What We Saw: Week 11

The QB List team recaps everything you missed from Week 11's NFL action

Cowboys @ Panthers

Final Score: Dallas 33, Carolina 10

Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)


The Carolina Panthers were without TE Hayden Hurst and CB CJ Henderson, both out due to concussion protocol, but welcomed DE Brian Burns back to the starting lineup on the defensive side. Carolina played inspired defense at the start and came up with multiple stops, but they continuously shot themselves in the foot with penalties that renewed fresh sets of downs for Dallas. With an even split of time of possession, the difference was the mistakes: the Panthers allowed drive-killing sacks on third down while the Cowboys capitalized on the multiple personal foul penalties to take them into halftime up 17-3.

Carolina needed to generate some touchdowns to stay in it today; they had 12 all season compared to the 12 that Dak Prescott alone has in just his past three games.  The Panthers’ offense showed life in the second half; they put together a nine-minute drive to go the distance, including three 4th down conversions as they cut the lead to seven points.  Carolina played three quarters of solid football, but unfortunately, the wheels came off in the fourth quarter with multiple sacks and turnovers on offense, allowing Dallas to run away with this one in the end.


Three Up

  • Tony Pollard – Finally, after eight games of coming up short, Pollard found the end zone on an absolute POWER run for 21 yards up the middle.
  • Dallas D/ST – Two turnovers, 10 points allowed, 6 sacks, and a touchdown were all in a day’s work for a unit led by Micah Parsons‘ 2.5 sacks and DaRond Bland‘s record-tying 4th pick-six of the season (the fastest by a CB in the NFL).
  • Jimmy Johnson – It was announced today that the Hall of Fame head coach would be inducted into the Ring of Honor in the Cowboys’ stadium at the end of this year.

Three Down

  • Bryce Young – less than 5 YPA, sub-125-yard outing with two turnovers.  Some of the greatest quarterbacks in history had even rougher rookie years than this, so hang in there, Panthers fans.
  • Panthers’ Offensive Line – They were responsible for two false starts, 11 QB hits, and 7 sacks allowed.
  • Carolina Discipline – The team was responsible for 8 penalties for 90 yards, including 3 personal fouls that would convert three different failed third-and-longs for Dallas. This led to 10 points off penalty-extended drives.






Dallas Cowboys





Dak Prescott: 25/38, 189 yards, 2 TDs | 2 carries, 6 yards


Last week, Prescott took what the defense gave him, which was a bunch of busted and beat coverages in the secondary.  This week was the near-opposite of that with the top sealed off and everything open underneath in the short.  The majority of his work including the two touchdowns came in the first half, as he only completed 9 of 11 passes for 63 yards in the second half.  The pressure was higher today with Dak being hurried, but he navigated the pocket exceptionally well to buy time for his receivers to keep the play alive.  The majority of this pressure came through Burns and his three of the team’s four QB knockdowns.  I did feel that Prescott had much less time to throw in the second half, having to get rid of the ball quickly.  Still, two weeks now of zero sacks after four weeks straight averaging 4.5 sacks per game.



  • Lined up wide in a few wildcat formations
  • 10 completions on 13 attempts at or behind the line of scrimmage
  • 6 completions went beyond 10 yards including 2 touchdowns
  • 1 for 3 on passes over 20 air yards

Missed Opportunities

  • He had a big rushing gain for a first down called back on a penalty.


Cooper Rush: 2/3, 15 yards | 3 carries,  -3 yards

Cooper Rush logged another relief effort midway through the fourth quarter as the game got out of hand.


Running Back

Tony Pollard: 12 carries, 61 yards, 1 TD | 5 targets, 4 receptions, 19 yards

After watching the first drive of the offense go three and out with zero rush attempts, I feared we were going to see another week of low Pollard production.  Fortunately for his managers, this week was far more productive, including an uptick in passing game work, and most importantly the long-awaited rushing touchdown!  Technically, it came from the 21-yard line so it will do nothing to help his red zone statistics, but you need to see this run on the Twitter embed here.  It’s just oozing anger with every broken tackle.


With a 5.1 YPC average on the day, he had that explosiveness that was lacking in previous games.  The team also worked to get him out in space this week with flip carries around the tackles and quick-out passes to the sidelines.  This game had its bumps as well.  The broadcast noted that the front rush of Carolina had figured out the cadence around halftime as Pollard was met in the backfield a few times, including almost taking the handoff instead of him on one blown-up play.



  • Pollard had four touches on the second drive of the game resulting in 46 total yards and four more touches on the third drive.
  • Took a carry inside the 10 up the middle for a 5-yard gain.
  • Excellent work on picking up the rush in pass protection; not a fantasy-relevant thing, but important nonetheless.
  • Seriously, all Pollard managers: watch that touchdown run.  You can just feel the release of the bottled-up eight games of zero touchdowns streak. So satisfying.

Missed Opportunities

  • Brian Burns absolutely blew up a wildcat play featuring Pollard, resulting in a negative 10-yard dent to his rushing stats. Ouch.


Rico Dowdle: 8 carries, 23 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, -3 yards

He sustained an injury during practice this week; perhaps as a result, he didn’t appear to be 100% effective running the ball. Half of his carries came on the final drive with Rush in at quarterback.



Wide Receiver/Tight End

Despite being forced to dig into their depth at the secondary position due to injury, the Panthers did well in coverage with a solid eight passes defended on the day. On the broadcast, Greg Olsen said the defense was spending most of the day in soft high-zone coverage, which leaves the underneath open and the downfield closed off.


CeeDee Lamb: 9 targets, 6 receptions,  38 yards, 1 TD | 1 carry, 7 yards

CeeDee Lamb wasn’t able to replicate the video game numbers he posted in Week 10. He had a safety on him any time he went more than 10 yards downfield. Six of his nine targets came from the slot, and he went 3-for-3 lining up on the outside left. He ran the “man-beater” route to the pylon, resulting in the touchdown.


Lamb lined up in the backfield twice: he ran one route and was targeted on an incomplete pass; the other resulted in a carry for 7 yards.

Missed Opportunities

  • While Prescott and Lamb did not connect on a deep left pass near the goal line, Lamb did draw a flag for pass interference.
  • He dropped an end zone target but caught a TD on the very next play.


Brandin Cooks: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 42 yards

Like Lamb, Brandin Cooks saw his numbers take a nosedive this week. Cooks did make something of a neat fake-block route on a screen pass, which set him up wide-open down the sideline for a 22-yard catch.

Missed Opportunities

  • A deep ball downfield on one of his crossing routes went right through his arms.


Michael Gallup: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 31 yards


Jake Ferguson: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 32 yards

Jake Ferguson‘s fantasy managers were given a cold-blooded fake-out by Mike McCarthy, who dialed up rookie Luke Schoonmaker in the red zone instead. Ferguson did get wide open to convert a 3rd-and-long deep ball for 24 yards, but that was about it on the day for the former Wisconsin Badger.


Luke Schoonmaker: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 23 yards, 1 TD

The Cowboys sent the rookie tight end in motion, who then turned up the middle, found the inside seam at the snap, and snagged the reception in the end zone. Going into Monday Night Football, Schoonmaker is the TE10 on the week, which is more of an indictment of the lack of depth at the tight end position than anything else.



Carolina Panthers




Bryce Young: 16/29, 123 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT | 2 carries, 3 yards, Fumble (Lost)


Bryce Young came out to start this game running a fast-paced no-huddle offense to keep Dallas in easier-to-handle packages and prevent them from subbing, especially when Micah Parsons was out on the sideline. Panthers’ Head Coach Frank Reich took playcalling duties back, and he heavily favored the pistol formation, offering Young an easier way to read defensive packages. That’s a sound plan as long as they stayed out of third downs, in which the rookie quarterback would have the brunt of the Cowboys’ pass rush. Unfortunately, three of Carolina’s four first-half drives ended with sacks to set up fourth down punts.

For most of the game, Young had a rough time against this pass rush. At one point, it brought the broadcasters to audible laughs at Young running for his life with Parsons in high-speed pursuit behind him. After being told Parsons was feeling ill today, they joked it must be from all the rocket fuel he drank. It was that kind of afternoon for Young. Olsen on the broadcast did bring up a point that even veteran quarterbacks would be struggling right now behind that offensive line against the Dallas defense.

One positive I liked about Bryce was his ability to operate under center.  It enabled Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard to get momentum before taking handoffs, which in turn set up play-action that was effective in converting a 4th down. Young displayed some very encouraging awareness when taking snaps under center.  In the second half, he commanded a 17 play, 9 minute, 70 yard drive resulting in a touchdown that included three fourth down conversions! the success was short-lived, however, as the next two drives would result in turnovers, including this unfortunate triple of sacks:


Note each sack is split and is a different set of players on each one. Everyone seemed to be having a day getting to the quarterback, and that pretty much sums up the type of day Young had.



  • 1-for-3 on the deep ball
  • 11 of his 16 completions went for five or fewer yards

Missed Opportunities

  • I don’t necessarily blame him for the pick-six.  The route was cut off by a ridiculous effort of DaRon Bland; hat tip to him.  Even the broadcast was impressed at how he was able to catch up to the pass that quickly.  However, I do blame Young for the decision, as Tommy Tremble was right behind Jonathan Mingo, wide open in busted coverage with no one covering him.



Running Back

Those watching this game saw a true split of rushing work as both backs evenly split carries in both halves. Each was effective in his own right, averaging over 4.5 YPC.  Each back got his own first drive at the start of the game before being used interchangeably for the rest of the game.


Chubba Hubbard: 10 carries, 57 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards

Chuba Hubbard got the start; he showed impressive agility on a cutback to shake an oncoming defender, then hit the gap for 13 yards up the field. Later in the second quarter, he showed off some power by pushing through three tacklers before going down on a 9-yard gain. He displayed speed by blowing through the hole to run downhill for 14 yards on his biggest carry of the day. He received the first three carries in a row on the next drive and netted a combined 28 yards. Interestingly, eight of his 10 carries went to the left side of the line.


Miles Sanders: 11 carries, 50 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 2 yards

The broadcast noted how the offense in the past couple of games is trying a no-huddle approach that pushes blocking downfield in a one-cut slash attack, a strategy that helped Sanders enjoy success in Philadelphia last season. At one point, Sanders laid a nice juke on a defender in the backfield to cut it up for a 14-yard gain and later converted a 4th and inches situation for a first down. There were several positives for Sanders, who enjoyed his best game since Week 1, but he did log three touches for negative yards.


Wide Receiver/Tight End

Despite being top five in the league in passing yards allowed per game and reception yards allowed per attempt, Adam Thielen continues to be a target monster with double-digit targets in five of his last six games.  That was the most yards Dallas allowed to a single receiver since they played the Los Angeles Chargers six weeks ago. The string of receivers faced over that span includes the likes of A. J. Brown and Cooper Kupp. However, when half of Young’s completions go to a single wideout, there isn’t a lot left to talk about as far as the rest of the receiving corps goes.


Adam Thielen: 11 targets, 8 receptions, 74 yards, Fumble 

Thielen was the most heavily-targeted Carolina Panther, by far. Half of his receptions were on shallow crossing routes, and only two went for more than 10 yards in the air. He did manage to convert two 4th-and-short situations with big receptions on the same drive. On the long drive mentioned above, Thielen saw six targets. His involvement is key in Carolina’s efforts to move the chains. His fumble didn’t hurt the team. It was a great catch in stride; he lost the ball when tackled, but it went out of bounds, allowing Carolina to maintain possession.

Missed Opportunities

  • Beat his man to get open for a 14-yard diving catch, taken back by a Dallas timeout


Tommy Tremble: 1 target, 1 reception, 4 yards, 1 TD

Tremble went out in the flat on the goal line in a play-action fake and hauled in the touchdown.


Jonathan Mingo: 5 targets, 1 reception, 6 yards

The rookie was the recipient of a deep ball target, but it was not catchable in bounds. He dropped a pass and was the intended target on the interception. It was far from a stellar day from Mingo, and it’s fair to start wondering if his breakout game will come at all in 2023.


Stephen Sullivan: 1 target, 1 reception, 20 yards

Stephen Sullivan logged a fantastic back-shoulder reception on a 20-yard deep ball.  Admittedly, I did a double-take when I saw his name before realizing he was the third-string tight end.


Laviska Shenault Jr: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 9 yards


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