVP credentials with 86 rushing yards and four TD passes while leading the league's top scoring offense to 41 more points in a rout of Houston.

7a. Jackson, now on pace to rush for a quarterback record 1,261 yards, is the first passer to run for at least 60 in seven straight games. Jackson's 1,483 career rushing yards are also the most for any quarterback in his first two seasons.

7b. Context: Peyton Manning had 667 rushing yards in 18 seasons.

7c. Context: Brady has 1,005 career rushing yards and is averaging 2.4 inches per attempt this year.

8. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson's MVP candidacy was shattered at the hands (talons?) of Jackson and the Ravens. The Texans also fell into a first-place tie with Indianapolis in the AFC South and are now only a game up on idle Tennessee. Crucial stretch ahead with the next three games in Houston, starting Thursday night with a visit from the Colts for sole possession of first place.

8a. Watson's team lost by 34 in Baltimore. The Texans had never lost by more than eight in his first 31 NFL starts.

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9. Ravens K Justin Tucker also saw his MVP case go by the boards — we kid, we kid — but he surely wasn't happy to miss his first field goal of the season.

10. Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has racked up 841 yards passing and six TDs over the past two weeks with little help from Dallas' run game. The case that he should reset the quarterback salary scale continues to pick up steam.

11. DL Michael Bennett has three sacks in three games since joining the Cowboys. Apparently he's found the right home ... even though he could be looking for another once free agency begins in March.

12. Scott Van Pelt siren: The 49ers' game-ending defensive TD against the Cardinals is surely going to make "Bad Beats" given the NFL no longer mandates extra points after time expires when they don't affect the outcome. San Francisco was favored by 10½ in several places and won 36-26 ... without a PAT try following D.J. Reed's 4-yard fumble return.

12a. But perhaps some concern for the Niners, who barely retained the NFC's No. 1 seed this week after giving up at least 25 points for the third consecutive game. San Francisco's run game (just 34 yards Sunday) is also hitting the skids.

13. The Bills will very likely reach the AFC playoffs as limited as they are. But don't blame a defense that continues to perform at an elite level. It racked up seven sacks Sunday in Miami and hasn't permitted 400 total yards in its last 22 games, the longest streak in the league.

14. No ghosts in Washington, where Jets QB Sam Darnold spooked the Redskins to the tune of a career-best four TD passes.

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Please read the rules before joining the discussion. 32 things we learned from Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season . Nate Davis, USA TODAY Published 10:07 11 .Falcons QB Matt Ryan has at least three TD passes in three of his last four games. Context: He didn't pass for three in a single game in 2017.

Please read the rules before joining the discussion. 32 things we learned from Week 9 of the 2018 NFL season . Nate Davis, USA TODAY Published 9:22 a.m Avery Williamson (54) of the New York Jets tackles DeVante Parker ( 11 ) of the Miami Dolphins in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium.

14a. Jets S Jamal Adams also scared the 'Skins to the tune of a career-high three sacks, making him only the second defensive back since 1982 with five sacks in a two-game span. Sure seems like the Jets should not trade him anytime soon.

14b. The Jets have scored 68 total points in their last two games (34 apiece against the Giants and Washington) after scratching out just 96 in their first eight contests.

15. But at least the 'Skins finally snapped their franchise-record string of quarters without a TD at 16, rookie QB Dwayne Haskins connecting for a pair of fourth-quarter scores, including a 45-yarder to RB Derrius Guice. The local fans desperately hope those are signs of good things to come.

16. Denver's soul-crushing loss at Minnesota after building a 20-0 lead at halftime might also serve as a springboard for a Vikings team that could be the most underrated Super Bowl contender at the moment.

16a. Of the last 100 teams to trail by at least 20 points at the half, one — the Vikes on Sunday — came back to win.

17. Minnesota RB Dalvin Cook surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career. The last Vikings back not named Adrian Peterson to do so? Chester Taylor in 2006.

18. The Jaguars have one rushing TD this season. One.

19. The Saints — all of them, to include Drew Brees (3 TD passes), Alvin Kamara (122 total yards), the defense (4 INTs) — rebounded nicely from their Week 10 flop against Atlanta. New Orleans is the best team in the NFC for my money.

20. And congrats to Saints WR Michael Thomas, the first person in league history to catch 90 balls (94 actually) in just 10 games. He's also the first man to ever surpass 90 receptions in each of his first four seasons and remains on pace to become the first with 150 in a single campaign.

21. Speaking of the Falcons, they're now 2-0 against NFC South foes and 1-7 against everyone else. Their last two games have come against division foes, and so will their next three. Don't pull their plug yet.

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6. The NFL continues to serve up bonus football . The Browns-Bucs game marked the seventh straight week at least one game went into overtime, extending a new record to start a season . 11 . The Arizona Cardinals' league -worst offense hasn't gained more than 268 yards in a game this season .

22. Jameis Winston has already tied a career high (reached a career low?) with his four-interception day boosting his 2019 total to 18. Maybe the Bucs should sign Colin Kaepernick.

23. Of course, Kaepernick would probably insist the the home games be played in Orlando ... and would want his representatives to broadcast the game ... and he'd probably rather throw to Bruce Ellington and Brice Butler than Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. But whatever.

24. Or maybe the Panthers need to call Kaepernick and reunite him with Eric Reid, who resurrected his career in Carolina. After going without a pick in his first four starts this season, QB Kyle Allen has nine INTs in his past four (three of them losses). Of course, if Allen continues to lose his grip, rookie Will Grier would surely get a shot before Kaep.

25. The Bengals are 0-10 for the second time in franchise history.

26. The Bengals were the first team to officially be eliminated from playoff contention.

27. The Bengals, of course, lead us directly to thoughts of the 2020 draft, and here's hoping Tua Tagovailoa makes a speedy recovery whether or not he decides to go pro next year.

28. The  Raiders began Sunday as the AFC's final playoff team and ended it outside the field despite beating Cincinnati. However Oakland will assume first place in the AFC West if Kansas City loses to the Chargers in Mexico City on Monday night.

29. Shoutout to Raiders rookie DE Maxx Crosby, who notched four sacks Sunday, the first Oakland player to do so since Khalil Mack in 2015.

30. Nice to see Adam Vinatieri have an easy day at the office given how rare they've been in 2019. While becoming the first Colt to score 1,500 career points, he also broke the record for most field-goal attempts in NFL history (710).

31. Tragic that all-pro Colts G Quenton Nelson's first NFL carry didn't result in the goal-line TD he believed he'd scored. But mostly immaterial ... because we still got to see his fantastic keg stand end-zone celebration.

32. Dearest mother — I'm in a fretful state since getting word of news from the front that unit discipline may be cracking. Three code violations evidently and word that Corporal Nelson is imbibing mass quantities of ale as the men celebrate newly earned terrain. Such shameful shenanigans in my self-imposed exile. — Andrew

***

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 32 things we learned from Week 11 of the 2019 NFL season

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a football player kicking a football ball on a field: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) catches a pass in front of Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) during the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium on November 17, 2019. 

Doug Marrone mum on QB for next week’s game .
The Jaguars are 4-8 and set to play out the string over the final four weeks of the regular season regardless of who starts at quarterback. That makes it less pressing to know the identity of that quarterback and head coach Doug Marrone said after Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers that he’ll take his time [more]

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