By Nick Shook
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So much for all that good karma the road squads built up last week. Just five of 13 visiting teams won games in Week 11, and only two were by double digits, with the league’s worst two teams — Cleveland and San Francisco — falling at home to Pittsburgh and New England. The rest were close, coming down to the final possession, which is what we all want, right?
Well, with the slant leaning toward road teams in this specific space, we’d like to have some more candidates. But we’ll make do with what we have. These are your best away from home in Week 11.
Greatest on the Road
DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins didn’t convert a third down play for a fresh set of downs until there were five minutes left to play in the fourth quarter (it was their only one of the day). And they won.
So it doesn’t really need to be said, but we’ll say it anyway: the Dolphins‘ offense was miserable through three quarters. The tide began to turn when Parker made what appeared to be an unbelievable grab midway through the third, only to later have it ruled incomplete. No worries, though, because as the clock wound down into the fourth, Miami’s offense perked up.
Tannehill found Jarvis Landry to cut Los Angeles’ lead to 10-7, then turned almost exclusively to Parker and Jay Ajayi on the final drive, completing a 12-yard pass, a pair of 9-yarders and a final completion of 6 on an impressive catch along the sideline.
Parker finished with a stat line of eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown but gets the honor here because of his role late. In what was a rare and relentless steady rain in Los Angeles, the weather was no match for the wideout, who is finally starting to show why Miami selected him in the first round in 2015.
Also considered …
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kansas City has won many of its games by controlling possession and the ambitions of opposing offenses. The Chiefs struggled to do the latter against Tampa Bay.
Powered by what he called the “Nole Chant,” Winston fought off early struggles to find familiar target Mike Evans six times for 105 yards, and spread passes around to seven different receivers. One, a 3-yard completion to fullback/tight end Alan Cross, put Tampa Bay ahead 19-10, which was enough of a lead to exit raucous Arrowhead Stadium with a surprising win.
Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
While we aren’t out to bash Cleveland’s football team, this performance loses a little luster since it came against the Browns. But then, there was that one early drive when this happened:
That was the story for much of the day for Bell, who was the star of a Steelers offense that struggled through unfavorable conditions. Gusty winds blew deep passes off course, forcing Pittsburgh to rely on Bell. The end result proved the Steelers‘ thinking correct: 28 carries for 146 yards and one touchdown, and five catches for 55 yards in a 24-9 win.