By: Robert Bishop
Back again, and in an overtime thriller, the Tennessee Titans defeated the Baltimore Ravens on the strength of a breakaway rushing score for running back Derrick Henry. The Titans took the lead late in the fourth quarter before allowing the Ravens to kick a game-tying field goal. In overtime, Henry’s post-halftime dominance during games this season continued, and he finished the contest with 28 carries for 133 yards and the game-winning TD. It was a nice bounce-back win for the Titans following last week’s loss against the Colts, and Tennessee is 7-3 heading into next week’s rematch against Indianapolis. Baltimore falls to 6-4 with the loss, and paired with Cleveland’s win over the Eagles, moves the Ravens into third place in the AFC North.
No Drew Brees proved to be no problem for the New Orleans Saints. With Taysom Hill starting at quarterback, the Saints cruised to a comfortable win over the Atlanta Falcons. To say Hill was impressive would be an understatement, and the offense of the Saints looked better than it has all season. Unlike Brees, Hill proved to be a willing and effective down-field passer. The Saints defense also did its part, racking up eight sacks while notching a pair of interceptions. New Orleans has won seven straight to improve to 8-2 heading into a favorable stretch of games before a Week 15 showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Pittsburgh improved to 10-0 with a dominating win over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. Pittsburgh’s defense remains a force, and the unit racked up four interceptions of an overmatched Jake Luton. Not much was required of the offense, but second-year receiver Dionte Johnson continues to evolve into a chain-moving, every-week contributor for the Steelers. Johnson notched 12 grabs for 111 yards. Rookie receiver Chase Claypool drew a pair of downfield interference flags while also finding the end zone for the tenth time in ten games. Up next for Pittsburgh is a Thanksgiving night match-up against the Baltimore Ravens.
New England’s playoff hopes cratered on Sunday with a dud against the Houston Texans. Entering the game, Houston’s only two wins in 2020 were against the Jaguars, making this a game New England had no business losing. Unfortunately, the Patriots defense missed the memo. Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson faced little trouble from New England’s secondary, and the Texans’ defense made enough plays late in the game to improve to 3-7. The Patriots fall to 4-6 with the loss, and a climb back into relevancy in the crowded AFC Wild Card picture is a tall ask. New England will host the Arizona Cardinals (6-4) next Sunday.
Also falling in the AFC East were the Miami Dolphins, who had a five-game winning streak snapped by the Denver Broncos. Denver’s defense delivered a season-best performance, most notably the pass rush, which ruined the afternoon of Tua Tagovailoa. Miami made a move to replace Tagovailoa with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick in the fourth quarter. It almost worked until an end-zone interception ruined the comeback bid of the Dolphins. Miami remains a viable playoff threat, but now the franchise has to ponder a move back to Fitzpatrick as its starting quarterback. The Dolphins play the New York Jets (0-10) next week.
Phillip Rivers managed to out-duel Aaron Rodgers in an overtime thriller, leading the Colts to a massive win over the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay’s defense continues to be an enormous issue, and as the Packers allowed 34 points, four touchdowns, and 140 rushing yards. Green Bay also committed four turnovers. Now 7-3, Green Bay remains in a great position to rattle off a long winning streak with games against the Bears, Eagles, Lions, and Panthers up next. The Packers will be a playoff team. How good of one will depend on the team making significant defensive improvements.
In primetime, Patrick Mahomes erased the memory of Kansas City’s lone loss this season, getting a dose of revenge against the Las Vegas Raiders. Mahomes passed for 348 yards and a pair of TDs, including a game-winning strike in the closing seconds. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr had an equally impressive game, but out-scoring Mahomes and the Chiefs twice in one season is a tall task for anyone. The Raiders are now 6-4 and in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race. Kansas City is 9-1 and heading into a potential Super Bowl preview against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.