By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus
When looking back on Week 11, we were given another look at the past, present, and future of the Field Generals throughout the league. Superman’s return in Charlotte represents a look back at the Panthers’ past while peeking at its immediate future.
The emergency start by Tyler Hundley at Chicago for the Ravens let us know that LJ’s backup is in very good hands. Not that No. 8 is going to be out for an extended period mind you, but it’s good to know that folks don’t have to freak out if Jackson can’t play.
We also saw Tyrod Taylor pull off one of the biggest upsets of the season at Tennessee while the road to the postseason for Seattle is getting narrower and narrower despite the return of Russell Wilson. All in all, it was another interesting week of play.
Let’s take a look back.
LAST WEEK: 5-4 (53-48 overall)
Cam Newton, Carolina (Loss vs. Washington)
The stage was set for a triumphant homecoming for No. 1, but the Football Team spoiled the party and saw their coach have a satisfying return. Behind Taylor Heinicke throwing for 206 yards and three touchdowns against the league’s top-ranked pass defense, D.C. outlasted the Panthers giving head coach Ron Rivera a win against his former team. Heinicke played one of the best games of his career, finishing with a QB rating of 141.3 as Washington piled up 369 yards of offense. As for Cam, he provided some big moments, throwing for 189 yards and two touchdowns and running for a 24-yard score that he celebrated by running to the team’s logo at midfield, slamming down the ball, and doing his Superman impersonation by pretending to rip open his jersey. But Newton’s final two potential game-winning drives ended when the Panthers turned the ball over on downs. Newton has now lost nine straight starts with the Panthers dating to the 2018 season.
Justin Fields, Chicago (Loss vs. Baltimore)
Following a standout performance against the Steelers, Fields took a big step backward following several promising outings. The rookie was 4 of 11 for 79 yards after throwing for a career-high 291 yards at Pittsburgh two weeks ago. To add injury to insult, The first-round pick would leave the game with injured ribs in the third quarter. The Bears (3-7) lost their fifth straight.
Tyler Hundley, Baltimore (Win at Chicago)
After finding out he was starting from Mr. Jackson, Hundley did more than enough to fill his role. Huntley completed 26 of 36 passes for 219 yards in his first career start. The second-year pro who was undrafted out of Utah also threw an interception and got sacked six times in his fifth pro appearance. Jackson was sidelined by illness for the AFC North-leading Ravens (7-3), who ruled him out 90 minutes before kickoff after he took some throws on the field. The 2019 MVP was a full participant in practice Friday after being held out the previous two days.
Tyrod Taylor, Houston (Win at Tennessee)
The Texans snapped the NFL’s longest active skid by beating the Titans 22-13 to end the league’s longest winning streak on a wet and rainy Sunday. The Texans (2-8) came in having lost eight straight since winning their season opener and hadn’t scored a TD on the road since Sept. 19. Taylor ran for 2 touchdowns and completed 14-of-24 passes for 107 yards and no interceptions. He also added six carries for 28 yards. Houston’s victory also marks the latest win in a season by a team with the worst record over the team with the best record in the same conference since the 1970 merger. Cincinnati’s win over Pittsburgh in Week 7 of the 1979 season had been the previous such win according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Tua Tagovailoa, Miami (Win at N.Y. Jets)
Make it three straight wins for the Fish. Tagovailoa, who threw a go-ahead 5-yard touchdown pass to Myles Gaskin early in the fourth quarter, finished 27 of 33 for 273 yards and touchdown passes to Gaskin and Mack Hollins with one interception. A week after an impressive victory over Baltimore, the Dolphins (4-7) overcame some penalties — and the Jets had some sloppy plays of their own — to get their first three-game winning streak since winning five in a row in the middle of last season. The Jets, who rebounded defensively after allowing at least 45 points in three of their past four games, couldn’t make key stops late. And they couldn’t get much going consistently on offense.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia (Win vs. New Orleans)
Behind No. 1’s big day (see the spotlight below), Philly stuck to their run-first approach and dominated the NFL’s top-ranked rushing defense. The Eagles racked up 242 yards on the ground against a team that allowed 72.9 yards rushing per game. The Eagles have surpassed 175 yards rushing in four straight games, including 200-plus in three victories in that span. The Eagles (5-6) have won two in a row for the first time this season and head coach Nick Sirianni earned his first victory at home in five tries. The Saints (5-5) dropped their third straight since losing quarterback Jameis Winston to a season-ending ACL injury during a 36-27 win over Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay.
Dak Prescott, Dallas (Loss at Kansas City)
For the second time in three weeks, the Cowboy offense struggled against an AFC West opponent as they fell on the road at Arrowhead. Prescott was held to 216 yards passing and two interceptions for the Cowboys whose top-scoring offense was held to 5 of 15 on third down and 276 yards in all. To be fair, Dallas was banged up on both sides of the line. However, it was K.C.’s defense that took the league’s No. 1 ranked offense out of their game.
Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City (Win vs. Dallas)
The offense still had its stops and starts, but behind Chris Jones’ 3 1/2 sacks, they were surprisingly backed up by a fired-up defense. As for Mahomes, he threw for 260 yards passing with an interception and a fumble. The Chiefs are 4-0 against the NFC East and riding a four-game win streak into its bye. Kansas City did the exact same thing after a rough first seven weeks that left them 3-4 and last in the AFC West. They’ve eliminated many of the turnovers and penalties that hamstrung their offense, and a defense that was historically inept in September and October has turned into a ferocious, ball-hawking bunch in November.
Russell Wilson, Seattle (Loss vs. Arizona)
Despite facing an Arizona squad playing without Kyler Murray for a third straight game, the Seahawks looked awful in a home loss to the division-leading Cards. The Seahawks (3-7) lost their second straight and for the fifth time in the past six games. Their offense was abysmal, their defense failed to get third-down stops, and Seattle was regularly booed by the home fans after its fourth home loss of the season. Seattle went 20 straight drives without a touchdown before DeeJay Dallas’ TD run midway through the fourth quarter. Wilson was 14 of 26 for 207 yards. Seattle punted on five of its first seven possessions and Wilson was sacked four times, 2 1/2 coming from Chandler Jones.
Bye Week: Teddy Bridgewater (Denver)
STAT OF THE WEEK
Making his 15th career start, Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts rushed for three touchdowns in the Eagles’ win against the Saints. Hurts, who is 23 years and 106 days old, is the second-youngest quarterback in league annals to register three rushing touchdowns in a single game, trailing only Cam Newton (three rushing touchdowns on December 4, 2011, at 22 years, 207 days old). He had 11 rushing touchdowns in his first 15 career starts, tied with Josh Allen (11 rushing touchdowns) and Kordell Stewart (11) for the second-most by a quarterback in his first 15 career starts in the Super Bowl era. Only Cam Newton (14) had more. Hurts has four career games with at least two rushing touchdowns, tied with Cam Newton (four) for the most such games by a quarterback in his first two seasons in the Super Bowl era.
Anthony McClean can be reached via email at email@example.com.