NFL Week 11 coaching grades: Patriots, Chiefs, Cowboys get high marks while Broncos, Vikings fail – USA TODAY

Close games were once again a theme this week. Eight contests were decided by one score in Week 11. The Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys game, however, wasn’t close at all. The Cowboys’ 40-3 shellacking was the largest margin of victory on the road in franchise history.
Dallas was one of three NFC East teams to win on Sunday. Each team in the NFC East and AFC East have winning records through 11 weeks. Eight teams in the AFC have winning records and seven teams in the NFC are above .500 after Week 11.
How much of an influence did coaches have on the outcomes in Week 11? USA TODAY Sports examined the performances of NFL coaches. Here are their grades for Week 11:
Jets quarterback Zach Wilson tossed three interceptions in New York’s Week 8 loss to New England. In Week 11, Wilson was held to a mere 77 passing yards in the Jets’ 10-3 loss to the Patriots. The Patriots defense had Wilson frustrated all game. Wilson was sacked a season-high four times, pressured 16 times and completed a season-low 40-percent of his passes. He only had nine completions.
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Wilson was uncomfortable the entire game. The Patriots ran a stunt blitz here where linebackers Matthew Judon and Josh Uche both looped around and blitzed up the A-gap. The blitz resulted in a Judon sack.
The Jets were held to two total yards in the second half. New England did an excellent job of shutting down New York’s offense.
Even worse, the lone touchdown the Jets gave up was a backbreaking 84-yard punt return for a game-winning touchdown by Marcus Jones. Jones’ TD marked the first punt-return touchdown in the NFL this year.
Jones is the sixth player to notch a game-winning punt return touchdown in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime since 1970, per NFL research.
New England has defeated the Jets 14 consecutive times, the league’s longest active winning streak by any team over another.
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The Chiefs dialed up a natural pick play where wide receiver Justin Watson and tight end Travis Kelce both ran drag routes. Watson by design was in Chargers safety Derwin James’ running path which slowed James down a little. The slight change in pace and hesitation created just enough space for Kelce to catch a Patrick Mahomes pass in stride on the way to a game-winning 17-yard touchdown.
Kelce typically has a difficult time creating separation against James, but the play design naturally created space for Kelce.
Kelce finished the 30-27 win with six catches, 115 yards and three touchdowns. Chiefs coach Andy Reid and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy did a great job of creating opportunities for the perennial Pro Bowl tight end. Kansas City also did a solid job of taking advantage of the Chargers’ poor run defense. The Chargers defense came into Week 11 allowing 146 rushing yards per game. Kansas City gashed them for 163 rushing yards. Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco produced 107 yards on 15 carries (7.1 yards a carry).  
Mahomes passed for 329 yards and three TDs. He’s a dominant 14-0 in road games against the AFC West.
The Lions upset the New York Giants, 31-18, giving second-year coach Dan Campbell his first three-game winning streak.
Lions running back Jamaal Williams had a career-best three rushing touchdown in the win.
This successful counter run led to a touchdown. Fullback Jason Cabinda motioned inside and when the ball is snapped, he cleared out a New York defender which paves the way for Williams. Williams isn’t touched until he’s two yards past the line of scrimmage with a full head of steam. His momentum, along with Cabinda and successful blocks upfront helped the running back enter the end zone.
Detroit’s defense deserves credit, too. The Lions had defensive end Aidan Hutchinson drop back in coverage on this play and it caught Giants quarterback Daniel Jones off guard. Hutchinson was in Jones’ throwing window as he picked off the pass.
Hutchinson had three tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery in the win.
The Las Vegas Raiders had a really good play design on their game-winning touchdown in OT. Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain bit on a double move by Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams. Adams’ superb route running ability creates nearly 15 yards of separation and it results in an easy walk-off touchdown reception in overtime.
Surtain was juked on the double move, but it’s mystifying that the Broncos didn’t have a safety over the top of Adams.
Adams torched the Broncos for seven receptions, 141 yards and two touchdowns in the win. No other Las Vegas pass catcher had more than 52 receiving yards in the win. The Broncos should’ve double-teamed Adams or had a safety over the top.  
Surtain is one of the top corners in the game, but Adams is probably the best wideout in the NFL. The Fresno State product has an advantage in single coverage.
Adams has three career touchdowns in overtime, which is tied with Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson for the most overtime touchdowns in NFL history.
The Vikings’ 40-3 beatdown was their worst home loss since 1963. Minnesota failed as an entire team.
The Vikings had a season-low 183 total yards, quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked a career-high seven times and Minnesota’s defense gave up a season-worst 40 points.
Micah Parsons’ strip sack on Minnesota’s first possession perfectly foreshadowed what was to come for the Vikings. Parsons just outworked Vikings tackle Christian Darrisaw off the edge.
The Cowboys overwhelmed the Vikings all four quarters.
Everything went the Cowboys’ way Sunday (see above). The Cowboys’ 37-point win at Minnesota was the franchise’s largest margin of victory on the road in franchise history.
Running back Tony Pollard compiled 189 yards from scrimmage (109 receiving, 80 rushing) and two touchdown receptions. Parsons had four tackles, two sacks, one tackle for loss, five quarterback hits and a forced fumble in the win.
On third and 14, Pollard was matched up with Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks a wheel route. The Cowboys took advantage of the mismatch. Quarterback Dak Prescott threw an accurate pass to Pollard that hit the running back in stride as he then scampered for a 68-yard touchdown reception.
The Cowboys defense had seven sacks in the win, the most they had in a single game this year.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.


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