Week Eleven is almost in the books, and like the previous ten, a strange one it was. Hopefully you had something else to do during the first half of the one o’clock games, as offense was at a premium. As those games came to a close, things (finally) got interesting as two of them went into overtime and many of the others ended very close. That noise that sounded like popcorn popping was the 1972 Dolphins getting together as the Chiefs fell to the Bengals. A pretty good week fantasy wise as a whopping 42 players will make this week’s story. No more bye weeks so that means two extra games to cover here so let’s get right to it…
Houston 12, at Buffalo 10
We’re still waiting for the Bills to “Circle the Wagons”, but this time it might be too late. Playing without Eric Moulds, Buffalo goes through their third game in a row without finding the end zone. No Bill makes this week’s story. For the Texans, only Andre Johnson (4 catches for 122 yards, TD) did well enough to get a mention here. Of note, David Carr was knocked out of this one in the first half, yet Tony Banks filled in admirably. Travis Henry cracked his fibula but did not miss much time during the game (wha?) and the Bills are calling him day to day (?).
at Carolina 20, Washington 17
The Panthers keep things rolling this season, with the nice win at home. Stephen Davis (92 rushing yards, TD), playing against his former team, scored when it counted, and Muhsin Muhammed “Ali” (9 catches for 189 yards) and Jake “E.T.” Delhomme (317 passing yards, rushing TD) also did well in the victory. Davis, perhaps a little too pumped up for the game, fumbled on Carolina’s first play from scrimmage, but the defense turned the ball right back over to the offense. The teams went into halftime knotted at 3, and it was the Panther offense that hit paydirt on the opening drive of the second half. The Redskins tied things up at the start of the fourth quarter to set up the exciting finish. Carolina took the lead on a field goal, then Washington went down the field to take the late lead. With a little over four minutes to go and 71 yards away, the Panthers went to work on an impressive drive, hilighted by Delhomme hooking up with Steve Smith for 25 yards on a fourth and one, the drive capped off by Davis barely breaking the plane of the goal line from three yards out for the margin of victory. No skin gets a mention here.
at Cleveland 44, Arizona 6
The Browns scored early and often in this one, which was not much of a contest. Kelly Holcomb (392 passing yards, 3 TD, 0 int) spread the ball around to nearly everyone in getting the job done. Andre’ Davis (7 catches for 117 yards, TD), Quincy Morgan (5 catches for 116 yards, TD), and James Jackson (2 TD) also get a mention in the win. Nothing to see here for the Cardinals, let’s move on.
at Cincinnati 24, Kansas City 19
The undefeated streak is over and Chad Johnson moves to 2-1 on “guaranteed wins”. More importantly, and I have to type this, the Bengals move into a first place tie with the win as they keep their undefeated home record intact. As the score indicates, it came down to the wire. The Bengals held onto a 10-6 lead entering the fourth quarter and things were about to get interesting. Peter “Wolf” Warrick (6 catches for 114 yards, 2 TD) took a Kansas City punt back 73 yards to the end zone to get the fourth quarter scoring going. After a couple of punts, Kansas City went 93 yards in 5 plays, a drive capped off with Trent “It Aint Easy Being” Green (313 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) finding Tony Gonzalez (7 catches for 86 yards, TD) for the score. The two point conversion was no good, and with about six and a half left, everyone expected Cincinnati to run off some clock. So on their first play in the ensuing drive, Jon Kitna (233 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) hooked up with Warrick for the 77 yard score. The Chiefs weren’t done yet, scoring on their next drive, but the Bengals were able to run out the clock and get the win. Rudi Johnson (165 rushing yards) also did well for Cincinnati.
at Miami 9, Baltimore 6 (overtime)
This was the only game of the afternoon featuring two teams with winning records, and it was a defensive struggle. Not only was scoring at a premium, but positive yardage was as well. Ricky Williams (105 rushing yards) the only player from either team to get a mention here. Miami had a chance at the end of the regulation, but they chose to take a knee and go into overtime. After winning the toss, they were unable to get it going and the Ravens would have a turn on offense. After all the bad luck that Miami has suffered already this season, they got some good luck in this one. Jamel Lewis fumbled the ball back to Miami, and Olindo Mare atoned for missing a field goal earlier in the game by connecting from 43 yards out. There was an interesting shot late in the game of one of the Miami luxury boxes with Bob Griese and a couple of the other 1972 players…obviously they were hoping for a win, and they got it. Moments later the Bengals win over the Chiefs became official so surely they went to the phones to arrange to get the team together this week, their undefeated season untouched for yet another season.
at New Orleans 23, Atlanta 20 (overtime)
The Falcons raced out to a 20-3 halftime lead in this one, only to watch the Saints come marching in the second half. Player of the Week Deuce McAllister (237 total yards, 2 TD) had a jekyl and hyde game, but for us fantasy guys, we could care less about that. Late in the fourth, the Saints were driving down by three, and Deuce put the ball on the ground at the Atlanta 15 yard line. But on the very next play, Atlanta did the same and the Saints were back in business. They drove to the eight, but were stopped their and John Carney sent the game into overtime. From there, the Deuce story continued as he took the ball on the second play of overtime and rumbled into the open field….59 yards later…he FUMBLED at the Atlanta 2 yard line!! The Flacons went to work, Warrick Dunn (162 rushing yards) rushing for 41 yards on the drive’s first play. But they stalled, and Jay Feely’s 54 yard kick was short. Two plays later, Deuce got loose again, rumbling for 23 yards but making sure he held onto the ball this time. Carney ended things by clicking from 36 yards out. The Atl D (4 turnovers, 7 sacks, return TD) did well in a losing effort.
at Philadelphia 28, New York Giants 10
A game that is a tale of two teams going in different directions. The Eagles have come back from their early season struggles, winning here and claiming a share of the division lead. As for the Giants, their struggles continue as they just didn’t look interested in winning this one, which was pretty much a must win situation. “Life of” Brian Westbrook (108 total yards, 3 TD) and Donovan McNabb (314 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) did well in a winning effort while Tiki Barber (111 rushing yards, TD) and Kerry “Tom” Collins (268 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 int) did well in defeat. The Giants were never really in this one as the Eagles take the surprisingly easy win.
St.Louis 23, at Chicago 21
It was perfect situation for the Bears, get the Rams in an outdoor bad weather situation and force them into mistakes. The plan was working well until the third quarter. Trailing 14-3, the Rams put it all on the line on fourth and one from their own 40 yard line. Marshall Faulk made it work out for the best, setting up a touchdown with a 52 yard romp. The surprises continued as the Rams went for the on-sides kick and got it. The Rams capped the drive by scoring a touch to take the lead. Chicago was unable to get anything going, and the Rams collected the Bears punt and worked into position for a Jeff Wilkins (3 FG, 2 PAT) successful kick. But the Bears weren’t done. Working quickly, they scored in just three plays to retake the lead. However, the Rams would have another answer as the Bears D (3 turnovers, 4 sacks, return TD), which did well all game, couldn’t stop the Ram offense. Wilkins clicked again, this time from 31 yards out, to give St.Louis the lead once again with less than a minute to go. Yet again, the Bears weren’t done, getting a nice 38 yard return on the kickoff to create the suspense. Chris Chandler completed a couple of passes, but in the end they just couldn’t get into field goal range and they take the loss. Torry Holt (9 catches for 124 yards, TD) and Marc Bulger (240 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 int) performed well for the winners.
at Tennessee 10, Jacksonville 3
The Titans were looking to extend their 30+ point scoring streak to seven games, it was not meant to be. In the end, they were just happy to be walking off the field with the win. A tough defensive struggle between two division rivals here. Tennessee went into the half up by 10, thanks to a circus catch by Justin McCareins in the end zone. Before he had control of the ball, he ended up on his back, but was able to get control of it for the touch. There wasn’t much pretty to see in the second half from either squad. The Jaguars pulled within seven and made it interesting at the very end. They had a first and goal, but were unable to punch it into the endzone for the potential game tying score. No player from either side gets a mention here this week.
at Denver 37, San Diego 8
With Jake Plummer (253 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 int) back at the controls, the Broncos scored early and often in this drubbing. Shannon Sharpe “Dressed Man” (7 catches for 101 yards, 3 TD), Denver D (4 turnovers, 2 sacks, return TD), and Rod Smith (10 catches for 84 yards, TD) also got into the act for the winning side. The Broncos ended the day with 448 yards of offense and held the ball for a whopping 44 minutes. On the other side of the field, no magic this time…no nothing this time. Moving on.
at Indianapolis 38, New York Jets 31
A rematch of last week’s first round playoff game that the Jets won soundly, this one goes the way of the Colts. Peyton Manning (401 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 int), Edgerrin James (160 total yards, 3 TD), and Reggie “Bruce” Wayne (9 catches for 141 yards) all got into the act for the winners. Play of the game took place with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter. Indy lined up for a field goal, but holder Hunter Smith took the fake and ran 21 yards untouched into the end zone for the insurance score (and what ended up being the last score of the game). An impressive win for the Colts, playing without Marvin Harrison and Marcus Pollard. For the Jets, tough loss as only Chad Pennington (219 passing yards, 3 TD, 0 int) played well enough to get a mention here.
at Oakland 28, Minnesota 18
What should have been a battle of opposites, was just that, but in the opposite direction. In the end, Minnesota lost its fourth in a row after winning their first six, and the Raiders were able to have a good game for once. The Oakland D (6 turnovers, 3 sacks, return TD) got things rolling, Phillip Buchanon returning an interception for a touch on the second play of the game. The Raiders never looked back. Tyrone “Cream of” Wheatley (109 rushing yards, TD) performed well for the winners, and third string starter Rick Mirer did just enough to get the Raiders in the win column. His leap towards the end zone late in the fourth, which resulted in him being spun in the air forcing him to land hard on his back out of bounds at the two yard line, allowed the Raiders to go for it on fourth down, Zack Crockett carrying it the two yards to put the game out of reach. Duante Culpepper (396 passing yards, 1 TD, 3 int, rushing TD) and Kelly Campbell (4 catches for 115 yards, TD) did well in defeat, but it was not enough to overcome.
at Seattle 35, Detroit 14
All the scoring in this one was in the first half, and most of it was done by the winning home side. Shaun Alexander (110 rushing yards, TD), Matt Hasselbeck (207 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 int, rushing TD), and Bobby Engram (2 TD) did most of the damage in the lopsided win. Joey Harrington (285 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 int) did well in defeat, but it was not nearly enough.
Green Bay 20, at Tampa Bay 13
Battle of the Bays and a battle of two division rivals that needed a win to get back into the playoff race. The day ended with a few notable streaks coming to an end, including Brett Favre’s first win in Tampa and the first game in 60+ that the Tampa D did not register a sack. This one was close all the way, and with three and a half minutes to go in the third quarter of a tie game, Green Bay had the ball on their own two yard line. Moving efficiently, they drove the length of the field, yet things seemed to stall out at the Tampa 16 yard line. Facing a fourth and one, the Packers chose eschew the potential go ahead field goal, and converted. The drive ended with Ahman Green (109 rushing yards, TD) hitting paydirt from one yard out and that was the last of the scoring. Tampa couldn’t get their offense going after that and they take the loss. No Buc gets into this week’s story.
at New England 12, Dallas 0
A great matchup in the Sunday night game, two 7-2 teams looking to keep things going. On a day in which yards were hard to come by, this game was no different. The Patriots were able to scratch out a field goal in the first quarter, and Anotwain Smith scored a touchdown in the second (key play a 57 yard pass from Tom Brady to David Givens on an all out Dallas blitz), yet Adam Vinatieri had the extra point blocked so it was 9-nil at the half. Vinatieri was good from 26 yards out just after the two minute warning in the fourth and that was all the scoring. New England D was able to outplay the league’s leading Dallas D, which was the difference in the game. Of course, I’d say the Patriots offense is a little better than the Dallas offense, so that is always a help. At the end, the coaches Bill got together for a brief hug and wished each other well, ending a week of rediculous media hype that (trust me on this) no one cared about in the first place.
at Regina, 91st Grey Gup: Edmonton 34, Montreal 22
Yes, folks, we span the Globe for you, the FantasySharks reader. The Eskimos avenge last year’s 25-16 loss in the Grey Cup Championship game, preventing the Alouettes from becoming back to back champions. 50,909 people made the trek to see the match, despite the cold game time conditions. But isn’t that was the CFL is all about? A tough and physical game this was from the start, in the end, Edmonton takes home their 12th cup and first since 1993. The Eskimos got on the board first, Michael Pringle “Once You Pop You Can’t Stop” running it in from four yards out early in the first. And the second quarter had an abundance of scoring, but Edmonton held the 24-21 advantage. Montreal’s Matt Kellett scored a single from 70 yards out, but the scoring had dried up. The Eskimos put it out of reach in the fourth, scoring 10 points which included a 1 yard plunge by Ricky Ray. Montreal’s “Big” Ben Cahoon, who was named the league’s outstanding Canadian, had an incredible one handed grab to set up an Alouette score, but he alone was not enough. Jason Tucker (7 catches for 132 yards, 2TD) also did well for the winners and was named the game’s outstanding player. Anthony Cavillo (371 yards passing, 2 TD) also performed well in defeat.