The feeling of the day Sunday in Buffalo was catharsis.
Coming off two straight frustrating losses, including one last Monday night that cost offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey his job, the Bills took out their frustrations on the hated Jets, shredding them, 32-6, and avenging a Week 1 loss.
The Bills and their fans should enjoy the win and improving to 6-5. They should also know that the win had nothing to do with firing Dorsey and promoting Joe Brady.
Buffalo may have won, but its offensive performance showed that firing Dorsey won’t be a magic fix, which is where we begin the Week 11 Patriots Bye Week Review:
⋅ Sure, the numbers look good — 32 points, 393 yards, and only one turnover against a stout Jets defense that has bedeviled Josh Allen and the Bills in recent years. The Bills also committed just one turnover, after having six the previous two weeks. But the total numbers don’t tell the whole story.
Buffalo played a non-functional Jets offense that gained 155 total yards, went 0 for 11 on third down, and committed four turnovers. The Bills could have won by 50, but they went 1 for 4 in the red zone and settled for short field goals.
The Bills also had an 81-yard touchdown catch by Khalil Shakir that was a bit fluky. Take that out, and they gained 312 yards on 70 plays, an average of 4.5 yards per play. They averaged 6.0 under Dorsey.
If firing Dorsey makes the players and fans feel good, then so be it. But the Bills were not particularly productive or efficient against the Jets, and will be in real trouble when they play a team with a functional offense — like, say, in their next three games against the Eagles, Chiefs, and Cowboys.
⋅ The NFL had some truly dreadful quarterback play in Week 11. The Panthers’ Bryce Young continued to underwhelm, throwing for 123 yards, a touchdown, and two turnovers in a 33-10 loss to the Cowboys. Steelers QB Kenny Pickett was awful again, throwing for just 106 yards in a 13-10 loss to the Browns. His counterpart wasn’t much better, with rookie fifth-rounder Dorian Thompson-Robinson throwing for 165 yards and a pick on 43 pass attempts. Thompson-Robinson’s 3.84 yards per attempt were the second lowest in the last five years for a quarterback throwing at least 40 passes.
The Titans’ Will Levis threw for 158 yards in a blowout loss to the Jaguars. The Raiders’ Aidan O’Connell threw three interceptions in a loss to the Dolphins. The Lions’ Jared Goff threw three picks in a win over the Bears. Zach Wilson threw for 81 yards in losing to the Bills. And get ready for Jake Browning to join the club next week when he replaces Joe Burrow for the Bengals.
The NFL loves passing yards and points, but nine of 24 teams threw for fewer than 200 yards in Week 11, and only four quarterbacks cracked 300.
⋅ Chargers coach Brandon Staley is probably going to take the fall soon, as his team is far too talented to be 4-6. And his defense got chewed up again Sunday, allowing Jordan Love to throw for 322 yards, two touchdowns, and no turnovers.
But it was the star players who let the Chargers down in their 23-20 loss to the Packers. Justin Herbert threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover, but completed only 58 percent of his passes, went 0 for 2 on fourth down, and had yet another pass batted down at the line of scrimmage — this time on fourth and 1 to lose the game. It is maddening that the 6-foot-5-inch Herbert was second in the NFL with 38 passes batted down in 2021-22 and has at least nine more this year.
The Chargers also had to settle for a 26-yard field goal when Keenan Allen dropped an easy touchdown. And they should have been in range for a field goal at the end, but first-round pick Quentin Johnston dropped a wide-open pass.
Few teams have consistently gotten less out of their star players than the Chargers. Perhaps that is coaching, after all.
⋅ The 2-8 Patriots entered and exited the week with the No. 3 draft pick. The 3-8 Giants dropped from No. 2 to 5 with their win over Washington, but 2-9 Arizona jumped from No. 4 to 2 with their loss to Houston.
⋅ We all know Wilson is terrible. But it’s time to start pointing the finger at offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, too. The Browns won with Thompson-Robinson. The Giants found a way to get production and a win out of Tommy DeVito. Hackett isn’t getting anything out of Wilson, and it’s taking the Jets right to the bottom.
⋅ The Commanders stunk, figuratively and literally. They lost six turnovers, the most by any team in a game this season, to drop to 4-7 in a loss to the lowly Giants. Then they couldn’t shower after the game when the hot water wasn’t working in the locker rooms. New owner Josh Harris has a lot of upgrades to make this offseason.
⋅ Texans rookie C.J. Stroud finally showed a mortal side in a 21-16 win over Arizona. He threw three interceptions, more than he had thrown in the first nine games combined (two). But the Texans still won to improve to 6-4, and now we can see how Stroud will bounce back from adversity.
⋅ Seven of the Cowboys’ 10 games have been blowouts. They have six wins by at least 20 points, including Sunday’s 33-10 win over the Panthers, and one blowout loss (42-10 to the Niners).
⋅ The Cowboys’ DaRon Bland, a fifth-round pick in 2022, is suddenly the hottest cornerback in the NFL. Bland returned his fourth interception for a touchdown this season, the most by a player since 1993 and tied for the most in league history. He has victimized Daniel Jones, Mac Jones, Matthew Stafford, and Bryce Young.
⋅ Props again to Kyler Murray for showing a lot of heart. The Cardinals are going nowhere, but he’s throwing his body around just 10 months after ACL surgery. Murray is also showing impressive athleticism given his injury, carrying seven times for 51 yards and a touchdown.
⋅ ESPN Analytics had the Bears with a 98.8 percent chance of winning with 3:59 left in the fourth quarter and holding a 26-14 lead over the Lions. Goff completed 9 of his final 10 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown to pull off the comeback.
Tracking guys that Boston fans may care about
⋅ Titans coach Mike Vrabel: It’s getting ugly in Tennessee, with the Titans dropping to 3-7 and looking non-competitive again in a blowout loss to the Jaguars. But there was at least a little levity at the end of the game when defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons entered as a fullback and caught a touchdown pass on his first career target. Of course Vrabel would dial one of those up.
⋅ Giants coach Brian Daboll: He’s 2-0 against the Commanders, and 1-8 against everyone else. He did a nice job with DeVito, who threw for 246 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Next up: The Patriots.
⋅ Texans GM Nick Caserio: Life is good — his team has won three in a row to get to 6-4, and he has the hottest rookie quarterback in the NFL.
⋅ Raiders WR Jakobi Meyers: Had a quiet four catches for 49 yards in a loss to the Dolphins, but his 46 catches, 512 yards, and 5 touchdowns would all lead the Patriots.
Ben Volin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.