Week Eight is almost completely in the books, and what a week it was. Another of the undefeateds fell and the 1972 Dolphins are waiting for just one more team to go down before once again getting together to celebrate their great season that may never be duplicated. A couple of overtime games dot the landscape, and the situation in Cincinnati just gets more bizarre by the day. I mean, it’s bad enough when one of your guys is a game time decision due to injury, but how about a healthy guy ending up on the inactive list. Not a bad fantasy week, as 34 players will make this week’s story. Let’s get right into the games…
at Baltimore 26, Denver 6
For whatever reason, Denver has always had trouble with Baltimore having lost to the Ravens in each of the last four seasons. This year was no different, as the task of beating them would be even harder with third string Danny Kanell at the helm. It probably didn’t matter much who was leading the way, Jamal Lewis (134 rushing yards, TD) racked up yet another 100 yards on the ground and the defense limited Clinton Portis (115 total yards) to under 100 yards on the ground. It was a close affair late when the Ravens picked off a Kanell pass and returned it deep into Bronco territory, where the Raven offense was able to hit paydirt in four plays, effectively putting it out of reach.
at Chicago 24, Detroit 16
The Lions just can’t win on the road, it’s as simple of that. They chalk up their 20th consecutive road loss in this one at the hands of the Bears. Nothing much to write about here from a fantasy perspective, as no player from either side performed well enough to get a mention here. The Lions scored late to draw within eight points and had recovered the ensuing onside kick. However, officials ruled that Detroit had touched the ball before it traveled the required 10 yards, and the Bears ran out the last 53 seconds of the game.
New York Giants 29, at Minnesota 17
Perhaps it was that the Vikings were feeling too good about themselves, still playing without a loss on the season. Or perhaps it is because their opponent was desperate for a win. Or maybe it was a fortuitous break, trailing 17-16 in the fourth, the Giants had a punt blocked deep in their own territory (with the ball resting on their own five yard line), yet Wesley Mallard scooped up the loose ball and rumbled 20 yards for the first down to keep the drive alive. Whatever the case was, the Giants walk into Minnesota and drop the Vikings from the ranks of undefeated. “Mike and” Ike Hilliard (9 catches for 100 yards, 2 TD), Kerry Collins (375 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) and Tiki Barber (122 total yards, TD) all did well for the Giants. On the losing side, Randy Moss (7 catches for 125 yards, 2 TD) and Daunte Culpepper “Steak” (241 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) did their best, but it was not enough on their own to win this one.
at New England 9, Cleveland 3
I don’t know what it is about Cleveland this year, but they never score touchdowns, and their opponents hardly ever do either. This game was no different. A game really dominated by the Patriots, but they couldn’t score, and the Browns were hanging around, tying up the game at three just before the half. The second half was no different, Kevin Faulk (156 total yards) was getting his yards and New England was moving, yet the points weren’t getting on the board. On the other side of the ball, Tim Couch started, was hurt, came back but didn’t re-enter the game as Kelly Holcomb seemed to be performing admirably. Despite that, no Brown makes the story and they end up losing the game.
Carolina 23, at New Orleans 20 (overtime)
An up and down affair this one, with the Saints jumping out front early, the Panthers coming back, then New Orleans tying it to send it into overtime. The Saints had the ball to start the extra session, but Duece McAllister (101 rushing yards) fumbled on a fourth and one at the Carolina 37 yard line. Co-player of the Week Stephen “We Try Harder” Davis (178 rushing yards, 2 TD) took over from there, marching the Panthers into field goal range and the winning kick. Steve Smith (9 catches for 100 yards) also did well in a winning effort, while Joe Horn (6 catches for 74 yards, 2 TD) gets a mention here in defeat.
St.Louis 33, at Pittsburgh 21
The Rams offense is back! They scored early and often in this one, whethered a brief charge by the Steelers, then pull away for the nice road win. Co-player of the Week Arlen “Marshall” Harris (96 total yards, 3 TD) ran wild as Torry Holt (7 catches for 174 yards, TD) and Marc Bulger (375 passing yards, 3 TD) were also clicking. There was not much the Pittsburgh defense could do to slow down the Ram offensive machine. Hines Ward (5 catches for 90 yards, 2 TD) did well in defeat, but it was not nearly enough to overcome.
at Cincinnati 27, Seattle 24
Break up the Bengals! They win their second in a row! And fantasy owners thoughout the land that didn’t see the game were happy to see the score, yet as they went looking to find Corey Dillon in the boxscore, he’d be listed on the inactive list. He was apparently in a car accident on the way to the stadium and the coaching staff decided to inactivate him for the game so that he could take care of what happened. Enter Rudi “Rudi! Rudi!” Johnson (101 rushing yards, TD), who along with Jon Kitna (240 passing yards, 2 TD) led the way to the win. Shaun Alexander (138 total yards), “Bath” Matt Hasselbeck (347 passing yards, 3 TD, 3 int) and Itula Mili (5 catches for 80 yards, 2 TD) did well in defeat, but it was untimely interceptions and ultimately a blocked field goal attempt that set up the winning Bengal drive.
at Tampa Bay 16, Dallas 0
Dallas coach Bill Parcells had been telling people that despite the results, his team wasn’t that good. Against a team like Tampa Bay, it was exposed for all to see. The score is a pretty good indicator of how this game went, and as a result, only the Buc D (shutout, 3 turnovers, 4 sacks) gets into this week’s print.
Tennessee 30, at Jacksonville 17
The Titans held the ball for nearly 40 minutes in this game, including an eleven minute drive in the fourth quarter, and coasted in this one. Eddie “Curious” George (88 rushing yards, 2 TD) finally gets his way into a write up this week and Gary Anderson (3 FG, 3 PAT) also performed well in the victory. Nothing to see here for the Jaguars, let’s just move on.
at Indianapolis 30, Houston 21
The Colts proved the better team in this one, but the Texans showed that they can play with the big boys. They held a brief 14-3 lead in the second quarter before Reggie “Bruce” Wayne (6 catches for 96 yards, 2 TD) and Peyton Manning (269 passing yards, 3 TD) went to work to lead the Colts to the win. Domanick Davis (109 rushing yards, 2 TD) performed well in defeat. Of note, David Carr was hurt in this one, spraining his ankle and was unable to finish the game.
at Philadelphia 24, New York Jets 17
Finally some cheers in Philadelphia. A close game throughout, in the end the Eagles were able to make a couple of plays to pull out the win. Correll Buckhalter (100 rushing yards, 2 TD) did well, and the supporting cast did ok, enough to win. Santana Moss (5 catches for 96 yards, TD) the only Jet to make the write up this week. As advertised, Chad Pennington got into the action and for the most part did well, though he did look a little rusty at times, including an interception in the fourth quarter that turned the tide in favor of Philly.
at Arizona 16, San Francisco 13 (overtime)
There’s something in the air in Arizona, the heat! There was something else in the air in this one, and whatever it was neither kicker could figure it out as five field goals were missed in this one. Marcel Shipp (165 rushing yards) the only player from either team to get a mention for their good work in this one. Niners kicker Owen Pochman may be back in the unemployment line by the time this hits the presses. After missing three last week, he missed two more this week, including a 35 yarder with a little under two and a half minutes left in regulation. Tim Duncan had a chance to avoid the extra session, but his 50 yard attempt was short. In the overtime, Pochman booted the opening kick out of bounds and the Cardinals drove into what they hoped was Duncan’s range, and he connected to end the game.
at Kansas City 38, Buffalo 5
Early in this one, the Bills blocked a punt and the ball went out of the end zone for a 2-0 Buffalo lead. That would be the only lead they would enjoy. Going without a huddle, Trent Green (273 passing yards, 2 TD) hooked up with Dante Hall (4 catches for 107 yards, TD) for a 67 yard touchdown catch and run, and the rout was on. Priest Holmes (109 total yards, 3 TD) and the KC D (7 turnovers, 3 sacks, 5 points allowed) also get their props here in the blowout. No Bills to post here.