It's hard to define what makes a great day of football, you just know it when you see it. When was the last time we had a Sunday as good as yesterday? I have no idea, because how do you define that? How do I look that up? It's not something like finding the last 200 yard rusher or 500 yard passer, it's not in the stat books. I don't even come close to having a memory good enough to remembering. I can hardly remember what happened on Dexter last night.
Four games were decided by three points or less and a few were decided on the final play. Several teams came back from large deficits to win, and there were some unforgettable moments. There were indeed some blowouts, but none that were all that surprising.
As good a day as it was in the NFL, it was a terrible week of fantasy football for me.
I will go 0 and 4 this week and my fantasy season is done. I don't feel bad about the decisions I made, I'm proud of the seasons I had, but yesterday just wasn't my day. I was the second-highest scorer in one league but you can guess who the highest was.
I needed Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson to do better, and they didn't. I needed Jermichael Finley to do something and he did nothing. I needed Tony Romo to have a bad game. None of this happened and so I will sit on the sidelines for the remainder of the season. At least I'll get to hang out with Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte.
Here's all of what happened yesterday.
One week after looking kind of good, Dan Orlovsky looked like Dan Orlovsky.
He was 17 of 37 for 136 yards, 1 TD/1 INT. He's just not going to look good against the Ravens, so it's not surprising. The good news for Colts fans is that you will either have the best rookie in the NFL or a Hall of Famer at QB or both. That's pretty damn encouraging.
Donald Brown ran for 28 yards on 9 carries, Joseph Addai had 16 yards, and Delone Carter added 6. It's hard to believe that Brown was a first round pick in 2009. He's never really been on the fantasy radar like you'd expect most first rounders to be.
Pierre Garcon was targeted 13 times and had 5 catches for 46 yards. He's still within striking distance of 1,000 on the season, sitting at 851. Reggie Wayne was targeted 8 times and caught 4 for 41. Jacob Tamme caught a touchdown.
The Ravens numbers and the rest of the week after the jump...
Joe Flacco threw for 2 TDs for only the second time since week three. He was 23 for 31, 227 yards, 2 TD/1 INT. Ray Rice had 103 yards and a TD on 26 carries with 6 catches for 46. Rice is over 1,000 yards for the third straight season.
Torrey Smith was targeted 9 times and caught 5 for 48 and a score. Anquan Boldin was targeted 6 times and caught 5 for 57. Dennis Pitta had 29 yards and a TD.
Torrey is only 22 yards old, is averaging 18.7 yards per catch, and could be a nice mid-round sleeper for 2012.
After scoring 23 unanswered points, the Panthers led 23-7 at the break. They were on their way to their third straight win and we were seeing the maturation of Cam Newton go from "exciting young QB" to "exciting young QB that wins." Except he didn't win, the Panthers didn't score in the second half, and the Falcons won 31-23.
Matt Ryan was 22 of 38 for 320 yards, 4 TD/0 INT. Ryan was a player that FakeTeams targeted as a good buy-low candidate mid-season and he has 14 TD/4 INT over his last six games.
Michael Turner had 76 yards on 21 carries and he's over 1,000 for the third time in four years.
Roddy White caught 7 of 12 targets for 84 yards and a score. Tony Gonzalez caught 7 of 11 for 82 yards. Julio Jones continues to be a big play threat and caught 3 of 9 targets for 104 yards and 2 TDs. Jacquizz Rodgers also caught a TD pass.
Cam Newton struggled a bit, going 19 of 39 for 276 yards, 2 TD/2 INT. He was amazing the first half and terrible in the second. This is all part of the learning curve that could one day make him the best quarterback in the NFL.
DeAngelo Williams was the Panthers RB of the day, gaining 87 yards, mostly on a 74 yard TD run. Jonathan Stewart only had 29 yards rushing and 27 yards receiving.
Steve Smith caught 6 of 8 targets for 125 yards. It was his first 100-yard game since week eight. Greg Olsen and Jeremy Shockey caught TD passes.
Guy Who Had T.J. Yates in the "Which Rookie QB Makes the Playoffs?" Pool Wins a Billion Dollars
Yates was 26 of 44 for 300 yards, 2 TD/1 INT, but most importantly led the Texans on an 80-yard drive with a little over two minutes left to hit Kevin Walter for the game-winning TD with two seconds left.
Arian Foster had 41 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving. Ben Tate led the team with 67 yards on the ground, and added 30 yards in the air. Owen Daniels had his first 100 yard game of the season, grabbing 7 of 10 targets for exactly 100. Kevin Walter caught 6 of 10 for 76 yards and the game winner and Joel Dreessen caught a TD as well.
Andy Dalton was 16 of 28 for 189 yards, 1 TD/0NT. Cedric Benson gained 91 yards on 21 carries but did nothing in the second half of the game. A.J. Green caught 5 of 8 targets for 59 yards, bringing him up to 891 yards for the season. Jerome Simpson caught a TD pass.
Freakish Vikings Fall One Yard Short of Victory Despite Webb Feet
There were a lot of comebacks and amazing finishes, but not all were positive for the teams on the comeback trail like the Texans and Yates. Joe Webb came into yesterdays game against Detroit and brought the Vikings to within six points and to the Lions 1 yard line with seconds left on the clock. Unfortunately he was sacked, fumbled, and the game was over.
Right now the only difference between Webb and Tim Tebow is a "W" and that's a pretty big difference if you think about it.
Webb was 12 of 23 for 84 yards, 1 TD/0 INT and 109 yards rushing with another score. He replaced an ineffective Christian Ponder, 11 of 21 for 115 yards, 2 TD/3 INT, but Ponder is still the future at QB for the Vikings. At least, moreso than Joe Webb.
Toby Gerhart had 90 yards rushing and caught a TD pass. Percy Harvin had 10 catches on 15 targets but for only 69 yards with a TD. Devin Aromashodu was targeted 10 times but only caught 4 for 47. Visanthe Shiancoe also caught a TD pass.
Matthew Stafford was good, but underwhelming considering the opponent. He was 20 of 29 for 227 yards, 2 TD/0 INT. It was the first time he didn't throw a pick since week eight.
Keiland Williams ran for 43 yards and sleeper Maurice Morris had only 16 total yards. Titus Young caught 4 of 7 targets for 87 yards and a TD. Brandon Pettigrew caught 6 of 7 for 57 yards and a score. Calvin Johnson was targeted only 4 times and caught 3 for 29 and ran for 11 yards. I don't think Johnson is playing bad, I just think that teams are blanketing him, how else would you explain four targets to the best receiver in the league?
Raheem Morris Isn't On the Hot Seat... Satan is On a Hot Seat... Morris is On a Seat that Burns Hotter than 1000 Suns.
A year ago Morris was the leader of an exciting young group of players that won 10 games and seemed like a team on the rise. This year, they've fallen so far from that it's kind of unbelievable to think that last year ever happened. The Chiefs falling behind didn't really surprise me, but the Bucs become one of the league's worst teams after a 4-2 start?
They've lost six straight and been blown out in the last two weeks by the Panthers and Jags.
Josh Freeman was 16 of 30 for 181 yards, 0 TD/2 INT. LeGarrette Blount had 71 yards and a TD but fumbled twice and lost one. Freeman also ran for a score.
No receiver topped 40 yards.
Blaine Gabbert was 19 of 33 (for the second straight week.. weird) for 217 yards, 2 TD/2 INT. He hadn't thrown for 2 TDs in a game all year long until last week and now he's done it twice in a row. Hard to say he's not improving, but mostly because he was so terrible for most of the yeawr.
Maurice Jones-Drew was a monster, gaining 85 yards and 2 scores on the ground and 51 yards and 2 scores in the air. Marcedes Lewis had 2 catches for 77 yards. Mike Thomas caught a single pass for 2 yards.
Fantasy owners are pleased with McCoys 2 TDs on the ground but he gained only 38 yards on 27 carries. Michael Vick returned and was 15 of 30 for 208 yards, 1 TD/1 INT.
DeSean Jackson caught 4 of 6 targets for 59 yards and a TD.
The Dolphins mostly lost because they paid for costly turnovers in the second quarter. INT/Fumble/Punt/Fumble was a run of drives in the second quarter, mostly putting the Eagles deep in Miami territory and leading to an insurmountable lead.
Matt Moore was 11 of 19 for 95 yards, 1 TD/1 INT and left injured. J.P. Losman is apparently still a thing, and he was 6 of 10 for 60 yards.
Reggie Bush had another nice game, gaining 103 yards on 14 carries and 27 yards receiving. It will be interesting to see where he's drafted in 2012 leagues. Daniel Thomas had only 4 yards on 7 carries. Brandon Marshall caught 4 of 8 targets for 27 yards and a TD. Anthony Fasano was targeted 9 times and caught 3 for 56.
Mark Sanchez: Fantasy Beast! Tyler Perry: Oscar Winner! And Other Things That Seem Highly Unlikely.
For the second time in three weeks, Sanchez scored four touchdowns, this time twice on the ground, in a Jets victory. I wonder how many people actually have benefited from this in fantasy. Over/Under 7?
The Jets were teetering on the edge of missing the playoffs but have won three straight and control their own destiny if they can beat the Eagles, Giants, and Dolphins to finish the year. Sanchez was 13 of 21 for 181 yards, 2 TD/0 INT, which still makes me wonder, "And why is he a better passer than Tim Tebow?" I am sure that mechanically, he is, but the results aren't that much different and Sanchez has better receivers.
Shonn Greene had 129 yards rushing and a TD with 58 yards receiving. Ladainian Tomlinson had 50 yards receiving and a TD. Santonio Holmes was targeted 5 times and caught 2 for 12 and a TD. Dustin Keller was targeted 6 times and caught 4 for 34. Plaxico Burress was bothered by Brandon Flowers all day and caught 0 of 4 targets.
Tyler Palko was 16 of 32 for 195 yards, 1 TD/1 INT in the 37-10 loss. The Chiefs were once 4-3, but they've lost five of six and they haven't topped 10 points in ANY of those games. That's pretty remarkable. The Chiefs would have to draft a QB you'd think. They quickly became the worst offense in the NFL with Palko.
Not that the running backs help. Jackie Battle had 33 yards on 10 carries.
Dwayne Bowe was targeted 11 times and caught 6 passes for 69 yards. Jerheme Urban is alive and he caught a TD.
Locker "Webbs" It in Loss to Saints. "Webbing It" is Already Phrase.
With seconds left, down five at home to the Saints, Jake Locker was yards away from a game-winning TD but ended up getting sacked on the final play rather than just throwing it to "somebody" or "anybody." This was the football equivilant of walking the winning run in.
Locker replaced Matt Hasselbeck's calf and was 13 of 29 for 282 yards, 1 TD/0 INT and 36 yards rushing with a score. Next season, when Locker is named the starter going into the year, he could be the Matthew Stafford of the draft. A guy drafted as one of the top fantasy backups that becomes a must-start. He could be a top 10 fantasy QB soon.
Chris Johnson was the Chris Johnson of old, and by that I mean, the recent sucky Chris Johnson. 23 yards on 11 carries, 43 yards receiving.
Nate Washington had a huge game, 6 catches for 130 yards and a TD on 9 targets. Hard to believe this is the same guy from Pittsburgh. Damian Williams was targeted 10 times but held to 2 catches for 62 yards.
The Saints were the victors and Drew Brees kept his TD streak alive. He also has the 2nd most yards ever for a QB in his first 150 starts, just behind Dan Marino. He was 36 of 47 for 337 yards, 2 TD/0 INT. The fact that Aaron Rodgers is the best in the league overshadows the fact that Drew Brees is one of the best to ever play the game a little bit. He's so, so good.
Chris Ivory was the leading rusher, 53 yards on 13 carries. Darren Sproles had only 33 yards, but added 7 catches for 58. Marques Colston probably got a lot of people a fantasy victory, catching 7 for 102 yards and 2 TDs in the fourth quarter. Jimmy Graham caught 5 for 55 yards. As awesome as he is, it surprised me that he hasn't topped 90 yards since week nine.
Nobody expected this one to be close, but I will say again that winning on the road in the NFL is incredibly tough. You'd think "Grass or turf, what's the difference? The fields are the same." but a lot more goes into it than that. Like, your favorite restaurant. Who wants to take a chance eating at an unfamiliar spot? It could give diarrhea.
The Patriots Wes Welker caught the game-winning score with 4:26 left to go up 34-27, and the Redskins drove all the way down to the New England 5 with 1:15 remaining. A game-tying TD by Santana Moss was nullified by offensive pass interference and Rex Grossman was intercepted two plays later.
Grossman was 19 of 32 for 252 yards, 2 TD/1 INT.
Roy Helu was good again and we all really hope he can be a number one back for the entire 2012 season. He had 126 yards on the ground. Dante Stallworth caught 4 of 6 targets for 96 yards and a TD. Jabar Gaffney caught 6 of 9 targets for 92 yards. Santana Moss caught 3 of 11 targets for 81 yards and a TD. David Anderson also had a TD.
Tom Brady had multiple TDs for the eighth straight game, going 22 of 37 for 357 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT. His 106 QB rating is the third highest of his career.
No running back did anything noteworthy, being led by Danny Woodhead's 41 yards.
Rob Gronkowski may be the most valuable player in fantasy this season when you consider draft status and what he has done. He had 6 catches for 160 yards and 2 TDs on 11 targets, giving him an NFL-record for a TE 15 touchdowns with three games still left. He's been more than amazing and could you think of a luckier guy in the world this season? I imagine a day when Brady and Belicheck went up to Gronk and said "So, we're going to run this system, you're going to be a record-holder, an NFL star, super rich.."
And what Gronk heard was: "You're going to be so cool, you're going to hang out with porn stars all the time."
Wes Walker had 7 catches for 86 yards and a TD, giving him his fourth career 100-catch season. His 9 TDs are a career-high, and he's 9 yards short of his career high in that category.
Aaron Hernandez caught 5 of 7 targets for 84 yards.
Cardinals Come Out of Nowhere to Be Good. No, the Arizona Cardinals, This Isn't a Baseball Article.
Who would have thought that Arizona would be on the edge of .500 and a possible playoff berth back in October when they were 1-6 and in the Luck sweepstakes? They've won 5 of their last 6 with wins over Philadelphia, Dallas, and now San Francisco.
John Skelton was 19 of 28 for 282 yards, 3 TD/2 INT. Beanie Wells was shutout, like we thought he would be, with 27 yards on 15 carries.
Larry Fitzgerald was as phenomenal as he always should be with 7 catches for 149 yards and a TD on 10 targets. Early Doucet caught 3 of 4 for 73 yards and a TD and Andre Roberts added a score as well.
Alex Smith was not good and the Arizona pass defense is getting better. He was 18 of 37 for only 175 yards.
Frank Gore had 72 yards on 10 carries with a TD. Michael Crabtree caught 7 of 12 targets for 63 yards.
The Niners looked to have the 2nd seed in the NFC all but wrapped up, but have lost two of three with a game against the Steelers this week and then two road games.
I'd Like to See Someone Argue that Tim Tebow Really Isn't Jesus
This train isn't stopping. Let's stop pretending like stats or anything matter. Stop using logic. Tim Tebow won't lose another game ever. Twenty straight Super Bowls sounds about right.
Or, Tebow and the Broncos fall to Earth so hard that Dinosaurs rule again.
Matt Prater kicked a 59-yard field goal to tie the game in regulation and then a 51-yarder to win it in OT. He's also pretty good. Also, Marion Barber was on his way to the game-winning touchdown before being stripped, because Denver also has a defense.
Tebow was 21 of 40 for 236 yards, 1 TD/1 INT, but was 3 of 16 in the first three quarters. He also ran for 49 yards.
Willis McGahee didn't do much, gaining 34 yards on 17 carries.
DeMaryius Thomas had his second-straight good game, catching 7 for 78 and a TD on 14 targets. He's Tebow's favorite guy right now, so keep that in mind. Eric Decker caught 3 of 8 for 33 yards. Matt Willis is a player that nobody outside of Denver has ever heard of, coming into this season with 2 catches over 4 seasons. He had 4 catches for 75 yards yesterday.
Meanwhile, the Bears can't stop this feeling that their season is over without Jay Cutler and Matt Forte.
Caleb Hanie was 12 of 19 for 115 yards, 0 TD/0 INT.
Marion Barber was having a nice game, 108 yards and a TD on 27 carries, but only the fumble will be remembered.
Johnny Knox led receivers with 37 yards on 3 catches.
Washed Up Aaron Rodgers Only Throws 2 TDs, Throws a Pick, Only Wins 46-16 over Raiders
Is Rodgers miracle season all but finished now that he failed to be the most amazing QB on the planet and the undefeated Packers got outscored 9-3 in the fourth quarter? Probably!
Rodgers was 17 of 30 for 281 yards, 2 TD/1 INT. Ryan Grant was the REAL hero, gaining 85 yards on only 10 carries with 2 TDs.
Greg Jennings caught 2 passes for 20 yards and left with an injury. Jordy Nelson caught 3 of 8 targets for 81 yards and a score. Donald Driver was targeted 6 times and caught 4 for 75.
Carson Palmer also had his worst game as a Raider, which doesn't help. He was 24 of 42 for 245 yards, 1 TD/4 INT.
Michael Bush was decent though, gaining 78 yards and getting into the end zone. Darrius Heyward-Bey caught 5 pass for 78 yards, Louis Murphy had 70 yards, and Kevin Boss had 43 yards and a TD. Heyward-Bey led the team in targets with 11.
Philip Rivers Finds Secret to Lost Success; Play the Bills
So, remember the outcry of hate and "overrated" in the middle of Rivers worst season? Just blame Norv Turner and October when it comes to the Chargers, it works every time.
He was 24 of 33 for 240 yards, 3 TD/0 INT. He has 7 TD/0 INT in his last three games.
Ryan Mathews had a good game, rushing for 114 yards on 20 carries with 34 yards in the air. Mike Tolbert found the end zone.
Antonio Gates had his best fantasy day of the season, catching 7 of 10 targets for 68 yards and 2 touchdowns. Vincent Jackson caught 5 of 9 targets for 55 yards. Patrick Crayton scored.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is going in the opposite direction of Rivers.
He was 13 of 34 for 176 yards, 0 TD/2 INT. The Bills may need to draft a QB afterall, though they'll probably give Fitzpatrick one more season after signing him to a big extension. He's just not very... good.
C.J. Spiller disappointed with 46 yards rushing and 10 yards receiving. I was really expecting more out of him as a starter.
Stevie Johnson was targeted 11 times, he caught 4 for 116 yards.
Doo-doo-doo-do-da-doo-doo.. Ice, Ice, Bailey
Without a timeout at the end of regulation, Tom Coughlin did Jason Garrett a favor and iced Dan Bailey for him. It worked, just as it did last week, and the Giants won 37-34.
The great week of football was capped off with another exciting finish and an unlikely loss at home for the Cowboys, as they blew an 11 point lead with less than 6 minutes remaining. The Giants are very much in the hunt for the NFC East again.
Eli Manning was 27 of 47 for 400 yards, 2 TD/1 INT. He has a new career-high in yards (4,105), and on pace for a career-high in QB Rating (95.5) with 25 TD/12 INT on the season.
Brandon Jacobs had his first 100-yard game of the year, gaining 101 and 2 TDs. Ahmad Bradshaw had 12 yards on 8 carries.
Hakeem Nicks had lost some spotlight to Victor Cruz but caught 7 of 11 targets for 154 yards. Cruz was targeted 10 times, catching 7 for 83. Mario Manningham and Jake Ballard caught TD passes.
Tony Romo had a great fantasy day, going 21 of 31 for 321 yards, 4 TD/0 INT. He hit Laurent Robinson, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and John Philips for TD passes.
DeMarco Murray left the game early with an ankle injury and Felix Jones stepped in for 106 yards on 16 carries and 31 yards receiving. He'll be the big playoff pickup in leagues.
Laurent Robinson caught 4 for 137. Austin 4 for 63. Bryant 1 for 50. And Jason Witten was held to 3 for 12. Austin led the Cowboys in targets with 8.
That's all for this week. Follow me on twitter @casetines