Welcome to the Starting Eleven. This NFL season, we’ll be collecting the preferrred myth lines, highlighting the standout players, and that comprises the most jaw-dropping feats of the week. Let’s dive in.
1. The rule allowing coaches to say pass interference has been a sham all season, and the no-name in Sunday’s Texans-Ravens recreation desires to be the closing straw. The NFL’s resolution to fetch PI reviewable this season made sense on its face. Last three hundred and sixty five days’s incident late in the NFC championship effectively designate the Saints a time out to the Astronomical Bowl, and the league wished to forestall one thing identical from occurring but again. What nervous me and others, though, became how the rule of thumb would be enforced. Relegislating judgment calls in late motion is difficult, and determining the sting for overturning a name figured to be the knottiest phase of the route of. With out setting up that decided and constant threshold, the rule of thumb became certain to fall flat. And for the reason that league failed to attain so, that’s exactly what’s took place.
As ESPN’s Kevin Seifert pointed out on Sunday, NFL coaches have misplaced 32 of their 33 pass interference challenges for the reason that launch of Week 4. That entails a play Texans coach Bill O’Brien flagged this week, in which Marlon Humphrey basically tackled DeAndre Hopkins in the tip zone and nothing became known as.
By setting up a nearly about no longer attainable usual for PI to be overturned, the league has painted itself into a corner. Changing how the rule of thumb is enforced now wouldn’t be possible. Practically two-thirds by plan of the season, a precedent has been residing about what forms of plays coaches have to say (learn: none of them). Changing that usual at this point would most tremendous bring more confusion and criticism. For the leisure of the season, the NFL has no decision but to proceed this charade before deciding how that you would possibly perhaps perhaps also tweak the rule of thumb in 2020.
Every aspect of how the league has utilized this rule up to now has most tremendous raised more questions. The league’s officiating department apparently couldn’t discover a correct tipping point for how and when to overturn calls, so it has correct decided to ignore the rule of thumb. If that became even a far-off likelihood, why would the league prefer into fable installing the rule of thumb in the first residing? All this unique system has done is bring more scrutiny to bang-bang plays with no unique formulation to well fetch to the backside of them. Placing this rule in residing is correct the most recent instance of the league performatively reacting to an match so that you can assuage public fury, most tremendous to botch the minute print required to well glimpse that thought by plan of. At this point, it appears like a pass interference name at a extraordinarily well-known moment of a playoff recreation is all but inevitable, and when that happens, the league can have nobody else responsible.
2. Lamar Jackson’s brilliance on Sunday became nothing unique, but Baltimore’s emergence as a whole personnel have to dismay the leisure of the AFC. With 4 more touchdown passes and one more holy shit flee, Jackson’s MVP candidacy is stronger than ever. His ability to shake freed from defenders and fetch legitimate athletes explore hapless in launch residing correct isn’t a usual incidence on an NFL subject, and his growth as a passer turns into more obvious per week. Both of Jackson’s downfield touchdown throws on Sunday required him to climb the pocket before firing a strike over the center of the subject. And the formulation he’s in a position to fetch trail-like throws from every possible arm perspective has been an absolute joy to glimpse.
Fixating on Jackson is easy even as you’re staring at Baltimore, but the most impressive phase of Sunday’s Forty one-7 dismantling of the Texans became the Ravens’ dominance in nearly every residing. Stamp Ingram roasted Houston defenders on both of his touchdown catches; and though Baltimore’s draw consistently places working backs in certain instances—as both runners and receivers—Ingram has made the most out of every and every alternative this season.
Pass rusher Matthew Judon executed with two sacks and eight pressures on Sunday because the main portion in Baltimore’s blitz packages. The Ravens introduced as a minimal five rushers on 20 of Deshaun Watson’s 37 dropbacks on Sunday and notched 4 sacks on those plays. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale doesn’t have a single dominant edge rusher, but he’s elated bringing exotic blitzes on fable of of the belief he has in his secondary. With Marlon Humphrey, Earl Thomas, and Jimmy Smith in residing, the Ravens already had one among the most proficient secondaries in football—and that became before they traded for Marcus Peters in mid-October. Peters has been a lights-out man-to-man corner since arriving in Baltimore in Week 7. And the Ravens have had the very preferrred defensive DVOA and tension percentage in the league in that span. Basically the most tremendous defenses in football have supreme unity between their chase and protection fashions, and that’s exactly what the Ravens are getting correct now. Very just like the offense, Baltimore’s defense is constructed on a regarded as thought that’s being carried out to a T, and it’s made the Ravens arguably the most whole personnel in the NFL.
Three. The Texans’ blowout loss to the Ravens basically ruins their shot at a first-spherical bye and calls into question Houston’s station as an AFC contender. By dropping to six-4, the Texans are truly effectively three games behind the Ravens for the no. 2 seed in the AFC and deadlocked with the Colts atop the AFC South. Thursday night’s matchup against Indy now looms effectively-organized, but even though the Texans attain edge out the Colts in the division, head coach Bill O’Brien’s personnel appears to be a notch under the AFC’s elite. Deshaun Watson and the offense can have greater days than they did against Baltimore. Watson threw for correct 169 yards on 29 attempts, and it became the first time all season that he’s failed to discover both a passing or rushing touchdown. Houston is seemingly getting extensive receiver Will Fuller encourage from a hamstring injure next week, so the ceiling of this passing recreation is smooth extraordinarily excessive.
The outlook for the defense isn’t moderately as rosey. J.J. Watt’s season-ending pectoral injure in Week eight became a crushing blow for a unit that lacks skill up entrance. And this community continues to streak for solutions at cornerback. After shipping a third-spherical prefer to the Raiders in exchange for 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley closing month, the Texans claimed outdated Bucs first-spherical prefer Vernon Hargreaves off waivers closing week. With Bradley Roby seemingly returning soon after lacking 4 games with a hamstring injure, Houston would possibly perhaps also at closing have the personnel in residing to subject a whole secondary, but it absolutely would be too shrimp too late for this community.
If Houston falls brief of the postseason, it’ll be a predominant letdown for a personnel that made several aggressive moves this offseason. The Texans dealt two first-spherical picks for left address Laremy Tunsil in August and sent a fourth-spherical prefer to the Browns in exchange for working encourage Duke Johnson. The factual news for the Texans is that even in the occasion that they lack draft capital for the following two years, whoever the personnel hires as GM this offseason—whether or no longer or no longer it is Patriots executive Cut Caserio or any other candidate—will have to have heaps of financial flexibility in 2020. Houston is projected to have bigger than $70 million in cap residing next spring and can with out danger unlock noteworthy more with just a few logical cuts.
Practically all of the offense is below contract for the following several seasons, including Hopkins. Houston’s offensive line has two rookie starters, and after signing Tunsil to an inevitable lengthy-interval of time deal, 4 of the five players can even be locked in. The defense is in noteworthy more flux, with starters Roby and Johnathan Joseph residing to hit free agency, but the Conley and Hargreaves moves give the Texans just a few extremely drafted players who will confidently have the back of unique surroundings. If Houston decides that Hargreaves isn’t price the $9.9 million rookie option he’ll be owed in 2020, the personnel would possibly perhaps also decrease him at no designate. The Texans’ expansive swings this offseason will leave their unique-explore entrance place of job with out many alternate choices in the draft, but an incredible GM will smooth have the pliability to bring this personnel nearer to competition in 2020.
4. The Vikings’ expansive second-half of comeback against the Broncos became the tag of a extensive personnel. Minnesota had a nightmare first half of against Denver on Sunday. Mike Zimmer’s community allowed 217 yards to an offense led by Brandon Allen, who became beginning his second profession recreation at quarterback. Kirk Cousins became sacked three times: two of those effectively ended Vikings drives and one more resulted in a misplaced fumble. The Vikings trailed 20-zero at halftime, and a brutal loss to a Three-6 personnel seemed all but inevitable. Unless it wasn’t.
Cousins became sterling in the second half of. He performed 18 of his 23 attempts for 261 yards and three touchdowns against a defense that had entered Week Eleven ranked sixth in DVOA. Minnesota continues to roast opposing secondaries with play-motion throws. Cousins used play-motion on most tremendous five of his dropbacks on Sunday, but two of those ended in touchdowns, including his Fifty four-yard bomb to Stefon Diggs early in the fourth quarter. On that play, Minnesota faked an outdoors zone flee to the compatible. Then Cousins rolled encourage to his left, reset the launch point of his throw, and learned Diggs on a backside skinny submit. That play discover has been a staple of Gary Kubiak’s system for years, but interesting the pocket to the left and working the motion out of shotgun are two fun unique wrinkles. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski has robotically dialed up calls that allow Cousins to prefer expansive pictures down the subject. This week, it correct took a pair quarters to fetch them.
5. The Cardinals’ upset uncover of the Niners fell brief on Sunday, but Kyler Murray appears to toughen per week. Murray executed with correct 150 yards passing on Sunday, but he smooth delivered several impressive throws against one among the league’s most tremendous pass defenses and added Sixty seven yards and a touchdown on the bottom. On a third-and-Eleven late in the first quarter, with the Niners’ entrance bearing down on him, Murray tossed a supreme strike to Pharoh Cooper for a 23-yard assemble advance the left sideline. His 22-yard touchdown flee in the fourth quarter came on a learn play that became designed to prefer back of Cut Bosa’s aggressiveness on the sting — and Murray became bigger than in a position to fetch him pay.
At Three-7-1, the Cardinals are having one more attempting season. Nonetheless Murray and head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s offense have been rousing successes. After finishing with a historically terrible offensive DVOA in 2018, the Cardinals now substandard ninth. That’s an incredible turnaround, and one which’s advance with out noteworthy turnover outdoors of the personnel’s coach and quarterback. Arizona has a lengthy formulation to head in remaking its roster, but the pairing on the center of the franchise’s thought has heaps of attainable.
6. The give plan of Colin Kaepernick’s league-organized workout is but another instance of the NFL bungling a attainable PR prefer. The timing and minute print surrounding Kaepernick’s workout on Saturday in Atlanta never made noteworthy sense. Below the guise of giving the QB a likelihood to showcase his football readiness, the NFL gave both him and all 32 teams correct 4 days’ undercover agent. Once Kaepernick agreed, the NFL added more stipulations: The league stated that the media wouldn’t be allowed fetch entry to or filming rights to the workout. Pondering what he’s already continued previously three years, a need for transparency would already be grounds for Kaepernick to reject the NFL’s terms. Then but again it appears the league became also asking him to sign a waiver that would possibly perhaps forfeit his rights to file a lawsuit claiming retaliation by teams for his preliminary collusion case or to bring one more collusion case against the NFL. Kaepernick refused on both accounts, and alongside with his representation and the league at odds, your whole thing fell apart correct minutes before it became imagined to launch. Kaepernick’s aspect eventually introduced that the workout became interesting faraway from the Falcons’ Flowery Branch facility to a inner sight excessive college to permit media people corpulent fetch entry to to the session.
After the workout became moved, eight teams reportedly sent scouts to the second build to glimpse Kaepernick throw. By all accounts, his arm energy hasn’t diminished noteworthy from his taking part in days, and he appears to be like to be in recreation-ready form. Nonetheless this has never been about whether or no longer Kaepernick is proficient ample to play in the league, and this weekend’s botched efforts were correct one more misstep by the NFL.
7. Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injure would possibly perhaps also commerce the landscape of the 2020 QB carousel. The Alabama well-known particular person’s college profession seemingly came to an stop on Saturday after he dislocated his hip against Mississippi Divulge. Now, the question turns to his both his lengthy-interval of time outlook and the plan his health can have an impact on the 2020 draft. Hip accidents can have a permanent impact on a player’s profession—correct explore at Bo Jackon, whose title has been thrown out as a cautionary story in the times following Tua’s injure. The greatest consideration correct now would possibly perhaps be Tagovailoa’s health, but when teams judge this would possibly perhaps also have an impact on him in 2020 and past, the calculus for heaps of golf equipment will commerce this offseason.
The winless Bengals have the inner display screen for the no. 1 prefer in next three hundred and sixty five days’s draft, and if Tagovailoa is now no longer a viable decision, Cincinnati can have puny alternate choices to discover its QB of the lengthy flee. LSU’s Joe Burrow would possibly perhaps also vault into the draft’s high plan, and if that happens, the tanking Dolphins would possibly perhaps also just be the personnel left with out a QB dance partner—which would possibly perhaps considerably alter the timeline of Miami’s rebuild. If Tagovailoa isn’t picked in the first spherical, there’s a wager that other QBs, such as Oregon’s Justin Herbert, Washington’s Jacob Eason, Utah Divulge’s Jordan Admire, and Georgia’s Jake Fromm, would possibly perhaps also fetch pushed extra up the board. With all of those potentialities on the desk, teams that were hoping to consume a QB later in the first spherical would possibly perhaps also just be more inclined to retain a worn option as an insurance plans. And if that happens, what became expected to be a rabid free-agent and commerce market would be less warm than expected. Tagovailoa’s injure affects noteworthy bigger than the personnel that became going to draft him next spring. It’s a extensive domino that would possibly perhaps also have an impact on QB motion all across the league.
eight. After yanking Mitchell Trubisky in Sunday’s loss to the Rams, Bears head coach Matt Nagy insisted that the decision had nothing to attain alongside with his quarterback’s most fashionable struggles. Trubisky became pulled late in the fourth quarter of Chicago’s 17-7 loss, and in the moment, it seemed as if he and Nagy had a serious discussion on the sideline. On Sunday, Nagy stated that Trubisky suffered a hip pointer injure on a sack in the second quarter, and that after speaking with quarterbacks coach Dave Ragone, the head coach went to his QB and asked for a straight answer about how he became feeling. When Trubisky admitted that he became in pains, Nagy pulled the bound on his night. Going forward, any lunge involving Trubisky shall be analyzed just like the Zapruder movie by Bears followers. Chicago’s offense became harmful but again on Sunday, and it’s radically change decided that the employees’s insecurity in its quarterback has brief-circuited this whole unit. Nagy’s stance on Sunday implies that the Bears will retain Trubisky below center, but I’m no longer certain how for far longer this personnel can come up with the money for to dash out a QB that the coaches—and seemingly noteworthy of the roster—has misplaced faith in.
9. Dak Prescott persisted his fabulous season on Sunday by piling up 444 yards and three touchdowns against the Lions, and it’s time to acknowledge him as a legitimate MVP candidate. At 6-4, the Cowboys haven’t had the personnel success that the Ravens and Seahawks have this season, but Prescott has been every bit as treasured as Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson. Dallas entered Week Eleven ranked no. 1 in offensive DVOA and no. Three in passing DVOA. Prescott’s Sixty seven.7 completion percentage is the truth is 6.Three percentage aspects bigger than his expected completion percentage—the third-greatest incompatibility in the NFL for QBs with as a minimal 200 attempts. Prescott leads the league with Three,221 passing yards, which is most tremendous 664 fewer yards than he’s ever recorded in an whole season. And he’s on tempo to attain with 5,153 yards. That would possibly perhaps effectively be the seventh-best single-season total in NFL history.
Counting stats would possibly perhaps also just be deceptive, but prefer into fable this: Prescott is also averaging eight.eight yards per are trying. If he continues that tempo, he would be most tremendous the fourth 5,000-yard passer in history to crack eight.5 Y/A in that very same season. The three QBs who did it before him are Tom Brady (in 2011), Dan Marino (1984), and Patrick Mahomes (2018). Both Marino and Mahomes were named MVP those years, and Brady misplaced out most tremendous on fable of Aaron Rodgers took place to lead the Packers to a 15-1 characterize on the energy of the most atmosphere marvelous passing season in NFL history. Prescott is having one among the most tremendous years the league has ever considered, and it would possibly perhaps assign apart him firmly in the MVP hunt.
10. This week’s line play moment that made me hit rewind: Raiders rookie defensive stop Maxx Crosby executed with 4 sacks on Sunday and continues to explore like a consume. Crosby’s monster day came against John Jerry, who became filling in at emergency left address for the Bengals, but the rookie also entered Week Eleven with 25 pressures in Oakland’s first nine games. Coming from Jap Michigan, Crosby entered the 2019 draft with concerns about his competition level and whether or no longer his slender frame would possibly perhaps also prefer up against NFL tackles. Nonetheless his ridiculous showing on the combine—the build he scored in the ninetieth percentile or greater in the 20-yard shuttle, three-cone drill, vertical jump, extensive jump, and forty-yard chase—inspired Oakland to prefer a wager on him in the fourth spherical. That call is already paying dividends. Crosby’s athleticism fully translates to the NFL, and moves like this strip-sack-inflicting inappropriate-gash show that he’s already refining his skills as a pass rusher. With Josh Jacobs working all the plan by plan of defenses and Crosby getting after the QB, Mike Mayock’s first draft class has produced some amazing finds.
Eleven. This week in NFL players, they’re fully nothing like us: This plan belongs to Lamar Jackson till extra undercover agent.