Week 2 is almost in the books, and what a strange week that it was. Some of last week’s strong fantasy performers disappeared as offenses in general around the league did not do well this week. We’re starting to see some trends as the good teams (and the bad ones!) are starting to emerge to the masses. Most of all, injuries are starting already and backups, especially at the QB position are being pressed into action. There’s still plenty of football to go, so if you don’t see many of your players listed here and you’re 0-2 out of the gate, DON’T DISPAIR and above all DON’T GIVE UP!! On to the games…
at New Orleans 30, San Francisco 27
With Ken Dorsey at the helm of the Niners this week, this one was a lay up, right? That’s why they play the games. A back and forth battle this one, where the biggest fantasy news from the game is that Duece McAllister left the game with an ankle injury. Having cut Ki-Jana Carter before the game, that left only Aaron Stecker as the only viable RB. So the Saints went to the air! Aaron Brooks (279 pass yards, 3 TD, 0 int) had a solid game and when the quarterback has a good game, so too do the WRs. Donte Stallworth (9 catches for 111 yards, TD) and Joe Horn (8 catches for 94 yards, TD) get a mention here as well. Flash to the fourth quarter, Niners down by three, Dorsey led the charge down the field on a 90 yard drive, capped off by Jamal Robertson hitting paydirt from a yard out. Kevan Barlow (114 rush yards, 2 TD) was knicked and essentially missed the second half of this drive and the remainder of the game. New Orleans turned the ball over on their next possession, but the Niners couldn’t run much clock as Robertson returned the favor, putting the ball on the ground for the Saints with just under four minutes to play. Brooks went to work, then found Stallworth in the endzone with a minute to play. Dorsey and the Niner offense was not done yet, and they began to move the ball. San Fran actually got the ball to the one yard line, but a penalty nullified the play. The Saints picked off Dorsey on the next play and that was that, a hard fought game came to a close.
at NY Giants 20, Washington 14
Not much pleasant to report from this game. First off, the Giant D (7 turnovers, TD, 4 sacks) was the beneficiary of seven Redskin turnovers. Fumbles, interceptions…you name it. And yet in the end, the Giants would not (could not?) put the game away. A true battle of attrition where the Giants had scored more points when the final gun mercifully sounded. Clinton Portis (98 total yards, TD) gets a mention here in a losing effort. Of note, Mark Brunell left the game with a hamstring injury. Patrick Ramsay replaced him, but tossed three picks so should Brunell be able to go next week, he probably will.
At Jacksonville 7, Denver 6
Zzzzzzz. No fantasy performances to note here for either side. As for the game, with two and a half minutes to go, Denver was pinned at their own 11 yard line. Suddenly, offense was en vogue as Denver was able to quickly move to the Jacksonville 22 (with the aid of a Jaguar roughing the passer penalty). On third down and well within Jason Elam’s range, Mike Shanahan chose to run “one more time” and as what happens so often on “Press Your Luck”, he was burned. Quentin Griffin couldn’t handle Plummer’s handoff and the Jags were more than happy to take the gift fumble.
at Baltimore 30, Pittsburgh 13
Playing their home opener after last week’s tough week one loss, the Ravens beat down the Steelers in every facet of the game. The Ravens raced to a 20-nil lead and never looked back, thanks to Jamal Lewis (64 rush yards, 2 TD) and the “Quothe the” Raven D (3 turnovers, return TD, 4 sacks). In the process, Steeler quarterback Tommy Maddox left the game with an elbow injury (probably to miss at least another week) and rookie Ben Roethlistberger did well in his pro debut. Hines Ward (6 catches for 151 yards, TD) gets a mention in a losing effort.
at Atlanta 34, St.Louis 17
First off, I love the home unies for the Falcons. Not sure what it is, but the red really does something for me, love it. Secondly, what is going on with the Rams? Their offense is stagnant! In their defense, the Falcons got up early in this one 14-0, but the Rams came back to tie the score entering the fourth quarter. All this while only rushing the ball 15 times for the course of the game (?!). Torry Holt (9 catches for 121 yards, TD) and Marc “Battle of the” Bulger (285 pass yards, 1 TD, 1 int) did manage to hook up often for the visitors. But the Falcons had Michael Vick (109 rush yards, 179 pass yards), whom the Rams D could not contain. One drive Vick ran for nearly every yard on the drive! So fourth quarter, all tied, Atlanta scores a touch to once again take the lead. Starting from their own 20, the Rams quickly moved backwards 19 yards, setting up probably the bizarro play of the week. Bulger was back to pass in the end zone looking for an open man, while Brady Smith of the Falcons came around the backside of Bulger, flicked the ball out of his hands into his own for a touchdown, essentially ending the game. The Atl D (2 turnovers, return TD, 5 sacks) performed well enough to get a mention here as well.
at Detroit 28, Houston 16
The Lions were looking to go 2-0 while the Texans were looking to avoid going 0-2 in this one. Things started off slowly for both teams, with the Lions holding onto a slight lead. Roy Williams (4 catches for 73 yards, 2 TD) caught the first of his two spectacular touchdown passes from Joey Harrington (176 pass yards, 3 TD, 1 int) and the Lions were up 14-10 in the third frame. Domanick Davis (78 rush yards, 11 catches for 95 yards) and David Carr (313 pass yards, 2 TD 1 int) led the Texans back, closing the gap. But on the ensuing kickoff, Eddie Drummond went 99 yards for the score and Detriot never looked back. The teams did trade scores in the fourth (Williams a great catch keeping both feet barely in bounds), but it was turnovers that did the Texans in. The Lion D (3 turnovers, return TD, 5 sacks) played well enough to get a mention here and it looks like they may not be a bad fantasy play this season. Get them if they are still available.
Chicago 21, at Green Bay 10
So you don’t believe in the “let down” game? Ya right. Coming off an impressive Monday night victory over the defending NFC Champions, the Packers had their home opener hosting the Bears. Chicago was holding their own against the Pack late in the second quarter, but Green Bay was threatening as the half was coming to a close. Ahman Green fumbled the ball, and Mike Brown rumbled 95 yards with the ball for the score. The Packers never again got close as Thomas Jones (152 rush yards, TD) made sure the lead would stick. No Packers get a mention in this week’s story.
Indianapolis 31, at Tennessee 17
Two of the top teams in the AFC battled it out in an early season divisional game. It was nip and tuck the whole way, neither team giving up much to the other. The Colts scored to open up the fourth and the game was tied. Chris Brown (152 rush yards, TD) and Steve “Air” McNair (273 pass yards, rush TD) were moving the ball for the Titans, as they were looking to retake the lead. From the Indy 27, McNair went deep to the end zone, and in a spectacular play, Colt corner Nick Harper took a sure touchdown pass right out of Derrick Mason’s hands. What was amazing about the play, Harper had his back to McNair the whole time and he never turned around, simply playing Mason’s reactions and when the ball arrived he stripped it from him for the interception. Just a great, great play. The Colts took advantage, quickly moving down the field for the go ahead score, Edgerrin James (124 rush yards, 2 TD) getting it done from four yards out. Edge would add another later in the quarter, putting the game out of reach. Reggie Wayne (7 catches for 119 yards, TD) and Peyton Manning (254 pass yards, 2 TD, 0 int) also did well in a victorious effort.
Carolina 28, at Kansas City 17
No Stephen Davis? No problem, I mean, these are the Chiefs we’re talking about here. De’shaun Foster (174 rush yards, TD) ran wild, rewarding those fantasy owners that selected him early in their drafts, as the Panthers sent Kansas City to an 0-2 start. Nothing else on the fantasy scope to discuss here as no other player played well enough to get into the ink this week. You knew it was going to be Carolina’s day when in the first quarter Jake Delhomme was about to be slammed into the turf for a sack, but for some reason as he was spun he lofted the ball to the end zone right into the arms of an open Kris Magnum for the three yard score. That’s the kind of day that it was.
Seattle 10, at Tampa Bay 6
Wow, this was a tough one to watch. Chris Simms took over for Brad Johnson in this one, and while Shaun Alexander played, he did not play well/much. Neither team wanted to score and seemingly win this game, as evidenced by the last sequence of plays. Simms was attempting to lead the Bucs to the comeback win, and Seattle was helping out the last drive committing back to back roughing the passer penalties to keep the Tampa Bay final drive alive. Alas, it was not to be, and the game came to a merciful end (as does the description of the game). No player from either team performed well enough to get into the story.
at Dallas 19, Cleveland 12
Another game where neither team seemingly wanted to win. Dallas had plenty of opportunity to salt this one away, but they kept throwing interception after interception. But the Browns would not capatalize. Phil Dawson “s Creek” (4 FG) gets a mention in a losing effort and any time a kicker gets in here, you know no other player is. Despite the picks at the end, Vinny Testaverde (322 pass yards, 1 TD, 3 int) still gets a mention for his fantasy efforts.
at Oakland 13, Buffalo 10
Wow, the games are getting tougher to talk about…another non-barnburner. The Bills offense once again looks like it is going to stink this year, yet in this one the Raiders were not much better. Of note, Jerry Rice’s amazing 20 year streak of catching a pass in every game comes to an end. For me, we’re talking back in high school, wow. Let’s move on.
New England 23, at Arizona 12
In the desert heat, the defending Super Bowl Champions put in a workmanlike effort to secure victory. Corey Dillon (158 rush yards) was huge for the victors. The Pats were up 17-6 when a turnover led to a Cardinal touchdown. Arizona went for two, did not get it, and did not get any closer the rest of the game, a result that was never really in doubt.
NY Jets 34, at San Diego 28
Both teams were looking to push their early season records to 2-0, and in the end it was the Jets that were able to do just that. Player of the Week Curtis Martin (119 rush yds, 2 TD) and Chad Pennington (258 pass yards, 2 TD 0 int) took the Jets to an early 17-nil lead that they were able to hold onto. Ladainian Tomlinson (163 total yards, TD) did well in a losing effort and wouldn’t you know there was a Doug Flutie sighting. The Magic Flutie came off the bench to replace the injured Drew Brees (concussion) and led a furious Charger charge that in the end came up just short. In the game, Martin becomes the Jets all time leading rusher, but more importantly for us, continues what could be a monster fantasy season.
at Cincinnati 16, Miami 13
Finally this week, yet another game that was extremely tough to watch. I don’t know that there is a worst offensive team in the NFL right now than the Dolphins. I’m afraid when they take on the Bills the game will end (yes, end) 0-0. In any case, they made Cincinnati’s defense look great. Though on the other side of the ball, Miami’s defense was playing great, keeping the score close. Miami finally got something going in the fourth quarter, battling back to tie the score at 17. But the Bengals were not to be denied as Shayne Graham connected from 39 yards out with two seconds remaining, giving the Bengals the win. The Bengals D (3 turnovers, return TD, 226 yards allowed) the only fantasy entity to be mentioned here from this game.