Brandon Marshall Breaks Record
Even though his team lost to the still undefeated Indianapolis Colts 28-16, Denver Broncos WR Brandon Marshall had a record-setting performance on Sunday. Marshall caught an NFL record 21 receptions for 200 yards and two TDs. It takes most receivers at least two or three games to put up numbers like that, but Marshall is not the average receiver. He was targeted an incredible 28 times by Kyle Orton. That number is huge considering that he attempted 41 passes in all. Marshall had 10 catches at halftime and 15 after three quarters. He tied Terrell Owens’ record early in the fourth quarter with his 20th catch on a five yard touchdown grab and then broke the record on the Bronco’s last possession of the game. Look for Marshall to continue to carry fantasy teams in the playoffs with games upcoming against the Raiders, Eagles and Chiefs.
Ray Rice Impressive Against Lions
Baltimore RB Ray Rice piled up more than 200 total yards in his team’s 48-3 victory on Sunday. He received just 13 carries, but made the most of them as he ran for 166 yards. His big play was a 59-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Rice also caught four passes for 53 yards which solidified his fantasy day and really helped owners in the playoffs. His only mistake was a lost fumble, but other than that Rice was spectacular. Owners had to expect this kind of outing out of the second year back, seeing that he was going up against Detroit and Rice didn’t disappoint, almost single-handedly securing first round wins for anyone that owned him. The road gets a little tougher the next two weeks though with games against Chicago and at Pittsburgh. You still need to start him every week regardless of the matchups.
Eagles Win Shootout
In probably the most exciting game of Week 14, Philadelphia hung on to top division rival New York 45-38. This game was all offense and clearly no defense was played from either team, but it was a good game none-the-less. The Giants totaled 512 yards of offense and still lost to Philly who had 374 yards. The fantasy star of this game was Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, who was back in the starting lineup after missing last game with a concussion. Jackson gave fantasy owners an early Christmas present with six receptions for 178 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 72-yard punt return for a score to finish his night with right around 30 fantasy points! It’s safe to say that Jackson is back to full health and should help owners down the stretch. Both quarterbacks were strong as well. Donovan McNabb threw for 275 yards with two scores and one pick, while Eli Manning had a career night throwing for 391 yards with three touchdowns.
Steelers Continue to Struggle
Pittsburgh lost its fifth straight game of the 2009 season on Thursday night, this one to probably the worst team in the NFL; the Cleveland Browns. With the 13-6 defeat, it looks as if the reigning Super Bowl Champs are out of the playoffs. The Browns defense was all over Pittsburgh as they sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger eight times and constantly forced him out of the pocket. Cleveland’s offense didn’t do much as Brady Quinn threw for just 90 yards, but they did enough to win the game. Joshua Cribbs and Chris Jennings combined to rush for 160 yards and one touchdown, but other than that it was all field goals. The Steelers now fall to 6-7, while the Browns notched their second win of the season.
CJ Continues to Dominate
With another week in the books, it was another ridiculous performance for Tennessee running back Chris Johnson. The East Carolina product scored three times as his team crushed the Rams 47-7. Johnson scored on runs of 39 and 3 yards and also scampered into the end zone from 66 yards out on pass from Vince Young. On the day Johnson finished with 28 carries for 117 yards and two TDs and three catches for 69 yards and another score. Not a bad way for fantasy owners to start the playoffs with. This was his eighth straight 100-yard rushing game and ninth of the season. Johnson was projected to have a monster day so it was good to see him go out and do just that as he continues his awesome 2009 campaign and his quest for 2,000 yards. He now has 1,626 rushing yards with three games to play (Miami, San Diego, Seattle) so he needs to average about 125 yards per game to reach 2,000 yards. Johnson is having the type of season that carries fantasy owners to championships and look for him to do just that the final three weeks.
Two Teams Still Undefeated
Both Indianapolis and New Orleans went to 13-0 on the season after wins against the Broncos and Falcons respectively. Indy was in complete control all day at home against Denver. They went up 21-0 in the second quarter and didn’t look back as they won 28-16 and clinched home field advantage in the playoffs. Peyton Manning threw for just 220 yards and had three INTs, but he did also throw four touchdown passes, three to TE Dallas Clark.
The Saints had a little more of a close call against Atlanta. They got past them 26-23 on a 38-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley with just under five minutes left to play. After going up 23-9 in the third quarter, New Orleans let the Falcons tie the game up at 23 early in the fourth quarter. Drew Brees had another terrific outing, throwing for 296 yards and three touchdowns, while not turning the ball over at all. Reggie Bush scored on two TD receptions and finished with six catches for 46 yards for the Saints.