How times change during an NFL season.
At one point, the Denver Broncos were riding high in the AFC West at 6-0 while the San Diego Chargers were struggling at 2-3. That changed abruptly when the Chargers beat Denver in Week 11, moving them into first place at 7-3. It was the Broncos fourth straight loss before beating the New York Giants on Thanksgiving Day.
The Giants were thought to be the best team in the NFC when they started out 5-0 before losing four in a row. They are now 6-5. And the New York Jets had a new swagger about them when they were 3-0 early in the season but after Week 11, they were nearly off the radar at 4-6.
Baltimore also started 3-0 but lost five of its next seven games. Another hot team was Atlanta, jumping out of the gates at 4-1 but the Falcons dropped four of their next five.
Jacksonville got off to a slow start at 0-2 but moved back into contention with six wins in eight games. Miami went 0-for-3 at the beginning of the season but went on to win five of its next seven.
The San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears were both 3-1 early on but were each 4-6 after Week 11. And the defending Super Bowl champion, Pittsburgh Steelers, were 6-2 before losing two in a row.
The NFL is a funny league. On top one day, on the bottom the next and vice-versa. No one can predict what’s going to happen. With five weeks left to the regular season, there could be a few more surprises.
- Upset NO. 1: Kansas City’s Ryan Succop kicked a 22-yard field goal with 8:28 left in overtime to beat Pittsburgh 27-14 in Week 11. The win snapped the Chiefs 10-game home losing streak.
- Upset NO. 2: In a game on Nov. 22, the Oakland Raiders tossed in a new starting quarterback in Bruce Gradkowski, who threw a 29-yard TD pass to Louis Murphy to tie the game against Cincinnati with 33 seconds remaining. Then, the Raiders recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Sebastian Janikowski booted a 33-yard FG to upset the Bengals 20-17.
- Biggest Turnarounds: San Diego whipped Denver 32-3 in Week 11, a month after losing at home to the Broncos 34-23. It was the Chargers fifth straight win since that loss, putting them in first place in the AFC West.
Here are the receivers with the most touchdowns (through Week 11):
- Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals, 9
- Randy Moss, Patriots, 8
- Reggie Wayne, Colts, 8
- Vernon Davis, 49ers, 8
- Miles Austin, Cowboys, 8
Did You Know?
The Indianapolis Colts are the first team in NFL history to win four straight games in a season by a total of 10 or fewer points. The previous record was set by the New York Giants in 1986, who won four consecutive games by a total of 11 points.
After beating the Jets in Week 11, the New England Patriots are now 21-1 in games following a regular-season loss since 2003… Chiefs’ kicker Ryan Succop, who beat the Steelers with a field goal in OT on Nov. 22, was the 256th and last pick of the 2009 draft… In a Week 11 win over Cleveland, Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford became the first rookie to throw for five touchdowns in a game since Ray Buivid did it with the Chicago Bears in 1937… Steven Jackson is the first Ram with five straight 1,000-yard seasons for St. Louis… The Giants-Broncos game on Thanksgiving night was the most-watched game on the NFL Network on the holiday in four seasons of Thursday Night Football. With an average of 6.1 million viewers, the game was the second-most watched on NFL Network since Green Bay-Dallas on Nov. 29, 2007 (10.1 million viewers).
Copyright © 2009 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.