The Philadelphia Eagles avoided losing two games in a week by the skin of their teeth, while the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys bounced back with big victories in week 11.
Jalen Hurts’ last-gasp touchdown gave the Eagles a 17-16 win against Indianapolis, while the Patriots found an exciting new way to beat the Jets for the 14th time in a row.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl defence already looks over after they lost another game and also quarterback Matthew Stafford.
In an NFL Sunday with more frantic late finishes and several dominant defensive performances, the Eagles just about did enough to move to 9-1, the best record in the NFL, with Super Bowl favourites Buffalo improving to 7-3 after brushing aside the Browns.
The Minnesota Vikings had started Sunday 8-1 but were dismantled by Dallas while the Los Angeles Rams slumped to 3-7 with yet another bad loss, this time to the New Orleans Saints – as their season looks over even before Thanksgiving.
Hurts bails out Eagles, Cowboys crush Vikings
Philadelphia suffered their first loss of the season on Monday, and it looked like an even bigger upset was on the cards as the Indianapolis Colts, with inexperienced interim head coach Jeff Saturday in charge, led by six in the dying minutes.
Philadelphia’s quarterback Hurts bailed them out though with a touchdown run inside the final two minutes to pinch the win, which keeps them at the top of the NFC standings even if they are showing a few warning signs.
The Eagles will have to deal with the Dallas Cowboys one more time this season, which looks a tough prospect given how their defence swarmed all over Kirk Cousins and a Vikings side that had only lost one game this season.
The damage was done with Dallas’ defence and running backs, as they sacked Cousins seven times while Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott scored two TDs each in a 40-3 win that puts the Cowboys on 7-3 and still hot on Philadelphia’s heels.
As for the Rams, the Super Bowl champions lost 27-20 to the New Orleans Saints and also lost quarterback Matthew Stafford with suspected concussion – just two days after he returned from the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Patriots stun Jets to claim longest win streak
Of all the record 14 straight Patriots wins over the Jets, few will have hurt New York more than their 10-3 loss at Foxborough, which came courtesy of New England’s Marcus Jones returning a punt 84 yards for a TD with just five seconds left.
Some monumental defence from both teams limited the scoring to just a field goal each, with QBs Mac Jones and Zach Wilson sacked 10 times and Wilson, in particular, struggling to move the ball – passing for just 77 yards.
It’s nothing new for Wilson as Pats coach Bill Belichick has been his worst nightmare over the last couple of years, but what was new was the manner of victory – with the first punt return TD of the NFL season breaking New York’s hearts yet again.
Both teams now sit on 6-4 in the AFC East, still behind the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills, who overcame a change of venue for their home game due to a snowstorm and an early deficit to beat the Cleveland Browns 31-23.
Two straight defeats have seen question marks arise over the previously imperious Josh Allen, but despite playing in Detroit instead of Buffalo, and in some cases some players having to dig their way out of their snow-covered homes, they showed their fighting spirit to maintain their Super Bowl challenge.
“We easily could’ve folded and allowed it to be an excuse for us,” said Allen, who threw for one TD while kicker Tyler Bass booted a career-best six field goals.
Lions win again as Fields and Patterson set records
The Bills return to Detroit on Thursday to play in the early Thanksgiving game against a now flying Lions side, who continued their surprising turnaround with an impressive 31-18 victory over the New York Giants for their third win in a row.
The Giants are still enjoying their best season for years at 7-3, but their error-strewn performance and six players going down injured will be a worry to head coach Brian Daboll as they head to Dallas for their Thanksgiving game.
The impressive NFC East also contains the Washington Commanders, who moved to 6-5 by building on Monday’s win over Philadelphia with a much easier 23-10 success at the Houston Texans.
Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields continued to impress as he passed for one touchdown and ran in another for a joint-record fifth straig
ht game, but yet again it was not enough as they suffered a late 27-24 defeat at the Atlanta Falcons.
Younghoe Koo booted a late field goal for the Falcons after Cordarrelle Patterson had set a new NFL record with his ninth career kick-off return touchdown, while things got worse for Chicago as Fields picked up a shoulder injury late on.
The Baltimore Ravens are now 7-3 after grinding out a 13-3 victory against the Carolina Panthers, while Joe Burrow threw another four touchdown passes as the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 37-30 and the Las Vegas Raiders pulled out a 22-16 overtime win over the Denver Broncos to possibly save head coach Josh McDaniels’ job.