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#pounditSunday, October 24, 2021

5 biggest disappointments of NFL Week 11

Tua Tagovailoa

We are moving toward the part of the season where every game is decisive and every mistake is magnified in the NFL. Coaches are now starting to sweat it out as their seats get hotter, and teams are seeing their playoff hopes get slimmer and slimmer depending on how they do. In other words, the stakes are high.

So who isn’t living up to expectations? Here are five disappointments from Week 11.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Dolphins

It’s fair to ask if the Dolphins went to Tagovailoa prematurely. He struggled on Sunday, throwing for just 83 yards before being benched in a move that coach Brian Flores explicitly said was down to performance. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t lead the Dolphins to a comeback, but the team received a bit of a jolt when he came in. Tagovailoa isn’t passing well enough right now. The Dolphins are still in a solid position, but the quarterback needs to improve.

Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens

Jackson came into the 2020 season talking about how motivated he was to go even further after the Ravens’ playoff loss last year. A rematch with the same Tennessee Titans team that knocked them out should have been a chance to make a statement. Instead, it showed just how much work they have to do. Jackson missed two opportunities for touchdown passes and threw for just 186 yards. Dez Bryant, signed off the street, was the team’s second-leading receiver with 28 yards. The offense is broken, and these postgame quotes didn’t inspire much confidence either.

Detroit Lions

The Carolina Panthers do not have a great defense. The Detroit Lions have enough talent on offense to at least be competent. Instead, the Lions got shut out, and their season is now circling the drain. Matt Patricia increasingly looks like a dead man walking. It never needed to get this bad in Detroit, but the franchise has completely lost its way — not that it was ever that close to figuring it out anyway. It’s time, once again, for wholesale changes.

New England Patriots’ defense

Deshaun Watson is entirely capable of hurting anyone, but the Patriots’ defense was brutal on Sunday. Their performance is even harder to excuse when considering the Texans essentially had the run game taken away from them. That meant Watson was passing a lot, and the Patriots couldn’t stop it. Watson threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns, then added a third rushing touchdown. In the end, Houston put up 399 total yards and 27 points. That won’t do against a team that has been struggling all year.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers

Sunday was cruel for Valdes-Scantling, who made a big catch late in the fourth quarter to get the game to overtime in the first place. However, the wide receiver made a huge mistake in overtime, fumbling away the ball after a catch to essentially set the Colts up for a win. It was, quite literally, a game-changing turnover, and he was visibly upset on the sideline afterward. He has the backing of his quarterback, but that’s unlikely to make him feel any better.

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