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Sunday, March 18, 2018

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 11

Jason Garrett

Week 11 saw plenty of surprises and several big disappointments as the playoff race truly heats up. Playoff contenders are separating from each other, with some teams looking a bit worse for wear as they come up against each other.

So who was a letdown in Week 11? Here are 15 big disappointments.

Dallas Cowboys in the second half

They say it’s not about how you start but how you finish. And the Dallas Cowboys could not have finished Sunday’s game any worse. Dallas went into halftime leading their division rivals 9-7. After that, they gave up 30 unanswered points as the wheels completely fell off. The Cowboys allowed touchdown drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards. They punted twice on their possessions in between Philly’s big scoring drives. Then they gave up a strip sack that was returned for a touchdown as the game turned into a laugher. As if that weren’t enough, their first decent drive of the half ended with an interception in the end zone. This marks two straight embarrassing defeats for Dallas without Ezekiel Elliott.

Sean McDermott, coach, Bills

The easiest thing to do would be to list Nathan Peterman and his five first half interceptions on here and be done with it, but frankly, that would be unfair to Peterman. He wasn’t ready and he shouldn’t have started — especially over Tyrod Taylor, who had done nothing to lose his starting job. But McDermott decided to make the change, and he watched as Peterman was picked off five times in one half as the Los Angeles Chargers essentially had the Bills buried by halftime.

This is on the coach. It’s his job to know his players and put them in the best situation to win. Now, he’s put the rookie Peterman into an awful spot, dented his confidence, and left Taylor wondering what McDermott saw in him to make him the inferior option. It is an enormous self-inflicted error that has only served to muddy the waters — especially when he was left with no choice but to put Taylor right back in after the nightmarish first half.

Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams

This is not a day Kupp will want to remember. On paper, his game looked fine — six catches and 64 yards. However, he failed on one key play that arguably turned the entire game. Late in the first half, he fumbled the ball away at the Minnesota 1-yard line, taking three sure points off the board and possibly seven. That would have given the Rams the lead in a difficult road game. Later in the game, Kupp let a third down pass go through his hands. Had he made the grab, the Rams would have been in field goal range. His mistakes were costly and helped prevent the Rams from seizing momentum in what was once a close game.

Washington Redskins

Washington had a 15-point lead over the New Orleans Saints with three minutes left in the fourth quarter and managed to lose in overtime. The culprits were a series of big plays by Drew Brees, including an unlikely Alvin Kamara touchdown that the Redskins nearly dealt with, a two-point conversion, and an inexplicable Kirk Cousins intentional grounding penalty that took Washington out of range for a potentially game-winning field goal. Safety DeAngelo Hall had particular struggles, as Pro Football Focus says he missed three of his eight tackles and allowed catches on all four passes his way. Washington’s season faced long odds no matter what — but this collapse means it’s really over.

Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs

What happened here? The Chiefs haven’t been themselves for a while now, but this is definitely the low point of their season — an overtime loss to a New York Giants team that looked to be in open meltdown during the week. Smith threw for 230 yards, but no touchdowns, and he was picked off twice. Early in the season, it looked like the red-hot Chiefs — and Smith in particular — had silenced their doubters. They’re back now after this 1-4 stretch.

Connor Barth, K, Bears

The lowly Bears looked all set up to take the Detroit Lions into overtime in what was a must-win game for Detroit. An unlikely Mitchell Trubisky 19-yard scramble on fourth down extended the game with seconds left. The play set the Bears up for a 46-yard field goal. Though that’s not a chip shot, it’s well within Connor Barth’s range. The snap was good, the hold was good, but the kick was shanked very wide right, never threatening the uprights. The Lions escaped with the win — and Barth could only wonder why his kick had gone so wrong.

Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders

We’ll talk more about the rest of the Oakland offense later — they weren’t exactly great — but Cooper was a huge letdown on Sunday. While he caught one touchdown, it was meaningless and came late in the game. His entire body of work was simply poor — only three catches for 28 yards. Oakland struggled as a whole on Sunday, but Cooper seemed to be completely missing. That has been a consistent issue for him all season.

Jay Cutler, QB, Dolphins

Cutler’s day ended prematurely by a possible concussion, which has nothing to do with him making this list. Rather, it was his play before he was knocked out of the contest that was concerting. Cutler threw three interceptions on just 12 pass attempts in the first half. His six completions were only good for 83 yards. Cutler seems to be getting worse as the season goes on, and now he may be out for a little while. That’s still bad news for Miami considering he’s a lot better than Matt Moore no matter what.

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