NFL Week 11 takeaways: Hill’s big debut, Henry’s game-winner and Burrow’s injury

Week 11 in the NFL featured big starting quarterback debuts for New Orleans’ Taysom Hill and Carolina’s P.J. Walker, an injury to April’s No. 1 draft pick for Cincinnati and an exciting overtime win for the Titans. Hill’s Saints won a big divisional game against the Falcons, while Walker’s Panthers shut out the Lions. Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow went down with a knee injury in their loss to Washington, and Tennessee’s Derrick Henry ran in a game-winning TD to beat the Ravens. Elsewhere, the Texans navigated Bill Belichick’s Patriots en route to their third win, and the Steelers moved to 10-0 in a convincing win over the Jaguars.

All that and more in Week 11’s biggest takeaways from NFL Nation.

Tennessee Titans 30, Baltimore Ravens 24

Standout performer: Titans RB Derrick Henry, 133 rushing yards, 1 TD

The Titans kept themselves in the race for the AFC South title thanks to complementary football on offense and defense. A.J. Brown’s 14-yard touchdown reception gave them a late lead. Harold Landry sacked Lamar Jackson in overtime to force a punt. Then Derrick Henry closed the door with a 29-yard touchdown run in overtime. Those plays came after a tough start for the Titans, but as the game wore on, Tennessee was able to impose its will. Now the Titans have a showdown with the Colts in Indianapolis next week. — Turron Davenport

Next game: at Colts (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The reeling Ravens have fallen to third place in the AFC North because of their inability to finish off teams. Jackson was undefeated in his first 21 games in which Baltimore held a 10-point lead. Now the Ravens have dropped two of their past three games in which they were ahead by double-digits. “It looked like that team wanted it more than us,” Jackson said after the overtime loss. “They were playing physical. When we went up, I felt like we took our foot off the gas. We just got to keep it going, finish teams.” — Jamison Hensley

Next game: at Steelers (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

New Orleans Saints 24, Atlanta Falcons 9

Standout performer: Saints QB Taysom Hill, 233 passing yards (and 51 rushing yards, 2 TDs)

The Saints proved they can win with Taysom Hill at quarterback – one of the most fascinating and polarizing playmakers in the entire NFL. Hill was effective as both a runner and passer in his first NFL start. More importantly, the Saints (8-2) continued to prove they can just plain win in a number of different ways, as they won their seventh consecutive game. The victories haven’t all been pretty, but New Orleans’ resilience is undeniable at this point. The defense was lights-out for the third consecutive game, and receiver Michael Thomas had his first 100-yard receiving game of the season. — Mike Triplett

Next game: at Broncos (4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Saints buried the Falcons’ hope of a late-season surge under an avalanche of sacks. Going into Sunday, Atlanta was 3-1 under interim coach Raheem Morris and had shown some signs of life going into last week’s bye. But the combination of protection issues and the inability for the pass-catchers to get open left quarterback Matt Ryan vulnerable to eight sacks. With star receiver Julio Jones nursing a left hamstring injury and the toughest schedule in the league remaining, victories figure to be tough to come by for the Falcons the rest of the way as they approach a major offseason makeover. — Nick Wagoner

Next game: vs. Raiders (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Houston Texans 27, New England Patriots 20

Standout performer: Texans QB Deshaun Watson, 334 passing yards, 2 TDs (and 36 rushing yards, 1 TD)

The Texans may have a losing record this season, but their record is not indicative of how quarterback Deshaun Watson has played. In Houston’s victory on Sunday, Watson threw for 344 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and he led the Texans in rushing with 33 yards and a touchdown. There are a lot of reasons why Houston may find it challenging to return to the top of the AFC South in the next season or two, but having Watson under center means it will be a much quicker turnaround for the Texans. — Sarah Barshop

Next game: at Lions (12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Major disappointment. After two consecutive wins and what seemed like some positive momentum, the Patriots got up early and then couldn’t sustain it. They never made Watson uncomfortable. And they got away from the run, which is a big part of their identity. The end result: They now have six losses for the first time since 2009 and are in major jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. — Mike Reiss

Next game: vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 3

Standout performer: Steelers WR Diontae Johnson, 111 receiving yards

Yes, the Steelers are undefeated at 10-0. But more importantly, they’re mostly healthy and have plenty of momentum entering Thursday’s game against the Ravens at Heinz Field. After the 27-3 win, coach Mike Tomlin said tight end Zach Gentry has a “significant” knee injury but characterized the rest of the injury concerns as bumps and bruises — including the toe injury sustained by JuJu Smith-Schuster when he stepped on penalty flag in the second half. Tomlin described the injury to his wide receiver as “nothing major” but said it could affect him on a short week. — Brooke Pryor

Next game: vs. Ravens (8:20 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Quarterback Jake Luton was awful against the Steelers (16-of-37, 151 yards and four interceptions), and now there’s some uncertainty over which QB will start on Sunday against Cleveland. Gardner Minshew II (thumb) began throwing last week, and coach Doug Marrone said he won’t be ready to say which one (or even Mike Glennon) he would play this week. Had Luton not played so poorly, he likely would have held onto the job. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Marrone go back to Minshew — who is the only QB to have led the Jaguars to a victory since the beginning of the 2019 season. — Mike DiRocco

Next game: vs. Browns (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Cleveland Browns 22, Philadelphia Eagles 17

Standout performer: Browns DE Olivier Vernon, 3.0 sacks

Minus Myles Garrett, the Cleveland defense still delivered. The Browns bent a little, but they never broke, and in the end, they delivered the back-breaking plays. The first was via Sione Takitaki’s pick-six of Carson Wentz, and the second came on Olivier Vernon’s safety of Wentz. The Browns are now 7-3, their best record through 10 games since 1994, when they were 8-2 under Bill Belichick. That team made the playoffs, and this one remains on track to snap the NFL’s longest postseason drought. — Jake Trotter

Next game: at Jaguars (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

It was the same old sloppy mess in a loss that dropped the Eagles to 3-6-1 and offered further evidence that there is trouble brewing in Philadelphia. The Eagles actually remain in first place in the abysmal NFC East despite the loss and have time to get their act together, but this team feels different than the ones that preceded it, as though the Eagles are in a free-fall that won’t stop until they hit rock bottom. — Tim McManus

Next game: vs. Seahawks (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 30)

Washington Football Team 20, Cincinnati Bengals 9

Standout performer: Washington RB Antonio Gibson, 94 rushing yards, 1 TD

Washington remains alive in the NFC East, now heading to Dallas with a chance to become a real factor in the race. And quarterback Alex Smith is playing like a guy who can help it accomplish that goal. But if Washington wants to truly win the division, it must receive better play from its defense. In the past three games, Washington has allowed 200 or more yards in the first half alone and was bailed out Sunday because of missed opportunities by the Bengals and then an injury to Joe Burrow. Washington has a chance, but if the defense doesn’t improve, those odds will decrease dramatically. It has a line with five first-round picks, which should form the basis of a strong unit. But so far, it’s only been a disappointing one. — John Keim

Next game: at Cowboys (4:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

The only thing the Bengals needed to avoid in 2020 happened on Sunday. Burrow, the No. 1 overall pick in 2020, was carted off the field with a left knee injury and is likely done for the rest of the year. In a tweet he sent in the fourth quarter, he said, “See ya next year,” which indicates he isn’t playing again until 2021. If that is indeed the case, it derails the Bengals’ rebuilding process that was nearing the end of its second year under Zac Taylor. Without Burrow, it’s impossible to get a realistic look at how close Cincinnati is to becoming a playoff team for the first time since 2015. The Bengals have to hope Burrow picks up where he left off whenever he returns to the field. The hopes of Cincinnati’s franchise hinge on Burrow’s rehab process. — Ben Baby

Next game: vs. Giants (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

Carolina Panthers 20, Detroit Lions 0

Standout performer: Panthers WR DJ Moore, 127 receiving yards

Detroit punted six times. That sums it up. The Panthers forced only two punts their last four games combined before Sunday’s victory. They gave up 544 yards of total offense a week ago to Tampa Bay and gave up only 185 against Detroit, handing the Lions their first shutout since 2009. This won’t get the headlines former XFL star P.J. Walker will get, as he won his first NFL start as a replacement for injured Teddy Bridgewater (knee), but it is why Walker was able to succeed despite two horrific red-zone interceptions. The better news for Carolina: Bridgewater and maybe Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) return next week against Minnesota. — David Newton

Next game: at Vikings (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

The Lions need better play and better coaching. It’s been the common refrain from Matt Patricia in loss after loss after loss after loss during his tenure with the Lions. Except the team hasn’t played better. It hasn’t been coached better. If anything, the Lions — somehow — seem to be regressing as a team. Sunday’s shutout came against a team that had lost five consecutive games entering the game and was playing without their starting quarterback and MVP-caliber running back. But the Lions were thoroughly beaten anyway. — Michael Rothstein

Next game: vs. Texans (12:30 p.m. ET, Thursday)

Seattle Seahawks 28, Arizona Cardinals 21

Standout performer: Seahawks DE Carlos Dunlap, 2.0 sacks, 2 tackles for loss, 3 QB hits

The Seahawks are back atop the NFC West standings — and back on track — after three losses in four games had a lot of hands hovering nervously over the panic button. Their embattled defense, which started to make an apparent turn in the second half of last week’s loss to the Rams, delivered its best performance of the year against Kyler Murray. Seattle expects to get running back Chris Carson back next week to pair with Carlos Hyde, who led the resurgence of the running game on Thursday. And Russell Wilson got back to being Russell Wilson after the worst turnover funk of his career. The mini-bye will help the Seahawks get healthy before their Nov. 30 game at Philadelphia, which begins a four-game stretch against teams with a combined record of 8-28-1. Seattle has the NFL’s third-easiest remaining schedule, and things are looking up. — Brady Henderson

Next game: at Eagles (8:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Nov. 30)

Murray suffered an unknown shoulder injury in the first quarter of Thursday’s loss to the Seahawks that clearly affected his throwing ability, though he still had the Cardinals in a position to try to tie in the final minutes. But the Cardinals’ offense couldn’t find a rhythm in what was the biggest game of their season to date, and it cost them — not just on Thursday night but also potentially long-term as the playoff picture plays out. — Josh Weinfuss

Next game: at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, Sunday)

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