Well, things are starting to become a little more clear in the picture of who stands where in the NFL after week nine.
The Colts are the last un-undefeated team in the NFL and hold what looks to be like a massive lead in the Suck for Luck sweepstakes.
Especially since the Patriots are now 5-3 and looking like half the team they were over the first six games.
The Texans might be the Ravens biggest competition, and I'll be shocked if their streak of not making the playoffs doesn't end this year.
The Chiefs were so bad, then so good, and now so bad again. The Dolphins got one step closer to Matt Barkley.
St. Louis and Arizona were forced to play each other and pick a winner, but in the end, all of us were losers.
There were some big days in fantasy, like Vincent Jackson and Aaron Rodgers, and some bad days in fantasy, like (Just start putting Chris Johnson's name here every week.)
I'm debuting a new feature of the week in review Monday segment, in which I will also provide you with the amount of times a player was targeted during the game. Just looking at catches and yards can be deceiving and it helps to know which players are grabbing the most attention of their QBs. It's a little bit of extra work and this is a new record in word count, but thanks for reading. Just like Bryan Adams, everything I do, I do it for you.
Okay, this is more like it. All season long we've been inundated with shockers and surprises, and there was probably no more legit surprise team to me than Buffalo.
The Bills came into the year as a franchise that seemed to be one of the furthest teams in the NFL from contention, and found themselves instead at 5-2, tied for the lead in a division that featured the Patriots and a team that had gone to back-to-back AFC Championship games. The Jets were starting to look like a team on the way down, and they had to travel to Buffalo to face a team on the way up. So what happens? The Jets whoop 'em up 27-11, and the final score doesn't dictate how not close this game was.
Mark Sanchez was 20 of 28 for 230 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. Again, unspectacular, but if you're a Jets fan you'll take that completion percentage from Sanchez any day. If you're fantasy, he's still not close to a QB1. Shonn Greene isn't playing like a RB1 or RB2, but he ran for 76 yards on 19 carries. Ladainian Tomlinson and John Conner each scored a touchdown.
Plaxico Burress was targeted 5 times and caught all 5 for 79 yards. Santonio Holmes was target 9 times, but only caught 3 passes for 29 yards. Luckily for him, one of those catches was for a touchdown. Dustin Keller was targeted 7 times and caught 4 passes for 64 yards.
It was an ugly day for Ryan Fitzpatrick, going against a talented secondary. Fitz was 15 of 31 for 191 yards, 1 TD/2 INT. His lone touchdown coming near the end of regulation to David Nelson, and then running in a two point conversion himself.
Fred Jackson had 82 yards on 18 carries, and with Adrian Peterson and Maurice-Jones Drew on a bye and Darren McFadden hurt, took over the NFL rushing lead. He has 803 yards.
Nelson was the most targeted Bill with 8, and he caught 4 of those for 36 yards. Stevie Johnson had 7 targets and caught 3 balls for 84 yards.
The Jets, Bills, and Patriots are all tied atop the division at 5-3.
Red-Hot Miami Now Only Four Games Back After Beating Kansas City. Meanwhile, Chiefs Upset They Didn't Suck for Luck
Watch out for the streaking Miami Dolphins, now on a one-game winning streak.
The Chiefs were the league's hottest team (if you ignore teams like Pittsburgh and Green Bay I suppose) but were stopped short at home by a team that hadn't tasted victory all season long. Whether it was the short week or exhaustion after beating San Diego on Monday, the Chiefs came out flat and stayed flat all game long. The final score of 31-3 only driving home the point that anything can happen on Sunday.
Matt Moore was 17 of 23 for 244 yards, 3 TD/0 INT. You'd think that was his best game ever as a professional, but back in 2009 with Carolina he actually had back-to-back 3 TD/0 INT games and a four game stretch of 8 TD/0 INT. When I watch Moore play, I don't see a star, but I don't see a very incapable QB either. He looks like a legit starter to me, though not a guy you hitch your wagon to.
Meanwhile, Reggie Bush followed up his second career 100-yard game with a 13-carry, 92 yard, 1 TD game. He added 3 catches for 50 more yards. Bush has risen from the ashes, but I wouldn't worry, he's been this interesting before and never sustained success. Daniel Thomas rushed 7 times for 12 yards. Bush is 154 rushing yards away from a new career high for a season. Hard to believe he caught 88 passes for 742 yards as a rookie though. He's not even close to that.
Brandon Marshall was targeted 11 times and caught 8 passes for 106 yards and a TD. Marshall doesn't seem as exciting now that he's in Miami, but he's putting up typical, good Marshall numbers. Anthony Fasano caught two touchdowns.
The debate I had last week between Tim Tebow and Matt Cassel was won for Cassel basically on the fact that he was facing one of the worst-rated passing defenses in the league, was at home, and had Jonathan Baldwin. So much for that.
Cassel was 20 of 39 for 253 yards, 0 TD/0 INT. He rushed for 38 yards, which is really strange, the second-highest total of his career.
The Chiefs without Jamaal Charles aren't anywhere close to being the rushing team of the last few seasons. Dating back to guys like Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, KC can't just be counted on putting up those kind of fantasy backs anymore. Jackie Battle had 40 yards on 14 carries, Dexter McCluster had 7 rushes for 36 yards, and Thomas Jones had 5 yards.
Steve Breaston was targeted 12 times and had 7 catches for 115 yards. Dwayne Bowe was targeted 12 times and had 6 catches for 88 yards. Baldwin was targeted 6 times and had 1 catch for 12 yards.
Funny that after all these years of people in Seattle and Dallas talking about "the hold," that Tony Romo would be forced back into holding again after an injury to Mat McBriar. So what happened? Everybody laughed when he got out there to hold, and then we remembered that holding is not that hard, and of course he didn't bobble any of them.
Instead, Romo and DeMarco Murray went out there and put up some good numbers and the Cowboys won 23-13.
Romo was 19 of 31 for 279 yards, 2 TD/0 INT. He had a good game, but certainly he's not the name people will be or should be talking about in Dallas.
If you regret not picking up Murray, I don't blame you. He is looking like "the guy" that comes along once a year and absolutely destroys it and carries teams to fantasy titles where they weren't going to be before. In very limited action, Murray is already at 539 yards rushing on the season, 6.7 yards per carry. I write for the Seahawks blog Field Gulls (feel free to stop on by if you enjoy my work) and what I'll write about today is how Murray was able to beat us not by running up the gut (which no running back in the NFL has success against us doing) but because he has the rare speed to make the edge. He was killing us on the edges.
Murray will be the guy you really regret not having. He rushed for 139 yards on 22 carries and added 4 catches for 47 yards.
Dez Bryant was targeted 9 times and had 4 catches for 76 yards. Jason Witten was targeted 8 times and had 4 catches for 71 yards and a score. Laurent Robinson was targeted 6 times and had 5 catches for 32 yards and a TD. Miles Austin was targeted 3 times and had 2 catches for 53 yards and left early with a hamstring injury.
Someone asked me early yesterday morning if he should start Robinson, Heath Miller, or Roy Williams and I suggested Laurent. I don't know what's really gotten into him, but he's looking like a solid play each week now and if Austin misses more time, he's going to be a must-start WR2.
Tarvaris Jackson is becoming a very liked guy in Seattle. I mean, was becoming. Jackson was 17 of 30 for 221 yards, 0 TD/3 INT. I'm not going to lay the blame on him for all of those INTs, but he wasn't spectacular by any means either.
Marshawn Lynch had an outstanding game though, rushing for 135 yards on 23 carries and a TD against a tough rushing defense, albeit one without leader Sean Lee.
Sidney Rice was targeted 8 times, but caught only 3 passes for 69 yards. Doug Baldwin was targeted 6 times and caught 3 for 31. Big Mike Williams made a rare appearance and caught 3 balls for 41 yards on 4 targets.
Let Us Never Forget This: The Browns Suck
Coming into their game against the Texans, the Browns were 3-4, not a terrible record. But those three wins? Miami, Indianapolis, and Seattle. Combined wins of opponents, including the Dolphins just happened-win: Three.
Yeah, don't put the Browns in the same category as a team like say, the Bengals, though I have the tendency to do so sometimes because I always confuse them with each other. The Browns are bad. They beat the Dolphins by only a point, the Colts by only eight, and the Seahawks by a score of 6-3. The Browns can't Suck for Luck, but they'll do some pretty dirty things for Matt Barkley. They were down 30-6 in the fourth quarter, and lost 30-12.
Colt McCoy, again, not the answer at QB, was 14 of 22 for 146 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. On the surface, his numbers don't look too bad. He's on pace for a 20 TD/12 INT season. But in a league where passing yards are being handed out like Halloween candy, he's only throwing for 5.7 yards per attempt and completing 57.5% of his passes.
Chris Ogbonnaya fumbled on his first carry of the game and finished with 28 yards on 13 attempts. He's not a must-add just because of opportunity.
Josh Cribbs was targeted 7 times and had 5 catches for 50 yards and a TD. Greg Little was targeted 8 times and had 2 catches for 33 yards. The strongest thing that the Browns have going for them is Joe Haden and a tough pass defense, but stopping the run is another story.
Matt Schaub was 14 of 23 for 119 yards, 0 TD/1 INT. Good news right? Wrong.
Arian Foster had 124 yards rushing and a score with 5 catches for 26. Ben Tate had 115 yards rushing and a TD. Schaub ran for a TD. The Texans have rushed for the second most yards in the league and Tate is become a solid play even as a backup.
Owen Daniels had 4 targets and finished with 3 catches for 32 yards. Jacoby Jones had 4 targets and 2 catches for 28 yards. The Texans play the Bucs next week, and I'm praying for the return of Andre Johnson, but they might wait until after their week 11 bye. He'll run today and test it out.
Of All the Teams Desperate for a QB, Thank GOD Andrew Luck is Headed to the Colts
After suffering through 15 years of Peyton Manning, Indianapolis can finally escape the clutches of the terrible Hall of Famer and start anew with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck next season.
"Thank the sweet Lord we can stop using Manning as our quarterback," said team president Bill Polian. "He's the worst. Look what he's done this season: nothing!"
The Colts are now 0-9 and the last winless team in the NFL after getting beat by the Falcons 31-7 at home. They are starting to pull away in the race, but I still say they have a shot to grab some second-half wins. Two games against the Jaguars, and a game against Carolina at home. And trust me, as funny as it is, nobody in the organization wants to go 0-16.
Curtis Painter was 13 of 27 for 98 yards, 0 TD/1 INT and now nobody is seriously considering him as a starting NFL QB. Dan Orlovsky was 4 of 6 for 20 yards.
Donald Brown got most of the carries and had 70 yards, while Delone Carter had 8 yards and a fumble.
Targets got spread around to everybody: Reggie Wayne had 6 targets for 4 catches and 30 yards. Austin Collie had 5 targets for 4 catches and 32 yards. Pierre Garcon had 6 targets for 3 catches and 22 yards. Dallas Clark had 5 targets for 2 catches and 21 yards. Jacob Tamme had 7 targets for 2 catches and 6 yards.
Jacob Tamme ladies and gentleman.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are feelin' hot hot hot, and it's about time the offense started performing like we expected.
Matt Ryan was 14 of 24 for 275 yards, 3 TD/1 INT. Ryan had thrown exactly 1 TD in his last six games prior to yesterday. He could be a sleeper to have a big second half.
Michael Turner had 71 yards and a TD. A nice but not spectacular game for Burner, but he's one of the most consistent backs in the NFL.
Julio Jones had some spectacular highlight catches and finished with 3 for 131 and 2 TDs on 5 targets. Jones is only a hair behind Roddy White for the team lead in receiving yards, but he's also played in two fewer games. What happened Roddy?
White was targeted 9 times and had 4 catches for 76 yards. Tony Gonzalez had 6 targets for 4 catches and 36 yards with a TD.
The Bucs Aren't as Good as the Saints, and Other Things I Already Knew
I like Tampa Bay's core of young talent, but it's still extremely young talent. There's a reason I don't hitch my wagon to guys like LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams after one season, because they have yet to show they're not going to flop miserably in year two. Give me the experience (and proven talent) of the Saints over the exciting youth of a team like Tampa any day of the week. But especially on Sundays, the day when we play football.
Josh Freeman spread it around like nobody's business and 10 different Bucs recorded a catch.
Freeman was 27 of 37 for 281 yards, 1 TD/0 INT. Freeman had a terrible start to the year, but he does have 848 yards and 5 TDs in his last three games. That's not spectacular but it makes a nice backup QB.
Blount was back in action for the first time since week 5 and had 72 yards on 13 carries. He's a solid RB2, considering he doesn't have to share the ball.
Mike Williams was targeted 9 times and had 6 catches for 46 yards. Kellen Winslow had 8 targets for 4 catches, 29 yards, and a late TD. Preston Parker had 6 targets for 3 catches and 56 yards.
Drew Brees tossed for a season-low (yes a season-low) 258 yards. At his current pace, he'll finish with an NFL-record 5,340 yards passing. He added 2 TD/1 INT. It's amazing how much we seem to undervalue Brees this year because of all the other QBs that have stepped up. He's still one of the very best.
Chris Ivory had 67 yards on 15 carries. Pierre Thomas had 66 yards and a TD, plus 4 catches for 25 yards. Darren Sproles had 42 yards rushing and 6 catches for 57 yards and a TD.
Jimmy Graham had 8 targets and finished with 6 catches for 78 yards. Marques Colston had 5 catches for 52 yards on 6 targets. Lance Moore was targeted only 3 times, but he had 3 catches for 20 yards and a score.
Niners Win in Washington 19-11. Seriously, Where is the Bay Located Now?
I'm aware that the Redskins, now on a four-game losing streak and with a bad QB, are not a good team. But seriously, for the 49ers to now go to 4-0 on the road, all of those games in the Eastern Time Zone, is a serious statement to the rest of the league.
Now at 7-1, San Francisco is the #2 seed in the NFC. They've got two games left against Arizona, two games left against St. Louis, and one game left against Seattle. They could be looking at no less than 12 wins, and have a solid chance at a first-round bye. Jim Harbaugh, how much credit should we really give this guy? Probably not as much as we will, but definitely he deserves a big round of applause, because I thought the Niners were going to be pretty bad.
Never-screw-up-never-spectacular Alex Smith was 17 of 24 for 200 yards, 1 TD/0 INT. The former #1 pick has thrown only two interceptions in eight games and has a QB rating of 97.3. He's also on pace to finish with less than 3,000 yards, but that's okay if he continues to be this good with his decision making. Still doesn't make him a viable fantasy starter.
Frank Gore had 107 yards on 19 carries and is now third in the NFL in rushing yards. Kendall Hunter had 25 yards on 8 carries.
Michael Crabtree caught all 5 of his targets for 51 yards. Vernon Davis had 7 targets with 4 catches for 41 yards and a fumble. Bruce Miller had a 30-yard TD catch.
Meanwhile John Beck, one of the leagues worst starters, completed 30 of 47 passes. Why? Because all 47 attempts went to Roy Helu. Beck had 254 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. But Helu, making his first start, had 14 catches for 105 yards and 10 carries for 41 yards. Ryan Torain was a non-factor, but will probably have 40 carries next week.
Jabar Gaffney had 4 catches for 40 yards and a TD on 6 targets. Fred Davis had 7 targets for 4 catches and 42 yards.
There's really not all that much else to say about the Redskins offense. They've scored 20 or less in six straight games.
Tim Tebow is 2-1 as Starter This Season, Proving Existence of High Power. But is it Good or Evil?
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled off, was convincing the world the Tim Tebow needed a good arm to win a football game.
For some reason, I hate the Broncos. It's nothing personal, I just feel like they are a terrible football team. Bad defense + Tim Tebow shouldn't get you anywhere. I mean, they just traded away their best wide receiver, conceivably because they had given up on the season, and now they're a game back with Kansas City on the docket next week. I don't mean to offend you Bronco fans, there's a lot of teams I think stink, including my own. And now that the Tebow defenders have another bullet to load into the Tebow gun, they're going to pull it out like Tony Montana and spray us with more words of how amazing he is.
Seriously, where do we go from here on our stance of Tebow? By the way, if more people had convinced me to start Tebow over Matt Cassel, I wouldn't have to stress tonight. I have nobody to blame but myself. And you. I blame you mostly.
The running back who they let take snaps was 10 of 21 for 124 yards, 2 TD/0 INT and he ran for 118 yards as well.
The running back who is actually a running back, Willis McGahee, had a career-high 163 yards on 20 carries with 2 TDs. It seemed like his career was on the downward slope like Tomlinson, but he's found new life in Denver. His 89 yards per game is also a career-high.
Eric Decker was targeted 6 times for 3 catches and 47 yards with a TD. Eddie Royal had 5 targets and 2 catches for 25 yards and a TD. Decker seems like a good play each week, but it's dangerous to play wide receivers in Denver every week.
Carson Palmer made his first start as a Raider and was 19 of 35 for 332 yards, 3 TD/3 INT. It's going to take him time to fully adjust, and it may not even come around for him entirely this season, but the Raiders offense looks like it can definitely do a little more with Palmer at the helm.
Michael Bush started in place of McFadden and had 96 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving with a TD. Jacoby Ford had his best game of the season, catching 5 passes for 105 yards and his first TD of the year on 6 targets. But one of the most targeted players of the day was Denarius Moore. He had 13 targets but caught only 4 passes for 61 yards. Marcel Reese also caught a TD pass.
In all, I'd upgrade Ford and Moore, but Denarius is going to have to make more catches than that on 13 targets.
Bengals Finally Earning Respect, But We All Pretty Much Figure to Lose that Respect by Week 14.
Give credit where credit is due. Cincinnati is now 6-2, 4-1 on the road, and winners of five straight. They went on the road to Tennessee, down 17-7 at half, and came back to win 24-17. That's the good news.
The bad news is that people will still point out that they've loaded on wins against the Browns, Jaguars, Colts, and Seahawks. They've got two games left against the Steelers, two games left against the Ravens, and the Texans mixed in for fun. If they come away with wins against Pittsburgh and Baltimore over the next two weeks, or at least go 1-1, then we can talk. But if they go 0-2, nobody will take the Bengals seriously as a playoff team.
Andy Dalton was 22 of 39 for 217 yards, 3 TD/0 INT. It's Dalton's fourth multi-TD game of the season, and his first 3-TD game of his career. He seems like a "game manager" type of QB, but really he could put up some good statistical numbers and outstanding numbers for a rookie. He's still got some people who think he's overrated, but I'd like to wait and see how he matures and develops. Who he is now, might not be who he'll be in four years. Tom Brady was a "system QB" for a long time.
Cedric Benson returned from suspension and had 78 yards rushing on 20 carries.
A.J. Green had 7 catches for 83 yards on 8 targets. Jerome Simpson had a team high 10 targets but only 3 catches for 43 yards but with a TD. Andre Caldwell had 5 catches for 22 yards and a TD on 9 targets. The NFL "Random TD of the Day" award goes to Colin Cochart. A tight end with 2 career catches.
Matt Hasselbeck threw two TD passes in the last five minutes of the first half, but was unable to get anything going in the second when the Bengals scored 17 unanswered. He finished 24 of 41 for 272 yards, 2 TD/0 INT. My favorite Seahawk of All Time is on pace for numbers rivaled only by his 2005 Super Bowl season and 2007, when he made his third and last Pro Bowl appearance.
The Chris Johnson Underwhelm-Train continued to roll through the station, though he did total 110 yards on 64 yards rushing and 46 yards receiving. He has as many touchdowns this season as Colin Cochart.
LaVelle Hawkins had 7 targets and finished with 5 catches for 63 yards and a TD. Damian Williams had 7 targets and 4 catches for 34 yards and a TD. Nate Washington had 6 targets and 3 catches for 28 yards. Jared Cook led Titans in targets with 9, and had 4 catches for 47 yards.
In what turned into a really exciting finish in overtime, let us never forget that they first touchdown was scored with 4:51 left in the game and that they Rams actually put up one of the rarest things in football: a four-point quarter.
Unless you're dealing in kickers or defense, there wasn't much good from this game.
Sam Bradford returned from injury to go 23 of 36 for 255 yards, 0 TD/1 INT. Bradford threw for 18 touchdowns as a rookie. He has three touchdown passes in six games. At 1-7, the Rams are in contention for the #1 pick. What they would do with the pick is the most interesting conundrum of any of the worst teams in football, but they simply pay Bradford too much to think they wouldn't use the pick as a way to get a bounty of players they need.
Steven Jackson ran for 130 yards, giving him 289 yards over the last two weeks. He hadn't topped 100 yards before then.
Brandon Lloyd had 5 catches on an incredible 15 targets for 80 yards. Not good.
Greg Salas caught 7 passes on 9 targets for 59 yards and Brandon Gibson caught all 5 of his targets for 54 yards.
While Bradford returned for the Rams, the Cards had to go without Kevin Kolb for the first time this year and started John Skelton in his place. Of course they won, so now every fan is going to want to bench Kolb right? Yeah, not on that salary. Skelton made 4 starts last season and the team went 2-2.
He was 20 of 35 yesterday for 222 yards, 1 TD/0 INT and he ran for 38 yards. More than Beanie Wells did. Wells returned and had his worst game of the year, rushing for 20 yards on 10 carries. Against the Rams no less.
Larry Fitzgerald caught a late TD and finished with 4 catches for 43 yards on 12 targets. Early Doucet caught 6 of 7 targets for 78 yards and Andre Roberts caught 5 of 8 targets for 55 yards. In the end, rookie Patrick Peterson returned a punt 99 yards for a game-winning TD in overtime, and that's what keeps the Cards from drafting Luck, while the Rams still have a chance. Worth it?
By the way, Mike Gallagher and I had a short twitter convo about "the worst division" and I said that the NFC West might be bad, but at least we have the 49ers. Meanwhile the AFC West has nobody that's very good and the Broncos are in contention. It's really a matter of opinion, obviously, depending on whether you take the division with one great team, one mediocre team, and two horrible teams. Or the division with three mediocre teams and now the Broncos who we have no idea what to think of. What do you say? Do the Texans and Titans prove enough to take the AFC South out of the conversation?
Giants Beat Patriots in Game That Will Surely be Made to Look More Important than it Actually is.
A loss at home isn't a good thing for New England. A win on the road is a huge thing for the Giants. But ultimately, what we have here is an AFC team losing to an NFC team, and that's never as important as beating teams in your own division or conference. At least it was an exciting game. Well, for a quarter at least.
Let's not forget that this game was scoreless at half.
The teams combined for six turnovers and this wasn't exactly the "precision" football we were expecting. Both Tom Brady and Eli Manning engineered game-winning drives, but Manning's game-winning drive was second, which meant it was the true game-winner.
Manning was 20 of 39 for 250 yards, 2 TD/1 INT and as much as I dislike the guy, he's having the kind of season that Giants fans claims he always has. No, he doesn't always play like this. But he's putting up career numbers across the board and not throwing interceptions.
Brandon Jacobs got the start and ran for 72 yards and a TD with 28 yards receiving. D.J. Ware got his first extended action and had 23 yards on 7 carries.
Victor Cruz is the new most-targeted Giant WR and had 6 catches for 91 yards on 12 targets. Jake Ballard saw 7 targets and caught 4 passes for 67 yards and a TD. Mario Manningham had 3 catches for 33 yards on 9 targets but scored a TD.
Tom Brady is still elite, but the Patriots offense hasn't been able to outpace isn't defense lately. Brady was 28 of 49 for 342 yards with 2 TD/2 INTs. He is on pace for 5,406 yards and 40 TDs, but has thrown two or more picks three times this season, after throwing 4 INTs all season in 2010.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 52 yards rushing, and Danny Woodhead had 60 total yards.
Wes Welker was targeted 10 times and caught 9 passes for 136 yards. He's back in the lead for receiving with 960 yards and 66 catches, pacing him for 1920 yards and 122 catches. Rob Gronkowski was targeted 15 times for 8 catches and 101 yards with a score, while Aaron Hernandez caught 4 passes on 5 targets for 35 yards and a TD. The Patriots put up more TE touchdowns than any team in the league and it's not even close, both of those players are still solid TE1s, even if Gronkowski is the much better play because of targets.
Now this is the kind of scoring I can get on board with, even if 2 of Philip Rivers 6 touchdown passes went to Green Bay defensive backs.
The teams combined for 83 points and 7 different players scored touchdowns on offense, while the Packers pulled out to an early lead on 2 crucial Rivers mistakes. What's wrong with Philip? Who knows, but after joining the "elite" level QBs during his five season career, he's become Rex Grossman-esque this year and it's getting pretty ugly.
Rivers actually put up a lot of fantasy points anyway, going 26 of 46 for 385 yards with 4 TDs but he also threw 3 INTs. That gives him 14 picks on the year, and he's thrown 2 or more in 6 games. Yikes. There's not going to be any QB controversy in San Diego, but Rivers is going to have to do better than this if San Diego wants to prove they actually are worthy of being a playoff team.
Mike Tolbert got the start and ran for 83 yards and a TD with 59 yards receiving.
Vincent Jackson had the biggest game of the day for receivers, catching 7 passes for 141 yards and 3 TDs on 12 targets. Antonio Gates was targeted 15 times and had 8 catches for 96 yards and a TD. Vincent Brown had 4 catches for 79 yards on 6 targets.
Aaron Rodgers is going to have to do something pretty amazing to not win MVP this year. He was 21 of 26 for 247 yards, 4 TD/0 INTs. He's on pace for 5,238 yards, 48 TDs and 6 INTs.
Greg Jennings had 9 targets and caught 6 balls for 46 yards and a TD. Jermichael Finley caught 5 of 7 targets for 44 yards and a TD. Jordy Nelson caught 5 of 7 targets for 105 yards and a TD. James Jones caught his only target for a 21 yard TD.
James Starks had 66 yards on 13 carries and Ryan Grant had 16 yards on 4 carries. They're still not starting fantasy running backs.
Who is this Guy Starting QB for the Ravens, and What Did He Do with Joe Flacco?
I've given Joe a lot of "Flacco" (oh haha, I'm so funny and clever!) this season, because I just don't think he's very good. Well, his final numbers don't dictate anything special, but leading the Ravens down the field against the Steelers to hit Torrey Smith for a game-winning 26-yard TD with :08 left will certainly go a long way towards proving you can be the leader of a team with a Super Bowl defense.
Like a few other good teams on Sunday, they waited until the second half to score any of those pesky touchdowns, but in the fourth quarter all hell broke loose.
In the end, the Ravens won 23-20.
Flacco was 28 of 47 for 300 yards, 1 TD/0 INT and a fumble. His completion% is an awful 54.7% and he's thrown 2 TDs total in his last 5 games, but hitting Smith on that score will erase a lot of doubt. Not a lot of fantasy value right now.
Ray Rice had 43 yards rushing with a TD and 43 yards receiving.
Anquan Boldin had 7 catches for 88 yards on 11 targets. Torrey Smith caught 5 passes on 10 targets for 71 yards. Dennis Pitta was the more popular Ravens TE and had 5 catches on 8 targets for 46 yards, while Ed Dickson had only 6 targets, 2 catches and 8 yards.
With 2 wins over the Steelers, the Ravens are in good position to take the division and they certainly look the part.
Ben Roethlisberger was 20 of 37 for 330 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. He has 12 TD/3 INT in his last 5 games. He's close to being on pace for 5,000 yards. He fell just short of a TD run.
Rashard Mendenhall had 52 yards and a TD on 13 carries. He's only had more than 20 carries once this year.
Antonio Brown was the most targeted Steeler with 11 and he caught 5 of those for 109 yards. Mike Wallace had 4 catches on 6 targets for 68 yards and a TD. Heath Miller had 73 yards with 5 catches on 6 targets. Hines Ward left with concussion-like symptoms.
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- Even though my fingers are about to fall off, here are more notes.
- In my Friday preview, I liked these guys as sleepers: Jonathan Baldwin, Curtis Brinkley or Jacob Hester, Chris Ivory, Carson Palmer, Harry Douglas, Early Doucet, and Alfonso Smith. Proving that the less I predict, the less wrong I will be. Palmer is an interesting case for rest-of-season. Brinkley didn't play and Hester might as well not have. Baldwin was a non-factor, as was Harry Douglas and Alfonso Smith. Ivory was okay, but he's no Sproles. Early Doucet had the best game but was held out of the end zone.
- I didn't like these guys: Helu and Torain, Stevie Johnson, Alex Smith, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Colt McCoy, Rashard Mendenhall, and Dez Bryant. Bryant and Mendenhall had TDs, while Helu had 14 catches. Stevie Johnson had 83 yards, but at least none of those QBs were "spectacular" not that we expected them to be.
- I really liked: Larry Fitzgerald, Steven Jackson, Blount, Vick and Witten. We'll see Vick tonight. Fitz and Witten had TDs, Blount was decent but not great, and Jackson was great but without a TD.
- Speaking of tonight, its the Bears and Eagles. I need Devin Hester to score 10 points or less in a non-return yard, non-PPR league. I'm hoping for a nice low-scoring affair and with the Bears mediocre offense, even against a suspect defense of Philly, we could see that. The Bears defense ain't what it used to be, and though they're decent against the run, LeSean McCoy doesn't care. He'll probably do good anyway.
- I didn't see any major injuries yesterday, but maybe I'm missing one. Please do chime in. Miles Austin is one we'll keep an eye on.
- There are no bye weeks next week.
- The Raiders play the Chargers on Thursday night. Coming off a short week, who knows what to expect, but if McFadden plays then he'll be the freshest player of all.