The poor Bills asked for the mercy rule down 38-7 in the third quarter. Unfortunately, the meanie officials didn't grant their request.
Buffalo was epically pathetic in this contest - enough to make young children in the area hate the team for the rest of their lives. Let's review how awful the Bills were:
- Ryan Fitzpatrick completed his first pass nine minutes into the second quarter, as he was 0-of-5 until then. The completion was for 1 yard.
- Buffalo had only one first down until the final minute of the first half.
- Fitzpatrick led the team in rushing with 74 yards on seven carries. He had nearly double the rushing yardage of Fred Jackson (3-21), C.J. Spiller (2-11) and Marshawn Lynch (4-8).
- Speaking of Spiller, he had just three touches. What a way to use your No. 9 overall pick!
- Lee Evans dropped multiple passes. He caught only one ball for six yards.
- The Bills were 0-of-10 on third downs and possessed the ball for just 19 minutes.
As for the Jets, Mark Sanchez was a solid 14-of-24 for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Sanchez wasn't sacked at all, marking the second consecutive week that he hasn't taken a sack.
Dustin Keller caught two scores, though one was from Brad Smith out of the Seminole formation.
New York's running game is awesome, and the Bills simply had no answer for it. As VBSiena said in the in-games thread, "LaDainian Tomlinson looks like he's 25 again." He rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Greene had 117 yards on 22 attempts.
Browns 23, Bengals 20
People are going to see that Carson Palmer went 25-of-36 for 371 yards and two touchdowns, and assume that he's magically back to 2005 form.
He's not. He's still floating balls, demonstrating no arm strength, looking slow and failing to read the blitz. He also fumbled twice. His production was more of Terrell Owens (10 catches, 222 yards, TD) abusing Cleveland's secondary. Palmer was able to show nice touch on a couple of fades to Owens, as he seemed to realize that Owens is in fact his better receiver; not Chad Ochocinco.
As for Ochocinco, he had three grabs for 59 yards. He committed an offensive pass-interference penalty on Cincinnati's final drive. He's just not the same guy he was last year, and I'd like to blame his lack of focus during the offseason. Next time, don't film multiple crap $10 reality TV shows.
I have to wonder why Cedric Benson had just 15 carries (for 60 yards). The score was only 13-10 at halftime, so it's not like this game was out of hand and the Bengals had to throw.
Seneca Wallace was 18-of-30 for 184 yards, one touchdown and an interception, but was the superior quarterback in this matchup. Wallace will never be a legitimate long-term starter, but I like his pocket presence and mobility.
Peyton Hillis once again impressive for Cleveland. Tasked with going up against a solid Bengals defense, Hillis still managed 102 rushing yards and a touchdown on 27 carries.
Ravens 17, Steelers 14
This was exactly what Joe Flacco needed. In five career meetings against the Steelers, Flacco was just 1-4 and had struggled every time.
But not in this contest. Flacco went 24-of-37 for 256 yards, one touchdown and an interception. His 18-yard, game-winning score to T.J. Houshmandzadeh (3-49) came with about half of minute remaining in regulation.
Flacco did a great job spreading the ball around, as four players caught three or more passes - primarily Derrick Mason (6-80) and Anquan Boldin (7-68).
The Ravens predictably couldn't run on Pittsburgh. An injured Ray Rice notched just 20 yards on eight carries. Willis McGahee took 14 attempts for 39 yards and a score.
Charlie Batch went 12-of-21 for 141 yards and an interception in desperation time. Despite those meager numbers, he played pretty well considering the defense he was going up against. His first incompletion came five minutes into the second quarter, and he helped orchestrate a 7-minute, 93-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
While Baltimore had four players with at least three receptions, Pittsburgh had none. Antwaan Randle-El (50 yards), Heath Miller (32), Mike Wallace (24), Hines Ward (14) and Rashard Mendenhall (9) all had two.
Mendenhall had a decent fantasy day, totaling 79 yards and two touchdowns, but it took him 25 carries to get there. Credit the Ravens for improving their run defense after making Peyton Hillis look like the second coming of Mike Alstott last week.
Broncos 26, Titans 20
This was one that got away from the Titans. Although this game was close, they led for most of the afternoon. They blew opportunities early and late, including:
- Rob Bironas missed a chip-shot field goal from 35 yards out in the first quarter.
- Chris Johnson fumbled deep in Denver territory. It actually looked like Johnson was down, but the official mysteriously didn't overturn it when Jeff Fisher challenged.
- The Titans had 10 penalties for 111 yards.
- Down three late in the fourth quarter, Tennessee muffed a weird kickoff. Denver recovered to ice the game.
I mentioned Johnson's fumble earlier. In addition to that lost ball, Johnson gained just 53 yards on 19 carries. His longest gain in this contest was only eight yards.
A possible explanation for this could be all of the carries Fisher gave to Johnson at the end of last year. The primary reason why I had Adrian Peterson over Johnson in my 2010 Fantasy Football Rankings was because running backs who lead the league in carries almost always struggle the following season. Johnson just does not look good running the football.
Johnson wasn't the only Titan who played poorly. Kenny Britt had three catches for 23 yards and a touchdown, but had multiple drops, including one ball that went right through his hands that would have put Tennessee in scoring position late in the game.
Kyle Orton continued to inexplicably play incredibly well. He took six sacks, but still went 35-of-50 for 341 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Four Broncos had five or more receptions: Brandon Lloyd (11-115), Eddie Royal (8-113, TD), Jabar Gaffney (5-51) and Correll Buckhalter (5-38, TD).
Laurence Maroney was really pathetic in this contest, rushing for five yards on 11 carries. At one point, he had minus-four yards on seven attempts.
Packers 28, Lions 26
Based on the score of this game, people are going to state that the Packers are overrated. But considering that they were coming off an emotional Monday night loss, this matchup was definitely not going to be easy. I had the frisky Lions covering for three units for that reason.
Neither team seemed to want to win this contest. The Packers nearly gave this game away with dumb turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles). The Lions, meanwhile, committed 13 penalties compared to Green Bay's three. Jahvid Best also fumbled to give the Packers a possession inside Detroit's 20-yard line, which led to a touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers had an incredible first half, going 8-of-9 for 131 yards and three touchdowns. However, he was just 4-of-8 for 50 yards and two picks after intermission. Rodgers simply couldn't get into a rhythm, as it seemed like Detroit had possession of the football for the entire second half.
Rodgers' touchdowns went to Donald Driver (3-89), Jermichael Finley (4-36) and Greg Jennings (2-25). He has great downfield weapons at his disposal, but still no semblance of a running game; John Kuhn and Brandon Jackson each had nine carries for 39 and 33 yards, respectively. The Packers need to trade for Marshawn Lynch.
Shaun Hill is a fantasy monster. He went 34-of-54 for 331 yards, two touchdowns and two picks (one of which wasn't his fault; his receiver fell down). Hill also had a 40-yard run.
Hill's two scores went to Calvin Johnson, who had six grabs for 86 yards and two scores. So much for Charles Woodson slowing him down.
Detroit's tight ends, Brandon Pettigrew (8-91) and Tony Scheffler (6-63) were Hill's primary targets aside from Megatron.
Jahvid Best rushed for just 12 carries for 50 yards because Detroit was down early. However, he helped his PPR owners out with four catches for 34 receiving yards.
Falcons 16, 49ers 14
The 49ers deserve a ton of credit for giving it their all and nearly knocking off the Falcons. They led throughout this contest and relinquished the lead with just two seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, San Francisco's great effort was ruined by Alex Smith. Smith was 21-of-32 for 188 yards and a touchdown, but tossed two very ugly interceptions. The first was an unwarranted desperation heave under pressure. The second, which occurred in the final quarter, was the result of his staring down his receiver.
I really liked what I saw out of Smith in that final drive against the Saints on Monday night two weeks ago, but his performance at Atlanta was really abysmal. The 49ers will need a new quarterback next offseason. Why they didn't just trade for Donovan McNabb is beyond me.
Frank Gore managed 137 total yards (77 rushing, 60 receiving). Michael Crabtree had five catches for 58 yards, while Vernon Davis had four grabs for 36 yards and a score.
Michael Turner really struggled to run the football against San Francisco. He tallied 50 yards on 16 attempts despite the fact that he had a 27-yard gain.
Matt Ryan didn't have his best game (26-43, 273 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs), but was sharp when it counted most. Following an interception of his that was fumbled, Ryan went 6-of-9 for 67 yards to put Atlanta into position for the game-winning field goal.
Ryan's touchdown went to Harry Douglas (3-59). Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez each had seven receptions for 104 and 41 yards, respectively.
Saints 16, Panthers 14
Anyone who had the Saints in survivor (myself included) nearly had a panic attack because Carolina led throughout the second half. But John Carney was able to kick the decisive field goal with four minutes remaining, and the defense stopped Jimmy Clausen near midfield on the ensuing drive. My friend Pat, who also had New Orleans in survivor, texted me, "That was a testicle tickler." Agreed.
Despite the win, the Saints just don't look like themselves. They're struggling to keep drives alive; they can't convert in the red zone; and they're turning the ball over too much.
In terms of the latter, New Orleans had two giveaways deep in Carolina territory, including a Lance Moore fumble right at the goal line. Moore (5-37) would later redeem himself by catching a touchdown.
Drew Brees went 33-of-48 for 275 yards and the touchdown to Moore. He spread the ball around, as six targets caught at least four balls: Devery Henderson (6-59), Jeremy Shockey (6-58), David Thomas (5-42), Moore, Marques Colston (4-36) and Ladell Betts (4-23).
Pierre Thomas didn't play, so Chris Ivory (12-67) and Betts (13-47) split carries evenly. Aside from the aforementioned fumble, Ivory ran pretty well.
As for the Panthers, Jimmy Clausen (or Clawesome, as he was nicknamed in the live in-games thread) went 11-of-21 for 146 yards and a touchdown. Considering that he was battling the defending Super Bowl champions on the road without Steve Smith for a half, he played pretty well. Clawesome had a really impressive throw to David Gettis on the final drive of the contest, but was victimized by a Dwayne Jarrett drop later on fourth down, which sealed the victory for New Orleans.
As mentioned, Clausen didn't have Smith for a half. Smith (2 catches, 11 yards) left the game with an ankle injury in the third quarter. He was seen on crutches afterward, but told the media that nothing is broken.
Carolina's ground attack worked really well at New Orleans. DeAngelo Williams had 86 yards and a score on 13 carries. Jonathan Stewart totaled just 21 rushing yards, but had a 55-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
Rams 20, Seahawks 3
The Rams lead the NFC West. I'm aware of this fact, but I just can't process this information right now. The Rams lead the NFC West. Hmm... let's just move on before my brain explodes.
Here's something else that's pretty crazy: This marked the first time the Rams had won a divisional game in the weak NFC West since Nov. 18, 2007.
Sam Bradford had yet another impressive outing, torching Seattle's secondary by going 23-of-41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns and an ugly interception.
Mark Clayton didn't catch a touchdown, but paced the team with 72 receiving yards off five catches.
Steven Jackson was a game-time decision going into this NFC West battle. He looked pretty good against a stout Seattle run defense, totaling 70 yards on 22 carries. He also had three catches for 54 receiving yards.
The Seahawks just can't win on the road. Glue factory quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was 20-of-36 for just 191 yards and an interception. Seattle converted just 4-of-15 third downs.
Seattle's leading receivers were Brandon Stokley (4-62) and Mike Williams (4-32). What is this, 2006?
The good news for the Seahawks is that Justin Forsett was given all the carries again. He had 65 yards on 19 attempts.
Jaguars 31, Colts 28
The Jaguars win the Super Bowl!!! The Jaguars win the Super Bowl!!!
Wait, hold on.
The Jaguars win their Super Bowl!!! The Jaguars win their Super Bowl!!!
Jacksonville tries hard only six times all year. They always get up for their divisional rivals, particularly the Colts. Considering how they celebrated when Josh Scobee drained the game-winning 59-yard field goal, it was apparent that they put their entire season on the line for this contest.
This victory was nearly a disastrous loss. The Jaguars had some questionable play-calling down the stretch, and David Garrard (17-22, 163 yards, 2 pass TDs, 1 rush TD) nearly gave the game away with dropped pick-six. Garrard played well otherwise, but I have no idea what he was thinking when he fluttered a pass across the field on the final drive.
Maurice Jones-Drew had a nice rebound performance, rushing for 105 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries. He had a second score as a reception.
Mike Sims-Walker had no catches. Jacksonville's leading receiver was Mike Thomas, who had five grabs for 68 yards.
Peyton Manning went 33-of-46 for 352 yards, two touchdowns and an interception that wasn't his fault (the ball bounced out of the backup tight end's hands). In going for 352, Manning passed John Elway for third all time in passing yards.
Reggie Wayne had a monster game, catching 15 balls for 196 yards. However, this was somewhat ruined by a lost fumble in the red zone.
Joseph Addai scored twice while rushing for 63 yards on 16 carries. Dallas Clark (7-68) and Austin Collie (5-39) each had a touchdown.
The Colts lost this contest, and the media will naturally overreact to this. I don't think it's a big deal. Indianapolis didn't take Jacksonville seriously, and this was the Jaguars' Super Bowl. If they play this matchup 10 times, the Colts win nine (though they're probably all close).
Texans 31, Raiders 24
The commissioner of my fantasy football touchdown league called me in the first quarter of this game. He threatened to shut down the entire league because his stud running back, Arian Foster, wasn't playing.
Fortunately, our league lives on. Foster was on the bench for the entire first quarter because he was late for a team meeting. Foster entered the game in the second quarter, and finished with 131 rushing yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, as well as three catches for 56 receiving yards and a second score.
Despite not having Andre Johnson or Jacoby Jones (Jones left the game with a calf injury), Matt Schaub was a solid 16-of-29 for 192 yards and two touchdowns. With Nnamdi Asomugha draped all over Kevin Walter, Schaub's primary weapon was Joel "Salad" Dreessen (5-73, TD).
The Raiders nearly pulled a comeback after trailing 31-14. Following a touchdown and a field goal, Bruce Gradkowski had a 4th-and-16 on his own 31. The Polish Point-Shaver fired a dart toward Louis Muphy past the first-down marker, but the ball fell out of Murphy's hands and into the arms of a Texan defender.
Gradkowski had a very solid performance, going 24-of-39 for 278 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions (the aforementioned pick obviously not his fault). He left the game in the third quarter with an injury, but came back shortly afterward.
It's evident that Gradkowski loves throwing to Zach Miller; the tight end had 11 grabs for 122 yards and a touchdown. Murphy, meanwhile, had just one catch because he was hindered by an injury.
Darren McFadden was having another great outing with 129 total yards (47 rushing, 82 receiving). However, he left the game with a mysterious injury. Michael Bush (7-40, TD) looked good in relief.
Redskins 17, Eagles 12
Talk about a letdown. Everyone wanted to see what would happen in Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia. What would the fan reaction be? Would McNabb torch the Eagles' secondary? And how would QB Dog Killer stack up against Philadelphia's previous quarterback?
Well, the crowd predictably cheered McNabb in pre-game announcements, but booed him on the field; McNabb himself was very mediocre; and QB Dog Killer would suffer a rib injury on a play that didn't even count. The end result was an ugly 17-12 snooze fest.
McNabb went 8-of-19 for 125 yards, one touchdown and an interception. It was a mixed back for McNabb; he made some great throws, but missed some wide-open receivers on other passes. What McNabb did well was scramble for multiple first downs, finishing with 39 rushing yards on five runs.
Santana Moss didn't catch a single pass. Chris Cooley had just two grabs for 37 yards and a score.
Clinton Portis actually looked really spry in this contest. The Redskins continuously found success running on the left side, and Portis was able to total 55 yards on 11 carries. However, Portis suffered a groin injury and left the game in the fourth quarter. He'll have an MRI on Monday. Ryan Torain had 70 yards and a touchdown on 18 attempts, and is well worth picking up.
As for the Eagles, QB Dog Killer had an impressive scramble down to Washington's 1-yard line in the second quarter. He took a nasty hit and had to leave with that aforementioned rib malady. Adding insult to injury, the play was called back because of a holding penalty.
Kevin Kolb struggled in his place. He went 22-of-35 for 201 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He went with a bunch of short junk to LeSean McCoy (16 carries, 64 yards; 12 catches, 110 rec. yards) and fullback Owen Schmitt (3-43). To be fair, Kolb had no reps during the week. Next Sunday's game at San Francisco will be a better test for him.
Brent Celek (3 catches, 27 yards) caught the Kolb Salad's touchdown. Celek and Kolb are BFFs, so if someone dropped Celek in your league, be sure to pick him up.
With Kolb struggling, DeSean Jackson (3-19) and Jeremy Maclin (1-15) did nothing.
Chargers 41, Cardinals 10
Rejoice, Cardinals fans, for the Derek Anderson era is over!
It's hard to tell if Anderson's YPA was higher than his blood-alcohol level. He drunkenly went 7-of-14 for 64 yards and two ugly interceptions. Anderson was benched in favor of Max Hall, who finished 8-of-14 for 82 yards.
All indications are that Hall will start going forward. Arizona's coaching staff is smitten with the 24-year-old rookie out of BYU. He was sharp in the preseason, so it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the Cardinals' season unfolds.
Arizona's offense was a mess; the team took nine sacks compared to just 10 first downs. But despite the struggles of Anderson and Hall, Larry Fitzgerald still managed seven catches for 56 yards. Chris Wells, meanwhile, had just five carries for 19 yards.
The Chargers looked really sharp on all levels. Philip Rivers was nearly flawless, going 15-of-20 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Antonio Gates (7-144) caught both of Rivers' scores.
Mike Tolbert - not Ryan Mathews - started and looked great. Tolbert rushed for 100 yards and a score on 16 carries. Mathews, meanwhile, had 55 garbage-time yards on nine attempts. Mathews had an undisclosed elbow injury going into this contest, which would explain his lacking participation. Tolbert is still worth picking up if he's available, but the Chargers are not going to sit the No. 12 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft if he's healthy.
Giants 17, Bears 3
I had a feeling this contest would be ugly when Kelly Rowland butchered her personal remix of the national anthem prior to kickoff. But I never imagined that one team would take eight sacks in its first 21 plays.
Football can be a simple game sometimes. If you can't block the other team, chances are you're going to lose. The Bears couldn't keep New York out of the backfield. The Giants actually set the NFL sack record for a half with nine prior to intermission. It was so bad that Jay Cutler (8-11, 42 yards, 1 INT, 3 fumbles) missed the entire second half with a concussion.
So, what have we learned? Mike Martz is still a moron, of course. Why in the world would you have your receivers run deep routes and keep only five blockers in for your quarterback? It's amazing that the Giants didn't collect 20 sacks on Sunday night with Martz's idiotic protection schemes giving Cutler, Todd Collins (4-11, 36 yards, 1 INT) and Caleb Hanie (3-4, 36) no chance.
There are no stats worth noting for the Bears because they couldn't move the chains at all. In fact, they achieved their third first down of the contest in the final second of the third quarter.
The Giants struggled to put together long drives as well, but at least established a potent ground attack in the second half with Ahmad Bradshaw (23-129, TD) and Brandon Jacobs (6-62, TD). Bradshaw would have scored a second time, but was stripped from behind inside the Chicago 5-yard line.
Eli Manning was an economical 18-of-30 for 195 yards. I can imagine that he's happy that his receivers weren't responsible for any interceptions this week. Hakeem Nicks, the culprit in the previous two weeks, caught eight balls for 110 yards.