Trying to predict what will happen on Sunday is a fool's errand. The same goes for those silly projections that fantasy websites push on users as if the outcomes were already decided. Much like in the NFL, games are never decided until the score is final.
In my $100 league, I am the highest scoring team in the league and playing the last place team. At 1-8, her playoff hopes were dashed, and I was just trying to get a higher seed in the playoffs. I was projected to win by 45 points.
I'm losing by 53.
It's not just that I got squat from players like Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, and Jason Witten. It's also a reminder of how many points you can get from those more ignored positions. She got 15 points from David Akers, 19 points from the Cowboys defense, and 19.30 points in her flex position: Laurent Robinson.
I can't complain, she kicked my ass fair and square. Just like many teams in the NFL can't complain that they also blew their chances to beat a lesser opponent on Sunday, or that they blew home-field advantage. Road teams were 10-5 this week, and no home team that won beat a team that they were clearly better than.
It was a very interesting week. Let's get to it.
Saints Beat Falcons in OT Despite "Don't Cover Harry Douglas" Strategy
If you watched the game, then you may have noticed that at certain times it looked like a 10-year-old boy was running the Falcons in Madden. As if his favorite play was hitting a wide open Harry Douglas as he streaked across the middle and continuously got 20+ yards every time.
After Julio Jones went down with an injury, it seemed like maybe this would finally be time for Matt Ryan to find Roddy White. Instead, it was just Douglas-Douglas-Douglas, and it nearly worked as the Falcons forced overtime. But when Mike Smith decided to go for it on fourth-and-one on his own 30-yard-line and fell short, it was only a matter of time before John Kasay would kick the game-winner for New Orleans.
I won't say that it was the "wrong decision" necessarily, because we are talking about the Saints offense here and Drew Brees. But it was certainly a bad-looking play call and then Michael Turner really did show he is a north and south runner, rather than break it left after the line completely exploded into a pile of bodies that he stood no chance of getting through.
Ryan was 29 of 52 for 351 yards, 2 TD/1 INT. His slow start is gradually improving, with 5 TD/2 INT in his last two games.
Turner had 92 yards on 22 carries, but no score. Jacquizz Rodgers had 30 yards on 7 carries, and if he ever found himself in a situation where he got 15 touches a game, he'd be a pretty good play I imagine.
Harry Douglas was targeted 14 times and had 8 catches for 133 yards. Tony Gonzalez had 6 catches on 11 targets for 71 yards and a TD. Julio Jones had 6 targets and 2 catches for 9 yards. He hurt his hammy and we will have to monitor his status. Roddy White had 9 targets and caught 4 for 62 yards. Jason Snelling caught a TD pass.
Brees was 30 of 42 for 322 yards, 2 TD/0 INT. He is a truly exceptional fantasy (and real life) quarterback, on pace for some wild numbers.
The running backs were non-factors: Darren Sproles had 6 touches for 3 yards. Mark Ingram had 9 touches for 14 yards. Pierre Thomas had 10 touches for 38 yards.
Marques Colston had 8 catches on 9 targets for 113 yards. Jimmy Graham led the team in targets with 12, and caught 7 for 82 and a TD. The rest of Brees' targets were spread around pretty evenly. Lance Moore only caught 1 of 5 targets. Robert Meachem had 2 catches for 69 yards and a TD.
This isn't the end of the road for the Falcons in the South, as they play the Saints again this year, but losing to New Orleans at home is the first big step towards the Saints winning the division.
Chris Johnson Leaving the Cast of The Walking Dead to Pursue Dream of Playing in NFL
Apparently we'll still see Johnson on Sundays, but no longer as a zombie. As a real-life NFL player that deserved a new contract. The Titans benefitted from Johnson making an appearance and dominated the Panthers 30-3.
Chris Johnson ran for 130 yards on 27 carries with a score, and caught 4 passes for 44 yards. Here is a funny tidbit:
As Johnson entered the media room after the game, QB Matt Hasselbeck walked out and yelled, "Fantasy points!" "Matt told me I was on his Fantasy team, and that he stepped out at the 1 to help me get in the end zone," Johnson said with a laugh. "So everyone has to thank Matt and all the Fantasy owners."
It's funny how far into relevance that fantasy has travelled into the actual sport. Not that players or coaches actually do anything for fantasy purposes, but they do feel the pressure.
Johnson was traded in my league last week for Anquan Boldin. That seemed ridiculous weeks ago, and then it seemed reasonable when it happened, and now it looks ridiculous again. I'm upset that I couldn't make it happen myself.
The follow-up performance will have to come against Atlanta next week.
Hasselbeck was 15 of 27 for 219 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. I liked Damian Williams as a sleeper before the season, and now that he's getting more comfortable and with Kenny Britt out, he's stepping up. He had 5 catches for 107 yards and a TD on 7 targets. He could be more than a flash in the pan; that's four touchdowns in his last six games.
Nate Washington had 3 catches for 40 yards.
The Panthers are falling further and further, but getting closer to finding Cam Newton some help. Now tied for the 2nd worst record in the NFL.
Newton was 23 of 40 for 212 yards, 0 TD/1 INT and 55 yards rushing. It's the first time all season that he has failed to score.
Steve Smith was targeted 9 times but only had 5 catches for 33 yards. Legedu Naanee had 8 catches for 75 yards. Greg Olsen was targeted 11 times, but just 4 catches for 45 yards.
When the Panthers do draft in the top 5 in 2012, expect them to draft a defensive player. They could use one, as so far they don't have any.
Bengals Can't Overcome Fact That They're the Bengals in Loss to Steelers
This needed to be the statement game for Cincinnati, a team that was in first but hadn't played the Ravens or Steelers yet. Now they'll have to make their statement on the road, and that seems like a tall task for such a young offense.
Still, give them credit for being tied in this game late in the fourth quarter. They just couldn't make the stops on defense when they needed it and Rashard Mendenhall put the nail in the coffin.
Mendenhall only had 44 yards rushing but he scored two touchdowns.
Ben Roethlisberger was 21 of 33 for 245 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. He targeted Mike Wallace 10 times and Wallace had 6 catches for 54 yards. That's a season low for Wallace, who hasn't topped 100 yards in his last three games, but he did add 31 yards rushing. That's 922 yards on the season, third in the NFL.
Antonio Brown continued his hot streak with 5 catches for 86 yards on 6 targets. Jerricho Cotchery caught a TD, and it's good to know that Jerricho Cotchery is still in the NFL. He was as surprised as I was.
The Steelers have a bye next week.
Andy Dalton went 15 of 30 for 170 yards, 2 TD/2 INT in his first career game against Pitt. The rookie is having a great season, this isn't an incapable QB, or simply a game manager. His 14 TDs through 9 career games is one of the best rookie totals ever.
Cedric Benson had 57 yards on 15 carries. A.J. Green caught a 36 yard TD pass, but aggravated a knee injury. Andrew Hawkins came out of obscurity to catch 5 of 6 targets for 56 yards. Nobody really stepped in Green's place to put up good numbers. Jermaine Gresham caught a TD pass.
Cincy has a good defense and a young offense that could make them very legitimate in one or two years.
Browns and Rams Played a Game. It Wasn't a Good Game. NFL Shall Ignore this Game Ever Happened, Issue Statement: "Rams Beat Browns in VERY Exciting Game!"
Luckily, I've managed to find the original box score of what really happened in this 13-12 Rams victory that proved not even St. Louis and Cleveland have good fantasy teams.
I've been saying for awhile now that Cleveland is clearly one of the worst teams in the NFL. Their three wins miraged by the fact that they came over Indianapolis, Miami, and Seattle, and all of those games could have easily been losses. That's how close we are to talking about the Browns as Andrew Luck's next destination.
Cleveland hasn't topped 12 points since week 6, they can't run and they can't stop the run. They do have Joe Haden and Joe Thomas, but their most important asset may be what they have coming to them in 2012. Cleveland snagged Atlanta's first round pick in the Julio Jones trade and now they could go into the draft with a top eight pick of their own plus a mid-to-late first rounder from Atlanta.
It's one hell of a starting point on a trade with the Colts to move up to the top of the draft. There is a good chance that Cleveland will not win another game this year.
Colt McCoy was 20 of 27 for 218 yards, 0 TD/0 INT. I thought McCoy was a good sleeper before the season, but he has 2 TD/3 INT in his last four games.
Chris Ogbonnaya had 90 yards on 19 carries and 19 yards receiving. I wouldn't worry too much about using him for the rest of the year.
Mike Gallagher and I both like Greg Little this week and he had 6 catches for 84 yards on 7 targets. Josh Cribbs had 53 total yards.
The Rams are like the anti-Browns, a team that's schedule was so hard that they weren't nearly as bad as their 0-6 start to the year. That's not to say that St. Louis is good, but they played the: Eagles, Giants, Ravens, Redskins, Packers, Cowboys, Saints. Let's see a re-match with Philly and Washington today and I expect a much different outcome.
Sam Bradford was 15 of 25 for 155 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. Two wins in their last three games will end all "What would they do with Luck?" talk.
Steven Jackson ran for over 100 yards in his third straight game with 27 rushes for 128 yards and 3 catches for 23. Brandon Lloyd had 10 targets with 4 catches for 48 yards and a TD. Austin Pettis had 3 catches for 31 yards.
It's Kind of Hard to Believe that the Bills and Cowboys are Both 5-4 After Yesterday
How weird is the NFL?
The Cowboys have won 3 of their last 4 and in each of their wins they looked very dominant. In their one loss, they got dominated by the Eagles, a team that just lost at home to the Cardinals. The Cardinals being a team that was 0-4 on the road before yesterday. Don't try to predict anything.
This game was never really in doubt and Tony Romo hardly ever missed. He was 23 of 26 for 270 yards, 3 TD/0 INT. He has thrown only 1 interception in his last four games.
DeMarco Murray continues to prove me right that he is a must-start, RB1 for the rest of the year. He ran for 135 yards and a TD on 20 carries. He had 6 catches for 36.
Dez Bryant caught 6 of 6 targets for 74 yards and a TD. Jason Witten caught 5 of 7 targets for 37 yards. Laurent Robinson caught all 3 of his targets for 73 yards and a 2 TDs. It will be interesting to see how the wide receiver corps shake out if and when everyone is healthy. Things looked pretty dire when Kevin Ogletree was getting a lot of playing time, but Robinson looks like the real deal.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been moving backwards and if he doesn't improve, the Bills are going to be in a very awkward position. In his last six games, he has thrown 7 TDs/9 INTs and the Bills are 2-4. It was a nice story while it lasted.
Nothing wrong with Fred Jackson however. He ran for 114 yards on 13 carries and leads the NFL with 917 yards.
Donald Jones caught 6 of 10 targets for 51 yards. David Nelson caught 4 of 5 targets for 31 yards and a TD. He brought the touchdown ball to his girlfriend, a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. This was of course, in the first half when it was close, because if he tried to do that in the second half, she probably would have broken up with him.
The Colts Are On the Clock
So, what are you going to do with that #1 draft pick Indianapolis?
Some people believe that Bill Polian is too old to care about waiting another 3 or 4 years to return to a Super Bowl and take a chance on Luck. Others say that this is how they sustain dominance just like how the 49ers did with Joe Montana and Steve Young.
The Colts are without a win and no team in the NFL has less than two. I can't see anyone catching them now. Either way, they will want to address their backup QB if they stick with Peyton Manning.
Curtis Painter was 13 of 19 for 92 yards, 0 TD/2 INT. Dan Orlovsky was 7 of 10 for 67 yards, 0 TD/0 INT.
Donald Brown ran for 53 yards and caught 4 passes for 12. All of those Colts wide receivers I liked before the year are the ones in dire straights.
Reggie Wayne had 3 catches for 13 yards on 7 targets. Austin Collie had 4 catches for 31 yards on 5 targets. Pierre Garcon had 3 catches for 30 yards on 6 targets. Jacob Tamme led all Colts with 6 catches for 75 yards on 8 targets.
The Jags play the Browns next week, and they look like the much better 3-6 team. Despite not having a very good offense, they do have Maurice Jones-Drew and they have the excuse of at least playing some very talented defenses in recent weeks.
Their last four games were against the Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, and Texans. Blaine Gabbert is getting tested early.
Gabbert was 14 of 21 for 118 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. He's not good yet, but it's too early to tell if he's just not that good or if he's just that young and raw as an NFL QB. Let's give him a chance and wait to see what he'll do when he gets a legit number one wide receiver.
Chastin West was the most random wide receiver of the day, catching 3 passes for 39 yards. West had 1 career catch before yesterday and he was targeted 5 times. Jarett Dillard caught a TD pass.
MJD had 114 yards rushing and a TD, with 23 yards through the air. He is fourth in the NFL in rushing, and he has scored in each of the last two games.
Tim Tebow is "Just a Winner." Well, That's Clear After He Completed Less Passes (2) Than He Has Wins (3)
Welcome to the Tim Tebow era. Do you love it? An era where a QB can go 2 for 8 for 69 yards, 1 TD/0 INT and go 3-1 as a starter in 2011? Is this what we asked for? Jesus did seem to walk a lot more than he flew, so I guess it makes sense.
Why are the Broncos 3-1 in their last 4 games, and one game back of first place? Well, whether it's because of Tebow or not, they've run for an average of 228 yards per game over their last four. Those are some crazy numbers and when they tried to be a throwing team under Kyle Orton, it wasn't working.
They also turned the ball over 12 times in their first five games and only 4 times in their last 4. 3 of those turnovers were in the loss to Detroit, so 1 turnover in their 3 wins. Pretty simple formula.
Lance Ball had 96 yards rushing but it came on 30 carries. Tebow had 43 yards and ran for a score in addition to his 56 yard TD pass to Eric Decker. Knowshon Moreno had 52 yards on 4 carries. Willis McGahee had 17 yards on 4 carries and left with a hamstring injury.
So, can the Broncos beat the Jets at home on Thursday night? If they do, we'll all be Tebowing for the rest of our lives.
The most embarrassed team of the day has to be Kansas City, and I don't care that the Ravens lost to the Seahawks.. how do you lose to a team that completes two passes?
Matt Cassel was 13 of 28 for 93 yards, 1 TD/0 INT and left with an "injury" but some fans in Kansas City hope he stays out after KC dropped its second straight embarrassing loss. This all reminding us of what happened in the first two weeks of the season.
Tyler Palko was 5 of 6 for 47 yards.
The Chiefs went from the best running team in the league to the most inconsistent, disappointing, and confusing running team in the league. Jackie Battle had 61 yards on 9 carries and Dexter McCluster had 45 yards on 8 carries. McCluster added 6 catches for 48 yards.
Dwayne Bowe had 2 catches for 17 yards, Jon Baldwin had 1 for 15 and Steve Breaston had 4 for 33. LeRon McClain caught a TD pass. The targets were spread out pretty evenly, but either way, the Chiefs went nowhere.
Dolphins Win Second Straight, This Reggie Bush Kid Shouldn't Have Slipped in the Draft
Another story of a guy that slips in the NFL draft and then comes out of obscurity to take the league by storm. I don't know who "Reggie Bush" is or what city the small school of "Southern California" is located in, but I think this Bush guy might be good.
Bush had 2 TDs on 47 yards rushing, his third straight game of value in fantasy. Daniel Thomas had more carries, but only managed 42 yards on 17 and didn't score.
Matt Moore was 20 of 29 for 209 yards, 0 TD/1 INT. Brandon Marshall was targeted 9 times and had 7 catches for 98 yards. Tight end Anthony Fasano had 60 yards on 3 catches. He's actually not a terrible fantasy play at TE about half of the time. The other half, he's useless.
The Redskins continue their freefall, losers of five straight games and who is honestly surprised at the fact that they can't decide on which terrible QB should be starting?
Rex Grossman was back at the helm, and went 21 of 32 for 215 yards, 0 TD/2 INT. The Redskins only managed 3 field goals however.
Roy Helu had 41 yards on 6 carries and 13 yards on 3 catches. Ryan Torain had 20 yards on 10 carries. Leonard Hankerson, a rookie out of Miami, caught 8 of 9 targets for 106 yards but was injured late in the game. It's still far too early to wonder whether or not he's a solid play in the final few weeks of the fantasy season.
Fred Davis had 3 for 38.
The Question is Finally Answered: John Skelton is Better than Michael Vick
Sure, we always assumed that Skelton was greater than Vick, but there's no question anymore after the Cardinals beat the Eagles 21-17 and Skelton had the superior play and stats.
It's a good thing for Michael Vick that he played as good as he did in 2010 in order to secure a contract that would help him pay off his massive debts, but so far it looks like the Eagles are the ones in debt with his $100 million deal.
Vick was 16 for 34 for 128 yards, 0 TD/2 INT against a Cardinal defense that is not considered "elite." Vick also ran for 79 yards, but he has now thrown as many interceptions this year as has thrown touchdowns: 11. He still hasn't scored on the ground and the Eagles at 3-6 look like they can look ahead to 2012.
LeSean McCoy is still good, having rushed for 81 yards and a TD. He's 2nd in the NFL in rushing.
DeSean Jackson was suspended for missing a team meeting and Steve Smith led the team in targets with 11, catching 5 for 47. I wouldn't consider him a big threat going forward, but with injuries he is someone to keep an eye on. Jeremy Maclin had 2 catches for 16 yards and left with injury. Brent Celek had 4 for 53.
Is Skelton going to create a quarterback controversy? Not unless he gets $20 million guaranteed some time soon.
Still, he was 21 of 40 for 315 yards, 3 TD/2 INT. That's more yards and touchdowns than what Kevin Kolb has done in any game this season.
I didn't think people should bench Larry Fitzgerald just based off of his talent alone, and I hope you didn't: He had 7 catches for 146 yards and 2 TDs. Will he work better with Skelton, who has connected with him for three scores in two games? Fitz was targeted 14 times. Andre Roberts caught 4 of 8 targets for 55 yards. Early Doucet was only targeted 4 times, but caught a TD pass.
Beanie Wells had 23 carries for 62 yards. Beanie had 90 or more yards in each of his first three games, but hasn't topped 90 since.
Houston Texans are Best Team in AFC. How Soon Until End of World?
The only thing left to ask after you find out that the Texans can run the ball like nobody's business and play perhaps the best defense in the NFL, without Mario Williams or Andre Johnson playing much of the year, is how long we have left on this planet.
I think if you Google "Signs of the Apocalypse" that "Texans win Super Bowl" is near the top.
The rushing yards and rushing touchdowns are cool, as well as their ability to stop opponents, but the most telling stat for me as the Texans look like tops in the AFC is this: they've forced at least one turnover in every game, and they've forced more than one in all but two.
Now, in this "What have you done for me lately?" NFL system, I could forget all about Houston in three weeks if they start to falter, but it can't be denied that they look as impressive as anyone and they just went to Tampa and won 37-9. They've won four straight in convincing fashion.
Matt Schaub was 11 of 15 for 242 yards, 2 TD/0 INT. That's a really impressive yards per attempt of 16.1. Actually, it's amazing.
The Texans just decided to run-run-run and use a three-headed attack that reminds you of Wing-T numbers in high school. Arian Foster had 84 yards and a TD, Ben Tate had 63 yards and a TD, Derrick Ward had 36 yards and a TD. Foster added 4 catches for 102 yards and another score. Jacoby Jones caught an 80-yard TD pass.
No receiver was targeted more than 3 times, it was all about the running backs.
I cautioned against drafting players in Tampa before the season. They just have too many one-year wonders. Well, I hate to say that the trend may continue.
Josh Freeman was 15 of 33 for 170 yards, 1 TD/3 INT.
LeGarrette Blount had 34 yards on 10 carries, showing how difficult it is to play him when the Bucs fall behind. Arrelious Benn had 2 catches on 6 targets for 47 yards. Mike Williams was targeted 7 times and had 2 catches for 43. Preston Parker was targeted 5 times and had 2 catches for 17 yards and a TD.
Williams is averaging less yards per catch and per game than his rookie year and has 1 TD compared to 11 last season. Blount has only gone over 100 yards once and hasn't scored since week 4. Freeman has already thrown 7 more interceptions than he did last season.
Ravens Lose to Seahawks, Admit "We Were Just Looking Ahead to Dexter Tonight."
"Trap game" is a popular term in sports. The Ravens were coming off of an exciting win over Pittsburgh and had another divisional matchup against the Bengals coming up, so would they overlook Seattle and come out flat?
Say what you want about this being a "trap game" but Ray Lewis and Ed Reed seem like they've been around long enough to not let that happen. Well, in whatever context, it happened and the Ravens lost 22-17.
This wasn't so much on the Ravens defense as it was the offense and special teams, but a loss is a loss. How about play-calling that resulted in 52 Joe Flacco passes and 5 Ray Rice rushes?
Flacco was 29 of 52 for 255 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. Rice ran the ball for 27 yards and threw a TD pass as well as 8 catches for 54 yards. Special teamer David Reed lost two fumbles though and Steven Hauschka was 5 for 5 on field goal attempts.
Ed Dickson caught 10 passes for 79 yards and 2 TDs. He was targeted 14 times. Anquan Boldin was also targeted 14 times, but only caught 2 for 22. Torrey Smith only had 3 for 28 and Dennis Pitta had 4 for 49.
Tarvaris Jackson was 17 of 27 for 217 yards, making him much more efficient on yards per pass attempt than Flacco. The star on offense was Marshawn Lynch, making him all the more interesting as the season goes on.
Against one of the very best run defenses in the league, Lynch had 32 carries for 109 yards and a TD. He has a TD in each of his last five games. He led receivers with 5 catches for 58 yards.
No receiver was targeted more than four times: Sidney Rice had 2 for 14, Doug Baldwin had 1 for 50 yards, Golden Tate had 3 for 46, and Zach Miller had 3 for 24.
This was the first time since division re-alignment that every team in the NFC West won on the same day and it was certainly unexpected considering the teams that they were playing.
49ers Beat Giants to Move to 8-1. Hey, Remember the 80s and 90s?
Seems like San Fran just took the last decade off but have decided they were bored of being a crappy team and joined the rest of the league. In the same year that it looks like Andrew Luck could follow Peyton Manning in Indianapolis, there's some weird coincidences going on:
The last team to do something like that was Green Bay, when Aaron Rodgers followed Brett Favre. The Packers are the only team ahead of San Francisco in the NFL.
Andrew Luck plays at Stanford, former team of Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The Niners are back to dominance for the first time since Steve Young, save for a couple of years with Jeff Garcia.
The Niners looked like a team that wasn't competitive on paper before the season, and now they stand here with a two game lead on the 2nd seed in the playoffs and right on the heels of the Packers.
Make no mistake, this team is for real. They have real Super Bowl aspirations and they just beat one of the teams that they could very well face in January.
Alex Smith was 19 of 30 for 242 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. It was only his third interception of the season and it brings up an interesting scenario: Will the Niners re-sign Smith if they go 13-3 and make the NFC Championship game? Will they turn to Colin Kaepernick? Do you remember that they drafted a QB early in the draft this year? And what's an efficient QB worth if you know he's not a superstar? Smith is only 27 years old.
Frank Gore had 6 carries for 0 yards. He left with injury, but its not expected to be serious. Kendall Hunter should be owned by all Gore owners and he had 6 carries for 40 yards and a TD.
Delanie Walker was targeted 7 times and caught 6 for 69. Vernon Davis had 3 catches for 40 yards and a TD. Braylon Edwards had 3 catches for 47 yards. Ted Ginn had 3 for 39 and Michael Crabtree caught only a single pass.
The Giants faced injury concerns with their top two WRs but they both played. It wasn't enough.
Eli Manning 26 of 40 for 311 yards, 2 TD/2 INT. He has multiple TDs in 7 of 9 games.
Brandon Jacobs went against the leagues top rushing defense and had 55 yards on 18 carries. The Niners have still yet to allow a TD on the ground.
Victor Cruz was targeted 11 times and caught 6 for 84. Mario Manningham was also targeted 11 times and caught 6 for 77 and a score. Hakeem Nicks was only targeted 4 times and caught 2 for 41 and a TD. Jake Ballard had 3 for 35.
Bears Lose Critical Game to Lions.... in Week 5. Why We Don't Make Assumptions in Week 5, Bears Now Look Better Than Lions after 37-13 Victory.
How quickly things change.
After the Lions beat the Bears five weeks ago, they were undefeated and the Bears were 2-3. It seemed like the tide of the NFC North had finally changed. Detroit on the up and up, Bears looking for answers. After four straight wins, it looks like they've found answers and now both teams sit at 6-3, fighting for a wild card.
Jay Cutler didn't do much, 9 of 19 for 123 yards, 0 TD/0 INT, but he didn't have to. Matthew Stafford did most of his work for him.
Matt Forte rushed for 64 yards and a TD. Early Bennett had 81 yards on 6 catches and 6 targets. There were only three other completions and they went to three different players.
Stafford was 33 of 63 for 329 yards, 1 TD/4 INT. He threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns within two minutes of each other to start the second half. I thought that coming off of the bye, the Lions would come out hot, but they certainly did not. This was a terrible game for Stafford and crew.
Maurice Morris had 44 yards on 10 carries. We will have to hope that Jahvid Best returns this week.
Calvin Johnson was targeted a whopping 19 times, but only had 7 catches for 81 yards on all of those targets and no scores. Tony Scheffler caught the meaningless touchdown. Nate Burleson had 8 catches for 83 yards. Titus Young had 7 catches for 74 yards. They were each targeted 9 times. Johnson and Burleson also lost fumbles early in the game.
The Only Thing Worse than Faith Hill on Sunday Night, is Mark Sanchez on Sunday Night
First of all, the opening theme song to Sunday Night Football is the most embarrassed I've been watching television since Michael Scott was on The Office. I cringe. It's really cheesy, really sad, and the players dancing around Faith Hill in a leather catsuit make me feel really bad for everyone involved. Still, its not Mark Sanchez trying to navigate around a defense, and the Jets lost 37-16.
Sanchez was 20 of 39 for 306 yards, 1 TD/2 INT. The Jets "QBOTF" is on pace for career highs in TDs and yards, but he still can't complete a high enough percentage of his passes for enough yards per attempt in order to be considered a good QB. Maybe if he's lucky he'll be the next Eli Manning, a formerly bad QB who looks elite this season.
Shonn Greene had 61 yards on 13 carries and 2 catches for 14 yards. Sanchez stole a goal-line TD.
Santonio Holmes had 6 catches for 93 yards on 8 targets. Plaxico Burress had 3 for 39 and a score on 10 targets. Jeremy Kerley, a player I liked as a sleeper pre-season, had 4 catches for 79 yards. Dustin Keller had 2 for 37.
Tom Brady seemed "off" the last few weeks, even if the worst of Brady is better than 90% of quarterbacks. He rebounded to torch Darrelle Revis and the Jets passing defense to go 26 of 39 for 329 yards, 3 TD/0 INT. He has twice as many TD passes as Michael Vick, Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco, or Matt Cassel.
The Patriots didn't run for very many yards and they spread the carries around. Danny Woodhead led the team with 38 yards.
Rob Gronkowski had 8 catches for 113 yards and 2 TDs on 13 targets. Gronkowski could star in BiBi Jones next movie and it won't matter if he puts up numbers like this. Chad Ochocinco had a season-high 65 yards on two catches. Wes Welker had 6 catches for 46 yards. Deion Branch had 5 for 58 and a TD. Aaron Hernandez had 4 for 41.
New England now has full control of the AFC East, like we all expected them to.
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ONLY A FEW MORE NOTES
- I don't have time to really go through as many notes as I usually like. It's been a rough last few days but I still had to do my usual recaps. I won't let you down!
- Packers and Vikings tonight could be interesting or could be a Packers blowout. Strange things happen on Monday night and Christian Ponder put up a good fight against the Packers earlier this year.
- Is Aaron Rodgers playing the best football of any QB in the last 37 years as Ron Jaworski claims? He's pretty damn good. In one less game, he still has one more TD pass than Brady and Brees.
- Here is my Preview from Friday. As usual, I was right about some things and dead wrong about some others. Last time that Chris Johnson shows up as a "sleeper." Probably...