NFL

Cowboys take top-scoring offense to Arrowhead, Newton reunited with Rivera

By Sports Desk November 19, 2021

Will the NFL return to some form of normality this week? Maybe... or maybe not.

Even in this season of shock results without any clear Super Bowl favourite, Week 10 stood out for its sheer number of upsets.

The defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers were stunned by the Washington Football Team, the Miami Dolphins overturned the Baltimore Ravens and the short-handed league-leading Arizona Cardinals lost to the Carolina Panthers.

When the San Francisco 49ers then beat NFC West rivals the Los Angeles Rams in Monday Night Football, it became the first week in NFL history in which four teams had won by double-digits having entered the week at least four wins behind their opponents.

Week 11 looks no easier to call, and there are plenty of intriguing matchups before even considering the potential for further setbacks for some favourites.

Dallas Cowboys (7-2) @ Kansas City Chiefs (6-4)

With Patrick Mahomes back on form, two of the best teams in the NFL should be set for a titanic tussle at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.

Mahomes, setting aside his shaky displays to that point, threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions against the Las Vegas Raiders last week, becoming the first quarterback in the Super Bowl era to have two games of 400-plus passing yards, five-plus TD passes and no picks in his career.

The 41-14 win represented the league-leading 10th time the Chiefs have scored 40 points in a game since the start of the 2018 season, yet they were topped by the Cowboys, whose 43-3 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons was their biggest since a 48-7 victory over Arizona in 2000.

The Cowboys have gone 5-2-1 all-time previously in games following a win of at least 40 points (including playoffs), but this was an unprecedented success. The team's 29 points in the second quarter in Week 10 were their most in a single quarter of any game in their history.

Indianapolis Colts (5-5) @ Buffalo Bills (6-3)

Neither the Chiefs nor the Cowboys can match the Bills' average winning margin of 26.3 points this year. That is the highest mark in the NFL, having been boosted by last week's 45-17 victory over the New York Jets, their NFL-leading sixth win by 15 or more points.

The Cowboys are ahead of the Bills in points per game, but Buffalo have given up the fewest points per game. The last team to lead on both offense and defense in this regard were the 2005 Colts.

The achievements of this year's Colts team have been rather more modest. Their five wins have come against teams with a combined record of 13-34 (.261).

Still, Jonathan Taylor has excelled, scoring a rushing touchdown in seven straight games – the last NFL player to reach eight was DeAngelo Williams in 2008. In fact, there is rushing talent on both sides of the ball, with the Bills last week having four different players score rushing TDs for the first time in team history.

Arizona Cardinals (8-2) @ Seattle Seahawks (3-6)

Another week, another big NFC West game. The Cardinals' form has tailed away a little since Kyler Murray's injury, but they are still unbeaten on the road and looking to start 6-0 away from home for only the second time in franchise history.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks have their starting QB back, but Russell Wilson did little to help their offense against the Green Bay Packers. He was shut out for the first time in his NFL career in his 166th start (including playoffs).

Seattle's problems on that side of the ball did not end there, though. They were held to under 100 rushing yards for a third consecutive game for the first time since the end of the 2016 season, while only twice in the 21st century have they seen such a streak extended to four games.

Whether or not the Seahawks recover this week, history suggests they are likely to be able to stick with the Cardinals. Six of the past 10 meetings between the teams have been decided by three points or fewer.

Elsewhere...

Cam Newton's Panthers face Ron Rivera's Washington, their first meeting since both left Carolina (Newton returned last week). This is the third time since 2010 a former MVP QB has faced the coach he won his award with, following Peyton Manning versus Jim Caldwell in 2015 and Tom Brady against Bill Belichick earlier this season.

The 49ers are now 4-1 when Jimmy Garoppolo's passer rating is above 100.0 this year (141.7 vs. the Rams) and 0-3 when it is not. He was helped last week by a season-high 156 rushing yards, keeping San Francisco's offense on the ball for just over 39 minutes. They should expect more of the same against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have failed to force a turnover in six games this season.

The Cincinnati Bengals need both of their former LSU stars to rediscover some form at the Raiders. Joe Burrow has thrown an interception in five straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL, while Ja'Marr Chase – surely not helped by his QB's struggles – has fallen short of 50 receiving yards in consecutive games after making that mark in his first seven appearances.

The Detroit Lions will hope to learn from next opponents the Cleveland Browns, who have returned to contention since in 2018 becoming the first team in the Super Bowl era to end a losing streak of 10-plus games with a tie. Last week, against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Lions became the second.

Related items

  • Top QB recruit Arch Manning commits to Texas Top QB recruit Arch Manning commits to Texas

    Heralded quarterback prospect Arch Manning has committed to sign with the University of Texas, ending one of the most anticipated recruiting decisions in recent memory.

    Manning, the nephew of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning and the grandson of Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, revealed his decision with a short message on his Twitter account.

    "Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEm,” Manning tweeted.

    Texas was one of three schools, along with Alabama and Georgia, that Manning made official visits to earlier this month.

    The 17-year-old New Orleans native is the consensus number one quarterback of the 2023 class, and his ties to his famous family added further interest and intrigue to his recruitment.

    Arch’s decision would also continue the legacy of Manning quarterbacks within the Southeastern Conference, as Texas is currently scheduled to join the SEC from the Big 12 in 2025 – a move that could theoretically come sooner if the Longhorns and Oklahoma can negotiate buyouts from their present leagues.

    Both Archie and Eli Manning played collegiately at Mississippi, while Peyton starred at Tennessee before embarking on his Hall of Fame NFL career. Additionally, Arch’s father, Cooper, committed to Ole Miss as a wide receiver before a diagnosis of spinal stenosis ended his playing career shortly after high school.

    Manning will be joining a Texas program that is already well-stocked at the quarterback position after landing Ohio State transfer Quinn Ewers, the consensus number one recruit of the 2021 class, in December.

    The Longhorns also have two other highly regarded quarterback prospects in rising sophomore Hudson Card and incoming freshman Maalik Murphy. 

  • Former NFL defensive tackle Tony Siragusa dies at 55 Former NFL defensive tackle Tony Siragusa dies at 55

    Former NFL defensive tackle and TV analyst Tony Siragusa has died at 55 years old.  

    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed the death on Wednesday. 

    A member of the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championship team from the 2000 season, Siragusa was a fan favourite during his 12 professional seasons due to his jovial, larger-than-life personality that matched his massive frame.

    Undrafted out of Pittsburgh, Siragusa signed with the Colts in 1990 and spent his first seven seasons in Indianapolis before joining the Ravens in 1997. He finished his career with 564 total tackles, 22 sacks and nine fumble recoveries in 169 games.

    Following his retirement after the 2001 season, Siragusa spent more than a decade as a sideline reporter and analyst for NFL games on Fox. He was known for providing his commentary from the sidelines during game broadcasts as opposed to the traditional analyst role in a TV booth.  

    Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a statement: "Renee and I are stunned and heartbroken to learn about the sudden passing of Tony Siragusa.

    "He was a special person and clearly one of the most popular players in Ravens history.

    "Tony's larger-than-life personality made an enormous impact on our organisation and throughout the Baltimore community.

    "On the football field, Goose was a difference-maker who contributed immeasurably to the success of many great Ravens defenses, including the record-setting 2000 Super Bowl team.

    "Our deepest prayers and sympathies go out to Kathy, their three children and the rest of the Siragusa family."

    A native of New Jersey, Siragusa also dabbled in acting following his NFL career, playing a recurring character on the TV series 'The Sopranos'.

    The announcement of Siragusa's passing comes on the same day the Ravens confirmed the death of linebacker Jaylon Ferguson at the age of 26.

    "This is a tremendously sad day for the Baltimore Ravens," Bisciotti added. "We appreciate everyone who has expressed an outpouring of support for our players, coaches and staff."

  • Top QB recruit Arch Manning still weighing options Top QB recruit Arch Manning still weighing options

    The high school coach of heralded quarterback prospect Arch Manning says the five-star recruit is still in the process of deciding where he will play college football in 2023. 

    Nelson Stewart, coach of Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, told The Athletic this week that although Manning is getting closer to a decision, the highly coveted 17-year-old has yet to make a commitment as he continues to gather information from several prospective suitors. 

    "There's no impulsivity to him. There's no rush," Stewart said. "When he knows, he knows. 

    "Obviously he's been going through this for seven years. We're in the fourth quarter. It's just about attention to detail and supporting him."

    Manning, the nephew of former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning and the grandson of Ole Miss legend Archie Manning, just returned to New Orleans following a recent visit to the University of Texas. The Longhorns are considered among the favourites to land the Class of 2023's top quarterback along with Alabama and Georgia, two schools Manning also made official visits to earlier this month. 

    Mississippi, where both Archie and Eli Manning played, is also viewed as a potential landing spot for the younger Manning.  

    Stewart said Manning is not expected to take any more visits and will spend the remainder of the summer preparing for his senior year at Isidore Newman and working at his family's passing academy in Louisiana. He is unsure if Manning will have his decision finalised by the time the high school season begins. 

    "When he's ready, he's ready," Stewart said. "This is his private time. We're just trying to give him the distance to formulate his own thoughts." 

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