Week six is in the books, and a good slate of games was played across the NFL. Two games went into extra time, and many of the other games came right down to the wire. The division races are heating up, even those divisions where the records aren’t that good. Almost everyone still has a shot at the playoffs, plenty of time to turn things around.
In the fantasy realm, it’s getting to be sink or swim time. Those teams that have struggled to get into the win column are going to find it harder and harder to make a playoff run. Game time decisions continue to haunt the fantasy owner, forcing tough decisions on Sunday mornings. New England’s Corey Dillon suited up, but never put on a helmet despite the Patriots having no other options at RB (Patrick Pass and newly signed Amos Zeroeoeoeos!). Chicago’s Thomas Jones, despite the Bears having options, played and played well. In any case, if you were up against LaDainian Tomlinson or Shaun Alexander this week, don’t even both looking or whining, you’re in the loss column.
Let’s get to the games…
at Chicago 28, Minnesota 3
Enough has been said about the off the field struggles of the Vikings this past week, predictably, that stuff looks to have infected the play on the field at least for this week. Minnesota puts in (another) stinker, this time at the hands of the Chicago Bears. Despite being questionable up until game time, Thomas Jones (89 yards, 2 TD) played and played well in a winning effort.
at Kansas City 28, Washington 21
A game where despite outgaining the Chiefs offensively, the Redskins did not put enough points on the board to win. Washington was holding a slim lead in the second half when Priest Holmes (118 total yards, 2 TD) scored the first of his two TDs on the day. The Skins would answer quickly, Mark Brunell (331 yards, 3 TD) hooking up for the second time with Santana Moss (173 yards, 2 TD), this time for 78 yards and the touch to tie the game. Sammy Knight would return a fumble recovery 80 yards, putting KC back in the lead. That would be short lived, as Washington answered, Chris Cooley scoring on the 11 yard pass play. Early in the fourth, Trent Green (181 yards, TD) dumped a screen to Holmes, and he did the rest turning a screen to the left into a 60 yard scoring play down the right side of the field. The Redskins would threaten late, but the KC D would hold the lead, giving them the win. Clinton Portis (128 total yards) did well in a losing effort.
at Dallas 16, New York Giants 13 (overtime)
A key division battle where we’d find out if the Giants offense was for real against a tough Cowboys defense. Defense was the word of the day, as were turnovers. Both teams turned the ball over four times, and there were scoring opportunities on both sides that were missed. In the end, it boiled down to the fourth quarter with Dallas clinging to a seven point lead, the Giants were in position to tie things up with less that 2 minutes to play in regulation. New York sent in rookie short yardage specialist Brandon Jacobs to punch the ball in from close, but he fumbled the ball away at the one yard line. Dallas couldn’t run out the clock, and with 19 seconds to go, Jeremy Shockey (129 yards, TD) scored on a 28 yard pass play to send the game into overtime. Dallas won the toss, and took care of business. Drew Bledsoe (312 yards, TD, int) got them into field goal range, and after missing twice during the game, Jose Cortez was good from 45 yards out and the win. Keyshawn Johnson (120 yards) also did well for the victors.
Carolina 21, at Detroit 20
A strange game this one, with much of it revolving around Jake Delhomme. With the Panthers up 7-0 in the second, Delhomme would hook up in the wrong direction, Boss Bailey of the Lions D (2 return TDs) taking a pick back 34 yards. Delhomme then hooked up with Steve Smith (123 yards, TD) for a 80 yard scoring play, later in the second the Lions D again would score the interception return for a touch. With all that out of the way, both teams would find offense hard to come by, and the Lions quietly took a 20-14 lead. Late in the fourth, Delhomme was leading the Panthers for the potential winning score, but was knocked out of the game after a short scramble. No worries, enter – Chris Wienke!! Wienke would keep the drive alive and find Ricky Proehl open from 3 yards out and the Panthers had the win. The Carolina D (4 turnovers, 6 sacks) also gets a mention here for the winners.
at Tampa Bay 27, Miami 13
The Bucs defense stopped anyone in a Miami uniform from running well on this day, spoiling the return of Ricky Williams. On the other side, Michael Pittman (127 yards, TD) filled in nicely for the injured Cadillac Williams, and Joey Galloway (96 yards, TD) had a good game for Tampa Bay. The Bucs were holding a slim lead late in the third quarter, when their defense salted the game away, Will Allen rumbling 33 yards for a touch after picking up a fumble. The Dolphins never threatened from there.
Cincinnati 31, at Tennesssee 23
Many were wondering how the Bengals would respond after their first loss of the season, they’re just fine, thanks. The Titans turned the ball over three times, while Cincinnati not only took care not to turn the ball over, but only committed four penalties. Tennessee was in line for the win midway thru the third quarter when Chris Brown (112 yards, 2 TD) notched the second of his TDs on the day, but Odell Thurman returned a Steve McNair offering 30 yards to pay dirt to tie things up. After a Titans FG put them up by three early in the fourth quarter, Chad Johnson (135 yards, TD) took in a 15 yard pass from Carson Palmer (372 yards, 2 TD) to put the Bengals on top for good. Much had been said about Johnson’s next touchdown dance, but a flag on the play forced him to hold off and by the time officials indicated it was a defensive penalty, the moment was gone. Chris Perry (73 total yards, TD) also did well for the winners.
Atlanta 34, at New Orleans 31
An offensive showcase for both teams as this one came down to the wire. Antowain Smith (88 yards, 2 TD) got the TDs going in the first quarter, putting the Saints up 7-3. In the second quarter, it was the Atlanta defense and special teams that put the TDs on the board. First Deangelo Hall raced 62 yards for the touch after picking up a fumble, then the Falcons blocked a field goal attempt at the halftime gun, Demorrio Williams picking up the swat and going 59 yards in the other direction for the score. Smith was good again in the third, tying the score at 17 and setting up an exciting fourth quarter. Atlanta struck first, but New Orleans quickly responded with Aaron Brooks (259 yards, 2 TD, 1 int) hooking up with Donte Stallworth (83 yards, TD) from 27 yards out. Warrick Dunn (100 yards, TD) put the Falcons back on top with a TD run from 21 yards out, but Brooks found Devery Henderson in the end zone a short time later to tie it up again. The game looked to be going to overtime, but the Falcons were trying to get into range for a Todd Peterson FG to win it in regulation. Peterson’s boot was no good, but defensive holding allowed a re-kick from a bit closer, and Peterson didn’t miss this time from 36 yards out. A tough end for the Saints.
Jacksonville 23, at Pittsburgh 17 (overtime)
Another of this week’s games that went into the extra session, a game culminating in a bizarre ending. The Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger did not play, so it was up to Tommy Maddox to lead Pittsburgh to the win. Hines Ward and Fred Taylor did not play either. Luckily for both sides, defense was on display, limiting the offense that did play for much of the game. Fast forward to the fourth quarter, where Pittsburgh settled for a Jeff Reed 29 yard field goal to tie the score at 17. Pittsburgh would again be in Reed’s range, but this time his 46 yard boot was off the mark. Jacksonville moved quickly, getting to the Steeler 34 yard line with time to spare. From there the Jags went for the end zone twice, the second time being picked off and overtime was in the cards. In the overtime, Pittsburgh’s Quincy Morgan put the Steelers in range to win the game, returning the kickoff to the Jaguar 26. On the first play from there, Willie Parker fumbled, but fell on the bouncing ball. Two plays later, Maddox would fumble, this time Jacksonville would recover the miscue. The Steelers D would hold, keeping the Jaguars from getting a first down, and Pitt had the ball again. Alas, it was not to be, on second and ten Rashean Mathis stepped in front of a poor Maddox offering, and 41 yards later the game was over.
at Baltimore 16, Cleveland 3
The Ravens defense was all over the Browns in this one, as they take the win in a game with little fantasy implication.
at Buffalo 27, New York Jets 17
Kelly Holcomb continues to impress, as he looks to keep a hold on the starting QB job in Buffalo. The Bills got up early in this game, then held on for the win at home. Both runners in this game, Willis McGahee (143 yards, TD) and Curtis Martin (148 yards, TD) did well enough to get a mention here this week.
at Denver 28, New England 20
With the bye week coming next week, New England’s Corey Dillon dressed for the game, but did not play. Denver took advantage of the depleted Patriots secondary as Jake Plummer (362 yards, 2 TD) twice hooked up for long passed to get the Broncos into scoring range. Tatum Bell (114 yards, TD) got the Broncos on the board on a 3 yard run, then Rod Smith (123 yards, TD) was good from 6 yards out. Denver punched in another just before the half for the 21-3 lead. New England had just enough time for a long FG attempt, but Adam Vinatieri’s 53 yard boot was no good at the halftime gun. On the play, New England seemed to dig themselves a bigger hole as starting offensive lineman Logan Mankins was ejected for a ‘cup check’. Denver opened up the second half, scoring easily again and it looked like the rout was on. A good team might have finished things out, but I’m not quite sure we can categorize Denver as a good team at this point. New England’s Patrick Pass (153 total yards, TD) began to assert himself, and Tom Brady (299 yards, TD) found success in the air. The Patriots closed to eight points halfway thru the fourth quarter, but they ran out of steam, then out of time as the Broncos record the win.
San Diego 27, at Oakland 14
Not sure there’s much I can add to this game that hasn’t already been said. LaDainian Tomlinson (179 total yards, rush TD, rec TD, pass TD) ran for a score, caught a score, and threw a score in putting up a great fantasy week. Lamont Jordan (94 yards 2 TD) did his best to keep up, but he could not. In the game, Randy Moss was hurt early and was forced to leave without recording a catch.
at Seattle 42, Houston 10
Houston, we have a problem, and now it’s been showcased in primetime. Player of the Week Shaun Alexander (141 yards, 4 TD), once again playing for the ESPN spotlight, led a Seattle rushing attack that went for a rediculous 320 yards. Alexander made it look easy, scoring twice in the first quarter effectively putting this game out of reach for the hapless Texans.