Game of the Week
Written by Jonas Jacobson.
Usually, this segment would be “The Game of the Week,” but no games stood out across the board. Instead, let's look at the storylines in week 11 of this NFL season. The theme this week was blowouts, as two of the top three games we’ll examine were double-digit point wins.
The Return of Cam
“I’m back!” Those were Cam Newton’s first words shortly after he dove into the endzone for one of his two touchdowns on Sunday. After placing starting quarterback Sam Darnold on injured reserve, the Carolina Panthers elected to sign their former quarterback and NFL MVP in an attempt to save them from their fourth straight losing season. Newton did not come at a cheap price, costing the Panthers $10 million total (composed of playoff incentives, playing-time incentives, and guaranteed money) for a one-year contract. Even though Newton seemed to be poised to start for his old team (due to his hefty $10 million contract), he wasn’t left with enough time to learn the playbook. The Panthers took the approach of dividing up the snaps between Newton and backup quarterback P.J. Walker. Although they faced a Kyler Murray-less Cardinals team, their offense looked unstoppable, hanging 34 points and 341 total yards on the league’s 4th best defense (on a yards-per-play basis). It might be too quick to assert that Cam and the Panthers are back, but watching their performance on Sunday was certainly promising.
The Cowboys Are Back
The Cowboys looked unstoppable this week. After losing by 14 points to the lowly Broncos two weeks ago, “America’s Team” bounced back by thrashing the Falcons 43-3. After this win, the Cowboys sit at 7-2 and have taken a commanding lead in the NFC East. Their star-powered offensive group has been in sync and teams can’t seem to figure out Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Ceedee Lamb. Oh! And they got Micheal Gallup back too. As per most seasons, Dallas’ losses seem to be exclusively self-inflicted and if they keep playing this way, they might become Super Bowl favorites soon.
Ties in the NFL?
Why couldn’t the Lions win! After an 0-8 start, the Detroit Lions looked to be poised for their first win of the NFL season. But a missed overtime field goal and many mental miscues led them to a… tie. The potential upset of the week was throttled by Detroit's horrific overtime drives: punt, missed field goal, punt. But it seemed like Pittsburgh was rooting for Detroit too! Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth both fumbled in overtime in route to helping Detroit avoid the pain of an all-loss season. After the game, Pittsburgh rookie running back Najee Harris and many other players were confused. They were ready to play in another overtime period. That was not the case! As they were unaware, the conclusion of the first overtime meant the sloppy game ended in an uneventful and distasteful tie.