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Monday, March 25, 2019

15 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 11

Kirk Cousins

Week 11 of the NFL season saw a major development in the NFC East thanks to an unfortunate injury, while a QB in Baltimore found success in his first start. The Steelers, Texans and Saints continue to win, while the Bucs and Jags continue to lose. Whether it was some units, full teams or individual players, there were plenty of disappointments during Week 11. Let’s take a look at the 15 biggest disappointments of the week.

Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings

The Vikings brought in Kirk Cousins and paid him $84 million to help elevate the offense. The performance he gave on Sunday night was anything but that. Cousins was under pressure — primarily from Khalil Mack — for most of the game and was unable to get much going. The offense was shut out in the first half. When they had a chance to score before the half, Cousins threw an interception. Given a short field after an interception in the third, Cousins could only turn that into three points. He got not help from the non-existent running game, as Dalvin Cook repeatedly ran into defenders and even lost a fumble. But it wasn’t until the final minutes of the game that Cousins was finally able to start moving the ball down the field.

Carson Wentz/Philadelphia Eagles’ offense

Almost any football observer expected the New Orleans Saints to put up points on the Philadelphia Eagles. What wasn’t so expected was seeing the Eagles struggle so badly on offense and show no ability to keep up, as they scored only 7 points the whole game. Philly was held to under 200 yards (196 total) and had just 13 first downs in the game. After falling behind, they rushed just 12 times for 58 yards. Carson Wentz had perhaps his worst game as a pro, going 19 of 33 for just 156 yards and three interceptions, while taking 3 sacks. He couldn’t get anything going all game. The offense’s inability to move the ball put the defense on the field more than expected, leading to the final score getting so far out of hand at 48-7.

Graham Gano, K, Panthers

Carolina’s decision to go for two and the win was controversial, but probably influenced by Graham Gano’s inability to convert much of anything on Sunday. Gano missed from 34 yards early in the third quarter on a field goal attempt, then failed to convert an extra point early in the fourth. Had he converted the extra point, the late touchdown would have tied it, and the extra point would have put Carolina ahead. Add both kicks and it gets even easier for Carolina. This loss is on him.

Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars

Jacksonville had no right to lose this game, but they decided to stop doing anything on offense during the fourth quarter. The last two drives weren’t entirely his fault, as the Jaguars tried in vain to run down the clock but could get nowhere on the ground. Early in the fourth quarter in a 16-6 game, however, the Jaguars got the ball to the Pittsburgh 39 before Bortles took consecutive sacks to completely eliminate any chance of a field goal. Overall, he was just 10-of-18 for 104 yards. The Jaguars essentially tried to win without a quarterback, and at some point, they need to confront the reality that this just isn’t working anymore.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Texans

The Texans acquired Thomas in a trade with the Broncos to fill in after Will Fuller went down. Though he had 3 catches for 61 yards in his Houston debut two weeks ago, he hardly was a factor against Washington on Sunday. Thomas was targeted just once and did not have a catch in the Texans’ win. In fact, since the first quarter of Houston’s win over Denver two weeks ago, Thomas has gone without a catch. That’s seven quarters in a row of not being a big factor in the offense.

Cincinnati Bengals’ defense

For periods of time on Sunday, it looked like the Bengals had spent more time gameplanning for injured Joe Flacco than his replacement, Lamar Jackson, who led a very rush-heavy attack. Subsequently, Cincinnati got gashed on the ground, and Baltimore kept doing it because it was working. Jackson ended up with 117 rushing yards on 27 carries, and running back Gus Edwards added 115 yards on just 17 carries. In total, that works out to 4.9 yards per carry as a team — a winning gameplan against a losing Cincinnati defense that everyone saw was in trouble early.

Ka’imi Fairbairn, K, Texans

Fairbairn generally did his job on Sunday, and the Texans did win this game by two. The kicker contributed three field goals, including a 54-yarder, to the win, but his two misses nearly cost the team dearly. He missed from 44 late in the first half, missing an opportunity to make it 20-7, but the second one was even more poorly-timed. With 52 seconds left in the fourth and a chance to make it a five-point game, Fairbairn was wide right from 45, setting Washington up for a potentially game-winning drive. They fell short, but Fairbairn probably felt very lucky that they did.

Devin Funchess, WR, Panthers

The Carolina offense could have been much more robust and efficient if Funchess had just been able to haul in a few extra passes. He was targeted eight times but caught just two of them, spending much of the day being plagued by very bad drops on what would have been big gains. He also let a touchdown slip through his fingers, though Carolina still ended up finding the end zone on the drive. This is a game that Funchess will want to forget, especially in light of a one-point loss.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers

This should be the final benching of the season for Fitzpatrick, who threw three interceptions in just 21 pass attempts in a 38-35 loss to the Giants. Fitzpatrick’s failures were further magnified by the fact that Jameis Winston came in to replace him and immediately turned the game around, throwing two touchdowns and taking over a team down 24-7 and turning it into a closer contest. Fitzpatrick just hasn’t been effective, and it would take an injury or some really poor performances by Winston to see him again.

Alex Collins and Ty Montgomery, RB, Ravens

The two backs who were expected to get the bulk of the touches out of the backfield for the run-heavy Ravens simply didn’t do so. Collins, the lead back according to conventional wisdom, got only seven carries for a miserable 18 yards. Montgomery, a trade deadline acquisition, didn’t even touch the ball. Both were effectively sidelined in favor of Lamar Jackson and, more importantly, undrafted free agent Gus Edwards, who looks to be the main man going forward at the expense of these two.

Jacksonville Jaguars’ late-game play

The Jags took a 16-0 lead on the Steelers late in the third quarter and appeared to be in good shape. And then they fell apart. On defense, they allowed a 78-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown on a busted coverage. They allowed consecutive touchdown drives in the final six minutes of the game as well. Two face mask penalties and a defensive holding call aided Pittsburgh on those drives. Offensively, they totally collapsed, with four straight 3-and-outs in which they lost a total of three yards. The real ugliness was Blake Bortles taking consecutive sacks to eliminate the chance for a field goal, which could have been the difference.

Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys

The Cowboys are going to keep looking at Cooper like he’s a No. 1 receiver, but he didn’t produce like one on Sunday. He was targeted just five times and caught only three of them, good for only 36 yards. The Cowboys leaned more heavily on Ezekiel Elliott, and that came at Cooper’s expense. The wide receiver is going to be under the microscope given the expectations placed upon him after his acquisition, and Sunday was just one of those days where it didn’t happen for him.

Josh Rosen, QB, Cardinals

Josh Rosen threw for a career-high three touchdowns in Arizona’s 23-21 loss to Oakland, but that’s only part of the story. He completed just 9 passes for 136 yards — both of which were his worst marks since becoming the starting quarterback. He threw two interceptions both on the second play of a drive, which gave the Raiders great field position. Oakland turned the turnovers into a pair of touchdowns and 14 points. In the second half, Arizona punted on four of their five possessions, with Rosen simply not doing enough to help his team win.

Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers

Rivers had his usual strong statistical game. He threw for 401 yards and two touchdowns, but he also was intercepted twice and played poorly down the stretch, which allowed Denver to win 23-22. After coming out strong following halftime to give the Chargers a 19-7 lead, Rivers missed a golden opportunity to put the game away by throwing an interception that Von Miller returned 42 yards the other way to put Denver back in the game. Another huge mistake came on the Chargers’ final possession when Rivers threw an incompletion on 3rd-and-7 and under 2 minutes remaining. Denver had no timeouts left, so the incompletion saved the Broncos about 35 seconds and played a big role in the comeback. You don’t expect a veteran to make that kind of mistake.

Eric Ebron, TE, Colts

Ebron’s lack of production Sunday, especially in a game that the Colts scored 38 points in, was a bit of a surprise. He’d hauled in at least one touchdown in five of his last six games, but not only was he held without a score on Sunday, he wasn’t even targeted. Ebron is a big-time red zone option, but it simply wasn’t happening against the Titans. He later said after the game that Indy expected Tennessee to key on him, which they did with a nickel back shadowing him all game. Though he didn’t produce for his fantasy owners, he served the role of decoy.



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