NFL Nation: 2011 Week 11 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Patriots 34, Chiefs 3

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
11:48
PM ET


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Rapid reaction from the Patriots’ 34-3 win over the Chiefs at Gillette Stadium:

What it means: The Patriots didn’t play their best first half, but the difference in talent between the teams -- specifically the difference between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Tyler Palko -- started to show about midway through the second quarter. The Patriots improve to 7-3, tied for the best record in the AFC with Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Houston.

Gronkowski makes case as NFL’s best tight end: Rob Gronkowski delivered a 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the second quarter, and followed it up with a 19-yard touchdown in which he lunged into the end zone and landed awkwardly on his neck. The second-year tight end popped back up to deliver one of his patented spikes and remained in the game. His four-catch, 96-yard performance, which reflects the impact he’s had on a weekly basis, sparks a discussion on where he ranks among the league’s best tight ends.

Good defense or a bad Chiefs offense? That figures to be a question asked around New England after this performance. The defense continued to deliver in the red zone, and for that, the unit certainly deserves credit. At the same time, Palko provided some gifts with his shaky accuracy, with cornerback Phillip Adams' fourth-quarter end-zone interception one example, as the throw was into triple coverage. From this view, it was a mix of both -- some good defense, but shaky quarterback play also helped the cause.

Injury to Light bears watching: Starting left tackle Matt Light left the game with 5:47 remaining when he had his right leg rolled up on from behind. He needed help coming off the field. The Patriots had other players banged up, but all of them except for Light returned to the game. This is the big injury situation to watch for the Patriots.

Edelman provides a spark on defense and special teams: Third-year receiver Julian Edelman was one of the Patriots’ players of the game, dazzling with a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter, and also contributing as a defensive back in the Patriots’ dime (six defensive backs). Edelman ended up playing in all three phases of the game -- offense, defense and special teams -- in a Troy Brown-like performance.

Meet the NFL’s league leader in interceptions: Cornerback Kyle Arrington picked up his sixth and seventh interceptions of the season. Both came on passes that popped into the air when Chiefs pass-catchers couldn’t corral them. Arrington isn’t a big name in NFL circles, but he’s been in the right spot at the right time this season and taken advantage of his opportunities. He’s been one of the Patriots’ most consistent players on defense this season.

Quiet night for Welker: The Chiefs did a great job limiting receiver Wes Welker, who didn’t catch a pass until just less than six minutes to play in the game. This led the Patriots to their other weapons on offense, starting with Gronkowski.

Another chapter in Cannon’s comeback story: Rookie offensive lineman Marcus Cannon saw his first NFL action, coming onto the field for the Patriots’ final drive at right tackle. Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma before April’s NFL draft and slipped to the fifth round. He writes another chapter in his inspirational story tonight.

What’s next: The Patriots travel to Philadelphia to face the 4-6 Eagles, who are coming off a Sunday night win over the Giants behind backup quarterback Vince Young. The Chiefs (4-6) return home to face the Steelers.

Rapid Reaction: Eagles 17, Giants 10

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
11:38
PM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Some thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles' stunning 17-10 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday night at the Meadowlands.

What it means: Bad news for the Giants, who drop into a first-place tie in the NFC East with the Dallas Cowboys and whose next three games are at New Orleans, home to Green Bay and at Dallas. They needed to pick up this win against an Eagles team that was playing without its starting quarterback and its best wide receiver, and they got manhandled at home. For the Eagles, I guess it technically means they're still alive, since they can get to 10 wins if they "run the table," as running back LeSean McCoy suggested they would earlier Sunday. But to me, if you're an Eagles fan, this one just lets you know what might have been if they'd been able to show this kind of fourth-quarter fortitude all year long.

QB controversy in Philly? No, I do not think the Eagles should bench Michael Vick for Vince Young. But the fact is that Young led an 18-play, 80-yard fourth-quarter drive that put the Eagles up 17-10 with less than three minutes left in the game. Vick has not led a drive like that in the fourth quarter this year, despite several opportunities. So there's going to be ammunition for those who will say Young should take away the job. And Young deserves credit. He was terribly shaky for much of this game, throwing three interceptions and getting bailed out a couple of times by circus catches by his receivers. But he made the late plays when he had to make them.

Giants' run-game problems are real: Giants fans kept booing Brandon Jacobs all night as he was repeatedly tackled in the backfield. But I still think the reason Jacobs looks shy about hitting the hole is that there's almost never a hole to hit. The Giants' offensive line has been awful in the run game all year, and it was again Sunday night. The return of Ahmad Bradshaw from injury isn't going to change that, when and if it ever happens.

Eagles more physical: When the story of this disappointing Eagles season is written, it should focus on the high-paid playmakers who didn't make enough plays -- the Vicks, DeSean Jacksons and Nnamdi Asomughas. Because as the Eagles showed all night Sunday, they are fully capable of and very good at winning the physical battles in the trenches. Their defensive line completely dominated the Giants' offensive line, stifling the run game and harassing Eli Manning in the pocket. And while the Giants did a good job on running back LeSean McCoy, the Eagles' offensive line kept Young clean pretty much all night. The reason the Eagles won this game was the way they played on both lines.

Victor Cruz owns Asomugha: As he did twice in the Giants' Week 3 victory in Philadelphia, Cruz beat star free-agent cornerback Asomugha for the touchdown that tied the game at 10-10 in the fourth quarter. Cruz made another big play -- a 47-yard catch-and-run -- on the Giants' final drive to get the Giants in range to tie the game again after the Eagles scored, but Manning was sacked by Jason Babin on the following play and fumbled the ball away to seal the upset victory for the Eagles.

What's next: The Giants will travel to New Orleans to continue their tough second-half schedule with a "Monday Night Football" matchup next week against the Saints. The Eagles will host the New England Patriots in a Sunday afternoon game in Philadelphia.

Rapid Reaction: 49ers 23, Cardinals 7

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
7:36
PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO -- Thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at Candlestick Park in Week 11:

What it means: The 49ers can clinch the NFC West title with a victory at Baltimore and a Seattle loss to Washington. They improved to 9-1 while securing their first winning season since 2002. They have won eight in a row, the fourth-longest streak since 1970 for a team with a rookie head coach. This was an ugly victory, particularly for the 49ers' offense. That's not a bad thing entirely, however. Coach Jim Harbaugh will suffer no shortage of coaching points heading into a much-anticipated game at Baltimore. The Cardinals were worse on offense, making it easier politically for them to transition back to Kevin Kolb at quarterback, provided Kolb's foot and toe injuries heal enough for him to practice this week.

What I liked: The 49ers continued to win with field position and turnovers. Receiver Michael Crabtree played a strong game, breaking tackles and picking up yards after the catch. The 49ers' yards after catch have plummeted overall this season. Crabtree's average YAC had fallen from 5.4 last season to 3.9 through Week 10 this season. He pumped up those numbers Sunday and won his matchups against the Cardinals' Patrick Peterson. Another 49ers receiver, Kyle Williams, also enjoyed a strong game. Williams showed sure hands making catches away from his body. He also caught a scoring pass. The 49ers played suffocating defense, allowing their offense and special teams a fat margin for error. Patrick Willis, Donte Whitner and Dashon Goldson picked off passes. The offense kept plugging away and finally got going. Frank Gore's knee was healthy enough for him to start and play effectively. For the Cardinals, linebacker Stewart Bradley made a couple jarring tackles on special teams, including a memorable one against 49ers punt returner Ted Ginn Jr. Calais Campbell blocked a field goal for the fifth time in his career. The Cardinals' defense played well enough early to keep Arizona close.

What I didn't like: Skelton played his worst game of the season, serving up turnovers with inexplicable throws. He completed 6 of 19 passes for 99 yards, no touchdowns and a 10.5 NFL passer rating. This might have been the worst performance by an NFC West quarterback this season, worse even than Charlie Whitehurst's game for Seattle at Cleveland. On defense, Peterson had issues in coverage, starting poorly when he slipped on the wet grass, allowing a big gain for Crabtree. For the 49ers, quarterback Alex Smith was off-target and off-speed early in the game. Braylon Edwards dropped a couple passes early. Then, when Edwards was open in the end zone, Smith threw too high and too hard for him. Smith also missed a wide-open Crabtree in the end zone, again throwing too hard. The 49ers' usually strong special teams faltered repeatedly. David Akers missed two field-goal tries and had two more blocked, one by Campbell and one by Peterson. The 49ers incurred multiple penalties during returns.

Costly skirmish: Referee Peter Morelli ejected Goldson in the fourth quarter after Goldson threw punches at Cardinals receiver Early Doucet. Doucet had come over to Goldson while Goldson was down, hitting him in the head. The 49ers will now wait to see whether the NFL suspends Goldson for their Thursday night game at Baltimore. If that happens, the 49ers will presumably keep Madieu Williams active. Williams was named inactive Sunday. The 49ers kept Shawntae Spencer active instead.

Block party: The Cardinals blocked two field-goal tries in the same game for the first time since a Sept. 17, 1972 game against the Baltimore Colts. They became the first team since Seattle on Oct. 23 to block more than one in an NFL game.

Empty at fullback: The 49ers lost fullback Bruce Miller to a head injury. Their other fullback, Moran Norris, has been sidelined with a leg injury. It's unclear whether San Francisco will have either player on a short week.

Upon further review: Harbaugh keeps challenging plays whether or not they are reviewable under the rules. After officials denied one request for review, Harbaugh successfully challenged whether Beanie Wells had fumbled or not. The 49ers took over possession and kicked a field goal for a 6-0 lead in the first quarter. That was Harbaugh's third successful challenge in eight coach-initiated reviews this season. Later, Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt lost a challenge when he thought Smith's pass traveled backward. Whisenhunt has now challenged seven plays this season, succeeding on four of them.

What's next: The 49ers visit Baltimore for a Thursday night game against the Ravens. The Cardinals visit St. Louis.

Rapid Reaction: Falcons 23, Titans 17

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
7:33
PM ET
ATLANTA -- Thoughts on the Tennessee Titans' 23-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome:

What it means: The Titans fell to 5-5, continuing their up and down season. Some will call them inconsistent. But beyond their first two games -- a loss at Jacksonville, a win over Baltimore -- they’ve simply beaten bad teams and lost to good ones.

What I didn’t like: The Titans allowed the Falcons too many big plays. Matt Ryan found Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez too often and too easily. The Titans didn’t find enough big plays. Outside of Nate Washington's 40-yard touchdown catch, a forced fumble by Colin McCarthy that Will Witherspoon recovered and a couple big Jake Locker throws on a late drive, the Titans didn’t make a lot happen.

Will there be a quarterback controversy? Locker gave the Titans a nice, immediate jolt when he entered the game late in the third quarter, hitting Washington who stiff-armed a defender off of him and ran to the end zone for a 40-yard score that made it 23-10. Later the rookie made a couple big throws and then found Washington against for a 4-yard score. Locker entered the game after Matt Hasselbeck strained his throwing elbow. I feel certain that if Hasselbeck is OK, the Titans will stick with him. Locker can add something with his ability to move around, but is also likely to make more mistakes.

Disappearance: A week after Chris Johnson broke through with a big game, he was a non-factor. He carried 12 times for 13 yards.

What’s next: The Titans host Tampa Bay in the third of three games in a row against the NFC South.

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears reeled off five consecutive wins in 2010 from Nov. 7 through Dec. 5, and reached their fifth straight victory of the 2011 season Sunday with a 31-20 trouncing of the San Diego Chargers.

The question now is how long can the current streak with three more games against the struggling AFC West on the horizon?

The Bears have forced nine turnovers in their last two outings -- six against the Lions and three against the Chargers -- and are now 4-1 on the season when they finish on the positive side of the turnover margin, and 10-1 the past two seasons under those conditions.

Talk about playing Chicago Bears football.

Let’s take a closer look:

What it means: The Bears didn’t gain or lose ground in their attempt to move up in the NFC North standings. More than anything, the triumph over the Chargers maintains the momentum built up by the team as it goes into the second of four consecutive outings against the AFC West; a division that had a combined 19-20 record coming out of Sunday’s games (the Kansas City Chiefs face the New England Patriots on Monday).

The Bears simply maintained their position as both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions emerged victors in their respective games.

Hester adds to accolades: The Chargers kept Devin Hester out of the end zone, but the return man added to his long list of accomplishments with a 37-yard punt return in the second quarter. With that long return, Hester now has 31 returns of 25 yards or longer since coming into the league in 2006, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Hester’s 31 returns of 25 yards or longer is 15 more than any other player in the NFL.

Tight ends hurting Bears: Antonio Gates caught an 8-yard touchdown in the second quarter, marking the eighth touchdown given up by the Bears to a tight end. The eight TDs allowed by a tight end is the most of any team in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Interestingly, the Bears gave up just three touchdowns to tight ends last season, which was tied for the fewest in the NFL.

Three in a Roy: Having caught just three balls in the previous two games, receiver Roy Williams hauled in three consecutive completions from Jay Cutler for gains of 11, 11, and 12 yards during an eight-play drive in the third quarter that led to Bears taking a 24-17 lead on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.

Perhaps Williams was making up Sunday for a zero-catch performance in the team’s victory over the Lions.

Williams caught a season-high five passes for 62 yards, and appeared to be Cutler’s go-to receiver in crucial situations.

Coming into the game, Williams’ best performance had been a four-catch outing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 7.

Speaking of three in a row: Bears safety Major Wright notched his first career interception in the team’s 30-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 7. Since then, the second-year safety has picked off passes in each of the past two weeks.

Wright intercepted Rivers in the fourth quarter, and was flagged for a group demonstration in the end zone. A week before, in Chicago’s win over Detroit, Wright scored on a 24-yard INT return.

Windy City stripper: Bears cornerbackCharles Tillman struggled somewhat in pass coverage against Vincent Jackson, who finished the day with seven receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Tillman atoned with heady play, leading to the cornerback notching the 27th forced fumble of his career. In notching his third forced fumble of this season, Tillman poked the ball out of the arms of Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, and recovered the loose ball at the San Diego 37 with 5:32 left in the third quarter.

Two plays later, the Bears turned that into a TD with a 24-yard scoring connection from Cutler to Johnny Knox.

Tillman’s 26 forced fumbles since 2003 ranked as the most by a defensive back coming into Sundya’s contest. Tillman has now played a role in 45 turnovers (28 interceptions and 27 forced fumbles) throughout his career.

What’s next: The Bears receive a day off on Monday before starting preparation for a road game next Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.

Rapid Reaction: Falcons 23, Titans 17

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
7:26
PM ET

Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons’ 23-17 victory against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

What it means: The Falcons did a great job of bouncing back from last week’s devastating loss to New Orleans. It was the kind of loss that could have sent their season into free fall, but that didn’t happen. Coach Mike Smith had his team ready, and the Falcons played one of their most complete games of the season. They’re 6-4 and only one game behind the Saints in the win column of the NFC South standings.

Roddy’s revival: One of the things that impressed me most about receiver Roddy White the previous three seasons was his uncanny ability to bounce back from a bad play. It used to seem like every time White dropped a pass or committed a penalty, he would respond with a huge play. It was almost like, after every mistake, White was saying to Smith, “Hey, I owe you one.’’ But, for reasons I haven't been able to figure out, it hadn’t been working that way at all this season. White came into the week leading the NFL in dropped passes (eight), according to ESPN Stats & Information. White wasn’t making up for mistakes by following up with big plays. But that finally changed Sunday. Early in the third quarter, White had a Matt Ryan pass sail right through his hands. Just a few plays later, White made a great over-the-shoulder catch for a 43-yard gain. The play also provided evidence that the Falcons actually might have a downfield passing game. White finished with a season-high 147 receiving yards.

Dunta’s big play: A lot of people have been suggesting the huge free-agent contract the Falcons gave cornerback Dunta Robinson last year wasn’t a prudent move. I’ve always taken a different point of view. Robinson hasn’t come up with a lot of interceptions, but I think his presence has helped the rest of the secondary. But maybe Robinson silenced a few of his critics by coming up with an interception in the first quarter that set up a field goal. It was Robinson’s first interception of the season and only his second since joining the Falcons. Robinson also had a nice breakup on a third-down pass in the fourth quarter.

Most impressive two-play stretch: With around 11 minutes left in the third quarter, Atlanta defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux batted down Matt Hasselbeck passes on two consecutive plays. I left Babineaux off the midseason All-NFC South team, largely because he missed three games with an injury earlier in the season. But Babineaux is doing a very nice job of re-establishing himself as the division's premier defensive tackle.

What’s next: The Falcons host the Minnesota Vikings next Sunday.

LANDOVER, Md. -- These games between the Cowboys and Redskins are never pretty. It's always quirky, close and in some cases heartbreaking.

The Cowboys can go home happy thanks to a 27-24 victory at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon. Dallas has won a season-high three games and moved to a season-high two games over .500.

What it means: The Cowboys have six wins and are just a half-game behind the New York Giants for first place in the NFC East. If the Giants lose Sunday night vs. the Eagles, there will be a first-place tie. This win for the Cowboys is just another example of how gritty this team is.

Bailey wins it: Dan Bailey converted his 24th consecutive field goal attempt to win it, a 39-yarder with 5:39 remaining in overtime. Bailey hasn't missed a kick since his 21-yarder in Week 2 at San Francisco. Just before the game winner, the Redskins called timeout, but quarterback Tony Romo, who is the holder, called timeout as well. The Cowboys had no timeouts left. If the referees had seen Romo make the call first, the Cowboys would have been charged with a 5-yard penalty.

Missed kick for Washington: Kicker Graham Gano had a chance to win it for the Redskins but was wide right from 52 yards with 9:27 left in overtime. The miss set up the Cowboys' chance to win the game.

Cowboys' defense can't hold the lead: It appeared the Cowboys' defense was going to stop the Redskins after the offense had taken a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. But it was not to be. Donte' Stallworth made a clutch catch in the corner of the end zone over Alan Ball with 14 seconds to play that tied the game at 24-24. There was a clutch play by Marcus Spears on a pass breakup inside the 5, a hit by Jason Hatcher on another pass play and a tackle for loss by Anthony Spencer, but there was an Orlando Scandrick holding call on third down.

Witten responds: He didn't have any catches in the first half, but tight end Jason Witten responded with a strong second half. He ended the day with three catches for 85 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown. Romo spun out of the pocket and found Witten at the Redskins' 35 with a long pass. Witten outran the speedy DeAngelo Hall for a 59-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown with 8:48 to play in the fourth quarter gave the Cowboys a 24-17 lead.

Jones' day: Felix Jones made his return to the active roster after missing four games with a left high-ankle sprain. Jones finished with five carries for 18 yards and one catch for 4 yards. DeMarco Murray got the bulk of the carries on the day with 25 for 73 yards. There was a thought Jones would return kicks, something he practiced this past week, but he didn't.

What's next: On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys will take on the hot Miami Dolphins and their three-game winning streak. The Dolphins started the season 0-7. Ex-Cowboys Kevin Burnett, Marc Colombo and Anthony Fasano are on the Dolphins' roster.

BALTIMORE -- Thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 31-24 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals:

What it means: The Ravens are tied with the Steelers atop the AFC North because of their ability to rebound from an embarrassing loss. Baltimore has won 12 straight games the week following a loss. The Bengals showed they can compete with the Ravens and Steelers, but they came up short in the fourth quarter in both games.

Thumbs up: Wide receiver Torrey Smith. The Ravens' second-round pick caught six passes for 165 yards. He scored on a 38-yard reception in the fourth quarter when he split the safeties and he made a 49-yard grab in the second quarter that set up Baltimore's second touchdown of the game.

Huge replay reversal: It looked like the Bengals had closed to three points (31-28) with 5:35 remaining when Jermaine Gresham scored a 9-yard touchdown. But the officials reversed the decision on the field because they ruled that Gresham lost the ball while going to the ground. The Bengals had to settle for a field goal instead.

Andy Dalton's mistakes: Although he delivered an impressive attempt at a comeback -- he threw for almost 200 yards in the fourth quarter -- Dalton threw two critical interceptions in the second half. Both times, the Ravens converted them quickly into touchdowns.

What's next: The Bengals play their third straight division game when they meet the Cleveland Browns at home. The Ravens have a quick turnaround, playing the San Francisco 49ers on Thanksgiving night in the Harbaugh bowl.

Rapid Reaction: Packers 35, Bucs 26

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
4:25
PM ET

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Some thoughts on another Green Bay Packers victory:

What it means: The Packers held a tenuous two-point lead over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers midway through the fourth quarter, but hung on to win their 10th game of the season and their 16th consecutive, dating back to last season and including the playoffs.

RodgersWatch: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers opened the game with incompletions on three of his first four throws and actually threw an interception in the fourth quarter, his fourth of the season. I thought it was time to consider backup Matt Flynn, but coach Mike McCarthy stuck with Rodgers. (SARCASM ALERT.) Rodgers still finished with 299 passing yards and his 10th consecutive game with a passer rating of at least 110. His main target Sunday was receiver Jordy Nelson, who caught two touchdowns among his six receptions for 123 yards. More to come on Nelson a bit later.

This week's Packers concerns: A week after shutting down the Minnesota Vikings' offense, the Packers' defense had its troubles against the Bucs. Tight end Kellen Winslow (nine receptions, 132 yards) was particularly tough to stop. And if you're keeping track, place-kicker Mason Crosby's perfect season ended when his 29-yard attempt hit the right upright in the fourth quarter.

Strategic dilemma: The Buccaneers tried two onside kicks, and I'm not sure if I agreed with either. I understand Morris was concerned about the Packers' explosive offense, but in the end he set them up twice in prime field position. The Bucs were penalized in the second quarter when kicker Michael Koenen touched the ball too early, and the Packers soon launched a touchdown drive from the Bucs' 38-yard line. Then, with 4 minutes, 25 seconds remaining and the Packers holding a two-point lead, the Bucs tried another one. This time, John Kuhn recovered to put the Packers in position to seal the game. Nelson's 40-yard touchdown reception came three plays later.

Rare play: Yes, Packers punter Tim Masthay really did commit two fumbles on one play in the first quarter. First, he dropped the ball after smartly stepping away from Buccaneers linebacker Jacob Cutrera, who had broken through and was in position for a block. Then, as he picked up the ball and took off on a desperate attempt to run for a first down, Masthay dropped the ball again. There was no contact on either fumble, but Masthay got the job done. He was credited with a 6-yard run on fourth-and-1, retaining possession on what would be the Packers' first scoring drive.

Doing "The Raji": Thankfully, defensive lineman B.J. Raji's first career touchdown run did not include a Lambeau Leap. Instead, Raji brought back "The Raji," which includes some kind of mid-section gyration. Raji lined up as a fullback at the goal line during the 2010 playoffs, but Sunday was the first time he received a carry. I'm not sure how often the Packers will hand it to Raji moving forward, but it's on tape now for opponents to include in their extensive preparations for the Packers' offense.

Rapid Reaction: Dolphins 35, Bills 8

November, 20, 2011
11/20/11
4:20
PM ET

MIAMI -- Here are some initial thoughts on the Dolphins' 35-8 victory over the Buffalo Bills:

What it means: The wheels have come off for the Bills, who are sitting at .500 for the first time this season. They also lost their third consecutive game in blowout fashion. Buffalo has been outscored 109-26 the past three weeks. Despite all of their struggles, the Bills remain in the hunt for the final wild-card spot but have to get really hot down the stretch. That doesn't appear likely. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have won three in a row and are playing their best football of the season. Miami is finally playing to the potential many expected at the beginning of the season.

Moore is the man: Miami backup-turned-starting quarterback Matt Moore is playing very efficient football. Moore completed 14 of 20 passes for 160 yards and three touchdowns. He didn't make any mistakes and took advantage of the what the defense gave him. Moore is now 3-3 as a starter for Miami. Is he the Dolphins' long-term solution at quarterback?

Questions for Fitzpatrick: Just as the Bills have gone in the dumps, so has starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He had his third consecutive bad game for the Bills. He completed 20 of 39 passes for 209 yards and two interceptions. To Fitzpatrick's credit, his receivers didn't help much. Both of his interceptions were on dropped balls. But Fitzpatrick, who is the face of the franchise after a recent $59 million contract extension, has failed to carry his team through a tough stretch.

Injuries aplenty: Not only did Buffalo suffer an embarrassing loss, the team added injury to the insult. Starting running back Fred Jackson was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter and didn’t return. Neither did starting receiver Donald Jones, who was carted off the field following an ankle injury.

What's next: The Bills will remain on the road and play another big division game against the New York Jets. This is most likely a playoff eliminator for the loser of that game. Miami will return to the field on a short week to play Thursday in a Thanksgiving Day game against the Dallas Cowboys.

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