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🏈 Football Five

  1. Joshua Dobbs and the Vikings are the best story in football. Dobbs threw a touchdown and ran for another as the well-traveled quarterback led Minnesota to a 27-19 win over the Saints. It's the Vikings' fifth straight win. Derek Carr left early with a concussion and a shoulder injury.
  2. Riley Patterson's 41-yard field goal as time expired lifted the Lions to a 41-38 win over the Chargers. The Lions ran for 200 yards, and Jared Goff threw two touchdowns. Detroit got an "A" in our weekly grades, and Jeff Kerr says the Lions are the Eagles' biggest threat in the NFC.
  3. Kyler Murray is back, and that makes football more fun. He led a drive to set up Matt Prater's game-winning field goal in the Cardinals' 25-23 win over the Falcons.
  4. North Carolina beat Duke, 47-45 in double overtime, thanks to a controversial call.
  5. Jayden Daniels submitted his latest Heisman Trophy statement by making FBS history in a 52-35 win over Florida.

💪 Good morning to everyone but especially ...

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Welcome back, 49ers! Temporarily sidetracked by a three-game losing streak, San Francisco is back in emphatic fashion. In a battle between division leaders who were trending in opposite directions, San Francisco thumped Jacksonville, 34-3, with the Niners' stars shining.

  • Brock Purdy threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, including a 66-yard score to George Kittle that broke the game open.
  • Christian McCaffrey's touchdown streak finally ended, but he still had 142 yards from scrimmage.
  • Deebo Samuel had a rushing touchdown with Trent Williams leading the way. Both were returning from injury.
  • Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave each had 1.5 sacks, Bosa recovered a fumble, Chase Young had a half-sack in his team debut, and Fred Warner and Talanoa Hufanga both picked off Trevor Lawrence. 

Purdy, who had six turnovers over his previous three games, got back to his clean, efficient ways. Purdy is 10-0 (playoffs included) when he has no turnovers and just 3-4 when he coughs the ball up.

But the story was the defense getting back to dominating. San Francisco's defense had a 73.3% success rate, its best in a game since 2019. The Jaguars registered season lows in total yards (221) and yards rushing (59). Lawrence was under siege almost all game. This is the 49ers team we know and love ... and opponents hate.

If the 49ers are back, the Texans are arriving -- ahead of schedule. One week after being nearly perfect, C.J. Stroud showed he can overcome imperfections, too, leading Houston to a 30-27 win over Cincinnati.

  • Up 27-17 late, Houston appeared to be on track for a straightforward win.
  • Then Stroud threw an awful pick, Joe Mixon scored, the Texans went three and out, and Evan McPherson tied things up with 1:33 remaining.
  • Stroud guided Houston 55 yards in 1:33 to set up Matt Ammendola's game-winning kick as time expired.

Every week, Stroud seems to show something new, but what never leaves is his pinpoint accuracy and poise (beyond his years). Will Brinson says Stroud belongs in the MVP conversation.

  • Brinson: "A rookie quarterback *likely* isn't going to win the award. We could see him hit a rookie wall or the Texans simply not win enough games to allow him to make a move that high up the board. But the Texans are not some frisky, feel-good story. They're a legit playoff contender. Drafting Stroud is the biggest reason why."

Oh yeah, and DeMeco Ryans should be Coach of the Year.

😃 Honorable mentions

😰 And not such a good morning for ...

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The Ravens couldn't have asked for a better start. They couldn't have produced a worse finish. Baltimore blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead in a 33-31 loss to the Browns, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Kyle Hamilton had a pick six on the second play from scrimmage, and the Ravens were up 14 early in the fourth quarter after former Raven James Proche II fumbled a punt and Gus Edwards scored a touchdown. Then ...

  • Deshaun Watson found Elijah Moore for a 10-yard touchdown to get within seven. Under a minute later, Greg Newsome II returned a deflected Lamar Jackson pass for a pick six.
  • The Ravens did nothing with their next possession, and Cleveland marched 58 yards in 12 plays with Dustin Hopkins nailing the game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired.
  • If those last few words are familiar, they should be: League-wide, there were five game-winning field goals with no time left in the fourth quarter, most ever in a single week.
  • The Browns outgained the Ravens 119-40 in the final quarter.

The Ravens have led in the final 2 minutes of regulation in all three losses this season. The reasons are all too familiar: turnovers, penalties, mistakes, missed chances. The Ravens' reputation took a big hit this week, writes Cody Benjamin.

😕 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 College football round up: Michigan wins without Jim Harbaugh

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Michigan at Penn State
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The college football world was rocked Friday when the Big Ten suspended Jim Harbaugh for Michigan's final three regular=season games. One day later, the Wolverines made sure the College Football Playoff picture wasn't rocked by grinding out a 24-15 win at Penn State to remain undefeated.

It wasn't pretty -- Michigan called 32 straight running plays to end the game -- but it was emotional: Interim coach Sherrone Moore tearfully dedicated the win to Harbaugh. On the other side, Penn State fired offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich after another dud.

Harbaugh's legal action against the Big Ten, meanwhile, will be heard Friday.

Michigan's win was, more or less, emblematic of the weekend as top teams took care of business against tough competition.

To wrap up ...

😳 Texas A&M fires Jimbo Fisher; check these candidates

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The Jimbo FIsher-Texas A&M marriage started out with so much promise: a title-winning coach joining a title-aspiring program with nearly unlimited resources. It ended in an unceremonious midseason firing. The Aggies are moving on, and the new direction is anyone's guess.

  • Texas A&M destroyed Mississippi State, 51-10, on Saturday, one day before the firing was announced. University regents, however, reportedly reached the decision on Thursday. Elijah Robinson is the interim coach.
  • Fisher finishes 45-25 with the Aggies, a worse record than his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin. The Aggies failed to win 10 games in any season under Fisher, though they did go 9-1 in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season.
  • The Aggies went 3-16 as underdogs under Fisher, the perfect summation of the idea that they never reached (or came close to) the heights Fisher's arrival indicated.
  • Fisher is due more than $77 million in buyout money thanks to a contract extension. That includes $19.3 million due by Jan. 11, 2024, and monies coming his way through 2031 -- eight years from now.

Texas A&M infamously gave Fisher a blank "national championship" plaque when it hired him. That aged poorly.

Historically great recruiting went to waste. Over the last three seasons, the Aggies rank in the bottom half of the SEC in most major offensive categories, including last in red zone efficiency. Dean Straka has five moments that led to Fisher's downfall.

Dennis Dodd has top coaching candidates with several big names up for a big job.

📺 What we're watching Monday

🏀 Michigan at St. John's, 6:30 p.m. on FS1
🏈 Broncos at Bills, 8:15 p.m. on ABC, ESPN
🏀 Xavier at No. 3 Purdue, 8:30 p.m. on FS1
🏀 Cavaliers at Kings, 10 p.m. on NBA TV