Week Ten is almost in the books, and what a week it was. Another week, another win for the Chiefs as the 1972 Dolphins are forced to keep their champagne on ice for at least another seven days. There was magic in the air in San Diego, and as always some stunning upsets dot the landscape. A pretty good week fantasy wise as 34 players will make this week’s story, hopefully you have more than a couple of them on your team and in your starting lineup. Let’s get into the games.
At Cincinnati 34, Houston 27
By now, this story is becoming tiresome. Those of you with Corey Dillon on your team know exactly what I’m talking about. Dillon once again didn’t play this week, and in his place, and trust me, I own him in a couple of leagues so it pains me to write this, Tri-player of the Week Rudi “Rudi, Rudi!” Johnson (182 rushing yards, 2 TD) filled in more than admirably. That’s right, one of the top fantasy scorers of the week, and it should have been Dillon. With 15,000 empty seats, the Bengals move to within a game of first place with the winning effort. Domanick Davis (104 rushing yards, TD) did well in a losing cause, but it was not enough. Rankling fantasy players all over the country, Cincinnati had a chance at the end of the game to pad their lead with a field goal with a half minute to go, but instead went for it on fourth down from the 13 yard line. Kitna’s pass to Chad Johnson appeared to be a touchdown, but after the celebration, officials ruled him down at the one yard line and Cincinnati then did the right thing and took a knee to run out the clock. How many of you out there had Johnson (or Kitna) and lost by a couple of point this week…? Ouch.
at Detroit 12, Chicago 10
You had to know with these two teams getting together, that come Monday morning, there wouldn’t be that much to read (or write) about. No player from either side makes the story, though Jason Hanson was close. He booted the winning field goal (his fourth of the game) from 48 yards out with less than a minute to go and the defense made it stand. The Lions win their second straight for the first time since 2000. Oh to be able to play the Bears twice in a season!
at Jacksonville 28, Indianapolis 23
When 1-7 plays 7-1, you think it should play out a certain way, but that was not the case in this one. Fred Taylor (152 rushing yards, 2 TD) ran hard all game, and the Jaguars survived a crazy finish to take the nice home win. The Jags had taken the lead early in the fourth quarter, at 21-20. The key play in the drive a 28 yard pass that was caught by George Wrighster, after it bounced off his hand, then off the helmet of three Colts at the same time, then ended up back in his arms. Peyton Manning (347 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 int) led the Colts back, highlighted by a 71 yard pass and rumble to Marcus Pollard. They settled for the field goal after a touchdown was nullified by penalty. Jacksonville worked themselves into field goal position of their own, but something went wrong with the snap and holder Mark Royals’ pass attempt was intercepted. Three plays later, the Colts were punting and Jacksonville got a nice 27 yard return on the punt to give them life. Two plays later, Taylor broke free from 32 yards out to give the home team the lead once again, a lead that the defense would protect, picking off Manning to seal the deal.
at Kansas City 41, Cleveland 20
The Chiefs got up early in this one and never let up as the result of this contest was never in doubt. Priest Holmes (158 total yards, 2 TD), Trent Green (368 passing yards, 3 TD, 0 int), Eddie “and the Cruisers” Kennison (7 catches for 115 yards, TD) and Tony Gonzalez (7 catches for 70 yards, TD) led the way for the undefeated winners. No Brown gets a mention here in defeat. Dante Hall came close to returning his fifth kick of the season but he was brought down shy of the goal line in a long return.
Atlanta 27, New York Not So Giants 7
And finally, after failing on seven previous occasions, the Falcons register the 200th career coaching win for coach Dan Reeves. The keys to the game being Warrick Dunn (178 rushing yards, TD) running wild and the Giant offense not holding onto the ball, turning it over four times. Tiki “Torch” Barber (120 rushing yards, 10 catches for 37 yards) did well in a losing effort, but once again he had trouble holding onto the ball in this one. A tough loss for the Giants, who really needed a win to stay in the playoff race, instead, the calls for Jim Fassel’s head echo all over talk radio this morning.
at Pittsburgh 28, Arizona 15
Finally we get to see the Steelers play Pittsburgh football. Hines Ward (6 catches for 64 yards, 2 TD) scored twice in a third quarter that saw the Steelers put up 21 points, and the home team pulled away for the win. Jeff “Frosted” Blake (307 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int), Anquan Boldin (8 catches for 118 yards, TD) and Marcel Shipp (101 total yards) did well in a losing effort, but it was not enough to overcome. Pittsburgh hopes to build on some momentum to make a late playoff run.
at Washington 27, Seattle 20
Seattle came out strong in this one, but in the end, it was Washington that finished well in getting the win. With nothing to lose except their fifth straight game, Steve Spurrier went for broke with the game tied in this one. Facing a fourth and inches at his own 25 yard line with six minutes to play, the Redskins went for it, and got it, keeping the drive alive. Later, from the Seattle ten yard line, Trung Canidade took a lateral from Patrick Ramsey, and tossed it to a wide open Rod Gardner (8 catches for 81 yards, TD, passing TD) for the winning score. On the ensuing possession, Darrell Jackson couldn’t handle yet another pass, and the Skins defense took the deflection to seal the win. Laveranues Coles (5 catches for 125 yards, TD) also did well for the winners while no Seahawk gets a mention here in defeat.
at Carolina 27, Tampa Bay 24
Earlier this season, when the Panthers went into Tampa Bay to beat the defending Super Bowl champions, many thought that it was a bit of a fluke, and that the Bucs would return the favor in the rematch. What a game this turned out to be. The Panthers took the early lead in this one, but the Bucs didn’t give up. Brad Johnson (275 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) tossed a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give the Bucs the lead with a little under five minutes to play. The D flexed, returning the ball to the offense who then tacked on what appeared to be the insurance field goal. Not so. Jake “E.T.” Delhomme (277 passing yards, 2 TD, 2 int) went to work, and facing tremendous pressure, was able to lead his team down the field and into the end zone for the game winning pass to Steve Smith (9 catches for 72 yards, TD). Ricky Proehl (3 catches for 133 yards, TD) also gets a mention in the win, and Keenan McCardell (9 catches for 118 yards, TD) did well in defeat. The Panthers take a commanding lead in the division, in a game where Stephen Davis did not play.
at Tennessee 31, Miami 7
This one was such a beating that even the networks didn’t want people to see the end, switching coverage to a different game. Tennessee got up early, then the Titan D (5 turnovers, 4 sacks, return TD) took over from there, stifling any Dolphin attack. Nothing to see here from Miami in this one. Brian Griese was awful in this one, fumbling twice and tossing three interceptions. Let’s move on.
at Dallas 10, Buffalo 6
What in the world happened to Buffalo. After two weeks, they were ready to print up playoff tickets, and now? Eww. Both offenses had trouble moving the ball, as there was barely 400 yards of offense combined. No fantasy players from either side did well, and the Cowboys enjoy the ‘ugly’ win.
at San Diego 42, Minnesota 28
Yes, folks, the magic is back. Flutie that is. Doug Flutie (248 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int, 2 rushing TD) instilled some excitement into what has been a dismal season so far in San Diego. He scored twice, the second from 13 yards out when he fumbled the snap, quickly picked it up, and juked some Minnesota defenders on his way into the end zone untouched. Tri-player of the Week LaDanian Tomlinson (162 rushing yards, 2 TD) also did well, his numbers including a 73 yard touchdown run. David “Please Come Back To” Boston (7 catches for 82 yards, TD) also chipped into a game that featured no turnovers by the Chargers. On the other side of the ball, the Vikings were forced to play catchup all game, and they could not get close enough to threaten. Tri-Player of the Week Moe “Larry and Curley” Williams (11 catches for 126 yards, 2 TD), Duante Culpepper “Steak” (370 passing yards, 4 TD, 1 int) and Randy Moss (11 catches for 120 yards, TD) did well, but it was not enough in the stunning defeat.
New York Jets 27, Oakland 24 (overtime)
A recap of last year’s playoff game, this one was a battle between two 2-6 teams, the loser probably forced to look forward to next year. The game opened up innocently enough, but quickly turned wild. The Jets had the ball first but were forced to punt, and the kick was returned for a touch. Two plays into the next Jets drive, “Hanging” Chad Pennington (269 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) found Santana “No” Moss (6 catches for 146 yards, TD) from 65 yards out to tie things up. On the ensuing drive, the Raiders went to work on the ground. They chewed up nearly eleven minutes, and the 19 play drive, which consisted entirely of running plays (Charlie Garner, Justin Fargas, Tyrone Wheatley, Zack Crockett) was capped off by Crockett taking it the last yard to the big house. The Raiders were able to tack on another touch just before the half and held an eleven point lead. After a quiet third quarter, Lamont Jordan got things going at the start of the fourth quarter, rumbling in from two yards out to close the gap to 5 points (two point conversion was no good). After a couple of punts, Oakland was able to get into field goal range to extend the lead to eight with under seven minutes to go. Pennington went to work, and he had to since 73 yards and just over three minutes remained. The drive started with Jerald Sowell gaining 44 yards on what should have been a short pass play. Three plays later, it again was Sowell, scoring from three yards out. Pennington hit Anthony Becht on the two point play, tying the score. After winning the toss, the Jets marched right down the field where Doug Brien ended things in favor of New York. No Raider gets into the print.
at St.Louis 33, Baltimore 22
When you quickly glance at the score of this one, you might assume that the Rams offense went wild as usual, and the Rams coasted to the easy win. That couldn’t be any further from the truth. The offense struggled mightily, generating only 121 yards in offense the entire game. It was the Ram D (7 turnovers, 7 sacks, return TD) that won this one, eventually knocking Raven starter Kyle Boller out of the game. That and the Ram special teams play were enough to win this one. Jeff Wilkins (4 FG, 3 PAT) and Marshall Faulk (2 TD) did well in victory while Jamal Lewis (111 rushing yards, TD) gets a mention here in a losing effort.