September 18, 2021, 19:54

NFL Grades Week 11: Dallas Cowboys fail in NFC East match-up with Philadelphia Eagles

NFL Grades Week 11: Dallas Cowboys fail in NFC East match-up with Philadelphia Eagles

The playoff picture became even clearer after Week 11 in the NFL. Which teams stood out and which flopped?

The New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers are top of the class in the AFC, while it’s the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings doing the running in the NFC.

Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills failed for the second week running, and they bring up the rear along with the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.

Here’s a look at our weekly team grades…


New England Patriots (W 33-8 v Oakland)

Tom Brady was surgical on Sunday, completing 30 of his 37 passes for 339 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. On the other side of the ball, the team clearly seems to have overcome its defensive woes from earlier in the season. The Pats have their sights set on the AFC No 1 seeding. Grade A+

Miami Dolphins (L 20-30 v Tampa Bay)

With Jay Cutler at the helm, the Dolphins were totally uninspired in the first half. He threw three interceptions before leaving the game with an injury down 20-7. In his place, Matt Moore brought the team roaring back to 20-20 with three minutes left. However, the defense couldn’t prevent the Bucs from driving down the field for a last-second field goal (followed by a whacky TD as time expired). Grade C-

Tampa Bay's Adarius Glanton recovers a fumble by the Dolphins for a touchdown

Buffalo Bills (L 24-54 @ Los Angeles Chargers)

There is simply no other grade to give than an F after a disastrous outing. Just a few weeks ago, we were talking them up as playoff contenders. Now, they look to be a team mis-managed. Tyrod Taylor was demoted, and in his stead rookie Nathan Peterman threw an astonishing five interceptions on just 14 attempts. Unreal! Confidence in head coach Sean McDermott might be wavering already after this debacle. Grade F

Buffalo's rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman in his first NFL start throws five interceptions against the Chargers

New York Jets (Bye)


Pittsburgh Steelers (W 40-17 v Tennessee)

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown treated Thursday night viewers to a show. The Titans kept it close into the third quarter, but the Steelers imposed their will in all three phases. The special teams unit blocked a field goal, the defense forced four interceptions, and the offense had four scores through the air and one spectacular helmet catch by Brown. Pittsburgh will be an extremely tough place to play come playoff time. Grade A+

We've picked out five of the best plays from week 11 – head to the NFL homepage to vote for your favourite now!

Baltimore Ravens (W 23-0 @ Green Bay)

The Ravens capitalised on the inept play of Brett Hundley (three interceptions) to record their third shutout of the season. In a wide open AFC wild card race, they could make a late push for a playoff spot. However, if they are to make any noise, the offense will need to show major improvements. Grade B

Cincinnati Bengals (W 20-17 @ Denver)

Andy Dalton was extremely efficient as he sliced apart a once much-vaunted Denver pass defense for three touchdowns through the air. The Bengals handed the Broncos their sixth-straight loss to just about stay in the hunt, but it seems likely they’ll end up with a middling record. Grade B-

Sport Illustrated's Peter King reflects on the main talking points from Week 11 in the NFL

Cleveland Browns (L 7-19 v Jacksonville)

Deep into the fourth quarter, Cleveland still had a chance in this game, but it was another game-changing play by the Jags defense that wrapped it up. Hue Jackson didn’t pull DeShone Kizer this week, but it was the rookie’s inaccuracy and carelessness with the ball that cost his team a chance – he turned the ball over on three straight possessions in the fourth quarter. There seems to be no hope for the Browns. Grade D-


Jacksonville Jaguars (W 19-7 @ Cleveland)

We don’t see Jacksonville putting up points or lighting up the scoreboard every week, and that could mean they don’t seem like true contenders. But this game was “who they are”. During their current four-game winning streak, the Jags have held opponents to an average of 7.75 points per game. They have the best rushing offense in the NFL, and the best overall defense. All Blake Bortles needs to do is avoid turnovers and they are set up to surprise. Grade B+

Houston Texans (W 31-21 v Arizona)

A pair of D’Onta Foreman touchdowns in the fourth quarter gave Houston the win, but there was heartbreak as the rookie tore his Achilles when breaking the goal line for his second score. The 4-6 Texans aren’t out of it just yet, as a 5-5 record currently puts the Ravens in the playoffs, but it was only a near win against a team down to its third QB. Houston plays Baltimore next week in a game with early wild card implications. Grade B-

Tennessee Titans (L 17-40 @ Pittsburgh)

Highlights of the Titans' clash with the Steelers in week 11 of the NFL

Down 14-23 midway through the third quarter, Delanie Walker dropped a wide open touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota. After a field goal made it 17-23, the Steelers rattled off 17 straight points and gave the Titans no chance. It was perhaps the Mariota’s worst outing as a pro as he threw four picks, but he wasn’t helped by a combined 42 rushing yards from the team’s backs. The Titans are one game behind the streaking Jags. Grade D

Indianapolis Colts (Bye)


Los Angeles Chargers (W 54-24 v Buffalo)

The Chargers should have been out of it after a 0-4 start. Now, with the Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders all losing, they are surging, having won four of the last six. The only other team in history to make the playoffs after an 0-4 start was the 1992 Chargers – could this group be the second team to do so? With a dominant defensive duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, and Keenan Allen heating up at wideout, this team is a dark horse. Grade A

Denver Broncos (L 17-20 v Cincinnati)

It’s amazing how far the Broncos have fallen since Peyton Manning hung up his boots. While he wasn’t at his best in a Super Bowl-winning 2015 season, he at least had the support of the whole team and, in particular, a ferocious defense. Now, Denver have lost six straight games, given up at least 20 points in all six and are stuck with Brock Osweiler as the ‘best’ option at QB. The future looks bleak. Grade D

Oakland Raiders (L 8-33 v New England)

Highlights of the New England's clash with Oakland from Mexico City

The Raiders fell to 4-6 after a defeat to a far superior Patriots team. The good news for them, though, is the Chiefs dropped another game, and the Raiders are just two behind in the AFC West race. A pair of wins against the Broncos and Giants would set up a crucial bout with Kansas City in three weeks. Can they find some life? Grade D-

Kansas City Chiefs (L 9-12 @ New York Giants) (OT)

Once in the conversation for the Super Bowl, coach of the year and MVP awards, the Chiefs have now dropped four of their last five and lost all momentum. Against the one-win Giants, Alex Smith threw two interceptions, Kareem Hunt was held to under 100 yards rushing for the fifth straight game, and a spectacular catch by Roger Lewis beat the defense when it mattered the most. Has Andy Reid been sussed out? The Chargers and Raiders are hot on their heels. Grade E

A look back to how the world reacted to the more interesting moments from week 11 of the NFL NFC EAST

Philadelphia Eagles (W 37-9 @ Dallas)

It took a while for the Eagles to look like the league-leading side that they are, but when it finally happened in the third quarter, it was sensational. Philly ran rampant on the ground with over 200 yards, while four takeaways from the defense meant that MVP candidate Carson Wentz didn’t actually have a whole lot to do. A playoff spot looks a formality – the question is just how many games they will win? Grade A+

Highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles' clash with the Dallas Cowboys in week 11 of the NFL

New York Giants (W 12-9 v Kansas City) (OT)

This was hardly a game that will live long in the memory, but as long as it’s a win, New York will take it. There were ominous signs early when running back Shane Vereen threw a pick on an ill-conceived trick play, but a defense that has been mostly poor all year finally stepped up to give the Giants only their second win of the season. Grade B

Washington Redskins (L 31-34 @ New Orleans) (OT)

For the second week in a row, Washington scored 30 or more against an elite team. For the second week in a row, Washington lost the game. This one was especially hard to take as they embarrassingly blew a 15-point in the last three minutes before losing in OT. Adding injury to insult, star running back Chris Thompson’s season ended here following a gruesome leg injury. Grade D-

Paul Pogba is the latest footballer to take on an NFL star in Game Recognise Game and this time it's Washington's Josh Norman

Dallas Cowboys (L 9-37 v Philadelphia)

A visit from the soaring Eagles wasn’t an ideal way to end yet another tumultuous week off the field in Texas. Without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith, the Dallas offense once more looked toothless, and poor Dak Prescott cut a frustrated figure as he turned the ball over four times. The defense kept Philadelphia to just a six-point lead until halfway through the third, but that will be scant consolation to a team now in turmoil. Grade F


Minnesota Vikings (W 24-7 v Los Angeles Rams)

They say defense wins championships and, on that basis, this team looks like a contender. After conceding early, the Vikings shut out the highly-touted Rams for the rest of the game, while on offense, Case Keenum – himself an ex-Ram – and Adam Thielen continued their excellent form. No side has ever played a Super Bowl in their own stadium: could we see history in the making this year? Grade A+

Detroit Lions (W 27-24 @ Chicago)

Another week, another unconvincing win for Detroit, who laboured to victory over an erratic Chicago team. The Lions quickly found themselves ten points adrift, but a defensive touchdown and clutch performances from the two Matts – Stafford and Prater – were just enough for an important divisional win. Thursday’s game against Minnesota could be vital in determining the NFC North come January. Grade B

We hear from the Around the NFL podcast team and get their take on Week 11 in the NFL

Chicago Bears (L 24-27 v Detroit)

Oh, what could have been. There were some encouraging signs here for Chicago: Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen were electric on the ground while rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky continues to improve with each game. However, some sloppy coverage in the secondary was an early Thanksgiving gift for Detroit, while Connor Barth’s missed game-tying field goal can only be watched behind covered fingers. Grade D

Green Bay Packers (L 0-23 v Baltimore)

There is no better illustration of just how brilliant Aaron Rodgers is than watching the Packers without him. Brett Hundley struggled mightily here with both his accuracy and decision-making, highlighted by a careless interception in the redzone. He was far from the sole culprit though: his offensive line did him no favours as he was sacked six times. Grade F


New Orleans Saints (W 34-31 v Washington) (OT)

After a number of crushing victories, it felt strange to see New Orleans in a close contest again. This was a real nail-biter, and it looked for a while as if the Saints would lose their first game since week two. Drew Brees had no interest in that, though, completing 11 for 11 passes down the stretch to steer his side to victory. These old timers still have it… Grade A

Alvin Kamara juggled his way to a crucial game-tying TD and a two-point conversion for the Saints against the Redskins

Atlanta Falcons (W 34-31 @ Seattle)

The Falcons’ revival continues after a second win in a row, following up their convincing rout of the Cowboys last week by holding on to victory late on in Seattle. They improve to 6-4 on the season with the win and are now back well in the hunt for a playoff berth. Grade A-

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (W 30-20 @ Miami)

Welcome back, Ryan Fitzpatrick. The veteran QB had almost been forgotten about after being cut from the Jets this summer, but he now has two wins in as many games, and as many as Jameis Winston does in eight. He went for 275 yards and two TDs, while three interceptions by the Bucs defense – one a spectacular touchdown saver by Justin Evans – were vital too. Grade B+

Carolina Panthers (Bye)


Arizona Cardinals (L 21-31 @ Houston)

A 10-point loss seems unfair on this young Arizona side, who played well for three and a half quarters. QB Blaine Gabbert was impressive in a rare start under centre, with three touchdowns, but threw two costly picks towards the end, while the run game was once again non-existent. Grade D+

Seattle Seahawks (L 31-34 v Atlanta)

Highlights of the Atlanta's clash with Seattle in week 11 of the NFL

Kicker Blair Walsh missed a last-gasp field goal from 52 yards as Atlanta held on for the win on Monday Night Football. The missed kick highlighted some questionable calls by head coach Pete Carroll – the team went for a fake field goal late in the first half rather than attempting a 35-yard kick. He also made a poor challenge in the fourth quarter that cost the team a timeout. Those extra seconds could have given Walsh an easier kicking task… Grade C-

LA Rams (L 7-24 @ Minnesota)

It was billed as a battle of Los Angeles’ elite offense against Minnesota’s elite defense: the offense lost. The Rams started perfectly with a TD on the first drive, but that was as good as it got. Rather than the floodgates opening, they were promptly slammed shut, and Jared Goff and co failed to score thereafter. Cooper Kupp’s fumble – just a yard from the Vikings’ goal line – at 7-7 also proved a critical error. Grade D

San Francisco 49ers (Bye)


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