The season rolls on and if anyone can figure out these games against the spread, please let me know. Anything can happen on any week, and it seemingly is going to continue that way all season. Some teams in the real are re-establishing themselves as top teams after a slow start, and other teams are continuing their great early season run. As for the fantasy angle, it was nice to see the guys that sat out last week playing, and playing well. David Boston came back huge, Jimmy Smith made some noise in his debut and Dante Hall found the end zone again for the fourth consecutive week returning a kick. Crazy week, some fairly high scores out there as 36 players will make this week’s story. Plenty of weird things went on as well, a pack of kickers get a mention here and there were safeties all over the place. Let’s get right into the games…
at Buffalo 22, Cincinnati 16 (overtime)
Let’s be honest here, teams should beat the Bengals, especially at home. And this one had the feel of a late season game as the weather in Buffalo is already getting cold, toss in a little rain and this one was uncomfortable. On the field, the Bills welcomed Travis “Oh” Henry (85 rushing yards, 2 TD) back and he was the key man in this one. Yet the Bills couldn’t pull away, in fact they had to rally to tie on a field goal and send it to overtime. After stuffing the Bengals on three plays in overtime, Buffalo clicked and got the ball downfield (Bledsoe to Moulds doing most of the damage). Henry punched it into the endzone from the two to send the faithful home in a good mood. No Bengals make this week’s story.
at Carolina 19, New Orleans 13
Break up the Panthers! Those that haven’t yet taken notice of this team, better start doing so. Sure, the Saints are struggling right now, but Carolina has yet to lose. The main reason? Stephen “We Try Harder” Davis (159 rushing yards, TD). Fourth game, fourth 100 yard game. So far the guy has just been money. The Panthers took control of this one, getting up on a couple of field goals early, then a kickoff return for a touch down by He-Hate-Me (Rod Smart) and the Saints were done marching. Deuce McAllister (183 total yards) the only Saint in this one.
at Dallas 24, Arizona 7
Big whoop, the return of Emmitt Smith to Dallas. Big Dud as Smith had trouble finding running room, then left the game injured. Not that the Cardinal offense was much even with Emmitt, without they were even worse as the Dallas D (3 sacks, 2 safeties (!), 2 int, 7 points allowed) had themselves a game. Two safeties? Are you kidding me? Quincy Carter (277 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) and Terry “She” Glenn (4 catches for 104 yards, TD) also played well in the win while no one on the losing side will get a mention here.
at Green Bay 35, Seattle 13
Another “reunion game” (and I really hate that whole premise), the Packers gave their old coach Mike Holmgren a rude homecoming. In this one, it was the player that Holmgren traded to Green Bay, Ahman “It Ain’t Easy Being” Green (118 rushing yards, 2 TD) that carried the day. The Packers had a stretch where they scored five touchdowns on consecutive possessions and this one was over. Donald Driver (7 catches for 72 yards, TD) also played well for the winners. Shaun Alexander (102 rushing yards, TD) had a decent day for the losing side, but it was not enough.
at Kansas City 24, Denver 23
This game played itself out as advertised. Two division rivals entered this one undefeated, only one would emerge unscathed. Thanks to yet another return for a touch (this time a wild 93 yard punt return) midway thru the fourth quarter by Dante Hall, it was Kansas City that continues the season undefeated. Using a balanced attack, no other Chief gets into this week’s ink. On the other side, the Broncos were glad to have Clinton Portis (220 total yards, TD) back, and he picked up right where he left off. Rod Smith (8 catches for 131 yards, 72 passing yards) and Jake Plummer (221 passing yards, 1 TD, 0 int) also did well, but in the end, it was not enough.
Minnesota 39, at Atlanta 26
You want to talk about scoring some points, this is the game for you. And here’s another game that featured two safeties, crazy stuff. Anyway, always like when a game scores 65 points, you know there are some fantasy players that are going to get a mention. But started out slowly, only six points scored in the first quarter, then the pace picked up considerably. Randy Moss (5 catches for 81 yards, 2 TD) and Gus Frerotte (239 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) hooked up early and often, throw in a little Moe Williams (71 rushing yards, 2 TD) and those are the ingredients for success. Warrick Dunn (6 catches for 83 yards, TD), Peerless Price “Is Right” (12 catches for 168 yards, TD) and even Doug Johnson (352 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 int) played well on the other side of the ball, but it was not enough to overcome.
Miami 23, at New York Football Giants 10
A grind it out affair where the Giant offense had trouble solving the Miami D. Key play in the game may have been when Giant kicker Matt Bryant injured himself connecting on a 43 yard field goal just before the half. He was unable to return, and punter Jeff Feagles had to fill in…and it was not a pretty sight. Coach Fassel just can’t catch a break on special teams. Tiki Barber (99 total yards, TD) and Jeremy Shockey (11 catches for 110 yards) did well in defeat. No individual Dolphin played themselves into this week’s write up.
at Chicago 24, Oakland 21
Surprise, surprise! Everyone is getting into the act and beating the Raiders this year! Paul Edinger (3 FG, 1 PAT) booted a 48 yarder as time expired sending the Bear faithful home with their first win of the season. The Bears found themselves down by 18 but they mounted an incredible comeback, capped by Kordell Stewart converting a two point attempt to give Chicago a three point lead midway thru the fourth period. Oakland ripped right down the field, and Sebastian Janikowski (5 FG) converted another kick to tie things up. However, it was Janikowski’s missed point after attempt back in the first quarter that would prove costly. You just know when a PAT is missed in the first quarter that it is eventually going to come into play, and it did, unfortunately for the Raiders.
at New England 38, Tennessee 30
This has to be dubbed as a great win for the Patriots. Much has been made of their injuries, and rightly so, but this gritty bunch toughed out a win over a very strong opponent. A close battle most of the way that saw 48 points scored in the second half alone. The teams went back and forth, with New England relying heavily on both Antowain Smith (103 total yards, TD) and Mike Cloud (73 rushing yards, 2 TD). Tennessee would counter with Steve McNair (391 passing yards, 2 rushing TD) and Gary Anderson (4 FG, 1 PAT). After Tennessee took the lead with under 5 minutes to go, it looked like that might do it. Yet the Pats enjoyed a 70 yard return on the ensuing kickoff and Cloud cashed in for the second time putting the Pats back on top. A few plays later, Ty Law intercepted a pass and went the distance to put the game out of reach.
at Jacksonville 27, San Diego 21
A matchup that didn’t initially appear was going to be exciting, but with two teams struggling to find the win column, it turned out to be a nice game. The Byron Leftwich (336 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) era seems to have begun as he gets his first win. Fred Taylor (164 total yards, 2 TD) and Jimmy Smith (8 catches for 137 yards) also performed well in the victory. Yet it was almost overshadowed in this game by the triumphant return of Player of the Week David “Please Return to” Boston (14 catches for 181 yards, 2 TD). Drew Brees (296 passing yards, 3 TD) looked his way early and often, but in the end, it was the Jags that prevailed.
at Philadelphia 27, Washington 25
A couple of weeks ago Philadelphia looked like there were dead (as noted in this space which sparked many an angry email), but they rallied and post another win in this, an important divisional game. The Eagles held an eleven point lead, only to see Washington’s John Hall (4 FG, 1 PAT) bang home a 53 yard field goal, then execute a successful on-side kick. A few plays later, Patrick Ramsey (271 passing yards, 3 TD, 2 int, rushing TD) found Darnerien McCants for the score to bring Washington within two. Laveranues Coles was open for the two point conversion, but Ramsey’s pass sailed wide and the Eagles had the win. Tough loss for the Redskins who have kept every game close. Despite the win, no individual Eagle will get a mention here, though I’m sure they will be happy to take the win instead.
at San Francisco 24, Detroit 17
The last of this week’s “homecoming games”, this one went the way of the Niners. They rushed out to a 17-0 lead and coasted home in this one. Jeff “Buckner and” Garcia (192 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int, rushing TD) did well and Terrell Owens did not throw a fit on the sidelines during this one. No Lion did well in defeat.
Cleveland 33, at Pittsburgh 13
Just a beating. The Browns scored early and often in this one, racing to a 17-3 lead that swelled to 23-10 at the half and the Steelers had no answers in the second half. Tim Couch (208 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int, rushing TD) put on a near perfect performance, giving Brown Brass something to think about when Kelly Holcomb is healthy enough to play. The Browns D (3 sacks, 3 turnovers, return TD) even got into the act, completely stifling any Pittsburgh offensive threat. No Steeler played well.