NFL Week 11 Lowdown: News, Notes, and some Sneak Peek Previews

November 14, 2014

Week 11 in the NFL is upon us and the excitement is building as the playoff races tighten.  Sunday's games will include for the first time in NFL history this late in a season, four games between teams with winning percentages of .667 or better: Seattle Seahawks (6-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (6-3); Philadelphia Eagles (7-2) at Green Bay Packers (6-3); Detroit Lions (7-2) at Arizona Cardinals (8-1); and New England Patriots (7-2) at Indianapolis Colts (6-3).

Entering Week 11, there are 21 teams either in or within one-and-a-half games of a playoff spot. Some of the key games this week are:

Seattle at Kansas City

The Chiefs will host the Seahawks in a battle of second-place teams that have hit their respective strides. Seattle got back to its championship formula last week, posting a franchise-record 350 rushing yards in a 38-17 victory against the Giants, the Seahawks’ third consecutive win. Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch led the way with 140 rushing yards and a career-high four TDs.

“That’s what we’re capable of every week, and it finally clicked,” said Seattle guard J.R. Sweezy. “We were finally all on the same page and we finally played our style of football. You could feel it. We just had an attitude of getting after them, and we did. Our tempo was up, and it really showed.”

Kansas City has rebounded from an 0-2 start to win six of its past seven games, including a 17-13 come-from-behind victory at Buffalo after erasing a 13-3 fourth-quarter deficit last week.

“There’s a certain toughness that it takes to not only play in the NFL, but come back from a deficit like that and our guys showed that today,” said Kansas City head coach Andy Reid. “They showed real grit there that second half.”

Detroit at Arizona

This season marks the first time the Cardinals have owned the best record in the NFL after nine games since 1966, when they started 7-1-1.  Arizona is 8-1 for the first time since 1948 and the third time in franchise history (1925, 1948, and 2014).  However, the team is also reeling from the loss of quarterback Carson Palmer for the season.

The Cardinals sealed a 31-14 victory against the Rams with two fourth-quarter defensive touchdowns by cornerbacks Patrick Peterson (30-yard interception return) and Antonio Cromartie (14-yard fumble return).

“We got into the zone, got the momentum on our side and left it all on the field,” said Arizona defensive end Calais Campbell, who posted two sacks against St. Louis.

The Lions, meanwhile, are 7-2 and off to their best start since 1993.

“We don’t give out any awards after nine games of the season,” said Detroit head coach Jim Caldwell, whose 7-2 start is the best of any head coach in his first season with the franchise since 1931 (Potsy Clark, 8-1). “We haven’t done anything yet. We’ve been playing tough, but it’s a long season. It’s a journey and we’re still on that journey.”

The Lions have scored the game-winning points inside the 2:00 minute mark of the fourth quarter to win in regulation in each of their past three games, becoming the first team to do so since the 1994 New York Giants.

“I just think that you can sense that they have a lot of poise,” said Caldwell. “They don’t mind a little pressure, they know how to hang in and come from behind. Sixty minutes, whatever it takes, they’re willing to give it.”

Philadelphia at Green Bay

The Eagles travel to Green Bay to face the Packers on Sunday afternoon, as both teams are coming off impressive victories in Week 10. Philadelphia defeated Carolina 45-21 on Monday Night Football, as Mark Sanchez passed for 332 yards and two touchdowns for a 102.5 passer rating in his first start with the Eagles.

“It was just a great night,” said Sanchez, who became the first quarterback in Eagles history to pass for 300 yards with a rating of 100 or better in first start with the team. “It was so fun to get back out on the field. It’s good to get back in an environment like this in front of this crowd and in front of all of those players that work so hard during the week.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdown passes, all in the first half, during the Packers’ 55-14 win against the Bears, tying the NFL record for the most TD passes in a half.

“We did a lot of good things on offense,” said Rodgers. “We got into a rhythm early. That’s the way you want to play moving into the second half of the season.”

New England at Indianapolis

This is a clash of first-place AFC teams, featuring two of the game's top quarterbacks.  Following a 2-2 start, New England has won five games in a row and outscored its opponents by an average of 18.6 points per game during those contests.

“Hopefully we can keep making improvements and we’re a lot better five weeks from now, also,” said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Quarterback Andrew Luck, who leads the NFL with 3,085 passing yards, has led the Colts to six wins in their past seven games.

“He’s playing outstanding,” said Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano of Luck, whose active streak of seven consecutive 300-yard passing games is tied for the third-longest in NFL history. “We just need to keep him playing the way he’s playing.”

Pittsburgh at Tennessee

Week 11 concludes with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. The Steelers’ offense averaged 41.3 points per game during a three-game winning streak before a 20-13 loss to the Jets last week.  But Pittsburgh remains only a half game back of first-place Cleveland.

“Everyone’s right there together,” said defensive end Brett Keisel of the AFC North, which is the first division in which every team is at least two games above .500 at any point in the season since the 1935 NFL Western Division. “We need to assert ourselves.”

Tennessee will be looking for continued progress from rookie quarterback and sixth round pick Zach Mettenberger, who has passed for 478 yards and three touchdowns in two games since being named the starter in Week 8.

“He did some good things today, and made some good throws,” said Tennessee head coach Ken Whisenhunt of Mettenberger’s performance at Baltimore. “I think he did a nice job in operating today in this environment, which is not easy.”

NFC Players of the Week announced for Week 10

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, cornerback Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals, and punt returner-running back Darren Sproles of the Philadelphia Eagles are the NFC Offensive, Defensive, and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played the 10th week of the 2014 season (November 6, 9-10), the NFL announced.


Rodgers completed 18 of 27 passes (66.7 percent) for 315 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions for a 145.8 passer rating in the Packers’ 55-14 win over Chicago.  He threw all six touchdowns in the first half and is only the second player in NFL history with six touchdown passes in a half.

Rodgers tied the franchise record for the most TD passes in a game and is the only Packer to have two games with six touchdown passes.

In his 10th season from California, this is Rodgers’ 11th career Player of the Week Award and third this season (Weeks 4 and 7). His three Offensive Player of the Week Awards this season are the most in the NFL.  Since 2010, Rodgers’ 11 Player of the Week Awards are the most in the NFL.


Peterson had two fourth-quarter interceptions, including a 30-yard touchdown return, in the Cardinals’ 31-14 win over St. Louis.  After the Cardinals went ahead 17-14 with 7:40 to go in the game, Peterson helped Arizona hold the lead by stopping the Rams on their next two drives with interceptions. On the second interception, he returned it 30 yards for a touchdown that gave the Cardinals a 10-point lead with 5:13 remaining.

Since entering the NFL in 2011, Peterson has five return TDs (four PR-TD, one INT-TD). He has 14 career interceptions and is the only player in the NFL with at least 10 INTs and five return TDs since 2011.

In his fourth year from Louisiana State, this is Peterson’s fourth career Player of the Week Award and second on Defense (Week 4, 2013). He has won twice on Special Teams (Weeks 9 and 12, 2011).
Peterson is the only player to win multiple Player of the Week Awards for both Defense and Special Teams.


Sproles had a 65-yard punt-return touchdown and averaged 28.3 yards per return in the Eagles’ 45-21 win over Carolina. He also added an eight-yard touchdown run.  He is the first player in NFL history to record both a punt-return touchdown and a rushing touchdown in the first quarter of a game. Sproles gave the Eagles a 10-0 lead with his eight-yard rushing touchdown and put Philadelphia on top 17-7 when he returned a punt 65 yards for a score.

In his 10th season from Kansas State, this is Sproles’ fourth career Player of the Week Award and third this year (Offense, Week 2 and Special Teams, Week 4). He was also named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 10, 2007 for San Diego.

AFC Players of the Week announced for Week 10

Running back Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens, safety Jaiquawn Jarrett of the New York Jets, and fullback Anthony Sherman of the Kansas City Chiefs are the AFC Offensive, Defensive, and Special Teams Players of the Week for games played in the 10th week of the 2014 season (November 6, 9-10), the NFL announced.


Forsett rushed for 112 yards on 20 carries (5.6 average) and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 21-7 win against Tennessee.  His two rushing touchdowns, which tied a career-high, provided the Ravens’ with their first two scores of the day.

With Baltimore trailing 7-0 in the second quarter, Forsett scored on a nine-yard run. Midway through the third quarter, he added an 11-yard touchdown run to provide the Ravens with their first lead of the day.  Ninety-two of Forsett’s season-high 112 rushing yards came in the second half, as he helped Baltimore control the clock. The Ravens maintained a time-of-possession edge of 20:11 to the Titans’ 9:49 in the second half.

Forsett, who had the most rushing yards of any AFC player in Week 10, leads NFL running backs with a 5.4 rushing average this season (721 yards, 133 carries).  In his seventh season from California, this is Forsett’s first career Player of the Week Award.


Jarrett posted two interceptions, a fumble recovery, 10 tackles and one sack in the Jets’ 20-13 win against Pittsburgh.  His fumble recovery occurred deep inside Steelers’ territory and provided the Jets with possession at the 20-yard line in the first quarter.

Jarrett’s two interceptions were the first of his NFL career. He was part of a unit that helped limit Pittsburgh, which averaged 41.3 points per game in the three preceding contests, to 13 points.

In his fourth season from Temple, this is Jarrett’s first career Player of the Week Award. He is the first Jet to win a Player of the Week Award this season.


Sherman forced and recovered a fumble on a punt play while posting three special-teams tackles in the Chiefs’ 17-13 win at Buffalo.  With the Chiefs trailing 13-10 in the fourth quarter, Sherman forced punt returner LEODIS MC KELVIN to fumble and recovered it himself at the Bills’ 26-yard line.

He contributed two other special-teams tackles, both of which pinned the Bills’ inside their own 25-yard line.

In his fourth season from Connecticut, this is Sherman’s first career Player of the Week Award.

By Staff of and news services

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