Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) leaps over the tackle attempt of Buffalo Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa (57) during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday brought more insanity to this crazy NFL season. Previously one-win Houston upset the AFC’s No. 1 seed, Tennessee, while the NFC’s top seed, Green Bay, lost a tough divisional battle in Minnesota. The Vikings’ winning field goal as time expired marked the 23rd time this season that a game has been decided on the final play — the most since the 1970 merger — so if you sensed the NFL had been having more late drama than normal, your hunch was correct.

Buffalo, another Super Bowl hopeful, wasn’t supposed to lose ground in the AFC standings at home, but that’s exactly what happened after the Bills got steamrolled by Indianapolis. Arizona and Baltimore, two contenders looking to get through Week 11 without their star quarterbacks, managed to escape with wins, and those results could carry added significance if these playoff races remain tight. Should the Cardinals and Ravens look back on Sunday as key moments in their postseason pushes, the Week 11 heroics of backup QBs Colt McCoy and Tyler Huntley will be revisited.

McCoy, a 35-year-old journeyman, threw for 328 yards and two touchdowns in Arizona’s 23-13 win over the Seahawks in Seattle, while Huntley, a 23-year-old undrafted free agent, engineered two late scoring drives to help Baltimore beat the Bears 16-13 in Chicago.

Huntley said he didn’t even know he was going to make his first NFL start until he was walking to the team bus Sunday morning and got a text from Lamar Jackson, who couldn’t play due to illness. “He said, ‘Go do your thing, man,’ and I said, ‘All right, I got you, family,’” Huntley told NFL Network.

The former Utah star’s numbers were fairly pedestrian — 26-of-36 passing for 219 yards and one interception, seven rushes for 40 yards — but he made clutch throws in the fourth quarter to lead the Ravens’ comeback. Trailing 13-9 with 1:41 remaining, Huntley pushed the ball downfield to draw a 21-yard pass interference penalty and then complete a 21-yard pass to Devin Duvernay. On third-and-12 from the Bears’ 32-yard line, he found Sammy Watkins for 29 yards to set up Devonta Freeman’s go-ahead 3-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds left.

Baltimore improved to 7-3, moving up to second place in the AFC behind the 8-3 Titans.

“It feels great that Coach (John) Harbaugh gave me a chance,” Huntley told reporters afterward. “I think it’s amazing that they have so much trust in me going back to last year.”

“To play the way he did, to fight the way he did, to keep his poise the way he did … and find a way to win that game at the end and take the team down in a two-minute drive and win that game, t’s a good launching for his career, would you say?” Harbaugh said.

McCoy again started in place of Kyler Murray, who missed his third straight game due to an ankle injury. The 11-year NFL veteran outplayed Seattle’s Russell Wilson, particularly in the first half when McCoy completed 19 of 23 passes for two touchdowns, both to tight end Zach Ertz. When the Seahawks cut the deficit to 16-13 in the fourth quarter, McCoy led the Cardinals on a game-clinching, 10-play, 67-yard drive that ended in James Conner’s 1-yard TD run.

Murray could be back in the lineup in Week 13 against Chicago after Arizona’s bye this week. Thanks to McCoy, the Cardinals have gone 2-1 in Murray’s absence to remain on top of the NFC at 9-2.

“For me, I’m just glad to step up and play and be a part of a really special team, special coaches and just a special group of guys,” McCoy said. “This isn’t about me. That was a big team win for all of us.”

Backup quarterbacks don’t need to be stars. They just need to be ready when called upon. Arizona and Baltimore could easily have suffered costly setbacks like other struggling contenders on Sunday, but thanks to McCoy and Huntley, they didn’t.

Best offensive performance

Jonathan Taylor, Colts. Who else? On a day in which he really won the hearts of fantasy football managers, Taylor became the 16th player in NFL history to score five touchdowns in one game, leading Indianapolis to a shocking 41-15 road destruction of the Bills. He scored on a 3-yard run, 23-yard reception and then on runs of 2 yards, 10 yards and 1 yard against a Buffalo defense that ranked first in total yards and points allowed and had yielded only 75.5 yards per game on the ground. Taylor finished with 204 yards from scrimmage (185 rushing, 19 receiving) and now has an NFL-best 1,122 rushing yards.

Best defensive performances

Houston’s stifling of Tennessee was the most surprising effort, but Kansas City’s shutdown of Dallas’ top-ranked offense also deserves recognition. We’ve spotlighted the standout individual performances on both units that shined the most on Sunday.

Desmond King, Texans. Titans QB Ryan Tannehill had a nightmare of a game with four interceptions. King had two of them, both in the fourth quarter. Before the Sunday, the fifth-year cornerback had not had an INT since 2018, the year he was an All-Pro selection with the Chargers.

Chris Jones, Chiefs. K.C.’s emergence parallels the awakening of the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, who exceeded his season tackle of three with 3 1/2 sacks in Sunday’s 19-9 victory over the Cowboys. Jones also had three quarterback hurries, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and a tipped pass that set up L’Jarius Sneed’s victory-clinching interception.

Best statistics

The Trey Lance era will be on hold if Jimmy Garoppolo keeps playing like Joe Montana.

Taylor Heinicke and the Football Team are on a roll this month.

Best plays

Christian McCaffrey stands on his head after catching a Cam Newton pass.

Tyrod Taylor realizes there’s only one way to the end zone — up and over the Titans defender.

Carson Wentz miraculously eludes the sack on this 18-yard scramble.

Darius Slay lives up to his nickname, scoring on a TD return for the second straight week.

Tua Tagovailoa shows off his arm on the longest completion of his NFL career — a 65-yard TD to Mack Hollins.

Justin Jefferson makes the clutch TD catch, but also give Kirk Cousins credit for absorbing the hit in the pocket.

Jalen Hurts drops poor Saints DE Carl Grandson on the way to the end zone.

Austin Ekeler makes Madden-like juke moves while scoring the third of his four touchdowns.

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