Tunnel Vision: Week 8
David Dorey
October 28, 2013
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Sunday Salutes
Quarterbacks Yards TD
Matt Stafford 488 2
Drew Brees 332 5
Andy Dalton 325 5
Peyton Manning 354 4
Jason Campbell 310 2
Running Backs Yards TD
Reggie Bush 122 1
Knowshon Moreno 133 1
Andre Ellington 132 1
Darren McFadden 78 2
Frank Gore 77 2
Wide Receivers Yards TD
Calvin Johnson 329 1
Marvin Jones 122 4
Jordy Nelson 123 2
Kenny Stills 139 2
Josh Gordon 132 1
Tight Ends Yards TD
Jimmy Graham 37 2
Jordan Reed 90 0
Vernon Davis 52 1
Scott Chandler 72 0
Jordan Cameron 81 0
Placekickers XPT FG
Josh Brown 0 5
Mason Crosby 5 3
Dan Bailey 3 3
Ryan Succop 2 3
Stephen Gostkowski 3 2
Defense/Special Teams TDs Sacks TOs
Bengals 2 4 2
Broncos 1 3 5
Cardinals 0 4 4
Packers 1 4 0
Redskins 1 2 4

Bumps, Bruises and bowouts

TE Julius Thomas - Ankle
QB Robert Griffin - Knee
WR Victor Cruz - Neck/Head
QB Michael Vick - Hamstring
WR Ryan Broyles - Ruptured Achilles
RB Jamaal Charles - Knee

Around the league

After almost half a season, we finally enjoyed a week where good teams won big, bad teams played even worse and there were fewer injuries and overall much less serious than in all previous weeks. But that's not to say that the week did not have the normal breakouts and breakdowns.

Wideout Mike Williams played the entire game for the Buccaneers but only caught three passes for 20 yards because of a hamstring injury. Williams may be shut down for the year since he admitted his hamstring is actually torn. That means that Tiquan Underwood or Chris Owusu would step into his starting role on a team that is going to need to pass in every game. Notable too is that tight end Timothy Wright is already a bigger part of the passing game in Tampa Bay and comes off his first NFL touchdown. Over the last four weeks, Wright totaled 19 catches for 197 yards. He's one of the very few breakout candidates at tight end.

Tom Brady owners knowingly took a chance when they drafted him last summer. He was without almost all of his receivers from 2012 but it was the great Tom Brady. Ends up, even Tom Terrific is mortal. He comes off his worst game since 2006 (coincidentally also against the Dolphins). Brady passed for only 116 yards and one touchdown with one interception. Even Rob Gronkowski only totaled two catches for 27 yards. Realize too that Brady plays the Steelers this week and then has a bye. He is also nursing an unreported bruised hand. There is a short stretch of decent matchups in future weeks but he ends the fantasy season playing in Miami and Baltimore. Do you really want to see what he does in Miami in week 15 during fantasy playoffs when he only threw for 116 yards at home?

Darren Sproles caught four passes but netted zero yards and never ran the ball against the Bills. He's been used sparingly as a runner all year but not gaining any yards against the Bills is very troubling. But to his advantage, Sproles looming schedule is at the Jets, home against the Cowboys and 49ers and then a trip to Atlanta. Those are all games likely to pass more and rush less. Notable too is that Pierre Thomas is getting work like a full-time back and he ran for 65 yards on 14 carries versus the Bills and added 28 yards on three receptions. Granted, he hasn't scored as a runner all year but he's become the only consistently productive running back for the Saints.

Peyton Hillis again turned in a surprisingly good effort when he ran for 70 yards and added three catches for 15 more in Philadelphia. The Giants never actually scored a touchdown in that game but at least Hillis was an effective runner and easily displaced Michael Cox who only gained 19 yards on nine carries. If you own Hillis, congratulations and now move him before you have to release him. The Giants head onto the bye this week and when week ten rolls around, Brandon Jacobs and Andre Brown may both be back. There is even a decent schedule looming with the first three games all at home against the Raiders, Packers and Cowboys. Hillis got you through week eight but that's going to have to suffice.

Marvin Jones will be a waiver wire darling this week and deservedly so after scoring four touchdowns on the Jets. The second-year wide receiver from CAL still is not technically the starting flanker though three of his touchdowns came from that position and the final one was as the slot on a pick play. At 6-2 he has the size to be a red-zone threat and obviously has the confidence of Andy Dalton. His four scores were a franchise record. Jones benefits from playing across from A.J. Green and his big game came against a rookie corner that was later benched. The only downside to Jones is that he'll next play at Miami, at Baltimore and then home versus the Bengals before their bye. But even a tough schedule won't impact him as much as it will Green who still draws the most coverage.

Encouraging in the fantasy world was Matt Ryan playing without Roddy White or Julio Jones, and even Tony Gonzalez (3-26) was blanketed by the defense. Ryan still passed for 301 yards and one score but suffered four interceptions. Harry Douglas again shined with 12 receptions for 121 yards in Arizona. Drew Davis replaced Roddy White and the little-used second-year player caught five passes for 77 yards and one touchdown. There's still nothing to grab here though since White will be back and resume his role as the primary receiver. And the upcoming schedule is not kind to the passing offense with games at the Panthers, versus the Seahawks, at the Buccaneers and home versus the Saints.

The Cardinals were without Rashard Mendenhall but the running effort never looked better. Andre Ellington scored on a 80-yard blur down the left sideline and ended with 154 yards on 15 carries and two catches for eight yards. He is the only Arizona running back who has been effective and he ran so well on the Falcons that he looked out of place. The Cardinals still insist that the 5-9, 199 pound back is not up to being a full-timer and gave Stepfan Taylor 14 carries to gain only 38 yards. Even as a part-timer, Ellington is adding a lot to an offense that goes on bye this week. They return to face the Texans and Jaguars. Two more instances where Ellington will leave fantasy owners wanting even more.

Jordan Reed is no longer a secret but the Redskins tight end continues to make improvements to his game. He left Denver as the lead receiver with eight catches for 90 yards when no other Redskins gained more than 46 yards. Even with Kirk Cousins in for two series, he completed two to Reed for 33 yards and his final interception was also a pass to Reed. Reed should continue to look good with upcoming games including the Chargers, Vikings, Eagles, Giants, Falcons and Cowboys.

Jamaal Charles left the Chiefs game briefly with a sore knee but returned. If you are a Charles owner, that may have changed the color scheme of your underwear but he appears to be fine. Charles is the leading fantasy running back and by a decent margin. That should be all you need to know to ensure that Knile Davis is not on any waiver wire out there short of an eight team league. If you have the roster space to spare, stick Davis there. What would be more appropriate for his year?

Now is the time to buy Packers. They had no problem taking down the Vikings in Minnesota and Jordy Nelson (7-123, 2 TD) had a monster game. But while Jarrett Boykin settled down with only five catches for 89 yards, he was the second most targeted receiver and was joined by Myles White who also caught five passes for 35 yards. James Jones will return soon and the offense is already still clicking along. Better yet, the Packers remaining schedule is not only soft, it's great for fantasy. The next opponents are the Bears, Eagles, Giants, Vikings, Lions, Falcons and Cowboys before hosting the Steelers in week 16.

Sunday Snippets

CAR 31, TB 13 "Just another Buccaneers loss"™ that allowed Cam Newton to throw for 221 yards and two scores and rush in a third touchdown on his 11 runs for 50 yards. DeAngelo Williams scored for the first time all year but only ran eight times for 43 yards which is pretty much a sign they don't' want you to run much. Even Mike Tolbert carried seven times for 35 yards. Mike Glennon passed for 275 yards and one touchdown with no turnovers which is sort of like a victory. But Vincent Jackson (5-79) is now alone with Mike Williams tearing his hamstring. The 4-3 Panthers host the Falcons and the 0-7 Buccaneers head to Seattle for either a laugher or a monster trap game.
SF 42, JAC 10 "Just another Jaguars loss"™ that allowed Colin Kaepernick to throw for 164 yards and one score and run in two scores on his seven runs for 54 yards. Frank Gore (19-71) also ran for two touchdowns and as always no receiver had a big game other than sort of Vernon Davis (3-52, TD). Chad Henne passed for 175 yard and one score while Maurice Jones-Drew (17-69, 5-46 rcv) had one of his best games because the 49ers eventually did not care. Justin Blackmon (4-31) was quiet and Cecil Shorts (6-59) did not have to do much to be the top receiver. Now the 6-2 49ers and the 0-8 Jaguars both head onto their byes.
CLE 17, KC 23 The Chiefs still win - rarely by much, always by enough. Alex Smith threw for 225 yards and two scores for an unusually decent game. Jamaal Charles (130 total yards) left with a knee sprain but returned to the game. As with most Chiefs games, Charles was really the only one that had a decent game. Jason Campbell (293, 2 TD) was surprisingly productive and connected well with Josh Gordon (5-132, TD) while Jordan Cameron (4-81) also posted decent stats. But as always there was no rushing game and Willis McGahee (9-28) covered more yardage when he mows the grass at his mother's condo than he does for the Browns. The 3-5 Browns return home to host the Ravens and the 8-0 Chiefs head to Buffalo.
MIA 17, NE 27

The Dolphins led this one 17-3 at the half before not showing up after halftime. Ryan Tannehill (192, 2 TD) threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. Lamar Miller ran for 89 yards on 18 carries but had to share nine carries with Daniel Thomas. The receivers were little help with Mike Wallace (3-41) being the most productive. Tom Brady won the game but that was more "on the winning team" than "he won the game". Brady only passed for 116 yards and one score with one interception. Aaron Dobson (4-60, TD) was the only decent receiver and even Rob Gronkowski only caught two passes for 27 yards. Stevan Ridley ran for 79 yards and scored once but this game was just not the same old Patriots offensive explosion. They won a yawner and it was even at home. Now the 3-4 Dolphins host the Bengals and the 6-2 Patriots host the Steelers.

BUF 17, NO 35 Just a good old fashioned Saints beatdown. Drew Brees passed for 332 yards and five touchdowns that went out to Kenny Stills (3-129, 2 TD), Jimmy "I played!" Graham (3-37, 2 TD) and even Lance Moore (3-34, TD). Pierre Thomas only ran for 65 yards and Darren Sproles not only never ran the ball, but his four catches gained a total of ZERO yards. Marques Colston was also held to only 18 yards so while there was plenty of passing, it just did not end up with the same players as usual. The Bill could not get much going and the only two decent showings was Fred Jackson running for 45 yards and one score. Stevie Johnson also scored on his seven catches for 72 yards. Now the 3-5 Bills host the Chiefs and the 6-1 Saints head to New York to play the Jets.
NYG 15, PHI 7

The Giants are on a two game winning streak and are only two games out of first place in the NFC East. Oh yeah, they are only 2-6 and the East really sucks this year. They beat the Eagles who lost Michael Vick to yet another hamstring injury which meant Matt Barkley once again rushed to the rescue only to be crushed. Again. At least DeSean Jackson caught eight passes for 63 yards but even LeSean McCoy only totaled 66 yards with no score. Not much happened for the Giants who won on five field goals and no touchdowns. Victor Cruz may have a concussion but still led the team with 86 yards on seven receptions. Peyton Hillis went forward in a "running" fashion and gained 70 yards on 20 carries which alone should make you say "wow" for several different reasons. The 2-6 Giants head to their bye where they will only discuss the last two weeks. The 3-5 Eagles head to Oakland.

NYJ 9, CIN 49 The glow of beating the Patriots is gone now. The Jets were demolished by the Bengals who saw Andy Dalton pass for 325 yards and a career best five touchdowns. Somewhat notable was when Marvin Jones scored four times and doubled his career totals for touchdowns. While most wideouts get more scrutiny after the first three touchdowns, not so this week. Jones season best was only 42 yards previous to this eight catches for 122 yards. A.J. Green (3-115) had a few long gainers but no scores. No runner gained more than 33 yards for either team. The Jets were beaten at the start and Geno Smith threw for 159 yards and two interceptions which were both returned for touchdowns. This was just a bad beat down from a team still hung over from beating the Patriots. Now the 4-4 Jets host the Saints and the 6-2 Bengals head to Miami.
PIT 18, OAK 21

This was an odd game in that the Steelers defense was great against the pass and that did not matter. Terrelle Pryor only threw for 88 yards and two interceptions but he ran for 106 yards and one score that included a new NFL record 93-yard touchdown run by a quarterback. Darren McFadden ran for only 73 yards on 24 carries but scored two touchdowns. The Steelers only got 24 yards on 13 runs by Le'Veon Bell though he did score and caught five passes for 27 yards. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 275 yards and a touchdown but added two interceptions. Emmanuel Sanders (7-88, TD) and Antonio Brown (9-82) both turned in decent stats. Now the 2-5 Steelers head to New England and the 3-4 Raiders host the Eagles.

ATL 13, ARI 27 Apparently getting Steven Jackson back doesn't compensate for missing Julio Jones and Roddy White. In fact getting Jackson back apparently only means 11 carries for six yards and three catches for seven. Not exactly what we were waiting for. Matt Ryan passed for 301 yards and one score but had four interceptions. Harry Douglas (12-121) stepped up and Drew Davis caught five passes for 77 yards and one score in only his second game ever. Carson Palmer (172, 2 TD) was decent and actually threw a score to Larry Fitzgerald (4-48). The player of the game was Andre Ellington who ran for 154 yards and one score on 15 runs including the 80-yard scoring play. Now the 4-4 Cardinals go on their bye and the 2-5 Falcons head to Carolina.
WAS 21, DEN 45

Mike Shanahan's return to Denver was a very tight game until the 38 unanswered points scored by the Broncos. Peyton Manning passed for 354 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions. Knowshon Moreno turned in 133 total yards and one score while Wes Welker (6-81, TD) and Demaryius Thomas (7-75, TD) had solid efforts but Eric Decker (4-42) was quiet and Julius Thomas hurt his ankle and did not finish the game. Robert Griffin left with a sprained knee after throwing for only 132 yards and one score and two interceptions. Kirk Cousins came in and just matched the two interceptions. Alfred Morris ran for 93 yards and one touchdown and Roy Helu did not get in the way this time because Mike Shanahan is too smart. Jordan Reed led the Skins with eight catches for 90 yards. Now the 2-5 Redskins host the Chargers and the 7-1 Broncos go onto their bye.

GB 44, MIN 31 This game did not feel remotely as close as the score indicates. Aaron Rodgers passed for 285 yards and two scores that both went to Jordy Nelson (7-123, 2 TD) while Jarrett Boykin was held to only 89 yards on five catches. Eddie Lacy had plenty of work with 29 runs for 94 yards and a score and he even caught four passes for 18 yards. Christian Ponder only passed for 145 yards and no scores though he did run for 38 yards an rushed in a touchdown. Adrian Peterson ran for 60 yards and a score on just 13 attempts. The 5-2 Packers now host the Bears and the 1-6 Vikings go to Dallas.

Huddle Player of the Week

Calvin Johnson - Sadly for Marvin Jones and his four touchdowns, Megatron had yet another game for the ages and this time he ends up in the NFL history book with the #2 biggest yardage game by any receiver. Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards and one touchdown and now is second only to Flipper Anderson's 336 yards back in 1989. There may never be any wideout that best embodies "uncoverable" than Johnson. When he catches the ball, he's getting touched by so many defenders that he might as well have handles on his jersey.


Drama 101 - Somebody has to laugh, somebody has to cry

Comedy Yards TDs Tragedy Yards TDs
QB Jason Campbell 310 2 QB Tom Brady 121 1
RB Andre Ellington 162 1 RB Darren Sproles 0 0
RB Anthony Sherman 23 1 RB Steven Jackson 13 0
WR Marvin Jones 122 4 WR Rueben Randle 0 0
WR Drew Davis 77 1 WR Danny Amendola 15 0
WR Mike Brown 43 1 WR Marques Colston 18 0
TE Tim Wright 48 1 TE Jason Witten 15 0
PK Josh Brown 15 pts PK Alex Henery 1 XP

Huddle Fantasy Points = 136

Huddle Fantasy Points = 17

Sunday's Couch Commentary

I love it. For once, for one time all year we had normalcy. Mostly all home teams won. Blowouts littered the scoreboards. Nine teams scored over 30 points and four exceeded 40 points. If you got a touchdown from your tight end, you obviously had Vernon Davis or Jimmy Graham because the other four tight ends with a score were unlikely to have been used. Andre Ellington was the only running back to rush for over 100 yards. We saw Megatron rack up 329 yards like he was 12th grader who stumbled onto a pick-up game at the nearby middle school. And that was appropriate because he had a really good seat to watch the Game-O-The-Week.

Cowboys 30, Lions 31

This was a close game throughout. The Cowboys led 10-7 at the half and 13-7 entering the fourth quarter. The Lions drew close with a field goal to start the fourth quarter down 13-10 but on the very next series, Tony Romo only needed three plays to find Terrance Williams over for a 60-yard touchdown and a 20-10 lead.

But the Lions drove 80 yards thanks in part to a 21-yard pass interference call on the Cowboys. Calvin Johnson was tackled at the one-yard line and Joique Bell ran it in for a 20-17 deficit with 7:43 left to play.

The Cowboys led comfortably 27-17 with only 6:54 left to play. At least until the Lions once again drove 80 yards mostly thanks to a 54-yard catch by Calvin Johnson. Reggie Bush pushed this touchdown in from the one-yard line for a 27-24 score.

But the Cowboys in their infinite wisdom took over with 3:27 left to play and decided then was the time to run Joseph Randle twice for a net loss of two yards. One incomplete to Beasley later and the Lions took over with 2:24 left to play on their own 33-yard line. They gave up a sack, then Stafford passed for just six yards. Then an incompletion and finally on fourth down another incompletion. THe Cowboys took over at the Lions 31-yard line with 1:24 left to play. Game... Set... Match... Not....

Three runs failed to get a first down but it did force the Lions to use up the timeouts that they ended up never needing. Dan Bailey kicked another field goal and the Cowboys led 30-24 with 1:07 left to play. What's the worst that can happen?

Calvin Johnson had already caught 12 passes for 290 yards so he was certain to be covered, right? Starting at their 20-yard line with 1:02 left on the clock:

Stafford throws to Bush who runs out of bounds for no gain. Stupid. 56 seconds left.

Stafford throws to Calvin Johnson for 17 yards to reach the DET 37-yard line. They rush and spike the ball to kill the clock with 42 seconds left. Still 63 yards away... yawn...

Stafford throws to Kris Durham for a 40 yard gain to the Dallas 23-yard line with 40 seconds left. That was some pass, boy. Threaded that puppy in nicely. But still...

Stafford hits Calvin Johnson deep down the middle and he is tackled at the Dallas one-yard line. HE HAS FREAKING CAUGHT 13 PASSES FOR 307 YARDS AND HE WAS OPEN DOWN THE MIDDLE. THAT'S RIGHT - THE MIDDLE!. And not even in a "hey I am taller than you" sort of way. Just like a "look out I am coming through" sort of catch.

Stafford screams to get set and does the spike motion with his hand to kill the clock that only has 14 seconds. Kill the clock MY ASS. As 23 other players stand around waiting for him to spike it, Stafford all alone does a leap and stretches the ball out over the goal line above his center's head. I would like to think he shouted "SUCKER!" when he did it. Game over. Touchdown. Extra point. Bye, bye to America's Team pie.

It was an exciting game to watch It was one for the ages to be sure with 329 yards by Calvin Johnson. And one that Matt Stafford can also rightfully hang his hat on for the rest of his days.

We all probably just watched the best wideout performance that we will ever see. Truly phenomenal. Remember it. Treasure it. Hold it dear.

Because tonight we have to watch Kellen Clemens try to complete a pass against the Seahawks.

Now get back to work...

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