“I don’t care what the stats say, this looks like the best defense in the National Football League.” – Rodney Harrison on the Saints
“The mistake by the lake has been delivering not so many mistakes this year.” – Chris Simms on the Browns
“Tennessee wore them down in the second half and it seemed like they wanted it more than the Ravens did.” – Tony Dungy on Titans-Ravens
“This time last year, we said, ‘Wow, who is going to figure out how to stop them?’ Now it seems like everyone is figuring out a way to keep them in check.” – Mike Tirico on the Ravens
“It’s time for Doug Pederson to give Jalen Hurts an opportunity…to get in the game and be a legitimate quarterback.” – Harrison on Eagles
STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 22, 2020 – NBC Sports’ presentation of Week 11 of the 2020 NFL season began tonight from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas with Football Night in America leading into coverage of Chiefs-Raiders on Sunday Night Football on NBC. It is SNF’s first trip to Las Vegas.
Mike Tirico hosted FNIA from NBC Sports Group’s Studio 1 in Stamford, Conn., and was joined by Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Tony Dungy and former NFL quarterback Chris Simms. Two-time Super Bowl-winner Rodney Harrison and NFL Insider Mike Florio joined Football Night remotely from studios in their respective homes. Liam McHugh co-hosted the show on-site from Allegiant Stadium and was joined by Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth.
Kansas City Chiefs QB and Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes spoke with McHugh earlier this week. In the interview, Mahomes discusses playing in head coach Andy Reid’s innovative offense, designing plays of his own, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s potential as a future NFL head coach, and more. The entire eight-minute conversation is available now on NBCSports.com. During pre-game, McHugh interviewed Raiders RB Josh Jacobs.
Al Michaels (play-by-play), Collinsworth (analyst), Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) and Terry McAulay (rules analyst) are calling tonight’s Chiefs-Raiders game.
Tafoya debuted this week as host of the second season of NBC Sports’ “Sports Uncovered” podcast series, with the newest episode featuring Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. The podcast covers Gruden’s creative offensive schemes, the rare trade of Gruden from the Raiders to the Bucs, and his return to the Silver & Black. To download the podcast, click here.
Following are highlights from tonight’s edition of Football Night in America on NBC:
Collinsworth on QB Patrick Mahomes’ case for becoming the best quarterback of all-time: “I think he does have a chance to be exactly that. Anytime you pay a guy half-a-billion dollars and say, ‘That’s a pretty team-friendly deal,’ you feel pretty good about that. What he does on the field is amazing…some of the things he is able to do is phenomenal.”
Collinsworth on Raiders’ success this year: “Derek Carr seems to have taken that next step…When you talk to some of the Kansas City coaches about what (the Raiders) are doing, they say, ‘It’s still Derek Carr’s body out there, but it feels like Jon Gruden’s brain.’”
Simms on Jon Gruden’s offensive philosophy: “He wants to pound the rock. We had a rock in our locker room to remind (us) to run the football…he wants to run the ball to keep his efficient pass game open and be a mad scientist off of it.”
Harrison: “I’m really impressed with Jon Gruden and the job that he’s done with Derek Carr. Carr was an average quarterback when he got there who played very conservative. Now he’s a Top 10 quarterback, he’s playing with a level of freedom, a level of confidence, and that’s because of Jon Gruden.”
Dungy: “We heard all of those fancy passing plays, but it is really running the football and then getting everybody thinking run and now you’ve got those explosive shots.”
Simms on QB Taysom Hill: “You don’t know what to expect (with Taysom Hill under center). Play action pass, quarterback designed run, Alvin Kamara -- they can do everything.”
Tirico: “Remember when (Drew) Brees got hurt last year, the defense stepped up. You know who stepped up today? The defense.”
Harrison: “I don’t care what the stats say, this looks like the best defense in the National Football League…I think this defense is tremendous, especially the front seven. Demario Davis is the real deal. He’s the best middle linebacker in all of football.”
Dungy: “Tennessee wore them down in the second half and it seemed like they wanted it more than the Ravens did.”
Simms: “We don’t see the Ravens physically get out-powered and we’ve seen it two weeks in a row, which is kind of shocking.”
Simms: “It can’t always be about Lamar (Jackson) and the run game. There has to be more wide receivers involved in the pass game, it’s always just Mark Andrews and Lamar running the football. I don’t know if that’s going to get them to the Super Bowl.”
Tirico: “This time last year, we said, ‘Wow, who is going to figure out how to stop them?’ Now it seems like everyone is figuring out a way to keep them in check.”
Harrison: “The Ravens got physically dominated (today)…this is a definite concern, struggling on the offensive side of the ball and can’t stop anyone on the defensive side of the ball.”
Dungy: “Ball-security issues all day for the Packers.”
Dungy on final minutes in regulation with Colts leading 31-28: “I was so frustrated that I wanted to call Frank Reich. Run the ball, make them use their timeouts. What are you doing? Are you trying to lose this game?”
Tirico: “How about the folks in northeast Ohio sitting down at Thanksgiving talking about the second-place Browns!”
Simms: “They’re built to play in this weather, this style of football. It’s been fitting there. The mistake by the lake has been delivering not so many mistakes this year. Way to go Cleveland.”
Dungy on QB P.J. Walker: “He played a great game, didn’t make many mistakes and was on target when he had to be.”
Simms on QB Carson Wentz’s pick-six interception: “Same old, same old. No awareness in the pocket and holding the ball like he’s got the greatest offensive line in the history of football … (on the safety) this is the issue all the time, so focused down the field, not really feeling what’s around him and it cost this team throughout the year.”
Harrison: “It’s time for Doug Pederson to give Jalen Hurts an opportunity. I’m not saying to start him, but give him a few series and when you bring him in, I’m not talking about the option, give him an opportunity to get in the game and be a legitimate quarterback…Carson Wentz is all over the place. You owe it to your team to give him a chance to play, your team needs a spark and Carson Wentz has completely lost his confidence…you have to do what’s in the best interest of your team, it doesn’t matter how much a guy makes.”
Simms on QB Deshaun Watson: “He all but ended the Patriots playoff hopes (today)…he was amazing.”
Dungy on Watson: “His coach in college Dabo Swinney called him Michael Jordan. He looked like more than that (today)…they had no answer for Deshaun.”
Simms: “When they have to rely on the pass game too much, they can’t win games this year…I think this all but wipes the Patriots out of the playoff race.”
Dungy: “Deshaun Watson -- they couldn’t stop him. They do not have enough defensive playmakers.”
Simms on QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: “Sometimes it’s Fitz-magic, sometimes it’s Fitz-tragic.”
Simms on QB Justin Herbert: “He’s a phenomenal rookie. He’s a superstar. Some of the throws he made today are jaw dropping.”
Tirico on Jets making a late-game run: “Their fans are yelling, ‘Don’t win! Don’t win!”
Below are excerpts from McHugh’s interview with Mahomes. If used, please note the mandatory credit: “In an exclusive interview airing on Football Night in America.”
WATCH: Full eight-minute Mahomes-McHugh conversation on NBCSports.com.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM MCHUGH’S INTERVIEW WITH MAHOMES
Mahomes on playing in Andy Reid’s offense: “My first and second year here, he would call some plays and I would be like, ‘I mean I’ll try it, but I don’t know how that’s going to work with the defense and how they’re playing.’ But it seems like every single time I had that thought, it was a wide-open touchdown. So nowadays, whatever he draws up, I’m just ready to go and ready to go out there and execute it.”
Mahomes on designing plays of his own: “There’s always been plays here and there that Coach Reid does a good job of letting me kind of help create and help design in a certain sense. He has his white board, he just draws up plays all day and so every once in a while I’ll go in there and say, ‘Can we do this?’ And he usually gives me the green light.”
Mahomes on designing and executing ‘Ferrari Right,’ in which he caught the snap while in motion for a touchdown in Week 9: “Ferrari Right kind of started as a joke. It started as I was taking snaps pre-practice and I would start running in jet motion and catching it. And all of a sudden, I was like, ‘Man, I think this can really affect a defense. Let me see if this is legal.’ So, I took it to some coaches and then took it to Coach Reid and we helped design it and make something happen out of it, and it worked out and I was able to score a touchdown on it.”
Mahomes on Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy: “I would say that he has everything it takes to be a head coach, and I think that’s a big thing being a head coach in the NFL. Being able to lead men, being able to hold people accountable but at the same time holding himself accountable even more than that…He’s obviously a great offensive mind but he’s even a better a leader of men. I think that says a lot.”
Mahomes on what he learned from the Chiefs’ Week 5 loss to the Raiders: “I think the biggest thing we learned going into the following weeks is that we’ve got to be patient within our offense. Obviously, we want to have the big play and we want to have the big play every play, but you have to be able to drive the ball down the field play by play. It really, I think, kind of woke us up and showed us that we can win games different ways. And if you’ve seen how we’ve played since that game, we found ways to do just that.”
–FOOTBALL NIGHT IN AMERICA–