5 NFL Facts to Know for Week 11
We didn’t see Ben Roethlisberger throw for six touchdowns in three consecutive games, but we did see a six-touchdown performance from a quarterback for the third straight week.
Aaron Rodgers had a feast Sunday evening against the Bears, and he only played two series into the third quarter. Rodgers didn’t get pulled due to injury – it just happened to be 42 to 0 at that point in the game, so it wasn’t necessary for Rodgers to keep playing.
Some were disappointed to see Rodgers leave, as he could have had a great chance to throw eight touchdowns in a game, breaking a record set last year. But there were still some records broken. Let’s start this week’s article with a look what Rodgers accomplished.
There’s No Place Like Home
Coming in to the game, Rodgers shared a record with Peyton Manning and Brett Favre - all three have thrown 20 touchdown passes without an interception when playing at home. Thanks to his six touchdowns, Rodgers firmly holds this record; and some of those six touchdowns were significant as well.
One of Rodgers' touchdown passes included a 56-yard catch and run by Eddie Lacy. It was Rodgers' third 40-yard touchdown pass of the game, tying former Packers' quarterback Cecil Isbell's mark from 1942.
The 73-yard bomb to Jordy Nelson was Rodgers 16th touchdown pass of 70 or more yards in his career, breaking another record he shared with Favre and Manning. Nelson later nabbed another touchdown pass that was 40-plus yards, giving him five such touchdown receptions on the season; the next closest has only three.
For Rodgers' final touchdown of the game, Randall Cobb made a spectacular one-handed grab right before halftime. With that catch, Cobb tied former Packer Sterling Sharpe's record of scoring a touchdown in six consecutive games.
Rodgers now has 18 or more fantasy points in 6 straight contests, and will face a Philadelphia team this week that's allowed the fourth-most points to fantasy quarterbacks this year.
Don’t Forget About Seattle
Despite all the accolades for the Packers, we can't just focus on them. If the playoffs began today, the Packers could be sitting at home instead of playing in the playoffs due to the Eagles win on Monday night. The Packers and their fans can thank the Seahawks' victory in Week 1 for that, as they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
It won’t be easy to surpass the Seahawks if they run over everyone else like they ran all over the Giants this past weekend. Marshawn Lynch had a monster game after having a few duds and became the 19th player to rush for 4 touchdowns and 140 or more yards in a game.
Joining him in destroying the Giants rush defense was Russell Wilson. Wilson’s 107 rushing yards gave him three 100-plus yard games on the season. Since the merger, Michael Vick is the only other quarterback to have three 100-plus rushing yards in a game. The defending champs won’t be quietly going into the night, that's for certain.
Battle Royale in the AFC North
Is the AFC North the toughest division in the NFL right now? The Browns and Bengals are 20th and 24th in our power rankings, but the Steelers come in at 14th. And, despite being fourth in their division, the Ravens are fifth according to the rankings. Records aren't everything, but in this case, this division does have something rare going on.
The AFC North is the first division in which every team is at least 2 games over .500 since the 1935 Western Division pic.twitter.com/wvarcOjYoM— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) November 10, 2014
Cincinnati is the only team without six wins within the division, and could have had a chance at six if not for the tie against Carolina. However, thanks to sweeping the Ravens, they have the best division record at 2-1. But three divisional games in their final four weeks of the season could prove to be brutal.
Thanks to beating the Bengals, the Browns now sit atop of the division but only have a 22.3% chance to win the division. They had mixed results against the Steelers and lost a close one to the Ravens on their way to a 2-2 divisional record. Weeks 15 and 17 will be pivotal for the entire division.
Night and Day Difference
The Steelers may be a part of the toughest division in the NFL, but if Roethlisberger and company wouldn't have had such a horrid game in Week 10, they could have a half-game lead over the Browns right now. The loss to the Jets isn't all on Roethlisberger's shoulders, as the defense gave up two first quarter touchdowns. But four turnovers won't help anything.
How bad was Roethlisberger? Despite 343 yards, Big Ben only managed one touchdown late in the game to Martavis Bryant. Roethlisberger threw two interceptions and only contributed 2.47 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP), one-tenth of his contributions through the air in Week 9. Roethlisberger's Passing NEP from Week 10 was also his third-worst performance of the year.
Le'Veon Bell scored his only rushing touchdown on the season in Week 1. LeGarrette Blount also scored a rushing touchdown in Week 1 and tacked on another in Week 3. But since the Steelers' pass-to-run ratio has increased since Week 3 (1.36 to 1.54), they have not scored a rushing touchdown in their last seven games.
But the Steelers aren't the only team experiencing a lack of touchdowns at a position. The Kansas City Chiefs are in a similar boat, as no Chiefs wide receiver has caught a touchdown. It's not a lack of production from the offense though - it's more of a lack of talent at the position.
Tight end Travis Kelce has been a legitimate threat for the Chiefs, contributing 41.34 Target NEP and 47.13 Reception NEP to go along with his 4 touchdowns on the year. Even Anthony Fasano, Jamaal Charles, and Joe McKnight have caught two touchdown passes.
But "main" wide receiver Dwayne Bowe has no touchdown catches, and only a 44.49 Reception NEP (31st among all receivers) and 27.96 Target NEP (19th). With other - better - options around for Alex Smith, it's no wonder a wide receiver has yet to catch a touchdown for the Chiefs.