Welcome to another season of the “Week in Review and thanks for reading. Quick disclaimer, way back in the beginning of my first fantasy league over a decade ago, I would put together a weekly write that the other owners in our league seemed to enjoy. It was a “preview” story that I put together on a Thursday that would include some funny items about the two teams about to play each other and it included some of the players that did well the well before in helping that team win or lose. If nothing else, it created some excitement and humor, especially late in the season for those games that didn’t have much meaning in the standings.
Only the best fantasy performers of the week made the weekly “story”, and to make it a little tougher, a player had to be in that team’s starting lineup to be recognized (kind of like how the “All Madden” team members had to be seen by Madden during the season for them to make his team). To spice things up, I would make up funny knicknames for the players in the writeup. This was long before NFL PrimeTime and Chris Berman became popular.
In any case, I’ll once again be doing this on Monday mornings this season, offering a it of a recap based on each NFL game that has already been played. With very few exceptions, only those individual fantasy players that perform well on the field will get a mention in this space. Hopefully this is something that you will enjoy, if not, well, I tried. Any feedback (good, bad, ugly, suggestions, whatever) drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading, ENJOY!
And so after a long summer, week one of the National Football League finally arrived!! We knew some of the offenses would struggle in week one (ie. Chicago, Baltimore), but it would appear that defenses in general are well ahead of even some of the offenses (ie. Minnesota, Denver) as the season begins. Not too many stellar performances, especially from those stud RBs, but don’t panic, it’s only one week. Hopefully you have more than a few of the players about to be mentioned in your starting lineup. If not, there’s always the waiver wire and next week. On to the games…
at New England 30, Oakland 20
The NFL season kicked off last Thursday with a game featuring the two time defending Super Bowl Champion Patriots hosting the Raiders. Oakland came out strong in this one, scoring on the opening drive of the game. The Patriots would come back, taking the lead on a Tom Brady (306 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) to Deion Branch (7 for 99, TD) 18 yard hook up. The Raiders would re-take the lead, Kerry Collins (265 passing yards, 3 TD, 1 int) lofting a jump ball deep to Randy Moss (5 for 130, TD), who juggled, then came down with the 73 yard score. The Patriots would take the lead at the half 17-14. The second half saw both defenses clamp down, neither team able to find much running room. New England would take a chance on fourth and one from the Oakland 31, but the Raiders were up to the task. However, momentum would change right back as New England’s defense would force the first turnover of the game. Three plays and 20 yards later, Corey Dillon (93 total yards, 2 TD) hit paydirt from 8 yards out. Both offenses would continue to struggle, but early in the fourth Dillon would again find the end zone, this time from 2 yards out, effectively putting the game out of reach at 30-14. The Raiders would rally for a late score that would end up being the final score.
at Washington 9, Chicago 7
I’m not sure we really need to talk about this one, extremely tough game to watch. Mark Brunell came on in relief of the injured Patrick Ramsey, but it was a case of second verse, same as the first. The Bears had a chance to win this one at the end, but penalties pushes them out of scoring range and Washington takes the ugly win.
at Jacksonville 26, Seattle 14
The Jaguars scored early and often, while their defense limited the Seahawk offense as Jacksonville takes the nice win. Jimmy Smith (7 for 130, 2 TD) and Josh Scobee (4 FG, 2 PAT) were the offensive stars for the winners, as their defense held the visitors scoreless in the second half. Only Matt Hasselbeck (246 passing yards, 2 TD, 3 int) gets a mention here in a losing effort.
New Orleans 23, at Carolina 20
Putting the Katrina situation behind them for a short period of time on Sunday, the Saints went out and won in dramatic fashion. Carolina booted two field goals in the fourth quarter to take the lead, including a 46 yarder with just over a minute to play. But Aaron Brooks would hook up twice with Joe Horn in the two minute drill, setting up a John Carney boot from 47 yards out give victory to the Saints. Duece McAllister (64 rushing yards, 2 TD) did well in a winning effort, while Steve Smith (8 for 138, TD) looked like the Smith of old on the losing side of the ball.
Tampa Bay 24, at Minnesota 13
Looking to put the Randy Moss era behind them, the Vikings dropped an egg this week on their home fans. Tampa Bay’s defense was dominant, while the Minnesota offense was non-existant. In fact, the Vikings’ only touch came from their defense. Carnell Williams (148 rushing yards, TD) did well for the winners as Tampa Bay scored 17 points in the second quarter to essentially put the game out of reach.
Cincinnati 27, at Cleveland 13
Battle of Ohio here, both teams looking to get off to a good start on the season. Cincinnati, traditionally slow starters, versus new head coach Romeo Crennel. It was not to be on this day for the new head coach. The Bengals came out early, finding good success in the air. Carson Palmer (280 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) making very few mistakes and Rudi Johnson (126 rushing yards, TD) grinding it out on the ground. Cleveland had a hard time getting things going, offensive penalties being very costly. Jackson Frishman (8 for 128, TD) the lone fantasy player to get a mention here in a losing effort.
at Kansas City 27, New York Jets 7
The Chiefs scored on their first three possessions and they run away with a win here over the Jets. The tandum of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson (110 rushing yards, 2 TD) were both unstoppable and the newly pieced together Kansas City defense held New York scoreless until late in the fourth quarter when Chris Baker (7 for 124, TD) found the end zone for the visitors.
at Pittsburgh 34, Tennessee 7
The Titans scored the first touchdown of the game, driving 61 yards on their opening drive, but after that it was all Pittsburgh. Specifically, all Willie Parker (209 total yards, TD) as he ran wild all day. Parker, filling in for the injured Duce Staley and Jerome Bettis looked tremendous, and looks to have earned himself at least one more start next week. As for Tennessee, the offense turned the ball over four times, and no individual performed well enough to get a mention in this space.
at Buffalo 22, Houston 7
With JP Losman at the helm, Buffalo scored on their first five possessions as they coast to the surprisingly easy win. The offense was efficient, and the Bills D (5 sacks, 5 turnovers, 102 yards allowed) was dominant. Rian Lindell (5 FG, PAT) was the main scoring threat, but it was enough as the Texans offense barely broke 100 yards in total offense.
at Miami 34, Denver 10
Playing with an expanded playbook for new coach Nick Saban, the Dolphins protected their home turf in a rout of the visiting Broncos. Early injuries to Champ Bailey and Mike Anderson set the tone for how this day was going to go for Denver, but it was four plays in the second quarter that decided the outcome. Down by 10, Denver had first and goal at the Miami 3, two rushes for no gain, a penalty, an imcomplete pass, then no gain on fourth from the one yard line kept the Broncos off the board. In the second half, the visitors literally began wilting in the Miami heat, and the Dolphins pulled away with the win. Gus Frerotte (275 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) did well for the winners while no Bronco gets posted here.
at San Francisco 28, St.Louis 25
If this game is any indication, it looks like the 2005 version of the St.Louis Rams are going to be as tough to figure out as the 2004 version. San Francisco used a 21 point second quarter, which included a Fred Amey 75 yard punt return for a score, to build up a lead that they would barely hang onto in the end. The Rams had a chance at the end, but Marc Bulger (362 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) was picked off with less than a minute to go and the Niners were able to run out the clock. Jeff Wilkins (4FG, PAT) and Torry Holt (10 for 125) did well in a losing effort while no Niner did well enough to get a mention here.
at Detroit 17, Green Bay 3
There was much going against the Packers heading into this game, first of all, rarely do they play well on the turf, and the Lions had won their season opener the past two seasons…then again, the Packers had beaten Detroit in 8 of their last 9 meetings. In a game where both offenses struggles, Detroit’s struggled a little less, and they get the win. No player from either side distinguished themselves, the only fantasy news of note being the Packers losing Javon Walker for the season.
Dallas 28, at San Diego 24
A good game here between two evenly matched teams, in the end, Drew Bledsoe (226 passing yards, 3 TD, 0 int) reunited with coach Bill Parcells was enough for the close win. Bledsoe was very good all game, while Julius Jones (93 rushing yards, TD) took care of running the ball. San Diego was holding the lead into the fourth quarter, when Bledsoe found Keyshawn Johnson (5 for 65, 2TD) for the second of his scores, this one on a third down at the Charger 2 yard line. Still, it wasn’t over, as the Chargers marched the field and got into position to get the winning score. Alas, the Cowboys picked off Drew Brees in the endzone on fourth down ending the San Diego comeback effort. Only Keenan McCardell (9 for 123, 2 TD) gets a mention here for the losing side.
at New York Giants 42, Arizona 19
Whenever the Cardinals came back to make the score close, the Giants special teams would rip off a kick return for a touchdown. Both offenses did well in this game, but it was the Giants D (2 return TDs) that was the difference in this game. Tiki Barber (122 total yards, TD) was a constant threat, and Eli Manning was efficient for the winners. Player of the Week Larry Fitzgerald (13 for 155, TD) took in a one yard score late in the third to close the gap to 21-19, but Willie Ponder took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards to build up New York’s lead once again. Chad Morton took a punt back 52 yards midway thru the fourth to seal the deal.
Indianapolis 24, at Baltimore 7
Defense was the watch word in this game, and while it may be hard to believe, the Colts defense was just as strong as the Ravens in this game. Of course, the Ravens offense isn’t on the level with Indy’s…an extremely physical first half came to a close with the Colts barely getting on the board with a field goal. Finally, in the third quarter, the Colts found some offensive success, Peyton Manning (254 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) tossing 2 scoring passes in the frame. That was essentially enough, though Indy added an interception return for a touchdown to complete their scoring. The Ravens got on the board as time was running out, preventing the shutout. In the game, Kyle Boller injured his toe and did not return, but Anthony Wright didn’t do much to warrant taking away Boller’s starting job.